In Italy, Lucanus cervus (Linnaeus 1758) generally lives in oak forests characterized by the presence of old trees. Such habitats are critically rare and fragmented.L cervus is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive and according to article 17, needs to be monitored by member states. However, methods for monitoring populations of L cervus have so far only been proposed for single countries and these are mostly not quantitative. In Italy survey data for L cervus are scarce and no national monitoring protocol has been proposed. At Bosco Fontana, a Nature Reserve in Northern Italy, remains of predation of L cervus can easily be found along forest roads and it seems that the main predator is the hooded crow (Corvus cornix cornix). The preliminary study presented here, which is based on the collection of these remains, had the following aims: quantify the number of remains which can be sampled at Bosco Fontana, investigate the temporal pattern of the remains and estimate the phenology of L cervus, analyze the spatial distribution of the remains found and analyze the results with a view to monitoring L cervus by means of collecting remains of predation. The survey was carried out by searching all remains of predation of L cervus, from May to August 2008. In this period the road network of the reserve (23 km in total) was walked on a weekly basis. A total of 306 remains were collected (95 % males), which conformed that these searches of remains were an efficient way of monitoring male L cervus. The remains were distributed non-homogeneously and most were found in a restricted number of roads. The data collected were used to estimate that L cervus was on the wing in the reserve from the first week of May to the first week of August. The implications of the results for monitoring L cervus are discussed.
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