Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 637–645 | Cite as

What determines the distribution of a flightless bush-cricket (Metrioptera brachyptera) in a fragmented landscape?

  • Dominik Poniatowski
  • Thomas Fartmann
Original Paper


Based on metapopulation theory, isolation, patch size and habitat quality within patches have recently been identified as the most critical parameters determining the persistence of species. In the special case of flightless and sedentary Orthoptera species, taking into account the low dispersal ability, species survival probably depends more on habitat quality than on isolation. The aim of this study was to document how landscape (patch size, isolation and climate) and microhabitat (vegetation structure, microclimate and land use) factors influence patch occupancy and population densities, respectively, of a flightless bush-cricket (Metrioptera brachyptera) in fragmented calcareous grasslands. In summer 2005 patch occupancy of M. brachyptera was assessed in 68 calcareous grassland patches of the Diemel Valley (central Germany). Among these, 26 patches with 80 plots were selected to characterise Mbrachyptera habitats in detail. On each plot, bush-cricket density was sampled in an area of 20 m2 using a 0.5 m2 box quadrat. At the landscape level (patches) in 46 (68%) of 68 studied calcareous grassland patches M. brachyptera was present. Patch occupancy increased with annual precipitation and patch size but was independent of altitude, annual temperature and isolation. At the microhabitat level (plots), population density of Mbrachyptera decreased with land-use intensity and increased with vegetation height. In addition, a high litter accumulation was adverse for M. brachyptera. Given the low explanatory power of isolation for patch occupancy, conservation of flightless and sedentary insects, such as M. brachyptera, should primarily focus on improving habitat quality. For M. brachyptera and other stenotopic calcareous grassland species we therefore recommend traditional rough grazing with sheep, which creates a heterogenous habitat structure and avoids the accumulation of too much litter.


Fragmentation Habitat quality Isolation Metapopulation Orthoptera Patch size 



We are very grateful to A. M. Schulte (Meschede) for obtaining information on the distribution of M. brachyptera in the Diemel Valley. Many thanks go to Nils Anthes (University of Tübingen) and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Moreover, we would like to thank Jan Thiele (University of Münster) for help with R. The Biologische Station Hochsauerlandkreis e.V. and the Akademie für ökologische Landeserforschung e.V. partly funded the study.


  1. Anthes N, Fartmann T, Hermann G, Kaule G (2003) Combining larval habitat quality and metapopulation structure—the key for successful management of pre-alpine Euphydryas aurinia colonies. J Insect Conserv 7:175–185. doi: 10.1023/A:1027330422958 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anthes N, Fartmann T, Hermann G (2008) The Duke of Burgundy butterfly and its dukedom: larval niche variation in Hamearis lucina across Central Europe 12:3–14. doi:  10.1007/s10841-007-9084-7
  3. Appelt M, Poethke H-J (1997) Metapopulation dynamics in a regional population of the blue-winged grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens; Linnaeus 1758). J Insect Conserv 1:205–214. doi: 10.1023/A:1018468017604 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berggren Å, Carlson A, Kindvall O (2001) The effect of landscape composition on colonization success, growth rate and dispersal in introduced bush-crickets Metrioptera roeseli. J Anim Ecol 70:663–670. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.2001.00525.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berggren Å, Birath B, Kindvall O (2002) Effect of corridors and habitat edges on dispersal behavior, movement rates, and movement angles in Roesel’s bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeseli). Conserv Biol 16:1562–1569. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.01203.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bömer A (1893) Die Moore Westfalens. Der Kreis Ahaus (Band 1). Buchdruckerei „Die Post”, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruckhaus A (1994) Das Springschreckenvorkommen von bewirtschafteten und unbewirtschafteten Kalkmagerrasen der Nordeifel. Articulata 9:1–14Google Scholar
  8. Carlsson A, Kindvall O (2001) Spatial dynamics in a metapopulation network: recovery of a rare grasshopper Stauroderus scalaris from population refuges. Ecography 24:452–460. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2001.tb00480.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Casula P (2006) Evaluating hypotheses about dispersal in a vulnerable butterfly. Ecol Res 21:263–270. doi: 10.1007/s11284-005-0130-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diekötter T, Csencsics D, Rothenbühler C, Billeter R, Edwards PJ (2005) Movement and dispersal patterns in the bush cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera: the role of developmental stage and sex. Ecol Entomol 30:419–427. doi: 10.1111/j.0307-6946.2005.00714.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diekötter T, Speelmans M, Dusoulier F, van Wingerden WKRE, Malfait JP, Crist TO, Edwards PJ, Dietz H (2007) Effects of landscape structure on movement patterns of the flightless bush cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera. Environ Entomol 36:90–98CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Eichel S, Fartmann T (2008) Management of calcareous grasslands for Nickerl’s fritillary (Melitaea aurelia) has to consider habitat requirements of the immature stages, isolation, and patch area. J Insect Conserv 12:677–688. doi: 10.1007/s10841-007-9110-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fahrig L (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:487–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fartmann T (2004) Die Schmetterlingsgemeinschaften der Halbtrockenrasen-Komplexe des Diemeltales. Biozönologie von Tagfaltern und Widderchen in einer alten Hudelandschaft. Abh Westf Mus Naturkunde 66:1–256Google Scholar
  15. Fartmann T (2006) Oviposition preferences, adjacency of old woodland and isolation explain the distribution of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina) in calcareous grasslands in central Germany. Ann Zool Fenn 43:335–347Google Scholar
  16. Fartmann T, Mattes H (1997) Heuschreckenfauna und Grünland—Bewirtschaftungsmaßnahmen und Biotopmanagement. Arb Inst Landschaftsökol 3:179–188Google Scholar
  17. Fartmann T, Behrens M, Loritz H (2008) Orthopteran communities in the conifer-broadleaved woodland zone of the Russian Far East. Eur J Entomol 105:673–680Google Scholar
  18. Frankham R, Ballou JD, Briscoe DA (2009) Introduction to conservation genetics, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Gardiner T, Dover J (2008) Is microclimate important for Orthoptera in open landscapes? J Insect Conserv 12:705–709. doi: 10.1007/s10841-007-9104-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gardiner T, Hill J (2006) A comparison of three sampling techniques used to estimate population density and assemblage diversity of Orthoptera. J Orthoptera Res 15:45–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gardiner T, Hill J, Chesmore D (2005) Review of the methods frequently used to estimate the abundance of Orthoptera in grassland ecosystems. J Insect Conserv 9:151–173. doi: 10.1007/s10841-005-2854-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hanski I (1999) Metapopulation ecology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Hanski I, Ovaskainen O (2000) The metapopulation capacity of a fragmented landscape. Nature 404:755–758. doi: 10.1038/35008063 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Harrison S, Bruna E (1999) Habitat fragmentation and large-scale conservation: what do we know for sure? Ecography 22:225–232. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.1999.tb00496.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hein S, Gombert J, Hovestadt T, Poethke H-J (2003) Movement patterns of the bush cricket Platycleis albopunctata in different types of habitat: matrix is not always matrix. Ecol Entomol 28:432–438. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00531.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hermann G (1999) Methoden zur qualitativen Erfassung von Tagfaltern. In: Settele J, Feldmann R, Reinhardt R (eds) Die Tagfalter Deutschlands. Ulmer, Stuttgart, pp 124–143Google Scholar
  27. Hjermann DO, Ims RA (1996) Landscape ecology of the wart-biter Decticus verrucivorus in a patchy landscape. J Anim Ecol 65:768–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ingrisch S (1979) Experimentell-ökologische Freilanduntersuchungen zur Monotopbindung der Laubheuschrecken (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) im Vogelsberg. Beitr Naturkunde Osthessen 15:33–95Google Scholar
  29. Ingrisch S, Köhler G (1998) Die Heuschrecken Mitteleuropas. Westarp Wissenschaften, MagdeburgGoogle Scholar
  30. Kindvall O (1996) Habitat heterogeneity and survival in a bush cricket metapopulation. Ecology 77:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kindvall O (1999) Dispersal in a metapopulation of the bush cricket, Metrioptera bicolor (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae). J Anim Ecol 68:172–185. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.1999.00273.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kindvall O, Ahlén I (1992) Geometrical factors and metapopulation dynamics of the bush cricket, Metrioptera bicolor Philippi (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae). Conserv Biol 6:520–529. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.1992.06040520.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kleinert H (1992) Entwicklung eines Biotopbewertungskonzeptes am Beispiel der Saltatoria (Orthoptera). Articulata Beiheft 1:1–117Google Scholar
  34. Kleukers RMJC, van Nieukerken EJ, Odé B, Willemse LPM, van Wingerden WKRE (2004) De sprinkhanen en krekels van Nederland (Orthoptera), 2nd edn. Nederlandse Fauna 1. Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, KNNV Uitgeverij & EIS-Nederland, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  35. Köhler G (1996) The ecological background of population vulnerability in Central European grasshoppers and bush-crickets: a brief review. In: Settle J, Margules CR, Poschold P, Henle K (eds) Species survival in fragmented landscapes. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 290–298Google Scholar
  36. Kruess A, Tscharntke T (2002) Grazing intensity and the diversity of grasshoppers, butterflies, and trap-nesting bees and wasps. Conserv Biol 16:1570–1580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maes D, Ghesquiere A, Logie M, Bonte D (2006) Habitat use and mobility of two threatened coastal dune insects: implications for conservation. J Insect Conserv 10:105–115. doi: 10.1007/s10841-006-6287-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Marini L, Fontana P, Battisti A, Gaston KJ (2009) Response of orthopteran diversity to abandonment of semi-natural meadows. Agric Ecosyst Environ 132:232–236. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2009.04.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marshall JA, Haes ECM (1988) Grasshoppers and allied insects of Great Britain and Ireland. Harley, ColchesterGoogle Scholar
  40. Müller-Temme E (1986) Niederschläge in raum-zeitlicher Verteilung. Geographisch-landeskundlicher Atlas II, Lieferung 6. Geographische Kommission für Westfalen, MünsterGoogle Scholar
  41. Müller-Wille W (1981) Westfalen. Landschaftliche Ordnung und Bindung eines Landes, 2nd edn. Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, MünsterGoogle Scholar
  42. MURL NRW (Minister für Umwelt, Raumordnung und Landwirtschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen) (ed) (1989) Klima-Atlas von Nordrhein-Westfalen. Selbstverlag, DüsseldorfGoogle Scholar
  43. Polus E, Vandewoestijne S, Choutt J, Baguette M (2007) Tracking the effects of one century of habitat loss and fragmentation on calcareous grassland butterfly communities. Biodivers Conserv 16:3423–3436. doi: 10.1007/s10531-006-9008-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poniatowski D, Fartmann T (2007) Kleinräumig heterogen strukturierte Hochheiden in mikroklimatisch günstiger Lage—Lebensräume der Kurzflügeligen Beißschrecke (Metrioptera brachyptera) im Quellgebiet der Diemel (Südwestfalen/Nordhessen). Articulata 22:153–171Google Scholar
  45. Poniatowski D, Fartmann T (2008) The classification of insect communities: Lessons from Orthoptera assemblages of semi-dry calcareous grasslands in central Germany. Eur J Entomol 105:659–671Google Scholar
  46. Reinhardt K, Köhler G (2002) Bedeutung aktueller Befunde der Verhaltensökologie für den Artenschutz. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Heuschrecken. Natursch Landschaftspl 34:171–180Google Scholar
  47. Reinhardt K, Köhler G, Maas S, Detzel P (2005) Low dispersal ability and habitat specificity promote ectinctions in rare but not in widespread species: the Orthoptera of Germany. Ecography 28:593–602. doi: 10.1111/j.2005.0906-7590.04285.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Röber H (1951) Die Dermapteren und Orthopteren Westfalens in ökologischer Betrachtung. Abh Landesmus Naturkunde Münster 14:1–60Google Scholar
  49. Sala OE, Chapin FS, Armesto JJ, Berlow E, Bloomfield J, Dirzo R, Huber-Sanwald E, Huenneke LF, Jackson RB, Kinzig A, Leemans R, Lodge DM, Mooney HA, Oesterheld M, Poff NL, Sykes MT, Walker BH, Walker M, Wall DH (2000) Biodiversity—global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774. doi: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1770 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sänger K (1977) Über die Beziehungen zwischen Heuschrecken (Orthoptera: Saltatoria) und der Raumstruktur ihrer Habitate. Zool Jb Syst 104:433–488Google Scholar
  51. Schirmel J, Blindow I, Fartmann T (2010) The importance of habitat mosaics for Orthoptera (Caelifera and Ensifera) in dry heathlands. Eur J Entomol 107:129–132Google Scholar
  52. Schouten MA, Verweij PA, Barendregt A, Kleukers RJM, de Ruiter PC (2007) Nested assemblages of Orthoptera species in the Netherlands: the importance of habitat features and life-history traits. J Biogeogr 34:1938–1946. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01742.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stamps JA, Buechner M, Krishnan VV (1987) The effect of edge permeability and habitat geometry on emigration from patches of habitat. Am Nat 129:533–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Theuerkauf J, Rouys S (2006) Do Orthoptera need human land use in Central Europe? The role of habitat patch size and linear corridors in the Bialowieza Forest, Poland. Biodiv Conserv 15:1497–1508. doi: 10.1007/s10531-005-2356-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thomas JA, Simcox DJ, Wardlaw JC, Elmes GW, Hochberg ME, Clarke RT (1998) Effects of latitude, altitude and climate on the habitat and conservation of the endangered butterfly Maculinea arion and its Myrmica ant hosts. J Insect Conserv 2:39–46. doi: 10.1023/A:1009640706218 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thomas JA, Bourn NAD, Clarke RT, Stewart KE, Simcox DJ, Pearman GS, Curtis R, Goodger B (2001) The quality and isolation of habitat patches both determine where butterflies persist in fragmented landscapes. Proc R Soc London Ser B 268:1791–1796. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1693 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tonne F (1954) Besser bauen mit Besonnungs- und Tageslicht-Planung. Hofmann, SchorndorfGoogle Scholar
  58. WallisDeVries MF (2004) A quantitative conservation approach for the endangered butterfly Maculinea alcon. Conserv Biol 18:489–499. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00336.x Google Scholar
  59. Wettstein W, Schmid B (1999) Conservation of arthropod diversity in montane wetlands: effect of altitude, habitat quality and habitat fragmentation on butterflies and grasshoppers. J Appl Ecol 36:363–373. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00404.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Willott SJ, Hassall M (1998) Life-history responses of British grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae) to temperature change. Funct Ecol 12:232–241. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00180.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Ecology, Institute of Landscape EcologyUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations