Importance of discovery of the first cave beetle : Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832
ENDINS, núm. 28. 2005. Mallorca
IMPORTANCE OF DISCOVERY OF THE FIRST CAVE BEETLE
Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832
by Slavko POLAK1
Abstract
Caves were not seriously considered as a habitat for the animals until 1831 when the
first cave (troglobite) beetle was discovered in the Postojna cave. The 7 mm long troglomor-
phic beetle was firstly described by Ferdinand Schmidt under the name Leptodirus hochen-
wartii
in the article “Contribution to the fauna of Carniola” which appeared in the Carniolian
paper Illyrisches Blatt, on 21st January 1832. During his systematic search for additional spe-
cimens, Schmidt discovered a whole range of other cave animals but with exception of bee-
tles he didn’t scientifically described them. Schmidt was in correspondences with quite some
European scientists and later many visited the Postojna and surrounding caves in the search
for recently discovered reach subterranean fauna. In the years to follow, the new species of
cave beetles, spiders, pseudoscorpions, millipedes, centipedes, crustaceans and snails were
described by various naturalists, giving the Postojna cave the name a biospeleological Mecca
and the birth place or cradle of a new biological science, the biospeleology or speleobiology.
The reach subterranean fauna was later discovered in the other parts of Europe and other
Continents too, but the Postojna cave is absolute record-holder respecting the number of
known troglobite species even today. The Leptodirus hochenwartii synonymy, recent taxo-
nomy and the conservation issues are discussed in the paper.
Resum
Les coves no varen ser considerades seriosament com a hàbitats d’animals fins 1831,
quan es descobrí el primer escarabat cavernícola (troglobi) a la Cova de Postojna
(Eslovènia). Aquest coleòpter, de 7 mm de longitud i caràcters troglomòrfics prou marcats, va
ser descrit primerament per Ferdinand Schmidt sota el nom Leptodirus hochenwartii a l’arti-
cle “Beitrag zu Krain’s Fauna”, publicat el 21 de gener de 1832 a la revista Illyrisches Blatt.
En el decurs de la recerca per trobar més exemplars, Schmidt descobrí un ample grup d’al-
tres animals cavernícoles però només va descriure científicament els coleòpters. Schmidt va
mantenir correspondència amb un bon nombre de científics europeus, i després alguns d’ells
varen visitar Postojnska Jama i les coves dels voltants en cerca de la rica fauna subterrània
recentment descoberta. Durant els anys següents, les noves espècies de coleòpters, ara-
neids, pseudoescorpins, diplòpodes, quilòpodes, crustacis i gasteròpodes cavernícoles
varen ser descrites per diversos naturalistes, fins al punt de convertir la Cova de Postojna en
el bressol d’una nova ciència, la Bioespeleologia, i en una autèntica Meca de la Biologia de
les cavernes. Posteriorment la rica fauna subterrània fou també descoberta a altres regions
d’Europa i als altres continents, però encara avui la Postojnska Jama manté el rècord pel que
fa al nombre d’espècies troglòbies que hi viuen al seu interior. Aquest article tracta també
d’altres aspectes, com ara la sinonímia de Leptodirus hochenwartii, la seva taxonomia més
recent i els problemes de conservació que l’afecten.
Introduction
The first written document about the real cave ani-
he was in fact writing about a true cave animal, but later
mals in Europe dates back to 1689. In his famous book
he recognized a sort of lizard or spring worm in this true
“Die Ehre des Hertzogthums Crain” (The Glory of the
cave salamander. In the century to follow this animal
Duchy of Carniola) the great Carniolian polyhisor
raised a great interest among the naturalists of that
Johann Veichard Valvasor spoke about the strange ani-
time. The Vienna doctor and zoologist Nicolaus Laurenti
mals, probably “dragon’s youngs” that were occasional-
was the first who in 1768 announced the new discovery
ly found in some springs. At first he did not suspect that
to the academic world, described the animal and named
it Proteus anguinus. Laurenti himself did not recognise
the animal as a cave animal, believing it lives in the
1
Notranjski Museum Postojna, Ljubljanska 10,
famous Lake Cerknica. Even thought several years later
SI-6230 Postojna, Slovenia slavko.polak@guest.arnes.si
the finds proved that this unusual amphibian was a cave
71

dweller, the scientists were much more interested in the
cave, he made another unexpected discovery in the
reduction of eyes, pigments, external gills and especial-
Postojna Cave too. In September 1831 he found a 7 mm
ly in a strange development and reproduction of Proteus
long beetle, resembling a big ant in the part of the cave
than in its cave environment (ALJANC
˘ IC˘ et al., 1993).
known as the Calvary. Despite his poor education he rec-
Underground caves were not seriously considered as a
ognized in the beetle an important creature. We need to
habitat for the animals by anyone until 1831 when the
point out that at that time the caves were not considered
first cave beetle was discovered in the Postojna cave.
to be a suitable habitat for any animal or plant. C
˘ ec˘
somehow preserved the specimen and on the first occa-
sion gave it to the count Franz Josef von Hochenwart
(1771 – 1844), who was at that time preparing the first
Discovery and first descriptions
printed guide about Postojna cave. Hochenwart (Figure
1) was the initiator of the Natural History Collection of
of Leptodirus hochenwartii
“Krainisches Landesmuseum” (Carniolian Regional
museum) in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and president of its
curatorium (ALJANC
˘ IC˘, 1986).
In 1818, when the local cave guide and lamp man
He donated to the museum his own collection of
named Luka C
˘ ec˘ found the inner parts of the Postojna
fossils and stalagmites from the Postojna cave. At that
cave, only the first 100 metres of the cave were acces-
time Carniola was a part of the Austro-Hungarian
sible to the visitors. After his discovery the local guides
monarchy and the German language was in use in offi-
penetrated underground, kilometres deep for the first
cial documents. Due to the changes in the old German
time. Not only kilometres of discovered caverns with
language rules, the count later wrote his name as Franz
breath taking stalagmites but also the new railway path
Hohenwart. That is important for the understanding of
from Vienna to Trieste that passed through Postojna,
the later common misspelling of the beetle’s name.
were, we believe, the important reasons for the unex-
Ho(c)henwart gave this unusual beetle specimen to the
pected and so fast developing Postojna cave tourism.
Carniolian famous entomologist Ferdinand Schmidt
There is not a known picture or detailed data about
(1791 – 1878). Schmidt (Figure 2) was an expert on
the local cave guide and lamp man Luka C
˘ ec˘. We believe
beetles and after a short study he recognized the beetle
he must have been a clever and perspicacious man. 13
as a true cave animal, new to science and adapted to
years after his discovery of the inner parts of the Postojna
the cave environment.
Figure 1: Franz Josef von Ho(c)henwart (1771 – 1844)
Figure 2: Ferdinand Schmidt (1791 – 1878)
Figura 1: Franz Josef von Ho(c)henwart (1771 – 1844)
Figura 2: Ferdinand Schmidt (1791 – 1878)
72

Figure 3: Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832
Figura 3: Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832
He did not only recognize the beetle as a new
abdomen are similar to the carabid beetle of Cychrus
species but he also classified it as a new genus. In hon-
genus. Articulated antennae are long, widened towards
our to the count Franz Ho(c)henwart the beetle got a
the apex and armed with hairy bristles. Pronotum is nar-
scientific name Leptodirus hochenwartii (Figure 3). The
row, the same is the head. Elitrae are smooth, extreme-
very first description was published by Ferdinand
ly spherical, convex and they do not cover only the
Schmidt in the article under the name “Beitrag zu
upper part of abdomen but extend to the lower part and
Krain’s Fauna” (Contribution to the fauna of Carniola),
leave only a part of the body in the middle free. The eli-
which appeared in the Carniolian paper Illyrisches
trae are narrow towards the abdomen apex. The legs
Blatt, on 21st January 1832 (Figure 4). Here is a part of
are long, similar to those of Carabid beetles (Carabus),
the English translation of the original description that
five articled and the tarsi armed with yellow-brownish
was written in the German language.
hairs” On the end of description he added: “I will present
“Extreme luckiness and precise observation have
a more precise description for entomologists only on
led a famous and highborn count Franz Hochenwart,
another occasion, in a special paper dedicated to this
who is member of many learned societies and earned
science.” (SCHMIDT, 1832a).
for natural history and a special friend of Entomology, to
Ferdinand Schmidt, who has a Hungaro - Austrian
the discovery of a new species from the order of
origin was a kind sympathizer of the Carniolian people
Coleoptera, that is on its finding place and extraordinar-
and even spoke local Slovene language (ALJANC
˘ IC˘,
ity excellent.
1991). Surprisingly enough, beside the description in
Because of its specific, narrow part, this beetle is
the German language and the Latin scientific name,
called Leptodirus (from LEPTOS – slender, DEIROS -
Schmidt added the Slovenian name “drobnovratnik”,
neck) and in the sign of respect and memory of its dis-
too. Drobnovratnik means slender-necked and is a
coverer, the adjective Hochenwartii is added and thus
translation from the Latin name. As you can see, the
the beetle is called Leptodirus Hochenwartii, in
count Ho(c)henwart was mentioned as a discoverer of
German Hochenwart’s Enghalskäfer and in Carniolan
the Leptodirus and not the uneducated and at that time
Drobnovratnik. It was found in the Postojna cave, on
unimportant cave guide Luka C
˘ ec˘. This injustice was
the mountain named Kalvarija in September last year by
present in the later literature, too and it occasionally
the Count and it was kindly given to me. Its length
appears even today, despite the fact that the curator of
counts four and its abdomen width counts 1fl “Linien”. It
the Trieste Natural History museum, Heinrich Freyer,
is shiny red-brown in colour. The head, mouthparts and
pointed to this error already in 1855.
73

Figure 4: The first description of Leptodirus
hochenwartii was published in
the magazine “Illyrisches Blatt”,
21st, January 1832.
Figura 4: La
primera descripció de
Leptodirus hochenwartii va ser
publicada a la revista “Illyrisches
Blatt” el 21 de gener de 1832.

Soon after the first description, SCHMIDT (1832b)
anyone who would find a second specimen. C
˘ ec˘ died in
indeed prepared and published another similar descrip-
1836 and the reward was never paid. Ferdinand
tion of the beetle in the Münich scientific paper
Schmidt continued his search for a new Leptodirus
Zeitschrift für Zoologie und vergleichende Anatomie.
specimen for another 16 years until he eventually found
Schmidt’s description of Leptodirus hochenwartii is
one in the Postojna cave in 1847 (SCHMIDT, 1847),
after the cave salamander Proteus anguinus, actually
practically on the same place. During his systematic
the description of the second true (troglobite) animal. It
search he discovered a whole range of other cave ani-
was the first description of a recognized cave animal
mals. He found strange eyeless and white crustaceans,
with the clear statement of its adaptations to subter-
spiders, millipedes and many other new beetles
ranean habitat. Furthermore, this discovery raised
(ALJANC
˘ IC˘, 1991). Schmidt was a specialist mainly on
extremely high interest among the European naturalists
beetles and he did not scientifically describe the other
of that time. Now we can say that not the discovery of
new cave animals despite the fact that he put them in
the Proteus, but the discovery of a small beetle
his famous collection and even gave them new names
Leptodirus was a turning point that led to a new science.
(Figure 5). He corresponded with quite some European
The story of unexpected findings of different cave fauna
scientists and many of them visited the Postojna cave in
representatives was a result of certain coincidence.
the years to follow. Among the first zoologists that visit-
The very first Leptodirus specimen, collected by
ed Schmidt was Jorgen Christian Schiödte from the
Luka C
˘ ec˘, which was studied by Schmidt to make his
Danish (Denmark) capital Copenhagen (Kjöbenhaven).
description, was partly damaged. C
˘ ec˘ probably dam-
He came to Carniola and in company with Ferdinand
aged the fragile animal during the capture. Schmidt
Schmidt visited many Slovene caves in August 1845.
promised 25 Guldens (Austrian gold coins - florins) to
Schiödte presented his findings to the Royal Danish
74

Figure 5: Detail from Ferdinand Schmidt’s collection, now deposited in
Figura 5: Detall de la col.lecció de Ferdinand Schmidt, actualment
the Slovenian Museum of Natural History in Ljubljana, with
dipositada al Museu Eslovè d’Història Natural de Ljubljana,
marked type specimens of Leptodirus hochenwartii.
amb els espècimens destacats de Leptodirus hochenwartii.
Academy of Science at the meeting on the 25th June
gle animal, known before as inhabitants of those caves;
1847 and the cave fauna sketch was published year
second, that I discovered more than twice as many new
later in the Academy’s Proceedings (SCHIÖDTE, 1848).
kinds, among which there were five types of new gen-
Next year SCHIÖDTE (1849) published a comprehen-
era; and finally, I discovered a part of the subterranean
sive study entitled “Bidrag til den underjordiske
Fauna hithero almost unknown. I believe I can offer
Fauna” (Contribution towards the Subterranean
materials for a systematic inquiry into the whole phe-
Fauna). He first described some new cave fauna, with
nomenon.” (SCHIÖDTE, 1851).
excellent iconographic details. The same contribution
In addition to his speech he described a new genus
and descriptions were translated by N. Wallich and writ-
of a tiny cave beetle Bathyscia from the Silphidae fami-
ten as Specimen Faunae Subterraneae for the Society
ly (now Leiodidae = Cholevidae). Within this genus he
of London in January 6th 1851.
described two new species B. byssina and B. montana.
In his speech and descriptions he wrote:
The short description of these tiny beetles is followed by
“I was determined, therefore, to arrange my plans in
four pages of the discussion about a strange new bee-
such a way, that I might connect my tour to the Alps with
tle from the (Adelsberg) Postojna cave. He described a
a visit to the caves in Carniola, and accordingly I select-
new genus and new species Stagobius troglodytes
ed the eastern portion of the Alps for my research. After
(Figure 6).
remaining there during the summer of 1845, I arrived at
Here is a short citation from his description: “The
Adelsberg (Postojna) in the early autumn. I examined
connate swollen and blader-formed elytra from a curi-
four caves; namely, that of Adelsberg, the Magdalena
ous contrast with the blind, long, narrow and depressed
and Luege caves, all in the neighbourhood of
head and the equally long, narrow, almost cylindrical
Adelsberg. The result was, first, that I found every sin-
protorax, and the slender and elongate shape of the
75

limbs Antenae 11-joined, clavate…” He was unable to
for Schmidt’s earlier findings of cave beetles. Schmidt
put the beetle in any known family and therefore he
led Schiödte on his visits to the Carniolian caves as
described a new subfamily Stagobiinae.
early as 1845, and it seems that only the STURM (1849)
In the same paper Schiödte described some other
citation in Deutchlands Insecten Fauna with the valida-
troglobite invertebrates new to the science. He
tions of Schmidt’s descriptions of Leptodirus hochen-
described the first cave collembolan Anurophorus stilli-
wartii and a clear lithographic outline convinced
cidi, the first cave spider Stalita taenaria, the first cave
Schiödte to take Schmidt’s papers into serious account.
pseudoscorpion Blothrus spelaeus, the first cave amphi-
Nevertheless, the discovery of a reach cave fauna
pod Niphargus stygius and the first cave isopod
in the Postojna cave attracted many European scientists
Titanethes albus. All the descriptions of the new species
and naturalists to visit it. It was visited by Victor
were accompanied by the fine, precise drawings and
Motschulsky from Rusia, H. Schaum, J. Sturm and G.
the important details concerning taxonomy. At the end of
Joseph from Germany, R. Khevenhüller – Metch and J.
his speech he proposed the first division of the inhabi-
H. Schiner from the Austrian monarchy. A sort of race
tants of caverns: These are Shade-animals, Twilight -
started to be the first to describe the new cave taxons.
animals, Cave - animals and Stalactite - cave animals.
Ferdinand Schmidt collected most of the species as a
It is clear, that Stagobius troglodytes is the same
first collector, but he was too cautious and many species
animal as Schmidts Leptodirus hochenwartii. In his first
placed in his collection were not scientifically described.
papers (SCHIÖDTE, 1848, 1849) he was convinced in
Beside a well known Leptodirus hochenwartii, he
the correctness of his descriptions, but at the end of
found: a new pterostichine beetle in 1832 that was later,
English translation of his speech in London (1851),
in 1846 described as Laemostenus schreibersi by
translator Dr. N. Wallich added an important sentence
Heinrich Carl Kuster. Schmidt had in his collection the
as an “Appendix to the above Memoir”, that indicates
cave cricket Troglophilus cavicola described later in
Schiödtes doubt. The following observations have been
1833 by D. Kollar, the cave pseudoscorpion named
communicated by the author, in a letter to Dr. Wallich:
Obisium troglodytes (described as Blothrus spelaeus by
”Through the kindness of Mr. Ferdinand Schmidt I
Schiödte in 1948) than the cave woodlice - isopod crus-
have since become acquainted with quarto paper, pub-
tacean Titanethes albus and the cave amphipode
lished by him (as it appears, a transcript from Illyrian
Niphargus. Last four species were scientifically
daily paper), entitled Naturhistorisches aus Krain
described by Schiödte in 1848 on the basis of speci-
(Communications on Natural History, from Carniola),
mens collected by himself in August 1845.
and dated 28th December 1847; in which that zealous
In 1852 Leon MILLER described the new species of
and, as respects the Fauna of caves, very meritorious
the cave beetle Bathysciotes khevenhuelleri collected
collector, gives an account of several new objects found
by R. Khevenhüller in the Postojna cave. This species
there. A new Anophthalmus, from the Sele grotto, has
was known, but not described by Henrich Freyer in 1833
now appeared in Sturm’s “Deutchlands Fauna” under
and by Schmidt in 1847 either (PRETNER, 1968a). In
the name A. Bilimeki (named after the discoverer, a
1835 E.A. Rossmäessler visited the Postojna cave. He
Cistercian divine). Two other animals likewise men-
took some stalagmites for souvenir and on the daylight
tioned here; Catops troglodytes
and Obisium
he found approximately 20 tiny snail shells on them. He
troglodytes, are probably identical with Bathyscia byssi-
wondered if the empty shells could have been the fos-
na and Blothrus spelaeus. Mr. Schmidt has likewise
sils, but nevertheless he described the species as
found Stagobius troglodytes in the Adelsberg grotto,
Carichium spelaeum in 1837. The species that later
referring it under the name of Leptodirus Hohenwarti,
changed its genus name to Zospeum is actually the first
represented in an annexed lithographic outline. It is
known and described cave snail. Now we know 20
mentioned at the same time, that fragments of the ani-
species of such cave snails in the genus dispersed in
mal had already been found in 1831, by Count Franz
the caves from the Pyrenees to the southern Balkan.
von Hohenwart, but that Mr. Schmidt had visited the
Half of the species live in Slovenia, the centre of the dis-
caves annually, from 1831 to 1846, on purpose to
tribution of Zospeum genus (BOLE, 1974).
search for it, but in vain. Sturm has now given a good
In 1854 Rudolf Ignaz Schiner and Johann Georg
account of this cave inhabitant in his “Deutchlands
Egger found the first cave fly Phora aptina. SCHINER
Fauna”, but appears not to have been acquainted with
(1854) in its contribution to the Cave fauna of Postojna,
my memoir. (Comparing his and Schmidts description
Predjama and Magdelena jama (Figure 7), all around
he noticed :) The anterior tarsi of the male are five-
Postojna gave the additional division of the inhabitants
joined, according to his account; so that my specimens
of caverns to the troglophiles, trogloxenes and troglo-
must be all females, and those points, to which I thought
bites, which is more or less valid even today. In 1855
I could attach external sexual differences, can only
Camill Heller gave the first description of the cave milli-
belong to individuals.”
pede Brachydesmus subterraneus and in 1880 R.
Here we can see that both, Schiödte and Schmidt
Latzel described the cave centipede Lithobius stygius
described the same species under different names.
and in 1884 another two milipede Acherosoma
According to the International Code of Zoological
troglodytes and Attemsia stygium all from the Postojna
Nomenclature, the validation of the first scientific
cave (PRETNER, 1968a).
description is accepted, so Schmidt’s description of
Without any doubt we can say that the Postojna
Leptodirus hochenwartii (SCHMIDT, 1832a) has a prior-
cave, where the first cave representatives of the most
ity over Schiödte’s Stagobius troglodytes (SCHIÖDTE,
invertebrate groups were found and described as ‘Type
1848). It is hard to believe, that Schiödte did not know
locality’, was and remaines a true biological Mecca.
76

Figure 6: Iconography annexed to the original description of the
Figura 6: Iconografia que apareix junt amb la descripció original de
Stagobius troglodytes published in “Bidrag til den underjordis-
Stagobius troglodytes, publicada a “Bidrag til den underjordis-
ke Fauna”, 1849.
ke Fauna”, 1849.
77

Later, the rich cave fauna was found in the Carpathians,
this aberrant form as well as earlier described forms L.
Alps, Apennines and Pyrenees as well as on the other
h. ab. deschmanni (JOSEPH, 1872) and L. h. ab. grou-
Continents, especially in the United States of America.
velli (JEANNEL, 1910) is not clear. The Leptodirus spec-
But nevertheless, the Postojna cave remains the birth
imens that were in 1911 found by V. Stiller in Croatian
place or the cradle of a new biological science, the
Ledenica cave near Lokve in Gorski Kotar, were later
biospeleology or speleobiology (Biospéologie in
described by Egon PRETNER (1955) as a new sub-
French). The Postojna cave is not famous only as the
species L. h. croaticus. In 1926 Giuseppe (Josef)
type locality of the first representatives of many cave
MÜLLER described the specimens from C
˘ ic˘arija in Istria
animal groups but also as the absolute record-holder in
as a new variety L. h. subsp. reticulatus var pretneri.
the number of troglobite species. Today we list 86
Pretner later gave a status of subspecies L. h. pretneri
species of the troglobites of the Postojna-Planina cave
to this type of specimens. For half a century that fol-
system, 2 more than were known in 2000 (CULVER &
lowed, the distribution of Leptodirus hochenwartii was
SKET). This cave is, respecting number of known
known as a typical Carniola or north Dinaric endemit
troglobites, the richest cave on the world, followed by
which could not be found beyond the Dinaric region in
the Vjetrenica cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
Slovenia or south of the line Zagreb – Krk in north
Romanian Pestera de la Movile cave on the third place.
Croatia. This line should have been the border of the so
s
cold Carniola cave fauna (JEANNEL, 1911).
Surprisingly enough in June 1965 Egon Pretner found
Leptodirus specimens more than 100 km to the south in
Present status, distribution and
southern Velebit Mountains. Those specimens were
recognised and described as a new subspecies
conservation of Leptodirus
Leptodirus hochenwartii velebiticus (PRETNER, 1970).
hochenwartii
As we can see the Leptodirus hochenwartii with its
6 known subspecies is one of the most widespread
species of the cave leptodirine beetles with typical
Let us return to the main object of this paper the
North-West Dinaric distribution (POLAK, 2002). It is the
Leptodirus hochenwartii beetle. Due to the fact that it is
first discovered and described cave beetle. Due to its
the first described cave beetle, the nomenclature mess
extremely troglomorphic and strange appearance it is
is to be expected. The first synonym for Leptodirus is
therefore the most famous cave beetle in the world.
the already mentioned Schiodte’s Stagobius troglo-
Beside the famous olm or human fish as named by local
dytes. In his later papers (1852), Ferdinand SCHMIDT
people, the cave salamander Proteus anguinus, this
used different spellings as Leptoderus, instead
cave beetle is becoming more and more popular animal
Leptodirus, which sporadically occur even a century
and in Slovenia its image is the base for an emblem of
later. There are some later spellings of the hochenwartii
Slovenian entomological society as well as for the mag-
in literature, too as hochenwarti or hohenwarti. The dif-
azine Acta entomologica Slovenica (Figure 8).
ferent spelling of the name of this beetle is present in the
Leptodirus found its place even on the Slovenian post-
serious scientific papers even today. Respecting the
cards. In the Postojna cave, a century-old idea was
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature we pro-
realised in April 2003 when speleobiological exhibition,
pose the use of the first written name in Illyrisches Blatt
laboratory and vivarium of cave animals was restored.
by Schmidt published in January 21st 1832 of Leptodirus
In the cave vivarum that contain some live specimens of
hochenwartii as a valid name. The first description was
cave fauna from Postojna cave, the cave beetle
published in the daily paper, appointing the scientific
Leptodirus hochenwartii is presented to the wider public
Latin name and giving the description of the animal,
not only to the biologists and cavers.
good enough to be accepted as original scientific
As a troglobiont and a strictly endemic animal the
description. In the recent revision and classification
Leptodirus is threatened by illegal and massive collect-
(NEWTON, 1998) the validation of the first used name
ing and indirectly by destruction and pollution of the
Leptodirus hochenwartii is accepted as well.
caves. As the filtrates of the percolating and dripping
Today only one species of genus Leptodirus with 6
water are deposited on the stalactites and cave sinter
subspecies is officially recognized. The subspecies
walls, any pollution on the surface can have significant
described by Schmidt with type locality in the Postojna
influence on these cave inhabitants beneath the sur-
cave are endemic to the Notranjska karst. In 1856 the
face. Therefore Leptodirus hochenwartii is protected in
Russian entomologist Victor MOTSCHULSKY
Slovenia as a species and its collecting needs official
described a new species Leptodirus schmidti from
permission. But official species protection did not ban
Velika jama near Trebnje in south-eastern Slovenia.
the potentional threat to species due to the habitat
This species was later recognized as a variety by
destruction or pollution. In the process of the last
Edmund Reitter and as subspecies by Ludwig
enlargement of the European Union with 10 new mem-
Ganglbauer, Rene JEANNEL (1924) and Egon PRET-
bers, Republic of Slovenia proposed Leptodirus
NER (1955, 1968b). In 1905 Josef MÜLLER described
hochenwartii (under the name L. hochenwarti) to be list-
a new subspecies Leptodirus hochenwarti reticulatus
ed on the Annexes II, IV (addition of species) of the EU
from Grota Noe near Trieste in Italy. Six years later
Habitat directive (SKOBERNE, 2002). The EU Council
Arturo SCHATZMAYR (1911) described a new notable
Directive (92/43/EEC) on the conservation of the natural
slender forma Leptodirus h. r. ab. bachofeni named after
habitats and of the wild fauna and flora has a list of ani-
Vienna Baron von Bachofen. The taxonomic status of
mal and plant species of community interest whose con-
78

Figure 7: Iconography of the first known cave fauna. From SCHINER, J.R.
Figura 7: Iconografia de la primera fauna cavernícola que va ser estu-
1854: Fauna der Adelsberger -, Lueger- und Magdalenen
diada al món. Correspon a la publicació de SCHINER, J.R.
Grotte. (Apud Schmidl A., Die Grotten und Hohlen von
1854: Fauna der Adelsberger -, Lueger- und Magdalenen
Adelsberg, Lueg, Planina und Laas, Wien).
Grotte. (Apud Schmidl A., Die Grotten und Hohlen von
Adelsberg, Lueg, Planina und Laas, Wien).

79

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research ZRC SAZU) and Marko Aljanc˘ic˘ who provided
Laibach.
me additional papers of J.C.Schiödte and Mrs. Alenka
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(ed.), (Faunus: Zeitschrift für Zoologie und vergleichende
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Dr. Tomi Trilar, curator of entomological department of
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381 - 382, Stettin.
the Slovenian Museum of Natural History in Ljubljana
STURM, J. H. C. F. (1849): Leptodirus. Halswalzenkäfer. Gattung der
who enabled me access to Schmidts collection and for
Familie der Scydmaenides. Deutschlands Insecten, 20: 91 – 100.
permission to use the Ferdinand Schmidt and Franz
SKOBERNE, P. (2002): Slovenija, Evropska unija in varstvo narave.
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Ho(c)henwarth portraits.
80