Aurora dell’Etna (Anthocharis damone) is the italian name of the Eastern Orange tip, a very beautiful little butterfly whose survival is nowadays at risk due to the changes of its natural habitat. Its geographical range is very interesting as in Europe it is distributed only in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and southern Italy (Mount Etna in Sicily and Aspromonte in Calabria). For this reason the species represent a real symbol of Mount Etna biodiversity.
The local group of the Friends of the Earth is carrying out a conservation project for the Eastern Orange tip since 2007. They aim to find out the butterfly’s main ecological requirements and the reasons of its population decrease in order to help the species to survive and become more widespread. A scientific research program is being held in Monte Serra Natural Park and other sites around Etna with the cooperation of Butterfly Arc staff from MontegrottoTerme (PD) and the Italian Union of Zoos and Aquariums.
Moreover, at Monteserra Butterfly House a new flight area has been recently built in order to carry out some of the technical phases of the project, as the breeding of the Eastern Orange Tip and the cultivation of its only food plant (Isatis tinctoria). The flight area will also host other Italian butterflies, typical of etnean environment and will be used as an extra educational exhibit for students and other visitors.