Research has confirmed the occurrence of a rare beetle after a hundred years

6. 5. 2021
The stag beetle (Ceruchus chrysomelinus) has not been found in the Jeseníky Mountains for over 100 years. The occurrence of this primeval forest species has now been confirmed in four localities.

Besides the Stag beetle, entomologist Josef Kašák from the Department of Forest Conservation and Wildlife management at MENDELU FFWT has discovered a total of 24 species of endangered beetles in the Skalní potok nature reserve.

The Skalní potok reserve is one of the most valuable locations in this mountain range and is located near Vrbno pod Pradědem. “It was thought that the stag beetle could occur there due to the presence of old preserved forest with more dead wood, where forest management has been at low intensity for a long time,” said Kašák, who conducted the research for the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic.

“Entomological research into beetles involves a number of techniques, from trapping to individual collection. In the case of some species, you have to find a fallen tree with certain characteristics and then sensitively examine part of it with an axe and chisel so as not to damage it too much for the organisms living int it,” said Kašák.

According to researchers from Mendel University in Brno and Palacký University in Olomouc, who studied the stag beetle in the newly discovered localities in the Jeseníky Mountains, the beetle has very specific environmental requirements. Development of its larvae takes several years in fallen rotting tree trunks with brown rot and high humidity. The Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area Administration, in agreement with the land owner (Biskupské lesy), therefore tries to leave dead wood in the forest as much as possible and is testing the so-called grooving method for the first time, which is a method of reducing bark beetle development in fallen trees and keeping them at least partially in the bark.

“It would be best for nature here if the trees were left to decay naturally without intervention, but I fully understand that, for a land owner trying to suppress the European spruce bark beetle population over a wider area, such a solution is not always realistic,” the entomologist added.

Contact person for more information: Mgr. Josef Kašák, Ph.D.,; Institute of Forest Conservation and Wildlife management (FFWT), tel.: 606 278 554

Photo: stag beetle, author Vít Slezák


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