2007.II.18. Visegrádi-hg.

A few days after Attila and Tamás visited the valley of Sztaravoda and managed to find wintering adults and larvae of the violet click beetle, Limoniscus violaceus (Ph.Müller, 1843), along with dozens of another click beetle, Ischnodes sanguinicollis (Panzer, 1793), I decided to go and investigate the conditions of the discovery of these beetles. Three folks joined to me: Dr. Ottó Merkl, Attila Kotán and Tamás Németh.

Szentendre, Sztaravoda

When arriving at the edge of the forest, we spotted a strange sign of this year’s warm winter: flowering lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis L. could be seen here and there, although the normal flowering period of this plant is April and May.

The carefully managed forest of Király Valley presents a boring and featureless sight.

By searching through the hollows of the felled or fallen trees…

…and taking apart the wood mould to little bits, we found a true rarity:

wintering individuals of the violet click beetle, Limoniscus violaceus (Ph. Müller, 1843)!

Adults overwinter in the pupal cell, next to them the cast-off larval and pupal skins can be seen. This beetle is protected all over Europe and redlisted in most of the countries. In Hungary it is also protected by law, with a theoretical conservation value of 50 000 HUF. Until now it was found in very few places, but understanding its way of life, it may be recorded from several further places.

The larvae can easily be separated from the larvae of other click beetles which also live in similar circumstances.

Dozens of Ischnodes sanguinicollis (Panzer, 1793) were found in one of the hollows. This is also a hollow-dwelling species.

Its colour is a pleasant sight for an entomologist.

Larvae of Ischnodes sanguinicollis are predatory, and live in the same wood mould as Limoniscus violaceus.

Later in the morning we returned to the car to go to Pomáz.

Pomáz, Gyopár-forrás, Csikóváralja

At noon, we arrived at the Gyopár Stream near Pomáz, where the sun was shining. We were looking for tree hollows again, in the dry oak forest of a south-eastern slope.

The springtime came so early that the cornel, Cornus mas L. was already in full bloom.

In a poplar trunk lying at the stream we found many specimens of Aesalus scarabaeoides (Panzer, 1794).

... and a Carabus nemoralis O. F. Müller, 1764, with unusually bluish hue.

The closed forest was followed by a warm rock sward, where we were collecting by beating branches of the downy oaks (Quercus pubescens Willd.). In the warm, dry grass I saw this year’s first Ablepharus kitaibeli (Bibron & Bory, 1833).

Youngsters of green lizard, Lacerta viridis (Laurenti, 1768) were already in hunt.

This bizarre-looking assassin bug, Nagusta goedeli (Kolenati, 1856) was found by Ottó Merkl. It is a species of Mediterranean distribution.

The dried-out trunks can also hide interesting beetles.

In this dry oak-trunk we found more wintering click beetles in their pupal cells.

This is most probably Ampedus rufipennis (Stephens, 1830).

This showy Carabus intricatus Linnaeus, 1761 was hiding inside this trunk as well.

Translated by O. Merkl & T. Németh