Swiss ornithological station, 6204 Sempach

Grasshoppers and crickets benefit from connected ecological compensation areas

The quality and connectivity of ecological compensation areas (ECA) may be improved by habitat connectivity projects. The effects of such a project on the distribution of field cricket (Gryllus campestris) and large gold grasshopper (Chrysochraon dispar) were studied in the Plain of Wauwil (canton of Lucerne). The presence of both species, as well as eight habitat variables were mapped. The connectivity of ECAs was vital for both species, especially links to ECAs where the species had already settled. Field crickets favoured short vegetation and meadows farmed at a medium or low intensity; they avoided damp sites with a dense sward of tall plants. Moreover, the probability of encountering field crickets increased with field size. For the large gold grasshopper it was important that the vegetation was not mown on part of the area and remained undisturbed over winter. We show that insects with a restricted mobility like the field cricket and the large gold grasshopper profit from habitat connectivity projects. Depending on the species’ requirements, however, specific factors have to be considered.

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