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Uphill distributional shift of an endangered habitat specialist

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The rove beetle Emus hirtus (Linnaeus, 1758) is an endangered habitat specialist, which occurs in long-term cattle pastures where it forages on cattle dung. We studied this species’ historical and recent altitudinal distribution and habitat requirements in the centre of its distributional range in the Czech Republic. The species had experienced a sharp decline and was for nearly 20 years considered as regionally extinct within the Czech Republic. Nowadays, Emus hirtus is present and occurs in relatively high population densities. However, the beetle has shown an uphill shift and is distributed at significantly higher altitudes in sun-exposed localities in foothills and mountains compared to its historical distribution in the lowlands. Emus hirtus is one of many organisms that seem to indicate the openness of the pastured woodland landscape in the past. The main reason for its uphill shift could be habitat loss in densely populated and intensively managed lowlands and restoration of grazing at higher elevations due to agricultural subsidies.

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We would like to thank to J. Boháč and P. Kočárek for providing the literature, P. Boža, B. Mocek, P. Moravec, M. Ouda and I. Boščík for kindly providing the data, M. Mantič, V. Hula, M. Boukal, J. Šuhaj, K. N. A. Alexander, A. Smetana for discussion, J. Ferrier for correcting the English, J. Hortal and T. Shreeve for valuable suggestions. The comments of two anonymous referees greatly helped to improve the manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from the CZ Ministry of Environment, No. MSM 6293359101.

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Correspondence to Jakub Horák.



See Table 1.

Table 1 Check-list of study localities (in alphabetical order) of Emus hirtus in the Czech Republic

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Horák, J., Chobot, K., Gabriš, R. et al. Uphill distributional shift of an endangered habitat specialist. J Insect Conserv 15, 743–746 (2011).

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