, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp 3597-3607
Date: 27 Oct 2006

Translocation of an endangered insect species, the field cricket (Gryllus campestris Linnaeus, 1758) in northern Germany

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Abstract

Relocations of species have become a tool widely used in nature conservation, but insects have rarely been considered as targets. Here, we present a translocation project of the field cricket (Gryllus campestris L. 1758), which is a threatened species at the northern edge of its range. Only ten populations were left in Lower Saxony (Germany), illustrating the need for urgent conservation measures. After 10 years of monitoring and management of an isolated population, 213 nymphs were captured and released at another nature reserve in summer 2001. The size of the new population increased significantly from 27 singing males in spring 2002 to 335 singing males in spring 2005. The occupied area increased from 5.66 ha to 33.14 ha. Altogether, the translocation project was evaluated as successful, but the inland dune proved to be not as suitable for the species as initially expected. Our results indicate that translocations of highly reproductive insect species are promising, as long as the release locality contains sufficiently large areas of suitable habitat and a high number of wild juveniles from a closely located and large source population are released in a climatically favorable period. Management and restoration of habitats, as well as continuous monitoring are of crucial importance for the success of the translocation project. Moreover, the importance of a high quality of cooperation between conservationists, authorities, foresters, farmers, financiers and scientists cannot be overstated.