Two tens of new species discovered in the heart of Europe – in the Sumava mountains

2012 - 03 - 27

About two tens of new species have been discovered in Central Europe. Josef Rusek, a scientist, from the Czech Academy of Sciences has discovered fifteen to twenty new species of insects in the Sumava mountains. Their exact number will be determined by a subsequent detailed scientific description.

“We are used to hear similar news from Amazonia or from the tropical rainforests of South-East Asia. The latest discovery shows that also in Europe there is still a lot to find,“ commented the information concerning new species discovery Dalibor Dostal, the director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation.

The discovery of two tens of new species is the result of a ten-year-long research in the most valuable part of the Sumava mountains – in original mountain spruce forests. That is right there where there live undescribed species earlier which belong to two groups of soil insect: Springtails and Proturans.

All newly found species occur only in the Sumava mountains and it is not possible to find them anywhere else in the world. In the cold and wet mountain forests they have survived since the ice ages.

“During last two or three ice ages these soil animals firstly retreated from a glacier from the Alps to the Danube valley. After warming a part of them returned back to the Alps, the other part moved to the Sumava mountains where they found suitable conditions in the mountain spruce forests. There they gradually developed into new species which have survived since the ice ages till the present,“ said Josef Rusek.

The unique species from the ice age have survived just thanks to Sumava mountain spruce groves. Similar types of forests are nowhere else in Central Europe according to scientists. “The ecosystem of the Sumava mountains is really unique. The state institutions, as well as non-governmental conservation organisations should therefore push its better protection through,“ added Dalibor Dostal.

That is why the European Wildlife conservation organisation has placed its key project of the European Centre of Biodiversity into the area of the Sumava mountains. The project should contribute to the return of a lot of species which were extinct in these sites in the past. It is to protect not only the unique forests, but also the grasslands rich in biodiversity.

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