Habitat preferences of an endangered insect species, Cepero’s ground-hopper (Tetrix ceperoi)
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- Gröning, J., Krause, S. & Hochkirch, A. Ecol Res (2007) 22: 767. doi:10.1007/s11284-006-0315-2
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Preventing the global decline in biodiversity is a major task for conservation biologists. Although habitat loss has been identified as a key factor driving extinction processes, our knowledge on the habitat requirements of many endangered species, particularly invertebrates, is still sparse. We present a feasible method to study the microhabitat preferences of insect species. In Central Europe, the endangered Cepero’s ground-hopper, Tetrix ceperoi, is believed to have its only remaining natural habitats in dune slacks of the Wadden Sea Islands. Our results suggest that this species performs an active habitat choice of damp, bare patches with high temperatures. While ponds and fens in dune slacks provide large areas of damp bare ground and algal mats, grasslands, degraded dune slacks and the transitional zone between salt marsh and dunes are less suited as habitats. The major threat for T. ceperoi is found in the succession of its pioneer habitats due to the reduced natural dynamics. In industrialized countries, pioneer habitats and species are threatened substantially by coastal protection and floodplain regulation. This is only compensated in part by anthropogenic creation of secondary habitats, such as different kinds of pits or coal heaps. Nevertheless, there is a strong need for restoration of dynamic habitats by floodplain revitalization and dune slack restoration.