Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (1): 117-125, 2011 | 10.14411/eje.2011.015

The dispersal ability of wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) in a wooded landscape

Niels C. BROUWERS1, Adrian C. NEWTON2, Sallie BAILEY3
1 State Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health, School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, 6150, Western Australia; e-mail: n.brouwers@murdoch.edu.au; ncbrouwers@hotmail.com
2 School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB, UK
3 Corporate and Forestry Support, Forestry Commission, Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 7AT, UK

Information on the dispersal ability of flightless insect species associated with woodlands is severely lacking. Therefore, a study was conducted examining the dispersal ability of wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) juveniles (nymphs) and adults in a wooded landscape on the Isle of Wight, UK, to further our understanding of the ecology and management of this and other flightless insects. A series of experiments were conducted where nymphs and adults were released and observed at a range of spatial-temporal scales within different habitat environments. The results of this investigation indicated no difference in the dispersal ability of wood cricket nymphs and adults. However, adult females moved less than adult males. Adult males were found to spread twice as fast as females, and males were found capable of traversing up to 55 m away from woodland habitat through semi-natural and grazed grassland. Additionally, rates of population spread of both wood cricket nymphs and adults (males and females) were found to be accurately described by the inverse-power function, predicting only few individuals dispersing over time. Together this indicates that overall colonization success and rate of population spread, being female dependent, is likely to be low for this species. Wood crickets were found to live in and able to move along mature woodland edges directly bordering agricultural land. This indicates that conservation initiatives focusing on creating woodland corridors and developing woodland habitat networks have the potential to facilitate the spread and population viability of wood crickets, if the woodland edges are given enough time to develop. However, long-term monitoring is needed to evaluate the overall effectiveness of such approaches.

Keywords: Gryllidae, Nemobius sylvestris, dispersal ability, woodland, forest, population spread, landscape, habitat network

Received: August 31, 2010; Accepted: October 26, 2010; Published: January 3, 2011


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