Turkey is well known for its unique, beautiful and very diverse nature. The striking richness of Turkey is particularly amplified by three natural factors: a) the remarkable geological diversity and related differentiation of both the parent rocks and soils, b) the varied topography and related climatic factors affected by the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and c) the moderate human interference which diversified ecosystem development in the last centuries. At present the number of Cerambycidae species occurring in Turkey is estimated to be about 500 and there is a very high degree of endemism among them. Moreover, each year new species are being described from this country. The facts that the Turkish people are very tolerant and friendly and that prices in Turkey are relatively low make Turkey an ideal country for biologists.
Equipped by a Swedish car, Norwegian saws, and an American GPS system our Czech group set off starting from Prague. It is a long way to Turkey and so we made a little stop in the south of Bulgaria and collected Pedestredorcadion axillare (Küster) and Pilemia serriventris Holzschuh there. Soon we arrived in the European Turkey and visited Pinarhisar, a locality situated not far from the Bulgarian border. Here we collected Brachyta balcanica Hampe, Pedestredorcadion regulare (Pic), and Neodorcadion exornatum (Frivaldszky). Having crossed the Dardanells by a ferry we reached the NW of the Asian Turkey, a region especially rich in Pedestredorcadion species. In the surroundings of Balikesir, Manisa, Salihli, and Ödemis we recorded Pedestredorcadion smyrnense (Pic), Pedestredorcadion coiffaiti Breuning, Pedestredorcadion quadripustulatum (Kraatz), Pedestredorcadion weyersi (Fairmaire), Pedestredorcadion cinctellum (Fairmaire), and Maculatodorcadion triste triste (Frivaldzsky). Apart from Pedestredorcadion species several other Cerambycidae were recorded in this region: Pilemia maculifera Holzschuh, Agapanthia asphodeli (Latreille), Agapanthia lateralis Ganglbauer, Purpuricenus desfontainei inhumeralis Pic, and Cerambyx carinatus Küster.
Eventually after a long journey we arrived in the first locality planned for a detailed recording. The place is called Avlanbeli pass (1120 m, 3632N 2959E, 10.-11.V.2001) situated about 25 km south of Elmali (S Turkey) which we believe is the type locality of Rhagium elmaliense. This species has only recently been described according to a single specimen by Schmid (1999). In the pass we saw an exciting example of an almost intact Cedar forest of the Taurus mountains. Apart from Cedrus libani, Quercus calliprinos, Juniperus excelsa, Acer sempervirens, Acer platanoides, Ulmus montana, Populus tremula, and Cercis siliquastrum many other tree and shrub species were present (Figures 1 - 4). Soon we found out that the rich vegetation supports a very rich insect fauna as well. We recorded Glaphyra tenuitarsis Holzschuh, Calchaenesthes oblongomaculatus (Guérin), Cortodera imrasanica Sama et Rapuzzi, Alosterna anatolica Adlbauer, Purpuricenus dalmatinus Sturm, Delagrangeus angustissimus angustissimus Pic, Stenhomalus bicolor (Kraatz), but most importantly our senior colleague Stanislav Kadlec (in Figure 2) managed to find Rhagium elmaliense Schmid, 1999, the second existing specimen, and in this way he confirmed the existence of this species.
Strongly encouraged by the great success we set off for Irmasan Gecidi, the type locality of another exciting longhorn beetle: Poecilium magnanii Sama et Rapuzzi. On the way there we made a short stop in Perge (NE Antalya) where we managed to find Parmena mutilloides Sabbadini et Pesarini. In the evening we reached Irmasan Gecidi seeing the most exciting Abies cilicica forest. We put up our tents and went to bed with great expectations. It poured with rain the whole night. The next morning the sky was clouded and the heavy clouds had the most awkward colour we had ever seen: dark brown! Soon from these clouds a mixture of water and mud started to pour on the top of our heads and we were happy to get lost very quickly leaving Poecilium magnanii in peace. As the rain was present in nearly all of Turkey we decided to go to the driest parts of the country: the south-east. And indeed as soon as we crossed the legendary Euphrates river the sunshine was back.
Our second planned stop was the region between the cities Mardin and Midyat (Figures 5 - 9) and especially Hop Gecidi (Figures 5 and 6), the type locality of Trichoferus lunatus (Szallies) described in 1994 according to a single specimen. It was quite difficult to find any fragments of the dry Quercus brantii forest-steppe, a habitat typical for this region. The last remnants of this habitat revealed insect species like: Purpuricenus cornifrons Sabbadini et Pesarini, Purpuricenus dalmatinus Sturm (forming a distinct subspecies here), Calchaenesthes oblongomaculatus diversicollis Holzschuh (which we believe is a good species), Pygoptosia speciosa (Frivaldszky), Helladia pretiosa fatima (Ganglbauer), and Helladia adelpha (Ganglbauer). Moreover, in a rather unusual substrate we collected larvae of an unknown Cerambycid. To our great surprise later Trichoferus lunatus (Szallies, 1994) hatched from these larvae. Again to our best knowledge this is the first record of this animal species since its description.
After crossing the river Tigris (Figure 10) we went northward to the lake Van where we made two short stops. In the surroundings of the city Tatvan (Figures 11 and 12) we collected Pedestredorcadion holzschuhi Breuning, Coptosia compacta (Ménétriés), Coptosia bithynensis (Gaglbauer), Anisorus quercus (Götz), Helladia millefolii millefolii (Adams), Agapanthia coeruleipennis Frivaldszky but most importantly a still undetermined Pilemia species.
The third locality we planned to search, Buglan Gecidi (Figures 13 - 18), is in my opinion by far the most interesting and richest place in Turkey. The pass is situated between the cities Mus and Bingöl in Serafettin mts. on the border of the subalpine grass-steppes of eastern Anatolia and the dry Quercus brantii forest-steppe. The reason for the unusual species diversity and the very high degree of endemism of this relatively small place is still an enigma for us. In only few days we recorded a whole spectrum of Cerambycidae species: Cortodera colchica Reitter, Cortodera syriaca Pic, Anisorus quercus (Götz), Rhagium phrygium Daniel, Purpuricenus dalmatinus Sturm, Plagionotus arcuatus (Linnaeus), Cribriodorcadion mniszechi (Kraatz), Pedestredorcadion holzschuhi Breuning, Agapanthia fallax Holzschuh, Agapanthia frivaldszkyi Ganglbauer, Agapanthia simplicicornis Reitter, Semnosia imperatrix kurdistana (Breuning), Pteromallosia albolineata (Hampe), Helladia plasoni Ganglbauer, Helladia armeniaca Frivaldszky, Helladia millefolii millefolii (Adams), Helladia praetextata (Steven), Helladia diademata (Faldermann), Phytoecia katarinae Holzschuh, Phytoecia achilleae Holzschuh, Phytoecia icterica annulipes Mulsant, Musaria anatolica Fuchs, Musaria puncticollis puncticollis (Faldermann), Musaria tuerki (Ganglbauer), Coptosia compacta (Ménétriés), Coptosia bithynensis (Gaglbauer), Opsilia coerulescens (Scopoli) but most importantly one specimen of a very nice and still undetermined Clytus species resembling Clytus vesparum Reitter.
On our way home we shortly collected in the surroundings of Elazig (where we collected Neomusaria salvicola Holzschuh, Semnosia interrupta (Pic), and Micromallosia heinzorum Holzschuh), Darende (Pedestredorcadion menradi Holzschuh, Pedestredorcadion merkli Ganglbauer, and Micromallosia heydeni (Ganglbauer)), Tokat (Anaglyptus mysticoides Reitter, Pseudosphegesthes samai Danilevsky, Cortodera humeralis orientalis Adlbauer, and Chlorophorus dominici Sama), Sinop (Pedestredorcadion sinopense Breuning, Pedestredorcadion pseudopreissi Breuning, and Pedestredorcadion rufipenne major Breuning, and finally Kastamonu [Pedestredorcadion preissi (Heyden)].
MH & MR © May 16, 2003