Life in the track bed

Where in the world could this happen? In Munich, at least, only in Baumkirchen Mitte district. The park-like grounds of the neighborhood are unique because the so-called ecological priority area can be accessed on boardwalks – and thus experienced – by the people who live and work here. In the nutrient-poor soil between the abandoned tracks, a unique habitat for rare plant and animal species has evolved over the years. One is the blue-winged grasshopper.

Buddleja davidii, the butterfly bush, is a member of the buddlejaceae family. The deciduous bush can reach a height of three to four meters and develops large bluish purple panicles from June to October. Their enticing scent attracts butterflies, such as red admirals, small tortoiseshells, European peacocks, common brimstones and small whites practically in swarms. This brush, also popular in many gardens, has taken root in many places in the nature park at the triangular junction. It does not grow quite such lavish flowers from the nutrient-poor soil here, but in return, the wood becomes stronger and, accordingly, the shrub is more robust. In particular, its ability to survive well even in periods of drought means the butterfly buddleia is ideal for the Baumkirchen Mitte biotope.

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Oedipoda caerulescens is a prime example of perfect camouflage: If you can barely see it (if at all), this is because it is gray or brown, as needed, but can also be reddish brown, yellowish or almost black. In the larval stage, its color adapts more and more to the surroundings; when the insects become adults, they simply look for a place that fits their body color. When exposed to light, the color can change – but this is irreversible. The grasshopper, which has a size of up to 28 mm, prefers to live in sandy, sun-drenched grassy areas; it owes its name to the beautiful blue color of the rear wings.

Oedipoda caerulescens MHNT

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