Grasshopper Study Tour 2018

grasshopper

Grasshopper Study Tour 2018

First announcment

A new Grasshopper Study Tour is in preparation and will be held 17-24 July 2018! Information on this tour will be uploaded in the coming weeks. 

With over 165 species, Slovenia has an exceptional diversity of grasshopper, cricket and bush-cricket species. In 2018 we will organise a special Grasshopper Study Tour to learn more about these interesting animals. Included in the tour are: 

Seeing many different species including several rare and endangered ones

Learning about bioacoustics and the use of sound-recordings for the identification of species

Visit different habitats (expect sun and heat on this tour!)

Contribute to the conservation of the endangered species Zeuneriana marmorata by participating in monitoring of the only population in Slovenia, which is the biggest population worldwide 

We plan this tour for a small group of between 5 and 8 participants. Since we aim for an international group, we expect to speak mainly English. However, since the guide also speaks Dutch and German, we can accommodate a multilingual group as well.

When you are interested in this tour, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Detailed information (parts are still under construction): 

 

Our Grasshopper Study Tour is a special type of nature-holiday, in which we learn how to identify grasshoppers and how we can study them. While doing this, we make a practical contribution to the knowledge of Slovenian grasshoppers because we collect data on their distribution, where needed with photographs as proof. During this tour, we specifically aim to collect data on three endangered species:

 

Psorodonotus illyricus, of which the Slovenian distribution is insufficuently known,  

 

Prionotropis hystrix which is nearly extinct in Slovenia but which is still common in nearby countries,

 

and the endangered species Zeuneriana marmorata, which occurs in only 5 small populations worldwide.

 

Of course, we are outside most of the time and we will have as much time as we want to take pictures. And we visit some of Slovenia’s nicest nature areas with a very diverse landscape.

 

We do not collect any grasshoppers during this tour: only our photo’s will be used as a proof of our findings.  

The Grasshopper Study Tour will start on the 17th of July and end on the 24th of July 2018. This is the best season for grasshoppers in Slovenia when most early species are still present and those which are hatching later are already becoming adult.

 

Species which are marked with “(juv)” are likely not yet adult, but already recognisable.  

 

The first 3 days are meant as a general introduction to the diversity of grasshoppers in Slovenia. We then spend 3 days searching for and counting rare species, during these days we will see many other species as well as very diverse and nice landscapes. The last day we move high up into the mountains, where we encounter spme typical grasshoppers which we did not see earlier in the study tour.  

 

We are still working on the itinerary, below is a first set-up.

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Day 1: arrival day

 

Day 2: Introduction to grasshoppers in Slovenia: visiting the species-rich estensive meadows close to the accommodation as well as mount Slivnica. 

Special species: Stauroderus scalaris, Micropodisma salamandra, Miramella irena, Polidoptera littoralis, Decticus verrucivorus, Ephippiger ephippiger (juv) and E. discoidalis (juv), Bicoloriana kuntzeni.

 

Day 3: higher up: we visit a mountain top which is a bit over 1000 meter. here, we find some species which are characteristic for higher altituedes as well as many species which are more widespread. 

Special species: Polysarcus denticauda, Arcyptera fusca, Pachytrachis striolatus, Poecilimon elegans, Poecilimon ornatus, on the way Eupholidoptera sp. (juv)

 

Day 4: On and over de mountain: in search of Psorodonotus. We start our day with a longer drive through part of the largest forest of Central Europe, which stretches from Slovenia all the way to the south Balkan. But don’t worry, we don’t plan to drive more than an hour and we also stop on the way. This drive takes us to a remote mountain top, where we discovered the rare species Psorodonotus illyricus during the Butterfly tour of 2017! Today’s aim is to map the distribution of this species on this particular mountain top: does it occur everywhere or only on part of the open, sunny habitat? This is first step in assessing the status of this population. In the afternoon we visit the southern slope of the same mountain, where the same species occurs. Both populations of this flightless species are separated by several kilometers of dense forest (there are at the moment just 4 populations of this species known in Slovenia, but only a handful of specialists have ever been looking for it). 

Special species: Psorodonotus illyricus, Decticus verricivorus, Arcyptera fusca, Psophus stridulus

 

Day 5: helping to save Slovenia’s most endangered grasshopper: monitoring Zeuneriana marmorata

For many years, it was believed that the species Zeuneriana marmorata was extinct. It was rediscovered almost 20 years ago, first a small population in Italy and then a larger one in Slovenia. With detailed field surveys several further populations were found in Italiy, each of which occurs in a very small area and consists of few individuals. The Slovenian population is still the largest we know and consists of over 2000 adults, which is not much for an insect species. Data from the previous years indicate that this population is under a lot of pressure from changing landuse and declining. For any conservation actions, it is vital to follow the exact status of this species. Today we aim to count all (!) males in the Slovenian population as well as to register their exact location. This is possible because of the exceptional properties of the species: in the right weather circumstances, males sing continuesly and very loud … Besides Z. marmorata, we will see other grasshopper species which are typical for extensive wet meadows.

Special species: Zeuneriana marmorata, Stethophyma grossum, Parapleurus alliaceus, Conocephalus dorsalis, Ruspolia nitidula (juv), Chrysochraeon dispar

 

Day 6: to the Mediterranean area: the last Slovenian Prionotropis hystrix?

Prionotropis hystrix is one of the most spectacular Slovenian grasshopper species, but despite it’s large size, it is difficult to find because it is well chamouflaged and doesn’t more much around. In the past, when much of the Slovenian karst was intensively grazed by sheep, this species was very common. In the 1970’s, grazing was banned in much ofthe Slovenian karst and the resulting vegetation succesion lead to the disappearance of this species. Nowadays it is very rare in Slovenia, but it remains common in Croatia, where the karst is still grazed. In the recent years, grazing is re-established in the karst and it will be interesting to see if this species can recover. Today we search for this species in an area where we found a single individual during the 2017 Butterfly Tour, as well as several other karst areas. On the way, we will encounter many other heat-loving grasshopper species as well. 

Special species: Prionotropis hystrix, Tylopsis lilifolia, Acrometopa macropoda, Decticus albifrons, Platycleis spp. Modestiana modesta, Gomphocerippus rufus, perhaps Saga pedo 

 

Day 7: Alpine Day (to be worked out)

Special species: Tettigonia cantans, Antaxius difformis, Gomphocerus sibericus; Chorthippus alticola

 

Day 8: departure

 

 

For this tour, we made reservations at the Logar Tourist Farm with whom we cooperate for over 15 years. The farm is located in Žerovnica, in southern Slovenia. The accommodation consists of rooms in two authentic village houses and a third, newer building which is made in the local style. Both older buildings are fully restored to accommodate guests. Each of these has two rooms on the lower floor and two rooms on the first floor. Because these rooms are made in old farmhouses, there is a shared bathroom on each floor. The newer building has en-suite facilities. Please indicate what are your wishes so we can divide the rooms accordingly.

Besides good rooms and quality service, Logar Farm offers other advantages:

  • Most of our meals will be based ecological food from the farm (vegetarian is possible)
  • Every morning we will have fresh home-baked bread at breakfast
  • The farm is located in the Cerknica Valley, which is a RAMSAR site and has lovely extensive meadows starting right behind the accommodation
  • The location is central in the region which we will visit, thus reducing driving time

Participants should arrange the transport at least to a nearby airport (or train station). This is not included in the price of the tour.

The closest airports to the accommodation are:

Ljubljana Airport (Slovenia), transfer time about 1 hour

Trieste Airport (Italy), transfer time about 1 hour and 15 minutes

Venice Marco Polo Airport (Italy), transfer time about 2 hours and 15 minutes

Zagreb Airport (Croatia), transfer time about 2 hours and 30 minutes

From these airports, we can offer you transfer by car or van at no extra costs.

During this tour, we will use a van which has eight seats for participants and one for the driver. The tour guide will also be the driver of the van. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we like to stay at each place, is up to us.

Moderately difficult and occasionally demanding. During the tour, we will walk slowly and stop many times, but terrain can be difficult, rocky and occasionally steep, without real climbing. At other places, it may be muddy and we may encounter dense and thorny vegetation as well. Please make sure that you have good hiking shoes and sturdy trowsers!

We will be out all day in sunny weather with temperatures up to, and above 30’C. Please take a sun-hat and suncream. 

The price of the Grasshopper Study Tour is set at 1.100 Euro per person, with a single room supplement of 135 Euro. 

 

The price includes: 

All transport during the tour

All meals

Accommodation in a “tourist farm” where we have double rooms (single supplement 125 Euro)

Guiding

Tourist tax

Accident insurance during the tour

 

The price does not include:

The costs of the aeroplane ticket

Personal expenses

Costs of a visa

Alcoholic drinks


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