Polyommatus myrrha (Herrich-Schäffer, )
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia:
The known distribution of the species includes Anatolian province in Turkey and Zangezur Mountains of Armenia and Nakhichevan. The Zangezur Mountains are inhabited by endemic subspecies cinyraea Nekrutenko & Effendi, 1979, which is known by two populations: one is located in Armenia and another - in Nakhichevan. The species is found in rocky subalpine grasslands at 2200-2500 m a.s.l. The host plant of the species is Cicer anatolicum. Flight period lasts from mid July to early August.
The species was found in Armenia in 1997. The area was visited regularly, which allows preliminary understanding of distribution range of the species and its relative abundance, however the information is insufficient for calculation of population trend. According to the recorded specimens and current pattern of host-plant's area, the total distribution range of P.myrrha is less than a hectare. The abundance of the species is relatively low and demonstrates significant decline, especially in 2017. The small population of its host plant is also decreasing. It should be mentioned that the host plant appears to be very capricious, and prefers only screes made by fairly small stones; number of such screes is very limited. Although at current it is unclear what kind of threats can affect the habitat and the population of the species, however the recent construction of Hydro Power Plant in the gorge did not take the possible influence on this unique butterfly species into consideration.
The species has not been evaluated for IUCN Red List, for Red Book of Animals of Armenia, also it is not listed in CITES, and in Bern Convention. The distribution range of the species is included in Zangezur Biosphere Complex, however the status of the land refers to a state sanctuary, which allows implementation of such projects as construction of HPP in the gorge. The following steps appear to be important for conservation of the species: strengthening population of its host plant via artificial planting and creating more appropriate micro-habitats for the plant, detailing distribution, abundance, and better understanding biological peculiarities of P.myrrha; evaluation of conservation status of the species and its subspecies for IUCN Red List; strengthening conservation status of the land and its protection regime; securing obligatory Environmental Impact Assessment of all the business and land use projects in the gorge; popularization of the area for butterfly-watching and creation of alternative income opportunities for local people.
At current, the gorge inhabited by P.myrrha is recognized as Prime Butterfly Area Kajaran.
The current assessment of the species was supported by Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.