Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 801–813 | Cite as

Using odour traps for population monitoring and dispersal analysis of the threatened saproxylic beetles Osmoderma eremita and Elater ferrugineus in central Italy

  • Agnese ZauliEmail author
  • Stefano Chiari
  • Erik Hedenström
  • Glenn P. Svensson
  • Giuseppe M. Carpaneto


Pheromone-based monitoring could be a very efficient method to assess the conservation status of rare and elusive insect species, but there are still few studies for which pheromone traps have been used to obtain information on presence, abundance, phenology and movements of such insects. We performed a mark-recapture study of two threatened saproxylic beetles, Osmoderma eremita (Scarabaeidae) and its predator Elater ferrugineus (Elateridae), in two beech forests of central Italy using pheromone baited window traps and unbaited pitfall traps. Two lures were used: (1) the male-produced sex pheromone of O. eremita (racemic γ-decalactone) to attract females of both species, and (2) the female-produced sex pheromone of E. ferrugineus (7-methyloctyl (Z)-4-decenoate), to attract conspecific males. In total, 13 O. eremita and 1,247 E. ferrugineus individuals were trapped. For E. ferrugineus, males were detected earlier than females, and 7-methyloctyl (Z)-4-decenoate was much more efficient lure compared to racemic γ-decalactone in detecting its presence. The population size at the two sites were estimated to 520 and 1,369 individuals, respectively. Our model suggests a sampling effort of ten traps checked for 3 days being sufficient to detect the presence of E. ferrugineus at a given site. The distribution of dispersal distances for the predator was best described by the negative exponential function with 1 % of the individuals dispersing farther than 1,600 m from their natal site. In contrast to studies on these beetles in Northern Europe, the activity pattern of the two beetle species was not influenced by variation in temperature during the season.


Conservation Kairomone Mark-recapture Pheromone Predator–Prey Temperature 



We sincerely thank Lara Redolfi De Zan, Giovanni Luca Scardaci, Francesca Bellotti, Emanuela Maurizi, Chiara Totta, Filippo Bianchi, Giacomo Cavalieri D’Oro, Fabio Turchetti, Sergio Muratore for field assistance. We are grateful to the management authorities of the two SCI investigated, “Boschi mesofili di Allumiere” (Università Agraria di Allumiere) and “Monte Fogliano e Monte Venere” (Riserva Naturale Regionale Lago di Vico), for authorizations and facilities. We also thank Fredrik Andersson for providing the synthetic 7-methyloctyl (Z)-4-decenoate used in this work. The work of SC is supported by the VABAS project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnese Zauli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefano Chiari
    • 2
    • 3
  • Erik Hedenström
    • 4
  • Glenn P. Svensson
    • 5
  • Giuseppe M. Carpaneto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ScienceRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Biotechnologies ‘Charles Darwin’Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversità Forestale ‘Bosco Fontana’ di Verona (CNBFVR)MarmiroloItaly
  4. 4.Eco-Chemistry, Department of Chemical EngineeringMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden
  5. 5.Department of BiologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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