Endangered terrestrial isopods in Flanders?

Endangered terrestrial isopods in Flanders?

Invertebrates make up the largest part of our biodiversity. Yet you have to look for them with a magnifying glass in nature management and policy. Especially soil organisms are often overlooked. Yet they make a necessary contribution to a healthy soil and thus to a varied biodiversity. For example, together with earthworms and millipedes, terrestrial isopods are particularly important for the decomposition of litter. In this way, they recycle many nutrients from the soil.

How these groups of animals fare, we hardly know. To remedy this, we determined the Red List status of the 34 species of terrestrial isopods occurring in Flanders. We did this based on historical and recently collected data. For the recent data we could rely on citizen scientists of Spinicornis.

One species was found to be regionally extinct. Ten other species are more or less threatened. The most threatened species are found in old forests, coastal biotopes, along clean watercourses and in old farms and stables. Initiatives for the latter offer, in certain cases, the opportunity to include the value of cultural heritage and varied landscapes and their typical biodiversity in nature management plans.

Pallieter De Smedt, Pepijn Boeraeve, Gert Arijs, Stijn Segers, Jorg Lambrechts & Dirk Maes

Read: De Smedt, P., Boeraeve, P., Arijs, G., Segers, S., Lambrechts, J., Maes, D., 2022. A Red List of terrestrial isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea) in Flanders (northern Belgium) and its implications for conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation (in druk). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-022-00390-7


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