Occurrence of the hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita), in Sweden.

Kjell Antonsson, Jonas Hedin, Niklas Jansson, Sven Nilsson, Thomas Ranius

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We have compiled data on the occurrence of a threatened beetle, Osmoderma eremita, in Sweden. The species inhabits tree hollows with wood mould. The data were compiled from field surveys conducted in 1993-2003, using pitfall traps at 401 localities and using wood mould sampling at 104 localities. We have also gone through published data and all larger Swedish museums and registered old records. O. eremita was recorded at about 30% of the field surveys. In Sweden, oak is by far the most important host tree species, but the beetle has also been found in other deciduous trees, such as beech, alder, ash and lime. Currently, 270 localities with Osmoderma eremita, defined as records of living adults, larvae, fragments of adult body parts, or excrements situated at least 1 km from each other, are known in Sweden. 129 of these localities are records of live beetles or larvae made after 1990. The species is found in the southern third of Sweden only, and there are more localities in the eastern part compared to the western. The great majority of the localities have been discovered during the last ten years. At some of the localities only excrements or fragments have been recorded, and the species might actually be extinct at some of these localities. Due to low search intensity historically, it is impossible to use these data to discover any changes in the distribution or occurrence over time. Because old, hollow oaks were much more frequent 200 years ago, we suggest that the species has decreased severely in Sweden since that time. Today, old oaks are rarely cut down but instead lack of grazing cattle is a threat because many sites regrow with dense tree stands which outcompete the old hollow trees. Many local extinctions could also be expected during the next few decades, because many of the localities have too few hollow trees and are too isolated. At many localities, lack of younger trees which can take over the role as host trees when the present trees die will also be a problem in the future.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)225-240
JournalEntomologisk tidskrift
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology

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