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S. Polak. Importance of discovery of the first cave beetle Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832

Андрей Лобанов

Importance of discovery of the first cave beetle Leptodirus hochenwartii Schmidt, 1832.
ENDINS, num. 28. 2005. Mallorca.
Caves were not seriously considered as a habitat for the animals until 1831 when the first cave (troglobite) beetle was discovered in the Postojna cave. The 7 mm long troglomorphic beetle was firstly described by Ferdinand Schmidt under the name Leptodirus hochenwartii in the article "Contribution to the fauna of Carniola" which appeared in the Carniolian paper Illyrisches Blatt, on 21st January 1832. During his systematic search for additional specimens, Schmidt discovered a whole range of other cave animals but with exception of beetles he didn't scientifically described them. Schmidt was in correspondences with quite some European scientists and later many visited the Postojna and surrounding caves in the search for recently discovered reach subterranean fauna. In the years to follow, the new species of cave beetles, spiders, pseudoscorpions, millipedes, centipedes, crustaceans and snails were described by various naturalists, giving the Postojna cave the name a biospeleological Mecca and the birth place or cradle of a new biological science, the biospeleology or speleobiology. The reach subterranean fauna was later discovered in the other parts of Europe and other Continents too, but the Postojna cave is absolute record-holder respecting the number of known troglobite species even today. The Leptodirus hochenwartii synonymy, recent taxonomy and the conservation issues are discussed in the paper.

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