Laboratory of Woodland Ecology
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The Hermit Beetle (Osmoderma barnabita)
 

It is a scarab beetle associated with hollow trees. It is considered as endangered in the Europe and protected within the Natura 2000 network (‘Habitats Directive’). It is recognized as critically endangered in the Czech Republic according to the national red-list. The hermit beetle is considered an umbrella species for saproxylic fauna, its presence in trees or in stands is connected with rich communities of saproxylic beetles. Larvae of the beetle develop in wood mould of standing hollow trees. The beetle has low dispersal abilities due to its rather sedentary life, the imagos rarely leave their natal hollow. Due to the low dispersal, population dynamics in the occupied stands exhibit the patterns of meta-population dynamics. All over the Europe, the distribution of the hermit beetle is very localised, the populations are usually not connected together and declining. Today, the beetle occurs predominantly in man made habitats, such as pollard trees, traditional fruit orchards, parks, tree alleys along roads or watercourses, and pasture woodlands, where there is enough hollow trees. It can nearly never be found in unmanaged forests left for spontaneous development as these usually do not offer suitable trees the beetle could exploit. However, even in the habitats where still present, the beetle is threatened by the decline in number of available hollow trees. This is caused by deliberate removal of old hollow trees or by insufficient arboricultural care, for instance, abandonment of pollarding or other pruning techniques that kept old trees alive and standing.

 
Related papers

Osmoderma barnabita Metodika Péče [Czech]

Osmoderma barnabita - Distribution Map