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Research article, 2002

Osmoderma eremita as an indicator of species richness of beetles in tree hollows

Ranius, Thomas


The beetle Osmoderma eremita has received much attention in the last few years, as it is among those species with the highest priority in the European Union’s Habitat Directive. In this paper the species is evaluated as a potential indicator and umbrella species for the endangered beetle fauna in tree hollows. To be useful as an indicator of a species rich fauna it should be easy to inventory and be strongly correlated with the presence of other species. An umbrella species is a species which is so demanding that the protection of this species will automatically save many others. The species richness of saproxylic beetles and occupancy of O. eremita were surveyed in tree hollows in an area in southeastern Sweden by assessing presence/absence of living and dead adults (including fragments) and larvae. The species richness was higher when O. eremita was present, both at tree and stand level. Several threatened species were associated with the presence of O. eremita, whereas others did not correlate with occurrence of O. eremita. As O. eremita is easy to find and identify, it is useful as an indicator of stands with a rich beetle fauna in tree hollows. O. eremita is possible to use as an umbrella species, because if measures are taken to conserve O. eremita, many other species in the same habitat are also conserved. However, there are some beetles in tree hollows which seem to be more sensitive to habitat fragmentation than O. eremita, and may go extinct if only O. eremita is taken into consideration.


beetles; indicator; Osmoderma eremita; tree hollows; umbrella species

Published in

Biodiversity and Conservation
2002, number: 11
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers