Eur. J. Entomol. 107 (1): 81-88, 2010 | 10.14411/eje.2010.011

Habitat preferences influencing populations, distribution and conservation of the endangered saproxylic beetle Cucujus cinnaberinus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) at the landscape level

Jakub HORÁK1,2, Eva VÁVROVÁ1, Karel CHOBOT3
1 Department of Biodiversity Indicators, Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening, Květnové náměstí 391, CZ-252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic; e-mail:
2 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Kamýcká 1176, CZ-165 21 Prague 6, Czech Republic
3 Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic, Nuselská 39, CZ-140 00 Prague 4, Czech Republic

Cucujus cinnaberinus (Scopoli, 1763) is a saproxylic beetle listed in the IUCN Red List and the European Habitats Directive. Although the species is highly protected and often red-listed little is known about its ecological requirements and status of its populations. Therefore, our main aims were to review its current and historical distributions and status of C. cinnaberinus populations in Europe and to determine its recent habitat preferences at the landscape level in the Czech Republic, where the increasing number of records over the last few years indicates a possible increase in abundance of this beetle. Cucujus cinnaberinus is closely associated with soft-wood and broad leaved trees and is able to colonize man-made habitats from persisting local populations if there is a sufficient supply of suitable dead wood. This beetle is not restricted to old-growth forests or even relict woodland, as previously reported, but currently predominantly inhabits abandoned planted stands of trees like lignicultures or avenues, which have an open canopy. Colonization of stands dominated by hybrid poplars probably resulted in the recent increase in the number of records of this species in the central European countries. However, this could present problems for the protection of this species in future, because the trees in these stands are gradually dying and are not being replaced. The decline and extinction of C. cinnaberinus on the northern and southern edges of its distribution was probably caused by the absence of soft-wooded broadleaved trees in intensively managed forests and other more suitable habitats.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Cucujidae, Cucujus cinnaberinus, dead wood, fragmentation, Natura 2000, man-made habitats, conservation

Received: May 5, 2009; Accepted: September 24, 2009; Published: February 15, 2010

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