Lending a hand to help a rare beetle in Latvia

Slītere National Park in Sīkrags is asking people to come help create an environment suitable for the rare nothorhina muricata beetle, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on February 19.

The beetle has no common name in English, but in Latvian it’s called “priežu sveķotājkoksngrauzis” (loosely translating to “pine resin-wood-gnawer”) and in Swedish it’s called reliktbock. The beetle requires at least 150-year-old pine tree trunks with a thick bark that are exposed to sunlight.

People are gathering on February 19 in the Sīkrags center to head to the park along with Nature Conservation Agency specialists to help expose individual pine trees to sunlight. Slītere Environmental Education Center Director Ērika Kļaviņa said that the Slītere park was originally a reserve, then was expanded to include commercial forests that have thick tree growth, little light and don’t have thick trees.

The group will tackle individual locations where the environment and pine trees could create a favorable living environment for the rare beetles. The specialists need to clear and burn small evergreens and bushes, which is why they have called for helping hands.

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