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Species for a Forest Board Game


Hi, I am a Swedish biologist and in my freetime I have developed a family board game about Swedish forest species and ecology ( Now I am planning do adapt this board game to Finland, and would be very happy to get feedback on the species list, see below. The 52 forest species on the list are chosen for a number of reasons. They shall:

  • represent different groups of species (plants, mammals, insects, mosses, lichens and fungi)
  • represent different forest habitats
  • be well-known OR be a key species OR look beautiful OR have a funny name OR be pedagogically interesting to learn about forest ecology.

Do you think the species on this list are characteristic for the forests of Finland? Do you think any species should be removed from the list? I am happy for any comments!


Ursus arctos

Canis lupus lupus

Martes martes

Sciurus vulgaris

Alces alces

Clethrionomys glareolus

Lepus timidus

Apodemus flavicollis

Pteromys volans


Cyanistes caeruleus

Accipiter gentilis

Perisoreus infaustus

Aegolius funereus

Columba oenas

Dryocopus martius

Aegithalos caudatus caudatus

Tetrao urogallus


Aromia moschata

Tragosoma depsarium

Hormopeza obliterata

Melanophila acuminata

Buprestis octoguttata

Celastrina argiolus

Bombus lucorum

Vespa crabro


Lumbricus rubellus


Sarcosoma globosum

Tricholoma matsutake

Russula aurea

Artomyces pyxidatus

Amanita muscaria var. muscaria

Laetiporus sulphureus

Geastrum rufescens

Cantharellus lutescens


Cypripedium calceolus

Hepatica nobilis

Anemone nemorosa

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Vaccinium myrtillus

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Calluna vulgaris

Calypso bulbosa


Rhodobryum roseum

Polytrichum commune

Sphagnum squarrosum


Cetraria islandica

Usnea dasypoga

Lobaria pulmonaria

Cladonia rangiferina


Of what I know (Lepidoptera, plants and birds with the help of google and wikipedia :)), Celastrina argiolus is fine although for example Callophrys rubi would be more representative. On the plant side, Calypso bulbosa is rare in Finland.

Columbia, I’m not sure how common it is.


Thanks for comments! :slight_smile:


Vespa crabro is not very typical in Finland.


Thanks Harri! :slight_smile:


The fungi are all quite rare, except for the Amanita. Four of them are calciphilous so most people will never get a chance to see them. Laetiporus is common only in the far south in more urban settings.


Thanks for feedback! :slight_smile: In Sweden soils with lime/ high pH are often considered as hot spots for biodiversity. From maps I have seen it seems there are patches of soils with lime/high pH in south, east and central part of Finland. Are forests with soils of high pH considered Important for biodiversity in Finland as well?


At least in the north they are, I don’t know about the south.

On flies, BTW: I don’t know Hormopeza obliterata (is on the Finnish list though, an expert is needed to comment), but some other cool flies would be Laphria flava, also in logged or burnt areas, the genus Temnostoma of great mimics living on dead wood, and Liancalus virens, seen on moist vertical rocks.


Thanks for feedback on flies! :slight_smile: I will check up the flies you propose, sounds like cool species.



you got the rare Sarcosoma globosum from ascomycetes (why not common ones, for instance Peziza badia or Gyromitra esculenta) and no Myxomycetes at all, evenif both ascomycetes and myxomycetes are common in forests.




  • Columba oenas is not that common in Finland, and not as much a forest species as the very common Columba palumbus is.
  • Aegithalos caudatus is a cute and interesting species due to its looks and well-camouflaged nest, but quite uncommon, especially as a breeding species. Another good and more common candidate is e.g. tofsmes (Parus cristatus, or whatever the genus nowadays is).

-Aromia moschata (myskijäärä), although interesting, is quite rare
-Tragosoma depsarium (nahkuri), although interesting, again quite rare - maybe sarvijaakko - Acanthocinus aedilis - instead?
-Hormopeza obliterata (Diptera: Empididae) - why? Not a well-known fly in any way. The previously suggested Laphria flava would indeed be a better choice.
-Melanophila acuminata (kulokauniainen) - a very interesting species and even though nearly threatened (NT), will make a nice addition to the game
-Buprestis octoguttata (hohtojalokuoriainen) - why add two buprestids? If that is the case, then maybe the most commonly found would be better to mention? That would be nelikuoppakauniainen – Anthaxia quadripunctata.
-Celastrina argiolus (paatsamasinisiipi) - I think this is a good choice, as it has recently been voted as the National Butterfly of Finland.
-Bombus lucorum (mantukimalainen) - Nothing against this, although nearly impossible to determine in the field from rarer sister species
-Vespa crabro (herhiläinen) . Nope, a newcomer to SE Finland. A better choice would be e.g. Dolichovespula media - a big and beautiful species typical of open forest habitats from South to North.

Nevertheless, I hope the game is a success! We need more ways to get people more familiar with the nature around us, and it is best started with children. :slight_smile:


It is surprisingly common in Parikkala, currently. Last two or three winters, I see small flocks every time I go there. No idea about breeding, though. (It is certainly more often seen there now than the nowadays non-common Parus species, excl. major and sinitiainen caeruleus.)

Hippiäinen would be another possibility.


Thanks so much for many comments and proposals! :slight_smile: I will think it over. One reason I have chosen rare species it to teach people we need many different types of forest habitats, with old trees, dead wood, fires, hollow trees, deciduous trees etc. But there is for sure a potential to develop the game and change some species. I am very grateful for all comments in this forum! And look forward to more feedback. :slight_smile:


One key species in Finnish forests you have forgotten - Formica rufa. Also Lynx lynx is just as interesting as a species as Ursus arctos and more interesting as Apodemus flavicollis. And no bats…?


[quote=“Daniel_Thorell, post:7, topic:6730”] Are forests with soils of high pH considered Important for biodiversity in Finland as well?

Soils with high pH is only one of many important biotopes for fungal diversity. Two weeks ago a report assessing habitat types concluded that of 420 habitat types in Finland 48 percent are threatened. Important for fungi are for example unmanaged old-growth forests, many types of semi-natural grasslands, herb-rich forests…


Thanks! :slight_smile: What is the main prey for Lynx in Finland? And I would love to include bats! My problem is that the game is limited to in total 50 species. What bat would you propose?


Old growth and herb-rich forest is included in the game. :slight_smile: Thanks for the link to the interesting report!


Sarcosoma globosum is an indicator species in Sweden and has a funny and unusual name (bombmurkla). But I don’t know Finnish, so I don’t know what the Finnish name for Sarcosoma globosum means. I agree that many of the fungi on the list are quite rare. My idea was to show there is a great diversity of fungi and many are unknown for public. But maybe some more common species could be a good idea.


Thanks Harry for many comments on birds and insects! I will consider your proposals. :slight_smile: I chose Hormopeza obliterata because I needed a “fire insect” and because it has an unusual name in Swedish “rökdansfluga”. But could be a good idea to change this one. I chose Buprestis octoguttata because it is beautiful and has the Swedish colours. :slight_smile: Also I noticed it was mentioned on Metsähallitus website regarding a planned forest fire they made for nature conservation needs.


You’re welcome. In the end, it is your board game and your decisions. I’m just adding my input to help you decide. :slight_smile:

Well, if you need fire insects, you already have three: H. obliterata, B octoguttata, and M. acuminata.

If you want to keep it that way, maybe replace either of the buprestids (latter two) with the elusive Aradus signaticornis (Heteroptera)? An extremely rare species, but interesting nevertheless. It’s funny that it is even possible to see these wildfire-dependent species at a bonfire.

It must be difficult to on the other hand add interesting, old forest or wildfire-dependant species, but on the other hand, to have species that one might actually come upon in the field. From my childhood, I remember the most common species best, so one view on the matter might be to e.g. add a common species which has an interesting lifecycle or some other interesting feature to it. For example how ladybugs eat aphids and help gardeners, how an ant can lift such heavy loads compared to it’s own weight (comparison to human), how a Collembola (Springtail) or a bird flea can jump amazing distances compared to it’s size (again, comparison to human) or how Myxomycota (Slime Molds) can move without a nervous system, split and join again to a single mass, avoid hazards, solve the simplest route through a labyrinth etc. :slight_smile: