Dynamics of Reintroduced Populations of Oedipoda caerulescens (Orthoptera, Acrididae) over 21 Years

Baur, Bruno and Thommen, G. H. and Coray, Armin. (2017) Dynamics of Reintroduced Populations of Oedipoda caerulescens (Orthoptera, Acrididae) over 21 Years. Journal of Insect Science, 17 (1). p. 10.

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Conservation programs increasingly involve the reintroduction of animals which otherwise would not recolonize restored habitats. We assessed the long-term success of a project in which the Blue-winged grasshopper, Oedipoda caerulescens (L., 1758), was reintroduced to a nature reserve in Northwestern Switzerland, an alluvial gravel area where the species went extinct in the 1960s. In summer 1995, we released 110 individuals (50 females and 60 males) and 204 individuals (101 females and 103 males) into two restored gravel patches with sparse vegetation. We used a transect count technique to assess the population size of O. caerulescens in the years 1995–2004 and 2015–2016 and recorded the area occupied by the species. At both release sites, the populations persisted and increased significantly in size. Individuals that followed a newly created corridor established four new subpopulations. Seven years after reintroduction, O. caerulescens had reached a high abundance around the release sites and in the four colonized patches, indicating a successful project. At the same time, the dispersal corridor became increasingly overgrown by dense vegetation. Surveys 20 and 21 yr after introduction showed that the abundance of the Blue-winged grasshopper had strongly declined in the established subpopulations and moderately in the original release sites, owing to natural succession of the habitat and lack of disturbances, which reduced the area suitable for the species by 59%. Our study shows that reintroductions are unlikely to succeed without integration of long-term habitat management (in the present case maintenance of open ground).
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Baur, Bruno and Coray, Armin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Oct 2017 10:18
Deposited On:11 Oct 2017 14:59

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