Culture follower

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Common kestrels nest in building niches
Female sparrowhawk with pigeon, downtown Bochum
Brown rat and city pigeon at a pond in Hamburg

Cultural followers or hemerophiles ( Greek hemeros 'cultivated', philos 'friend') are animals or plants that gain advantages due to anthropogenic landscape-changing measures and therefore follow people into their cultural landscape (forests, fields, meadows, traffic routes, settlements, dwellings). A subgroup of the culture followers are synanthropic species .


The classic cultural successors who benefited from the extensive clearing activities of humans during the Middle Ages and the resulting forms of vegetation (cultivated steppe) include species such as the brown hare , field mouse and cabbage white butterfly , which are now threatened again, whose habitat was restricted by more intensive agriculture such as B. European hamster , partridge , quail , skylark and lapwing . Also from the typical types of farms, such as house mice , bats , smoke and House Martin , Barn Owl , Redstart and housefly , now go back some in their inventory; the black rat is threatened with extinction in Central Europe. The carrion crow is a typical cultural successor in suburban regions .

The urban cultural successors originally included rock and cave-dwelling species for which the buildings of the people represent "artificial rocks", such as city ​​pigeons , swifts , jackdaws , kestrels , black redstart as well as angular spiders and great trembling spiders , species such as the house sparrow , which in the cool temperate climate are buildings Need weather protection, right up to residents of heated rooms such as cockroaches , crickets and silverfish . The brown rat is also a typical urban species. The blackbird and the fox are quite recent cultural followers . At the beginning of the 19th century, the blackbird was still a shy forest bird. Another young cultural successor is the coyote , which is represented in many large cities in the USA . So was Washington, DC "conquered" the last city in April 2006 by coyotes.

In Central America, the curly-haired tarantula and the black and red tarantula are considered to be cultural followers. They often build their webs on agricultural land under stones and on cleared forest areas under rotting pieces of wood.


  • Ulrike Pollack: The urban human-animal relationship: ambivalences, opportunities and risks (= social rain . Volume 6). Universitätsverlag der TU , Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-7983-2112-0 (Dissertation FU Berlin 2007, 296 pages).

Web links

Wiktionary: culture followers  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Fuechse Info: General information about city foxes
  2. SA Pössel, EC Mock, SW Breckc: Coyote (Canis latrans) diet in environment of urban: variation relative to pet conflicts, housing density, and season
  3. Shelly M. Alexander, Michael S. Quinn: Coyote (Canis latrans) Interactions With Humans and Pets Reported in the Canadian Print Media (1995-2010)