Heteroptera of Slovenia

Endemic species

The Karst, or Kras in Slovene, is a calcareous plateau near the Gulf of Trieste, which gave the name to all karst phenomena in the world. It was deforested in early history by people who raised sheep and goats and was long known as a windy, stony desert. Nowadays, the land is largely left unmanaged, so that the region is in the natural process of reforestation. The exposed ridges of the highest peaks in the Karst and Istria, however, show much slower forest growth, if any. They reach something over 1000 m above sea level, not enough to be over the forest limit. But a strong, cold bora wind blows here, especially in winter, causing many tree and bush seedlings to dry up because they cannot get moisture from the frozen ground. Summer droughts add their role to the effect. Endemic grassland fauna, which is found here, is a proof of the permanent existence of grassland refuges on Karst peaks, where some steppe species survived and evolved into distinct species or subspecies.



The meadows on Mt. Vremščica (1027 m) are home to the endemic heteropteran bug Dimorphocoris saulii Wagner, 1965, which is wingless and thus cannot fly. Its foodplants are grasses of the genus Bromus. The nearest location where a relative species, D. servadeii, was discovered, is Monte Catria in the Italian Apennines, on the other side of the Adriatic sea. The common ancestor of both species probably also lived in the dry northern Adriatic sea bed during the glaciation periods of the Pleistocene, when the steppes were much more widely distributed.


 Saulijev dvoličnik



The shallow northern part of the Adriatic (in lighter color) was dry during the glaciations.



The other endemic heteropteran species is Halticus henschii Reuter, 1888, which has a wider living area. It was described from Gorica and lives on Mts. Nanos, Čaven and on the Karst plateau. Its foodplant is Genista sericea. Its closest relative, H. puncticollis, is distributed from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east. The records of this species from Italy and Slovenia refer to H. henschii.



 Henschev skakaček



In addition to these species we discovered Platycranus boreae Gogala, 2002, at the top of Mt. Lipnik in Čičarija, northern Istria, Slovenia, about 800 m above sea level. Its foodplant is Genista sericea, which is endemic to the western part of the Balkans. However, Knyshov & Konstantinov (2013) synonymized P. boreae with Platycranus remanei Wagner, 1955.





Description (*pdf)

The habitats of endemic species are all threatened because wind turbines are planned to be build atop karstic ridges!

Lipnik                                                  Genista sericea                                             Vremščica