Turkey is a country of prime importance for butterflies throughout Europe. With its more than 380 species, it hosts higher butterfly richness than any European country. Some of its regions host as many species as a country alone; e.g. in the number of butterfly species that can be seen in Artvin is higher than the overall butterfly richness of Slovenia, Sweden and Finland. Among the butterflies of Turkey, approximately 50 are endemic, i.e. they are present only in Turkey. Yet, butterflies are among the most threatened species groups in Turkey. Almost one in every 10 species is threatened with extinction.
Doğa Koruma Merkezi (DKM; Nature Conservation Centre) is a non-governmental organization, which focuses on the conservation of butterflies, among other topics (www.dkm.org.tr). DKM is also the Turkish partner of Butterfly Conservation Europe (BCE; www.bc-europe.eu), and has carried out many projects on butterflies since its establishment in 2004. The last project of DKM on butterflies was the publication of this field guide.
DKM has carried out the Turkey’s Butterflies Field Guide Project between 2018 and 2019 with the support of United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme. In the framework of the project, a detailed guide for identifying butterfly species on the field was prepared and published. This publication aimed at filling an important gap, especially for nature conservation experts and nature guides. With this guide, DKM aimed at raising awareness about Turkey’s butterflies among public, popularizing butterfly watching among Turkish citizens, and also contributing to an increase on the data collected professionally or voluntarily on butterflies, which can give support to conservation practices.
In Turkey, the increase in butterfly watchers is linked to Turkey’s high butterfly richness. With this project, the most up to date and extended field guide on Turkey’s butterflies is published. This guide will correspond to a big gap in Turkey. Prepared by Ahmet Baytaş, the field guide is made up of more than 260 pages, gives information about 377 butterfly species. The guide details the Turkish and latin names of butterflies, gives tips about identifying species on the field, their flight period, their habitats, their distribution in Turkey, the plant species the caterpillars feed on, etc. Also other than the very rare, vagrant species, and those which are not possible to identify on the field, the guide includes photographs of all butterfly species taken on the field.
Turkey’s Butterflies Field Guide can be used by children and adults. The detailed texts and photographs it holds, will help the readers to identify butterflies in nature in an easy way. The guide can be obtained from bookstores and online.