Biological Research in Bliesgau


Biosphere Reserves also have the obligation under UNESCO guidelines to carry out what is called "Monitoring". The term monitoring in this context refers to systematic recording, observation and supervision of animal and plant species for example.
This does not just entail a one-off recording but also regular investigations that make it possible to identify changes e.g. in frequency of occurrence.                                               Changes in the species breakdown in local populations of various different life forms can be identified and assessed with the help of these data from previous investigations.

Biosphere Reserves also want to achieve an integration of local residents in as many different areas as possible in order to promote the local residents’ identification with “their Biosphere Reserve”, their home.
Along with official and voluntary conservation of species already recorded, so-called “Campaign Species” were identified in the spring in a workshop with experts on species from the Saarland. These are species that laypersons can also easily recognize and for which there is little risk of confusion with other species.
In 2012 it was decided to focus on these species through appeals in the media and to encourage the populace to report sightings of the selected species to the Biosphere Association, in order to get a better overview of the distribution of these species in the Biosphere Reserve Bliesgau.

There were reports from the general public on all selected species and reports (even from earlier years) are still being accepted. Contact persons for reporting can be found under the matching links for the species or you can use the following link in order to enter the sightings online immediately on the map:

In the species finder you can also log in and report your sightings under "Account". Under you will find the species that you can report and some information about each of the species (the list of species you can report will increase over the course of time).

The project was started in the spring with the bee species megachile parietina. The species was first discovered in Bliesgau in 2011. The only other population in Germany is in Baden-Württemberg. Unfortunately this bee can only be distinguished from other wild bee species by experts. Their hives however are unique, which the species builds on stone walls facing the sun. Admittedly, there have been additional indications that the bee is to be found here but no additional hive sites have been found. However, Bliesgau likely offers additional sites with its old abandoned stone quarries and warm dry masonry.
You can find pictures of the bee and the hives >>here

The male sand lizards cannot be confused with any other lizard species in Bliesgau thanks to their green colour during their mating season and were primarily reported from the settled areas in 2012. In Bliesgau the species primarily inhabits the sunny semi-arid limestone grasslands on old vineyard slopes, but it is also to be frequently found in front yards and gardens as well as in cemeteries in built-up areas, where they find both places to lie in the sun and to hide.
You can learn more about the species >> here

The chirping of crickets can be heard on the meadows in Bliesgau most frequently in May and with a little luck, you can also see the creature itself if it comes out of its den or is out looking for food or for a mate.
You can learn more about the species >> here

Male sand lizard                                                              Field cricket                                                   

The stag beetle (insect of the year 2012) is to be found primarily in forests with large amounts of dead wood. According to the assessments of the project from SaarForst, BUND, NABU and ZfB (Zentrum für Biodokumentation, “Centre for Biodocumentation”) (published in the environmental magazine Umweltmagazin Saar 3/2012 ( there are hardly any indications from the towns of Kleinblittersdorf, Gersheim, Mandelbachtal and Blieskastel. Perhaps someone has seen it there since then?
>> here you can find basic information and links to additional iinformation about the stag beetle in the Saarland

The wart-biter is a species of bush cricket that can be found primarily in semi-arid limestone grasslands in large numbers. It is approximately the same size as the better-known green grasshopper but is heavier.
>> You can find more information about the species here

The Jersey tiger moth is among the diurnal moth species and has considerably increased in the Saarland in recent years which became clear from the many reports of sightings from the population. However, there have not been any reports from Mandelbachtal and Gersheim. Perhaps you have seen the species there or elsewhere recently.
>> here you can find an image and addition information about the Jersey tiger

Some people may be surprised that one can in fact find the praying mantis in Bliesgau, an insect that people are more likely to know from holiday in countries in more southern regions. But in a reaction to climate change, the species is being encountered more and more frequently in Bliesgau. The only catch: With its green or brown colouration and its often completely still position waiting on prey, it is not so easy to spot. Nevertheless a few residents of Bliesgau have already spotted the species and have often recorded it photographically.
You can learn more about the species >>here

The common winter damselfly is a quite an unusual species of damsel fly. It overwinters as an Imago (adult of the species) and can be observed even during the winter if temperatures are mild. It is very inconspicuous however and is therefore often simply not seen, and very little is known about the areas it seeks out to spend the winter.
>> here you can learn more about the common winter damself fly

Another climate-change winner is the blue wood bee. Adults of the species can be found nearly all year round. The BUND Saar is therefore asking for reports of every kind:
You can find more information here:

Jersey tiger moth                                                           praying mantis

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