Radio-Tracking Suggests High Dispersal Ability of the Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo)


Dispersal ability is among the key factors affecting the survival of species in today’s fragmented landscapes. One of the most straightforward methods to provide direct measures of animal dispersal is telemetry. Despite its merits, this method has rarely been used for saproxylic beetles. In this study, we examined dispersal ability of the Great Capricorn beetle Cerambyx cerdo (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), an endangered veteran oak specialist. Using a radio-tracking approach, we tracked 26 individuals (15 males and 11 females) equipped with transmitters for 4 to 17 days (median 14). We observed no disturbance of movements or flight problems due to the transmitter. The daily probability of movement by an individual was 64% and the longest displacement in one day was 1498 m for males and 1080 m for females. For 15% of all individuals, the tracking distance covered was >2200 m. Our results indicate that C. cerdo individuals often move among trees over an area of several kilometres. Such findings contrast with previous results based on a mark-recapture study. The relatively high mobility of the species should be reflected in strategies aiming at its conservation.

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We would like to thank to D. Hauck, O. Konvička, F. Kostanjšek, F. Šálek, and L. Dembicky for assistance with radio-tracking, and S. Segar for manuscript review and language correction. We also thank anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. The study and its authors were supported by the Czech Science Foundation (17-21082S), the program of Regional Cooperation between the Regions and the Institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 2017 (R200961702) and by the institutional support (RVO: 60077344).

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Correspondence to Lukas Drag.

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Drag, L., Cizek, L. Radio-Tracking Suggests High Dispersal Ability of the Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo). J Insect Behav 31, 138–143 (2018).

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  • Population ecology
  • species protection
  • coleoptera
  • flight
  • oak woodlands