Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (4): 553-559, 2012 | 10.14411/eje.2012.069

Vertical stratification and microhabitat selection by the Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in open-grown, veteran oaks

Jan ALBERT1, Michal PLATEK2,3, Lukas CIZEK2,3
1 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, CZ-165 21 Praha 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic; e-mail: janalbert@seznam.cz
2 Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 31, CZ-370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; e-mail: platasplatas@seznam.cz
3 Biology Centre ASCR, Institute of Entomology, Branisovska 31, CZ-370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; e-mail: cizek@entu.cas.cz

The great capricorn beetle or Cerambyx longicorn (Cerambyx cerdo, Linnaeus, 1758) is an internationally protected umbrella species representing the highly diverse and endangered fauna associated with senescent oaks. For the conservation and monitoring of populations of C. cerdo it is important to have a good knowledge of its microhabitat requirements. We investigated determinants and patterns of C. cerdo distribution within individual old, open-grown oaks. Trees inhabited by this species were climbed, and the number of exit holes and environmental variables recorded at two sites in the Czech Republic. Distribution of exit holes in relation to height above the ground, trunk shading by branches, orientation in terms of the four cardinal directions, diameter, surface and volume of inhabited tree parts were investigated. This study revealed that the number of exit holes in the trunks of large open-grown oaks was positively associated with the diameter of the trunk and openness and negatively with height above the ground, and the effects of diameter and openness changed with height. The number of exit holes in the surface of a trunk was also associated with the cardinal orientation of the surface. Approximately half of both C. cerdo populations studied developed less than 4 m and approximately a third less than 2 m above the ground. This indicates that most C. cerdo develop near the ground. Active management that prevents canopy closure is thus crucial for the survival of C. cerdo and searching for exit holes is an effective method of detecting sites inhabited by this species.

Keywords: Cerambycidae, Cerambyx cerdo, dead wood, NATURA 2000, Quercus, saproxylic, longhorned beetle, xylophagous, woodland

Received: October 5, 2011; Accepted: June 6, 2012; Published: October 5, 2012

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