The Diverse Life in the Reeds

A variety of different animal species live in the reeds, even though this is not apparent at first sight. The inhabitants are often secretive, small or inconspicuous. The bigger and sometimes more conspicuous animal species include a number of birds. The reeds offer protection and cover from predators, serves as a breeding or sleeping place, as a perch on which to sing or for searching for food. Some birds build their nests in the stalks, such as the reed warbler, others nest on the ground. The latter include various ducks and geese as well as the strange-looking bittern. Other bird species that can be encountered in the reeds, include the water rail, bluethroat and marsh harrier. But these are far from all of the inhabitants. The invertebrate fauna is particularly diverse. Insects, in particular, live in and between the plants. Some are specially tied to the habitat, such as the flame wainscot. The larvae of these moths live in the stalk or rootstock of various types of reed, such as rushes or cattails, and in turn are high-energy winter food for some species of tits. Another specialised species is the reed thatcher, a reed beetle. Due to the proximity to water, the reed is also a habitat for many species of dragonfly. But the underwater zone is also inhabited. Many invertebrates, such as dragonfly larvae, also live here. Furthermore, this area between the reed stalks is an area where various fish spawn and it serves as a protected area for the fry.