Tag Archives: Austria

Xerobdella lecomtei Frauenfeld

European Land Leech (Xerobdella lecomtei)

The European Land Leech was described in 1867, the species once was said to be very common in the Austrian Alps but not easy to find because of its hidden way of life.

The species reached a size of about 4 cm, it lived hidden amongst fallen leaves where it hunted for smaller invertebrates like earthworms, fly larvae, or snails which then were either sucked out or even swallowed completely if small enough.

The last time a population worth mentioning was discovered was in the 1960s, in 2007 an juvenile individual was found (see photo) and since then only occasionally individuals were found in cooler higher forest areas.

The species disappeared from its habitat due to global warming which lead to a rise in temperatures of around 3°C since the 1960s, which again lead to the dehydration of the soil litter in which this species lived.

The European Land Leech is now very probably completely extinct, if not, it appears impossible to safe it as a species, so its extinction is inevitable either way.

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Photo: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kutschera 
http://www.uni-kassel.de/fb19/plantphysiology/media/files/143.pdf

(creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

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edited: 16.09.2020

Salmo schiefermuelleri Bloch

May Trout (Salmo schiefermuelleri)

This is a quite enigmatic species, described in 1784, whose taxonomic status isn’t clear.

The May Trout is rather known from anecdotes about trouts that inhabited the deep parts of the lakes within the Danube basin in Austria, and which only in the month of May appeared in shallow waters to breed.

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The status of this species, as said above, is far from being clarified, if it indeed was a distinct species it appears to be extinct now.

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Depiction from: ‘Marcus Élieser Bloch: Ichthyologie; ou, Histoire naturelle des poissons: En six parties avec 216 planches dessinées et enluminées d’après nature. Berlin, chez l’auteur 1796

(public domain)

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edited: 11.06.2020

Saxifraga oppositifolia ssp. amphibia (Sünd.) Braun-Blanq.

Lake Constance Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia ssp. amphibia)

The Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia L.) is split into about eight to ten subspecies which are found in arctic, sub-arctic and mountainous regions of North America, Asia and Europe, one, the one discussed here, was restricted to the shores of Lake Constance located between Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

The plants grew in the beach-meadows, together with at least two other, local endemic plant species; about 30 populations were known, the last of the Bavarian populations disappeared at around 1959 while others survived until at least to 1978; however, this form is now completely extinct.

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Photo: Robert Flogaus-Faust

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 02.08.2022