Join our zoo community

MIXED AQUARIUM: Beetles of Decaying Oak Wood

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by Agalychnis, 16 Feb 2015.

  1. Agalychnis

    Agalychnis Active Member

    16 Jun 2014
    Fredericia, Denmark
    It might be a rather unusual choice for a habitat exhibit – why decaying wood? But let me explain:

    Logging is intensive in Denmark, and almost any species depending on decaying wood is rated as highly endangered in my country. For years there's been a battle between the Danish Nature Conservation Society and the government about who owns the wood from fallen trees: The wildlife – or the timber industry. The purpose of this exhibit is to highlight the unusual and fascinating beetle fauna of undisturbed decaying oak wood in Denmark, giving the public a positive experience of decaying wood habitats – thus making them want to protect our decaying wood from the timber industry.

    The beetles I have chosen all have three things in common:
    1) They are impressive and fascinating species
    2) They are rated as more or less endangered in Denmark
    3) Their larvae depend entirely upon decaying wood (especially oak) for survival

    I have chosen four beetle species for this fairly small aquarium (something like 100 gallons would be sufficient):

    Stag beetle – Lucanus cervus
    Rose chafer – Cetonia aurata
    European rhinoceros beetle – Oryctes nasicornis
    Hermit beetle – Osmoderma eremita

    The aquarium would be decorated with moss, lichens and various mushrooms depending on decaying oak wood, and perhaps a few forest floor flowers would be added as well (orchids much?). Branches would be used as viewing (and battling!) scenes for the male rhinoceros beetles and stag beetles, and the beetle larvae would live in a decaying oak wood log.

    On a computer with touch-screen, the public could read about the beetles, mushrooms and flowers in the exhibit, and a short film would describe the process of wood decay from fallen timber to fertile soil. Mounted imagos (adults) of the beetles would be on display, as the imagos usually don't live for more than a few weeks among these species, and I want to make certain the audience sees the imagos in all their glory.

    This exhibit would be a part of the indoor Danish Forest themed area.

    What do you think? I'm looking forward to hear your responses! :)