Morimus asper (Sulzer, 1776)
ssp. asper (Sulzer, 1776)

Subfamilia: LAMIINAE  /  Tribus: LAMIINI
Morimus asper asper
[Photo © Daniel Rydzi]

Morimus asper asper, a nominotypical subspecies distributed in South and South-Eastern Europe, has been described from Italy as Cerambyx Asper by Johann Heinrich Sulzer in 1776 [✧]. M. asper asper, an extremely polyphagous species in both deciduous and coniferous trees, inhabits mainly old-growth forests or well-structured woodlands, with a medium-high density of dead wood. Its larvae develop in a dead wood, fresh stumps, dead parts of standing trees and in wood with bark lying on the ground. Adults, active from April to October, are crepuscular and nocturnal but it is also not uncommon to observe them during the day, even during the warmest hours. Biology of this remarkable species (sensu lato) was in detail described in a brilllant paper by Sönke Hardersen et al. published in 2017 [☆].

Body length:15 - 38 mm
Life cycle:several years
Adults in:April - October
Host plant:extremely polyphagous in deciduous and coniferous trees (Abies, Picea, Acer, Alnus, Castanea, Platanus, Juglans, Populus, Prunus, Quercus, Salix, Ulmus, Tilia, Fagus)
Distribution:Albania, France, Greece, Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey

The depicted beetle was photographed in Taygetos Mts. (Peloponnese, Greece) on June 2, 2019.

Collected by Daniel Rydzi

The taxonomic status of Euro-Anatolian Morimus species is unclear, but the recent [❖] and by presented data very well supported work of Emanuela Solano et al. says:

"The genetic variability among Euro-Anatolian Morimus populations and the geographical structure suggest that they can not be ascribed to the currently accepted five W Palaearctic Morimus species and may actually represent a single, genetically and morphologically variable biological species (M. asper), highlighting the necessity of an extended taxonomical revision."

The existence of only one, very variable M. asper taxon, is supported also by authors of this site. But until well done revision of the Morimus genus, the traditional division to several taxa will be preserved here.

Sulzer J.H.:
Abgekurzte Geschichte der Insekten nach dem Linaeischen System.
Winterthur 1: 274pp, 1776. [download pdf icon]

Solano E., Mancini E., Ciucci P., Mason F., Audisio P., Antonini G.:
The EU protected taxon Morimus funereus Mulsant, 1862 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and its western Palaearctic allies: systematics and conservation outcomes.
Conservation Genetics 14: 683–694, 2013. [download pdf icon]

Hardersen S., Bardiani M., Chiari S., Maura M., Maurizi E., Roversi P.F., Mason F., Bologna M.A.:
Guidelines for the monitoring of Morimus asper funereus and Morimus asper asper.
Nature Conservation 20: 205–236, 2017. [download pdf icon]

ÿR> Morimus asper asper
Morimus asper asper
[Photo © Daniel Rydzi]
Morimus asper asper
[Photo © Daniel Rydzi]

SubfamiliaLamiinae Latreille, 1825
TribusLamiini Latreille, 1825
GenusMorimus Brullé, 1832
SpeciesMorimus asper (Sulzer, 1776)
SubspeciesMorimus asper asper (Sulzer, 1776)