Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Twenty new species of insect discovered in the heart of Europe – In the Czech Republic


New species found in the Sumava mountains
March 2012. 15 - 20 new species of insects have been discovered in Central Europe. Josef Rusek, a scientist, from the Czech Academy of Sciences has discovered the new species of insects in the Sumava mountains. Their exact number will be determined in a detailed scientific description.

"We are used to hear similar news from Amazonia or from the tropical rainforests of South-East Asia. The latest discovery shows that also in Europe there is still a lot to find," commented Dalibor Dostal, the director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation.
The discovery of new species is the result of a ten-year-long research in the richest part of the Sumava mountains - in the old growth mountain spruce forests. The undescribed species belong to two groups of soi livingl insect: Springtails and Proturans.
All the newly found species appear to be endemic to the Sumava mountains, in the cold and wet mountain forests where they have survived since the ice ages.
Isolated during Ice Age
"During last two or three ice ages these insects retreated from a glacier from the Alps to the Danube valley. After the climate warmed, some species returned to the Alps, the others moved to the Sumava mountains where they found suitable conditions in the mountain spruce forests. There they gradually developed into new species which have survived since the ice ages" said Josef Rusek.
Unique species
These unique species have survived as a result of the unique habitat of the Sumava mountain spruce groves. There are no other similar forests anywhere in Central Europe according to scientists. "The ecosystem of the Sumava mountains is really unique. The state institutions, as well as non-governmental conservation organisations should therefore push for improved protection," added Dalibor Dostal.
The European Wildlife conservation organisation has created a key project of the European Centre of Biodiversity in the Sumava mountains. The project will hopefully lead to the return of some species which are extinct in these sites. The project aims to protect the unique forests as well as the grasslands that are so rich in biodiversity.

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