Current distribution, microhabitat requirements and vulnerability of the Keeled Plump Bush-cricket (Isophya costata) at the north-western periphery of its range

Authors: Soňa Nuhlíčková 1    Ján Svetlík 2    Mária Šibíková 3    Ivan Jarolímek 3    Thomas Zuna-Kratky 4   
1 Comenius University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Bratislava, Slovakia    2 Vysoká pri Morave, Slovakia    3 Institute of Botany, Plant Science and Biodiversity Center, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia    4 Lange Gasse 58/20, Vienna, Austria   
Year: 2020
Section: Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Abstract No.: 1890
ISBN: 978-80-972360-6-9

Peripheral populations may be of particular concern with regards to conservation, especially when they suffer an elevated risk of extinction, possess low genetic variation, and could therefore be genetically distinct from core populations. In general, peripheral populations are typically characterized as being less abundant and are more vulnerable to habitat change at the edge of distribution. In this study, we investigated the current distribution and microhabitat requirements of the Keeled Plump Bushcricket (Isophya costata), which is a threatened species that lives at the northwestern edge of its range in the floodplain area of the river Morava alluvium (Austrian-Slovak trans-border area, Central Europe). To clarify the current distribution pattern in relation to microhabitat requirements, we employed a comprehensive combination of the microhabitat assessment and microrelief topography in the flood-plain area, which was supplemented by photo documentation created by a drone. We found that the current distribution of the bush-cricket is exclusively restricted to historical refugia, which are those represented by flood-plain meadows that have been preserved from the past to the present, therefore suggesting an isolated and relict population in the trans-border area. Regarding the microhabitat requirements of the species, we have discovered a connection between the distribution pattern of the threatened bush-cricket and micro-elevations linked to the occurrence of dicotyledonous broadleaf plants. We provide novel information about species ecology and assume that the detailed knowledge of microhabitat requirements is the first step in obtaining sufficient data for further systematic monitoring.

Our special thanks go to ÖGEF – Österreichische Gesellschaft für Entomofaunistik for the support of this study. We are grateful to F. Steiner (Viadonau) for kindly providing the Digital Elevation Model. Our special thanks are addressed to Zoltán Kenyeres and Iveta Škodová for their valuable comments and improvements.
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