Pristine living conditions
Hainich National Park as a refugium for a wealth of wood boring beetles is of nationwide significance: Particularly valuable are the many rare and highly endangered species. There are also numerous beetles that in Thuringia can only be found in Hainich.
Beetles are one of the most species-rich animal groups of our planet. More than 350,000 species are known worldwide. In Germany, there are about 6,490 beetle species, and in Thuringia about 4,970. Hainich National Park is one of the most intensively scrutinised areas in Thuringia with regard to its beetle fauna.
Hainich's mosaic-like landscape with its deciduous forests of different ages has invaluable potential for a species-rich and pristine beetle fauna. Species favouring warmth and light can be found on the edges of the forest and in bordering open areas, whereas others live in the depth of the forest. Old trees of considerable size and species that are particular to this habitat are still rare in Hainich.
The so-called "primeval forest relict species" have close links to unspoilt natural forests, especially to old trees. Amongst the saproxylic beetles (i.e. those that are dependant on dead or decaying wood or on organisms that are themselves dependant on deadwood) found in the national park, there are four relict species: Synchita separanda, Anitys rubens, Aesalus scarabaeoides and Mycetochara flavipes.
Find more information in the leaflet "Wood boring beetles in Hainich National Park".
Primeval forest relict species can only exist in woodland with typical primeval-forest structures. The woodland needs to have been unexploited or very little exploited for a long time, and it needs to have been growing there for several centuries (tradition of habitat). They make high demands of the quality and quantity of deadwood. There are hardly any primeval-like forests left in Germany, hence these species are extremely rare and can be found almost exclusively in protected areas now, which underlines their importance for the preservation of biodiversity. Primeval forest relict species are indicator species: The larger the numbers of these sensitive species, the more subnatural the area. About 1,400 wood boring beetle species can be found in Germany, amongst them 115 primeval forest relict species. One of them is a cylindrical bark beetle: Synchita separanda. This beetle is about 5 mm long and was thought to be extinct in Germany until it was rediscovered in Hainich National Park.
Wood-boring beetle species live on or in wood for most of their lives. You find them on healthy or infected wood in all stages of decomposition, and even bracket fungi are used as a habitat. Some use the wood only when they are larvae, others when they are adult (imago); and some even remain loyal to this habitat for their whole life.
In addition to the wood itself, the species colonise primarily the bark, wood mould, bracket fungi, the bore holes channels and made by other tree insects, leaking sap and the nests of vertebrate species living in tree cavities.