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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Clear-cuts are temporary habitats, not matrix, for endangered grassland burnet moths (Zygaena spp.)

Bergman, Karl-Olof; Burman, Joseph; Jonason, Dennis; Larsson, Mattias C.; Ryrholm, Nils; Westerberg, Lars; Milberg, Per


Burnet moths (Zygaena spp.) are day-flying Lepidoptera considered indicative of species-rich grasslands. In the present study, our aim was to clarify whether clear-cuts are habitat, supporting habitat or matrix for three species of Zygaena. We did so by sampling these species with sex pheromones on 48 clear-cuts, varying in amount of host and nectar plants, in southern Sweden. To compare the efficiency of such sampling, we also conducted transect walks on these clearcuts. Overall, host-plants on clear-cuts best explained the abundance of Zygaena spp. recorded, better than nectar-plants or connectivity with nearby grasslands. These results indicate that clear-cuts with an abundance of host plants are used as a fully functional habitat, and not a supporting habitat in the sense of only providing nectar. There is no support in these results for considering clear-cuts as an inert matrix. With about half the work-effort, pheromone traps recorded 100 times more Zygaena spp. as transect walks. The poor correspondence between observations during transects walks and pheromone trap catches suggest Zygaena spp. being difficult to monitor by transect walks. In contrast to grasslands, clear-cuts are short-term in nature requiring repeated recolonization, indicating the importance of permanent grasslands. However, clear-cuts are important temporary insect habitats due to their great acreage, and suitable management can increase the time they remain a habitat.


Clear-cut; Day-flying moth; Forestry; Landscape; Zygaena

Published in

Journal of Insect Conservation
2020, volume: 24, number: 2, pages: 269-277
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Bergman, Karl-Olof
Linkoping Univ
Burman, Joseph
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Burman, Joseph
Canterbury Christ Church University
Jonason, Dennis
Linkoping Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Ryrholm, Nils
Univ Gavle
Westerberg, Lars
Linkoping Univ
Milberg, Per
Linkoping Univ

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