Morimonella bednariki Podaný, 1979

Subfamilia: LAMIINAE  /  Tribus: MORIMONELLINI
Morimonella bednariki

[Photo © David Navrátil, click on the picture for 4K resolution]

Morimonella bednariki has been described from Gagra (Abkhazia) by Čeněk Podaný in 1979 [▽]. The distribution area of this enigmatic Cerambycid is very small and includes only the North-Western Caucasus. Had it not been for the first finding in Gagra, Morimonella would probably be the most interesting and unique Russian endemic longhorn beetle. And the whole story of finding and describing this species is also very interesting.

The description of this large and beautiful longhorn beetle based on three specimens found by a Czech amateur entomologist in the vicinity of the famous resort town of Gagra in 1979 became a kind of sensation among Russian entomologists. There were many reasons for this reaction. First of all, not just a description of a species new to science was published, but also a new genus, and even a new tribe (although, in violation of the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the tribe for the genus Morimonella was for some reason named Oligorchini and later had to be renamed Morimonellini). And this is in the Cerambycidae family, which was then considered well studied for the territory of the former USSR. Over the last quarter of a century (in time of the description), only 3 new species were described from the former USSR and border regions, requiring the establishment of new genera for them (Paramallosia Fuchs, 1955; Pseudogaurotina Plavilsthikov, 1958; Nadezhdiana Tsherepanov, 1976). All these three species are small beetles from remote and poorly visited regions (the Far East and Afghanistan). And there was no such case for a new species from the USSR (or Russian Empire) to describe a new tribe in the entire 20th century. Therefore, the establishment of a new tribe for a beetle more than 20 mm long collected at an altitude of 100-200 m a.s.l. (i.e., almost on the Black Sea beach) in Gagra, which almost all Russian entomologists visited, was difficult to take seriously.

The top Russian Cerambycidae-specialists were also very sceptical thanks to the quality of the photographs in the publication describing Morimonella, where was photo of Morimus verecundus barely different from the new species. They have long believed that the material for the article was either the aberrant specimens of Morimus verecundus or, in the extreme case, the specimens of a new species of the genus Morimus. Eventually, however, several old specimens of this species were found in Russian museum collections, which remained unnoticed and undescribed until 1979, and so the existence of this great "surprise" was generally accepted. The Russian cerambycidologist Alexander Ivanovich Miroshnikov then made a great contribution to the study of the biology of this species. He found Morimonella near Krasnodar, and described perfectly its all developmental stages and also its bionomy [✧]. Larvae, like adult beetles, have a unique complex of morphological characters and differ significantly from other genera of Lamiinae subfamily, so the unique status of this beetle was confirmed...

Body length:14 - 22 mm
Life cycle:2 years
Adults in:May - July
Host plant:polyphagous in decidous trees (Prunus, Carpinus etc.)
Distribution:an endemic species to NW Caucasus (Russia, Abkhazia)

The depicted beetles were collected on Shchotka (Щётка) mountain (600 m a.s.l., Goryachy Klyuch district, Krasnodar Krai, Southern Federal District, Russia) in May 2003 and May 2014.

Collected by S. Dementiev

Podaný Č.:
Morimonella bednariki (Oligorchini) Tribu, genre et espèces nouveaux (Col. Cerambycidae).
Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de Mulhouse [juillet-septembre 1979]: 43-44, 1979. [download pdf icon]

Miroshnikov A.I.:
К познанию жуков-дровосеков (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) Кавказа. 1.
[ Contribution to the knowledge of the Longicorn Beetles (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) of the Caucasus. I. ]
Энтомологическое обозрение 69 (1): 84-92, 1990. [download pdf icon]

SubfamiliaLamiinae Latreille, 1825
TribusMorimonellini Lobanov, Danilevsky et Murzin, 1981
GenusMorimonella Podaný, 1979
SpeciesMorimonella bednariki Podaný, 1979