As the summer has come, we continued our beetle collector adventures in Greece. The team was almost the same, with Attila and András, but now my girlfriend, Petra also joined us. A trip like this is very hard for a woman, but she was smart and assiduous, and helped us a lot in catching beetles. This time we planned a shorter and more comfortable, really summer trip in the northern and central part of Greece. But finally, we travelled 4000 kms again, so it was not a relaxing holiday. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny, except one or two rainy afternoons in the higher mountains. However, the heat made the collecting much harder, and some places were already desert-like.

Our first destination was in the Florina prefecture, only twenty kilometres from the border. This is a very wet area, with lush forests and several streams.


We set up our tents at 1300 metres above sea level, in a shady beech forest.

The long journey made us exhausted, but before sleeping we took a short trip in the forest with torches, searching for nocturnal beetles on the ground.

The first beetle was a nice wingless Dima species. Previously no Dima were known from this mountain, but this year my Italian colleague, Giuseppe Platia, described a new species from this prefecture .

A bigger (1 cm), quite rare darkling beetle: Laena schwarzi Reitter, 1885.

Accanthopus reitteri (Brenske, 1884) - this darkling beetle lives in Albania, Macedonia and in Greece only. It is much smaller and rarer than the more widespread Accanthopus velikensis (Piller et Mitterpacher, 1783), which occurs also in Hungary.

Nosodomodes diabolicus (Schaufuss, 1862) – cylindrical bark beetle, reminiscent of a small piece of fungusy wood.


On the next afternoon we found a clearing full of umbellifers, which attracted several beetle species.

Female of Anostirus binaghii Platia et Gudenzi, 2006.

For my friends, one of the most interesting species occurred in the afternoon.  Leptorhabdium illyricum (Kraatz, 1870 is a really popular "phantom" longhorn. We were really lucky to find this nice clearing – with the help of one of our kind French colleagues – and the umbels of chervils (Chaerophyllum sp.). I will never forget the magical hours, when these amazing longhorns were flying around the plants.


A monster  – this huge ground beetle Procerus gigas Creutzer, 1799 walked on the trail in front of Petra.

Phaenotherion ganglbaueri Apfelbeck, 1918 – fungus weevil, sifted from leaf litter of beech. In the Hungarian Natural History Museum we had until now only one old specimen from Montenegro.


Next morning: near to a sky centre, on 1700 metres.


Old and battered specimens of Dorcadion ljubetense Pic, 1909 were found after long search.

In the afternoon we headed to the Mountain Kaimaktsalan.

A few really worn specimens of Dorcadion kaimakcalanum Jurecek, 1929 were found at 1800 metres.


Cold and fresh streams flow across the mountain meadows.

Just below the top, at 2100 metres, near patches of snow, longhorns, click beetles and weevils skulked beneath the stones.


Dorcadion purkynei Heyrovsky, 1925. It was the peak of activity period for this handsome longhorn.

Huge, rough surfaced tiger beetles were running on the bare ground. Cicindela sylvatica fasciatopunctata Germar, 1844.

Selatosomus amplicollis (Germar, 1843).


We collected small click beetles from beneath stones, near to a stream.

Zorochros sp.

Hypnoidus riparius (Fabricius, 1782).

Ctenicera cuprea (Fabricius, 1775), from vegetation.

We found a warm patch of macchia at lower altitude for the night.

Morning surprise under the tent: Vipera ammodytes meridionalis Boulenger, 1903. We were lucky to avoid its bite, because it has the most potent venom among the European snakes.

Melanotus fusciceps Gyllenhal, 1817 – collected at light.

Next stop in a beech forest. I tried to collect another Dima species, but it was a bit late for these cold-loving click beetles. 

We found only larvae, probably those of D. riesei Platia, 2010.

Rhamnusium bicolor (Schrank, 1781).


We headed south, and visited the Ossa Mountain, as we did it last year.

We spent this night at lower areas, in an oak grove.

Galeodes graecus C. L. Koch, 1842. I was not informed that sun spiders (Solifugae) occur in Europe, so it was a breathtaking surprise to see them approach our light trap and steal moths.

Freshwater crab, probably Potamon fluviatile Herbst, 1758.

Niphona picticornis Mulsant, 1839, beaten from oak.

Isotomus speciosus (Schneider, 1787), from woodstack.

Coraebus fasciatus (Villers, 1789), netted from the canopy of oaks.

Cerambyx welensii Küster, 1846, collected by our light-trap.

Petra is having fun with turtles.


In the heat, cool streams and waterfalls like this provided open air bathrooms for us.


Finally, we visited the sea. We had a cheap and delicious lunch at a nearby tavern, and the warm sea was terrific.

In the afternoon, we visited our favourite chestnut grove of Ossa. 
In the mixed forest of this part of the mountain, several beetles were found.

Osmoderma lassallei Baraud et Tauzin, 1991 – hermit beetle.

Oberea oculata (Linné, 1758).

Collecting and reading at light.

Anoxia villosa (Fabricius, 1781)

Prionus corarius (Linnaeus, 1758).

Athous sp.

After installing our wine traps in the forest, we headed south again to visit the town of Volos. Unfortunately, the area was not suitable for collecting, so in the afternoon we headed to the Pindos Mountains.


Athous sp. from Volos.


In the forests of the southern Pindos, giant spruce trees stand silently.


Morimus asper Sulzer, 1776.

Mimela aurata (Fabricius 1801).

Anthaxia vittula Kiesenwetter, 1857.


Stictoleptura erythroptera (Hagenbach, 1822).

Although the southern Pindos was beautiful, not many beetles were seen, so next day we visited the oak groves of Vlahava, near to the famous Meteoras.

As we arrived in late afternoon, we started netting the canopy of oaks.

Elater ferrugineus Linnaeus, 1758 netted from a sunny oak.

Coraebus fasciatus (Villers, 1789) netted in considerable numbers from the canopy of oaks.

Bradyporus dasypus (Illiger, 1800). A huge and calm wingless bush cricket. In the 1860s this mouse-sized insect also inhabited Hungary (e.g. the Buda Hills), but since then its range has shrunk, and now it lives in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, with northernmost occurrences in southern Romania (Oltenia and northern Dobrogea) and southern Serbia.

Oryctes nasicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) collected at light.

In the morning eight highly agitated shepherd dogs attacked our campsite. With axes in our hands, we had to wait almost one hour, until they left us.

Purpuricenus kaehleri (Linnaeus, 1758).

Hermit beetles were crawling on relatively young oaks. Osmoderma lassallei Baraud et Tauzin, 1991.

Cerambyx welensii Küster, 1846 from a dying tree.

Petra spotted this Buprestis cupressi Germar, 1817 at the church of Vlahava.

We headed to Anixi, one of our well-known places. We were shocked seeing that the nearby river, where we planned to swim, was almost dried out, and angry dogs challenged us.


Last year I collected larvae here. As I got home, I found a freshly emerged Pittonotus theseus (Germar, 1817) in the breeding box.


Amorphocephala coronata (Germar,  1817) – one of the two straight-snouted weevils occurring in Europe.


 From here, we headed to the middle of the country, and found wonderful places. At 1300 metres beautiful meadows and forests welcomed us.

Zorochros sp. 3mm


Agapanthia sp.


Athous sp.


For the night, we visited a nearby beech forest, as our kind Czech colleagues advised.

Collecting at night was paid off. Several nocturnal beetles were found this time on the wet fallen leaves.
Carabus hortensis neumeyeri Schaum, 1856

Myas chalybaeus (Palliardi, 1825)

Dima macedonica (?) Schimmel, 1993.

Dima macedonica (?) Schimmel, 1993, larvae from the soil.

Chaetonyx robustus Schaum, 1862 – a ground-dwelling scarabaeoid beetle from the family Orphnidae.



Saphanus piceus (Laicharting, 1784) was still in its pupal chamber in beech logs.

We headed north, to higher levels, and the landscape was unbelievable.

We stopped at some places, and netted the canopy of the centuries-old
Bosnian pine trees (
Pinus heldreichii H. Christ. 1863).

Dicerca moesta (Fabricius, 1792).


Buprestis octoguttata Linnaeus, 1758.

Chalcophora intermedia (Rey, 1890).


Monochamus galloprovincialis Olivier, 1795.

Pedostrangalia pubescens Fabricius, 1787.

Buprestis splendens Fabricius, 1775.

Our road led to the northern Pindos, to find the locality of another Dima species.

As the sun went down, we started searching. It was worthy.


Dima pindosensis (?) Schimmel et Platia, 2009.


Agriotes sp.


After seven days, we arrived back to the Ossa Mountain.

Our light attracted some beetles again.

Polyphylla fullo (Linnaeus, 1758). At light, together with Polyphylla boryi Brullé, 1832.

Anoxia matutinalis Laporte de Castelnau, 1823


Near to our campsite, we spotted several freshly placed insect traps in the cavities of beech trunks. Actually these were very makeshift traps: plastic glasses, full with fruits. We did not touch them, but I saw only flies and ants in them.

Next morning, we started emptying our traps left in lower altitude. I found again simple traps of others and whole bananas nailed to the living trees, and unfortunately, one of our traps was looted and refilled with some unattractive slop. That was a pity. I checked one of their traps, and left a notice for them about fair play. But anyway, our traps placed high in the canopy were really effective during these seven days. Longhorns:
Ropalopus siculus (Stierlin, 1864), Purpuricenus kaehleri (Linnaeus, 1758), Purpuricenus globulicollis Mulsant, 1839, Leioderes kollari (L. Redtenbacher, 1849), Stenocorus meridianus (Linnaeus, 1758), Cerambyx welensii Küster, 1846, Cerambyx cerdo Linnaeus, 1758, fruit chafers: Protaetia aeruginosa (Drury, 1770), Protaetia fieberi (Kraatz, 1880), Protaetia cuprea obscura (Andersch, 1797), Protaetia mirifica koenigi (Reitter,1894, Cetonia aurata (Linnaeus, 1761), Potosia angustata (Germar, 1817), Gnorimus nobilis (Linnaeus, 1758), Gnorimus variabilis (Linnaeus, 1758), Osmoderma lassallei Baraud & Tauzin, 1991 and click beetles: Elater ferrugineus Linnaeus, 1758 were in the eight traps, some of them in great numbers.

Ropalopus siculus (Stierlin, 1864).

We caught the moment of the sunset, just as 13 months ago, in the same place here.

After 13 days, we headed home. For us, this was the first summertime collecting in Greece . The main aim was to catch summer-active species. The mission was accomplished for the most part, and several spring-active beetles were caught on higher areas. Anyway, we collected interesting species again, but the lesson for us was that springtime collecting is easier and more effective in Greece.

Copyright © 2009. Hungarian Natural History Museum, Department of Zoology, Coleoptera Collection