Locust(Stenobothrus eurasius)It is not easy even for an experienced entomologist to identify this locust species at project sites in České středohoří. Not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Austria and Slovakia it is one of the very rare species protected under the Natura 2000 network. This locust inhabits steep warm and dry rocky hillsides of south and southeast slopes, often with a scant vegetation cover.
This locust differs from related species by its shorter antennae and reluctance to jump; unlike crickets, the locust will only jump in case of danger. While many crickets like to eat small insects, this locust is a strict vegetarian. The species composition of the plants it feeds on is not essential for it, it can eat stiffer plant tissues as well. The locust develops through a process called incomplete metamorphosis. The female lays eggs in a pre-excavated hole. In May, larvae hatch from eggs, strip several times, and in July they mature into an imago (i.e., an adult).
The locust lives in the steppe zone of central and south-eastern Europe and Siberia. In central Europe, it occurs in scattered areas on steppe sites. In České středohoří, with great luck it can be seen at seven sites, which represent the westernmost outpost in the total area of its distribution.
Currently, a total of six sub-species of this locust is described, and České středohoří is a home to one of them: the sub-species Stenobothrus eurasius bohemicus is a unique species tied to the local environment and you will not find it anywhere else in the world.
Rocky steppe stands in the past served as pastures. Grazing exposed and disturbed the soil surface where the female locust lay eggs. In the course of time, however, this influence has disappeared, the rocky steppes began to overgrow with self-seeding woody plants, herbs and grasses, and the locust began to decline sharply.
On sites where this locust occurs, it is necessary to restore grazing of small mixed herds of sheep and goats. Self-seeding woody plants need to be regularly cut, and if old grass accumulates in these habitats, it must be removed by burning in the winter on frozen ground. Burning must be carried out in sections in different years, never on the whole site at once.