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Europe’s beetle species plummet as trees disappear

06 / 03 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

Saproxylic beetles live in and eat dead and decaying wood, and play important ecological roles in nutrient recycling and pollination, and as an important food source for birds and other wildlife. But a new report finds many of Europe’s saproxylic beetles are in trouble, with nearly a fifth threatened with extinction. The report was produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) finds nearly 18 percent of saproxylic beetles are threatened with extinction in Europe. That number goes up to almost 22 percent for EU countries. The number of threatened beetle species has increased significantly since the IUCN’s last evaluation in 2010, which found 11 percent were threatened in Europe and 14 percent were threatened in the EU. The IUCN’s Red List includes three threatened categories: Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered. This latter category is the last rung before regional extinction, and the 2018 report shows it had proportionally the most growth since 2010. Of Europe’s threatened species, the 2018 report finds five are critically endangered, up from two in 2010. Of these five, four are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. In the EU, the IUCN lists seven species as critically endangered, up from three in 2010. Iphthiminus italicus adults are active at night and live under thick, dead bark, and in dead branches and hollow trunks of broadleaf trees. It has a small range and is threatened by large-scale tree plantations and an increasing frequency of wildfires. This species is listed…

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