• Associates;
  • dead wood;
  • forest management;
  • microhabitat;
  • red list;
  • sun exposure;
  • tree level

Abstract.  1. Saproxylic beetles are a key group when assessing forest biodiversity, and biologists have been trying to explore their ecological requirements.

2. We studied Cucujus cinnaberinus in its recent stronghold (i.e. Czech Republic, Central Europe).

3. Our analyses using a generalised linear model (GLZ) revealed that sufficient sun exposure was the most important habitat parameter at the tree level and that the species preferred dead wood with well-peeled bark at an intermediate stage of decay at the microhabitat level.

4. Redundancy analysis (RDA) of species associations showed that the microhabitat of C. cinnaberinus was often prepared by early phloeoxylophages. Silvanids and large carabids were significant associates, and the non-coleopteran taxa associated with C. cinnaberinus were ants (Lasius spp.), mites, springtails, and centipedes. Only one species of bracket fungus Phellinus populicola was significantly associated with C. cinnaberinus.

5. Cucujus cinnaberinus microhabitats were species-rich compared with those from which this species was absent. C. cinnaberinus shares its habitat with several red-listed beetles. The most common functional groups were predators and scavengers. However, we found no difference in the composition of functional groups between sites with and without C. cinnaberinus in our study samples.

6. The results contribute to the debate about the decline in saproxylic species in relation to the decline in open spaces in forest landscapes. The habitat requirements of many saproxylic beetles indicate that modern forest management should pay more attention to open forest stands, rather than hands-off practices that naturally lead to canopy closure.