Crau Plain Grasshopper at risk

Crau Plain Grasshopper population at risk

Prionotropis hystrix rhodanica Photo: Laurent Tatin

The Crau Plain Grasshopper, Prionotropis hystrix rhodanica, is endemic to the Crau steppe in southern France. Only four subpopulations of this species are known, one of which is highly threatened by plans of the French Army to construct new weapon stocks in the area. The Crau Plain Grasshopper has recently been assessed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. The Crau steppe has been formed by 4000 years of natural history and land use (mainly traditional sheep grazing). It maintains populations of many rare species, such as Little bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark, Ocellated Lizard.

For 2013, we plan to finish a mapping project to obtain a better knowledge on the distribution of Prionotropis hystrix rhodanica in the Crau area. We also will conduct a mark-recapture study to get data on the population size and mobility of this species. Furthermore, we plan to test the opportunities to start a breeding programme for this species.

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