Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 183–195 | Cite as

Tiny fragments of acidophilous steppic grasslands serve as yet unknown habitats of endangered aeolian sand specialists among Aculeata (Hymenoptera)

  • Petr HenebergEmail author
  • Petr Bogusch
  • Milan Řezáč
Original Paper


Aeolian sand specialists are traditionally recognized among the most threatened species of central European landscapes due to habitat loss. In the present study, we examined the diversity of bees and wasps, and the cover and composition of vegetation in 17 neglected small fragments of Artemisio campestrisCorynephoretum canescentis acidophilous grasslands, which developed on weathered granodiorite rocks in the Czech Republic. The size of the examined fragments ranged from 128 to 14,000 m2, with a total area of only 5.7 ha. At the examined sites, we identified species-rich assemblages of endangered aculeate hymenopterans that were previously thought to be specialized on aeolian sands. We found that despite the small area and relative isolation of the examined sites, they hosted 26 Red-Listed species of bees and wasps and a species new to Bohemia (Megachile pilicrus), respectively. The examined habitats also supported the presence of 18 Red-Listed receding field weeds and steppic grassland specialists. The analyzed bee and wasp assemblages were characterized by their low dominance (1-Simpson index = 0.091) and high alpha diversity (Fisher’s alpha = 48.9). Although the examined fragments of acidophilous steppic grasslands differed in size by two orders of magnitude, the total abundance and species richness of the bees and wasps were not correlated with the size of the fragments. This suggests the long-term stability despite the minute size of some of the residual fragments. Land protection and active management are proposed to conserve these habitats for future generations.


Drift sands Dry acidic grasslands Fragment size Hay meadows Narrow-leaved steppic grasslands Weathered rock outcrops 



We thank Pavla Trachtová (Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic) for the data on the area of fragments of narrow-leaved dry grasslands and short-grass steppic grasslands in the Czech Republic, and Jiří Malíček and Martin Kysela (both Bělozářka, z.s.) for helping us with the study design and funding administration. We thank Jakub Straka for the revision of Nomada castellana. We also thank the landlords for allowing us to access the study sites. This study was supported by the project 121750 from the ČSOP program Ochrana biodiverzity 2017, by the Project 17-10976S from the Czech Science Foundation, and by the Specific Research Projects 2105/2017 and 2114/2018 from University of Hradec Králové.

Supplementary material

10531_2018_1646_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 57 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Third Faculty of MedicineCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Hradec KrálovéHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  3. 3.Crop Research InstitutePragueCzech Republic

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