At the beginning of July, the three nature parks of Luxembourg launched an exciting challenge: within the "Insekteräich Naturparken", interested parties were encouraged to photograph as many different insect species as possible in the nature park communities within a 3-month period and upload them to the inaturalist platform.
The aim was to find 300 different insect species. However, this goal was clearly exceeded: between 3 July and 3 October 2021, a total of 127 people photographed a total of 2,045 insects in the nature parks: 477 different species could be identified.
Rare insects have also been spotted
Among the numerous species that were found, the most common and conspicuous insects were photographed, such as the red admiral and small fox butterflies, plus the honeybee. However, rarer insects were also discovered: a praying mantis was found twice in the Mëllerdall Nature & Geopark. In each of the 3 nature parks, a Roesel's bite was also photographed - this locust species is classified as particularly rare according to the Luxembourg red list.
Insect protection project "D’Naturparken zu Lëtzebuerg - (een) Insekteräich"
With this Citizen Science project, a small glimpse into the Luxembourgian biodiversity of insects can already be gained. In order to achieve scientifically comparable results, insect biodiversity is recorded in the three nature parks as part of the project "D’Naturparken zu Lëtzebuerg - (een) Insekteräich" with the help of traps and in cooperation with the nature museum. For this purpose, traps are set up in different locations in all nature parks, which catch insects for 7 months. However, this does not interfere with the biodiversity in a damaging way, as a small number of insects are caught in relation to their frequency. In order to be able to create a list of species with the existing insects, the samples are then evaluated in the nature museum using DNA analysis.
The insect protection project “D’Naturparken zu Lëtzebuerg - (een) Insekteräich" aims to provide increased support for insects. As part of the project, insect-friendly green spaces have already been created in nature park communities and companies within the nature parks. In addition, the public is increasingly made aware of the importance of insects and the increased death of insects. At the end of this year, the traveling exhibition "Insects - Superheroes in Danger", developed in collaboration with the Musée nationale d’histoire naturelle (MNHNL), will be presented for the first time in a primary school.
At insekten.lu one can find more information about the project and the biology of insects. There are also tips and tricks on how to make your own garden and balcony insect-friendly.