Published on 04 July 2019
A quarter of forest biodiversity is saproxylic, i.e. linked to dead wood and to micro-habitats in old trees. Coleopteran insects - in France represented by 2,663 species belonging to 74 families - dominate the saproxylic community alongside fungi and are often used as an indicator group in forestry. Monitoring this rich biodiversity is a real challenge, however: thirty years after the Council of Europe recommended that European governments prioritize the use of saproxylic organisms to assess the conservation status of forests, very few tools have been developed for this purpose.
From 2008 to 2016, information available on all the species of strictly or facultatively saproxylic coleopterans present in France was collected and stored in the FRISBEE database, with support from the French National Forest Office (ONF), the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), the Institute for research in science and technology for the environment and agriculture (IRSTEA, formerly CEMAGREF) and the French National Geographical Institute (IGN). After an updating of the taxonomical checklist, twenty or so of the better-documented data fields for the entire set of species were selected in different categories: taxonomy, geographical distribution, adult eco-morphology and above all larval ecology.
The catalogue resulting from this consolidation is a reference tool in species taxonomy and ecology designed to facilitate the interpretation of species lists and the assessment of forest conservation status. By highlighting the existing information gaps, it also aims to encourage new contributions and raise the level of general knowledge on this group.
After a detailed introductory chapter with general information on saproxylic coleopterans and a presentation of the different descriptive variables used, summary tables with pictograms describe each species, accompanied by a total of 743 macro photographs illustrating most of the genera present in France.
This catalogue is intended for professional and experienced non-professional entomologists, private and government forestry workers in charge of managing forest heritage sites, nature reserve managers, natural sites managers, environmental consultants and all those curious about nature.