The habitat of Osmoderma eremita, a European endangered beetle species restricted to tree cavities, was examined in central Italy, at the southernmost limit of its distributional range. The occurrence of adults, larvae, and fragments was investigated in 170 and 151 living hollow trees by pitfall trapping and sampling of wood mould (i.e., loose material) in the hollow, respectively. Overall, O. eremita was present in 22% of the trees, which belonged to 4 different tree species (Ostrya carpinifolia, Quercus suber, Acer obtusatum, and Quercus pubescens). The frequency of presence was higher in cavities with more than 4 L of wood mould, in cavities with dry or half-moist wood mould rather than wet wood mould, and with wood mould with low soil contamination. A comparison with northern regions indicated that the warmer macro-climatic conditions in the south make the species independent of a warm microclimate. As most of the hollow trees contain only a small amount of wood mould (<4 L), the habitat quality is generally poorer than in oak pastures studied in northern Europe.
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Vol. 19 • No. 4