Insect of the Year - History

2019: Red mason bee

A female red mason bee (Osmia bicornis) cements her nest holes. © Paul Westrich

Link to the German press release

Due to its nesting behaviour, the red mason bee (Osmia bicornis) is often found near human housing.

2018: Common scorpionfly

A male common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis). © Rainer Willmann

Link to the German press release

The common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis) is frequently found in Central Europe. The most conspicuous feature of these animals is the elongation of the mouth parts in the adults.

2017: European mantis

A European mantis (Mantis religiosa) waiting for prey. © Thomas Schmitt

Link to the German press release

This charismatic animal with the large compound eyes is listed as an endangered species in Germany.

2016: Allacma fusca

Two springtails (Allacma fusca) during feeding. © Andreas Stark

Link to the German press release

Its occurrence in large quantities is a sign of good soil health. It is representative of the insects which interact with the soil and thus shape and preserve the environment.

2015: Chalkhill blue

The Chalkhill blue (Polyommatus coridon). © Thomas Schmitt

Link to the German press release

The Chalkhill blue (Polyommatus coridon) was chosen from a group of butterflies to represent animals characteristic of dry grasslands, a particularly sensitive type of biotope.

2014: Phasia aurigera

Phasia aurigera is a parasite of true bugs. © Joachim Ziegler

Link to the German press release

All flies are characterized by having only one pair of normally developed wings. The rear pair is modified into halteres, which give stability to their flight.

2013: Rhyacophila fasciata

An adult caddisfly Rhyacophila fasciata © Brigitta Eiseler

Link to the German press release

The caddisfly Rhyacophila fasciata is widespread in the flowing waters of Europe.

2012: Lucanus cervus

Two male stag beetles (Lucanus cervus) fighting for a female. © Ralf Bekker

Link to the German press release

The male stag beetle Lucanus cervus is unmistakeable due to its large mandibles.

2011: Formica exsecta

Two individuals of Formica exsecta cleaning their antennae. © D. Bretz

Link to the German press release

The ant Formica exsecta is a particularly endangered ant species.

2010: Antlion

The larva of the antlion (Myrmeleon formicarius) with its large mandibles. © Johannes Gepp

Link to the German press release

Antlions are the larval stages of antlion lacewings. They build funnels with a diameter of 8 to 80 mm in the sand to catch ants and other insects.

2009: Black-and-red froghopper

An adult Black-and-red froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) © wikimedia / entomart

Link to the German press release

The Black-and-red froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) is like all cicadas a plant sucker.

2008: Crepuscular burnet

An imago of Zygaena carniolica © wikimedia / Franz Xaver

Link to the German press release

The vernacular German name of the Crepuscular burnet (Zygaena carniolica) and a dozen other related species that look very similar is "Blood Droplet".

2007: Black-and-Red-bug

An adult Black-and-Red-bug (Lygaeus equestris) © wikimedia / PePeEfe

Link to the German press release

Like many other bugs, the Black-and-Red-bug (Lygaeus equestris) is a harmless plant sucker.

2006 : Seven-spot ladybird

A Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) © pixabay / sternbea

Link to the German press release

The Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) is one of the most famous beetles.

2005: Red-tailed bumblebee

A Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) © pixabay / esiul

Link to the German press release

The Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) is one of the larger native bumblebee species.

2004: Marmalade hoverfly

A Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) in flight. © pixabay / francok35

Link to the German press release

The Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) is one of the most common species of hoverfly and an effective aphid predator.

2003: European field cricket

A field cricket (Gryllus campestris) in front of its burrow. © wikimedia / Gilles San Martin

Link to the German press release

The black coloured European field crickets (Gryllus campestris), up to two centimetres long, are mainly known for their summery chirr.

2002: Common brimstone

A Common brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) © pixabay / stux

Link to the German press release

The Common brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) has typical pointed wings.

2001: Broad-bodied chaser

A Broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) © pixabay / esiul

Link to the German press release

The Broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) belongs to the dragonflies.

2000: Rose chafer

A Rose chafer (Cetonia aurata) © pixabay / Soorelis

Link to the German press release

The Rose chafer (Cetonia aurata) is one of the most conspicuous native insects due to its copper-gold-green elytra.

1999: Common green lacewing

A Common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) © pixabay / artsehn

Link to the German press release

The adult Green lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea) have large, filigree wings folded up to form a roof and usually have shiny golden eyes. Their larvae are often called aphid lions because of their aggressive behaviour towards aphids.