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Osmoderma eremita

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA INSECTA COLEOPTERA CETONIIDAE

Scientific Name: Osmoderma eremita
Species Authority: (Scopoli, 1763)
Common Name(s):
English Hermit Beetle
Synonym(s):
Osmoderma coriarius (De Geer, 1774)
Osmoderma italica Sparacio 2000
Scarabaeus eremita Scopoli, 1763
Taxonomic Notes:

The Osmoderma species complex is here treated as five separate species (barnabita, eremita, cristinae, italica and lassallei), following Audisio et al. (2007, 2008). Distribution limits of these different forms remain poorly resolved, but for the purpose of these assessments we follow the approximate distribution limits outlined in Audisio et al. (2007, 2008). There is ongoing debate as to whether or not these forms constitute valid species, but for the purpose of this assessment we are assessing each form separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-05
Assessor(s): Nieto, A., Mannerkoski, I., Putchkov, A., Tykarski, P., Mason, F., Dodelin, B. & Tezcan, S.
Reviewer(s): Alexander, K. & Nieto, A.
Justification:

European regional assessment: listed as Near Threatened because it is entirely dependent upon veteran trees as it inhabits decaying heartwood. This is a very specific habitat type which is already highly fragmented and subject to continuing significant decline. Although this species has a relatively wide distribution, its Area of Occupancy is small as it is only found in veteran trees which are scattered across the landscape at very low densities. The Area of Occupancy of this species has not been quantified, but it may not be much greater than 2,000 km². The rate of loss of veteran trees has not been quantified, but it is significant, and it may potentially exceed 20% in the next ten years (= three generations). Moreover, there is very little regeneration of suitable habitat across the species' range. Once the existing veteran trees have died, there will be no replacements in many areas. Even if efforts are made now to re-plant appropriate tree species, there may still be a 'gap' during which time there would be very little suitable habitat available. Action is urgently needed to protect and appropriately manage existing veteran trees, as well as to ensure that suitable habitat continues to be available in future.

Some experts considered that an assessment of Data Deficient on the grounds of taxonomic uncertainty would be a more appropriate assessment for this taxon (and for other taxa within the Osmoderma eremita species-complex).


EU 27 regional assessment:  listed as Near Threatened because it is entirely dependent upon veteran trees as it inhabits decaying heartwood. This is a very specific habitat type which is already highly fragmented and subject to continuing significant decline. Although this species has a relatively wide distribution, its Area of Occupancy is small as it is only found in veteran trees which are scattered across the landscape at very low densities. The Area of Occupancy of this species has not been quantified, but it may not be much greater than 2,000 km². The rate of loss of veteran trees has not been quantified, but it is significant, and it may potentially exceed 20% in the next ten years (= three generations). Moreover, there is very little regeneration of suitable habitat across the species' range. Once the existing veteran trees have died, there will be no replacements in many areas. Even if efforts are made now to re-plant appropriate tree species, there may still be a 'gap' during which time there would be very little suitable habitat available. Action is urgently needed to protect and appropriately manage existing veteran trees, as well as to ensure that suitable habitat continues to be available in future.

Some experts considered that an assessment of Data Deficient on the grounds of taxonomic uncertainty would be a more appropriate assessment for this taxon (and for other taxa within the Osmoderma eremita species-complex).

History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in western Europe, from southern Sweden to northern Spain, excluding the British Isles (Audisio et al. 2007). In Denmark the species is registered from ten localities in 2008, all from southern and eastern part of the country. In France the species is reported from more than 300 localities and it is widespread distributed in the country (Tauzin 2000). According to Ranius et al. (2005) in Europe there are 2,142 localities covering 33 countries.
Countries:
Native:
Austria; Belgium; Denmark; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Latvia; Liechtenstein; Netherlands; Norway; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Spain there are a small number of known populations scattered across the far northern mountainous areas: there was a single recent breeding site identified in Cantabria (Alexander 2005) but at least one other is also now known (K.N.A. Alexander, pers. comm.); otherwise only an old unlocalised record. Also known in Spain from a few sites in Navarra (San Martin et al. 2001) and the Basque Country. The species is common but vulnerable to loss of habitat in Poland. In Sweden it is relatively widespread in the south; in France it is widespread in the south but in the north is very localised; in Italy is rare; and in Finland there is a very small population. Overall the species is considered to be decreasing through loss of old trees suitable as breeding sites.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is an obligate saproxylic species. It develops in accumulations of wood mould in the base of hollow living trees, usually trunks and main boughs with large cavities containing large volumes of wood mould, primarily derived from natural fungal decay of the dead heartwood (red or white rot). Larvae normally take two years to develop, longer where conditions are not optimal. The situation of the occupied hollow trees may vary across its European range, with open-grown trees important in the cooler and damper west, but with shading more important under more continental conditions. Suitable trees occur in a wide variety of situations - old wood pastures, historic parklands, hedgerow trees, old avenues, orchards, etc, all places where trees have been retained into maturity and old age, for a variety of reasons (K.N.A. Alexander pers. comm. 2009).

Oak Quercus spp. is the most important tree for O. eremita, followed by lime trees Tilia spp., willows Salix spp., beech Fagus sylvatica and fruit trees Prunus spp., Pyrus spp, and Malus spp. In many regions, ash Fraxinus spp., elm Ulmus spp., chestnut Castanea sativa, aspen and poplars Populus spp., birch Betula spp. and maple Acer platanoides are also important host trees. Mulberry trees Morus spp., common alder Alnus glutinosa, plane trees Platanus spp., walnut trees Juglans regia and hornbeam Carpinus betulus are other tree species which the beetle has been found developing in. Reports from conifer trees are rare (Ranius et al. 2005). Basically the tree species is not important; but what is important is that the trees have survived into old age and been colonised by non-pathogenic heartwood decay fungi; networks of trees are required in order to maintain population viability, to avoid the insidious effects of fragmentation and isolation.


Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Saproxylic Coleoptera tend to be popular with beetle collectors although trade is rarely an issue, the only exceptions being a few larger species of more dramatic form or colour.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is restricted to veteran trees, so any activities which destroy these trees (e.g. cutting down avenues) is strongly detrimental to the species. The main overall threat is likely to be degradation or loss of habitat quality, involving structural changes in the tree populations arising from changing land use – affecting age structures and tree density. Exploitation from forestry is often a key immediate issue, but equally damaging can be long-term changes towards canopy closure and loss of ancient trees as a result of non- or minimum-intervention management systems which all too often exclude grazing by large herbivores. Fragmentation and increasing isolation of beetle populations are also key factors. Encroachment of open forest and park habitats by development is also a threat to this species (P.F. Thomsen pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annex II and IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is in the Red Lists of many European states, generally as Endangered, e.g. in Denmark. This species is present in several protected areas (e.g. in France) but wider countryside conservation measures are essential. Action is urgently needed to protect and appropriately manage existing veteran trees, as well as to ensure that suitable habitat continues to be available in future.

Citation: Nieto, A., Mannerkoski, I., Putchkov, A., Tykarski, P., Mason, F., Dodelin, B. & Tezcan, S. 2010. Osmoderma eremita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 September 2014.
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