Eur. J. Entomol. 113: 476-481, 2016 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2016.062

Assessment of the quality of the terrestrial habitat of the threatened dragonfly, Sympetrum depressiusculum (Odonata: Libellulidae)

Michal HYKEL1, Filip HARABIŠ2, Aleš DOLNÝ1
1 Department of Biology and Ecology / Institute of Environmental Technologies, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Chittussiho 10, CZ-710 00 Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic; e-mails: michalhykel@seznam.cz, ales.dolny@osu.cz
2 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, CZ-165 21 Prague 6, Czech Republic; e-mail: harabis.f@gmail.com

The majority of the conservation strategies for threatened dragonflies are designed to protect only their aquatic habitats. Sympetrum depressiusculum is a species threatened not only by the destruction of its aquatic habitats but also by its association with a specific terrestrial environment. In this study, we aimed to identify the key elements of the terrestrial environment of adult S. depressiusculum. We used generalized linear mixed models to determine habitat preferences of adults and the particular features of habitat patches, such as vegetation cover, vegetation structure and the availability of potential prey. Our results indicate that S. depressiusculum adults preferred mainly riparian vegetation but beyond ponds they utilized only certain terrestrial habitats (abandoned fields, meadows, forest clearings). Adults responded positively to habitat patches with a high cover of vegetation and suitable vegetation structure. Adult abundance was affected also by the distance of patches from the natal site. In an agricultural landscape, the availability of such habitat patches may be limited and could influence the abundance and distribution of this species. We suggest that conservation efforts for this species should not only focus on the larval environment but also include suitable surrounding terrestrial habitats. Effective management around natal sites should concentrate on maintaining a heterogeneous landscape, which is extensively managed (e.g. leaving several fields fallow, maintaining managed hay meadows).

Keywords: Odonata, Libellulidae, Sympetrum depressiusculum, aquatic insect, endangered species, habitat preference, habitat management, terrestrial environment, landscape heterogeneity

Received: March 31, 2016; Accepted: July 4, 2016; Published online: September 13, 2016

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