Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 501–510 | Cite as

Conservation management of coastal dunes for Orthoptera has to consider oviposition and nymphal preferences

  • Yvonne Wünsch
  • Jens Schirmel
  • Thomas Fartmann


Dune and heathland ecosystems can harbour a multitude of specialized insect species. To assess the habitat quality of these ecosystems, the presence of specialized insect species may act as a useful indicator. The Orthoptera species Myrmeleotettix maculatus, Decticus verrucivorus, and Platycleis albopunctata present such umbrella species. Because knowledge of oviposition and nymphal habitats of these species is insufficient, we conducted a combined study consisting of an outdoor oviposition experiment and a field survey analyzing nymphal habitat preferences during summer 2009 on the Baltic island of Hiddensee, Germany. The oviposition experiment showed, that all three species mostly avoid oviposition under lichens (= mature grey dunes). M. maculatus preferred bare ground for oviposition, D. verrucivorus favoured both bare ground and mosses, and P. albopunctata laid most eggs into mosses. Young nymphs of both M. maculatus and P. albopunctata preferred initial grey dunes with a high proportion of bare ground and moss-rich grey dunes. Old nymphs were related to moss-rich and lichen-rich grey dunes with more dense vegetation. Based on our results, early seral stages of dune succession with bare ground and mosses as keystone structures are crucial for the conservation of the three studied umbrella species. Because old nymphs and adults additionally require more dense grey dune vegetation or adjacent heath stands, practical dune and heathland management measures should aim to maintain a mosaic-like pattern of different grey dune and dwarf-shrub vegetation stands.


Caelifera Ensifera Grasshopper Habitat requirement Heathland 



The authors thank the national park “Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft” for the permission to conduct the study in the protected area. We are grateful to Wolfgang Zenke (Biological Station Hiddensee) for providing assistance in the construction and the realization of the oviposition experiment. Sascha Buchholz and two anonymous reviewers gave helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The study was financially supported by the Bauer-Hollmann-Stiftung and was part of the research project “Biodiversity, Ecology and Management of Coastal Habitats of the Baltic Sea”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yvonne Wünsch
    • 1
  • Jens Schirmel
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas Fartmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Landscape Ecology, Department of Community EcologyUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Biological Station of HiddenseeUniversity of GreifswaldIsle of HiddenseeGermany
  3. 3.Ecosystem Analysis, Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany

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