Weevil News



 10 pp.

21 October 2001

ISSN 1615-3472

Knutelski, S. (2001): Cryptorhynchinae weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) of the Tatra Mountains. Contributions to the weevil fauna of the Tatra Mountains.

Weevil News: http://www.curci.de/Inhalt.html, No. 6: 10 pp., CURCULIO-Institut: Mönchengladbach. (ISSN 1615-3472).



Cryptorhynchinae weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) of the Tatra Mountains. Contributions to the weevil fauna of the Tatra Mountains


By S t a n i s ł a w  K N U T E L S K I


with 41 figures



Data on the distribution of five weevil species (Cryptorhynchus lapathi, Acalles camelus, A. commutatus, Onyxacalles croaticus, O. pyrenaeus) of the subfamily Cryptorhynchinae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) occurring in the Tatra Mountains with all collecting data are given. A. commutatus is recorded for the first time for the Tatra Mountains, and 4 other species are new (*) for the fauna of the particular region of the Tatra Mountains. Finally, all faunistical data on the remarkable species of the Tatra Mountains are shown and discussed.



Key words: Faunistics, distribution, ecology, mountains of Europe, Carpathians, Poland, Slovakia, Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Cryptorhynchinae, Cryptorhynchus, Acalles, Onyxacalles.



            Between the Alps and Caucasus, the Tatra [Fig. 1] are the highest mountains in central Europe [Fig. 2]. This mountain massif forms a natural geographical and ecological barrier and has played an important role for the distribution of the insect fauna in Europe during the past epochs of Quaternary and recently.

The weevil fauna of the Tatra Mountains, and especially the Cryptorhynchinae subfamily is not well known. Up from starting of my faunistical researches in 1985, only two species were known: Cryptorhynchus lapathi and Onyxacalles pyrenaeus from the Tatra Mountains [M. Łomnicki 1866, 1868] [Smreczyński 1932] [Endrödi 1961]. Not long ago I recorded [Knutelski 1988] [Knutelski & Knutelska 1998] two further species: O. croaticus and Acalles camelus from this mountain massif.

In this paper I summarize all my faunistical data on Cryptorhynchinae weevils from the Tatra Mountains. For some of the weevils there is a big number of new records, and A. commutatus is recorded for the first time from this mountain massif.


Area of research

            The Tatra Mountains (49oN, 20oE) form the highest range in the Carpathians [Fig. 2] [Fig. 3] at northern territory of Slovakia and the southern part of Poland [Fig. 1]. The highest summit is Gierlach (2663 m above sea level) in Slovakian territory, and Rysy (2499 m a.s.l.) in Poland. Length W-E: 53 km, length of the main ridge: about 80 km; width S-N: 18,5 km. The Tatra Mountains are covering a comparatively small area of 750 km2, but show typical features of an alpine massif [Fig. 6]. The majority of the area belongs to Slovakian territory, in Poland there is only 24 % of the Tatra area and all belonging to the Tatra National Park. On Slovakian side also the majority of area of the Tatra Mountains is protected by law as the Tatranský narodný park. From 1993 the Tatra Mountains are mentioned by international organizations of wild-nature conservation as the Nature Reserve “Tatra”.

            The Tatra Mountains form three principal, distinct geobotanical subdistricts (regions): Western Tatra [Fig. 5] [Fig. 12] (in Polish and Slovakian territory), to 2248 m of altitude, on the base of sedimentary and crystalline rocks; High Tatra [Fig. 6] [Fig. 7] [Fig. 18] (in Polish and Slovakian territory), - 2663 m, crystalline and sedimentary rocks; Belianske Tatra [Fig. 8] [Fig. 9] (only in Slovakian territory), - 2151 m, sedimentary rocks.

Crystalline rocks [Fig. 7] (granites, gneisses, mylonites, crystalline slates) are of Paleozoic age, and sedimentary rocks [Fig. 9] (limestones, dolomites, marls, shales, sandstones and breccias) of Mesozoic age.

The major relief-features are of Tertiary age (two planation surfaces and a system of valleys coinciding with the primary inclinations and the geologic structure, which dates from that time). These relief features were significantly changed during the Pleistocene, due to glacial and periglacial processes, and slightly modified during Holocene.

            The climate is mountainous of the temperate zone, prevalent winds come from NW and W, also local warm foen-like winds called “halny”, from S to N, +- 60 m/s.

            Considerable differentiations of climatic conditions along the altitudinal gradient, pronounced relief, varied geological substrata, soils, and the geomorphological character contribute to a great range of habitats. Together these characteristics result in great diversity and distinctness of the flora and of plant communities. The Tatra Mountains are divided into five bioclimatic belts: 1 - lower montane belt (near 900 to 1250 m a.s.l.) [Fig. 10] [Fig. 11], 2 - upper montane belt [Fig. 13] (1250-1500 m), 3 - dwarf pine belt (= subalpine belt) (1500-1780 m), 4 - alpine belt (1780-2350 m), subnival belt (above to summits) [Fig. 7].

Flora and vegetation [Fig. 10] [Fig. 13] [Fig. 14] [Fig. 15] [Fig. 17] [Fig. 19] [Fig. 21] [Fig. 22] [Fig. 23] of the Tatra were strongly influenced during the Pleistocene and were significantly changed during the Holocene. The present plant cover and fauna have been strongly influenced and changed by historical and contemporary human activities (wasteful forest exploitation connected with development of settlements, pasturage, mining and metallurgy, various types of tourism and long-distance influences). For more detailed information on geology, geomorphology, climate and plant cover of the Tatra Mountains see: Browicz & Zarzycki [1987], Mirek Piękoś-Mirkowa [1992], Pawłowski [1972] and Szafer [1962].           



During the field study on weevils in the whole area of the Tatra Mountains in 1985-1999, about 28 000 specimens were collected, and among them 23 643 were caught by the author. Only 74 specimens of the Cryptorhynchinae subfamily were identified in this material. The Cryptorhynchinae weevils were collected [Fig. 16] at 30 localities in the Tatra Mountains. [Fig. 30] [Fig. 31] [Fig. 32] [Fig. 33] [Fig. 34] [Fig. 35]. Six further specimens were identified in museum collections. All collecting data and ecological informations are summarized and most of published data were added (if necessary), resulting in a current Cryptorhynchinae fauna of the Tatra Mountains. The taxonomic nomenclature used here is that of Stüben [1999]; synonyms of the Tatra’s weevils were given too. New records for the remarkable regions of the Tatra Mountains are indicated by an asterisk (*). For weevils preserved in the museums referred to in the text, the following acronyms are used:

MIZ - Museum & Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Science, Warszawa (Poland).

ISAE - Institute of Systematic & Animal Evolution, Polish Academy of Science, Kraków  (Poland).

SNMB - Slovak National Museum, Bratislava (Slovakia).

In the text I used also some symbols and abbreviations: SK - S. Knutelski; BT - Belianske Tatra region, SWT - Western Tatra region in Slovakian territory, SHT - High Tatra region in Slovakian territory, PWT - Western Tatra region in Polish territory, PHT - High Tatra region in Polish territory,  * - recorded for the first time; a.s.l. - above sea level; val. - valley; loc.- locality; ex. or exx. - exemplar or exemplares.



Cryptorhynchus lapathi (Linnaeus, 1758) [Fig. 24]

            C. lapathi L.: Nowicki (1873).

            *PHT [Fig. 6] [Fig. 18]: Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza [Fig. 30], 1906/6/28, 1 ex. in the cutting forest near road, leg. S. Stobiecki, coll. ISAE, and 1951/5/21, 1 ex., leg. M. Węgrzecki, coll. MIZ, det. SK.

            *PWT [Fig. 5] [Fig. 13]: Kuźnice [Fig. 30], 1897/7/6, 1 ex., in the cutting coniferous forest, leg. S. Stobiecki, coll. ISAE, det. SK.  

            C. lapathi is recorded for the first time from the regions of the High and Western Tatras regions. This species was recorded or quoted many times before from the Tatras massif as a whole, but generally without data on localities [M. Łomnicki 1866, 1868] [Nowicki 1873] [Petryszak 1982] [Knutelski & Skalski 1993] [Burakowski et al. 1995].

            C. lapathi is very rare in the Tatra Mountains and occurs only in wet habitats in some valleys at the base of the massif where it reaches the upper limit of its vertical distribution.

            This palearctic weevil colonized the whole area of Poland without Góry Świętokrzyskie Mts., Western and Eastern Sudetes [Burakowski at al. 1995].


Acalles camelus (Fabricius, 1792) [Fig. 25]

            BT [Fig. 8]: Tatranska Kotlina - Sumivy pramen [Fig. 31], 860-910 m a.s.l., 1991/9/14, 1 ex. in beech forest (Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum association) from the floor plants using an entomological sweep net, leg., det. and coll. SK.

            This locality has just been quoted by Knutelski & Knutelska [1998].

            *SWT: Kycera [Fig. 31], 830-891 m a.s.l., 1993/9/14, 2 exx. in the brushwood of the montane xerothermophilous zone, one of the individuals was collected using a sweep net, and a second one was sieved from the litter under Thymus sp., small spruces (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), asps (Populus tremula L.), birches (Betula pendula Roth), large-leaved willows (Salix caprea L.), Dianthus sp. and Centaurea sp.; Sucha val. (= Sucha dolina) [Fig. 31], 800 m a.s.l., 1993/9/14, 1 ex. in the brushwood of Carpathians alder (Alnetum incanae association) was sieved from the litter under alders (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.), spruces, ashes (Fraxinus excelsior L.), hazels (Corylus avellana L.), dogwoods (Cornus sanguinea L.), lilacs (Syringa vulgaris L.) and large-leaf willows, leg., det. and coll. SK.

Acalles camelus is recorded for the first time from the Western Tatra region. It was discovered in the Tatra Mountains for the first time not long ago [Knutelski & Knutelska 1998], and is known only from the southern Slovakian slopes of the massif where it reaches 910 m of altitude. It is often found also in beech forests (Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum association) and mixed coniferous-deciduous forest at the lower montane belt in the Tatra Mountains [Fig. 17] [Fig. 37] [Fig. 38] [Fig. 39].

            This species is distributed in Europe from Italy and Yugoslavia to France and central European countries and to Denmark and southern Sweden [Burakowski at al. 1995].


*Acalles commutatus Dieckmann, 1982 [Fig. 26]

            *BT [Fig. 8]: Javorina [Fig. 32] 1938/7/3, 3 exx., leg. J. Roubal, coll. SNMB, det. SK.

            *SWT: Bobrovecka vapenica [Fig. 32], 945-980 m a.s.l., 1997/8/16, 1 ex. in the brushwood of the montane xerothermophilous zone with isolated spruces and willows was sieved from the litter; Podnestrova [Fig. 32], 820-860 m a.s.l, 1997/8/16, 1 ex. in herbaceous plants near the stream sieved from the litter [Fig. 37]; Sucha val. [Fig. 32], 800 m a.s.l., 1993/9/14, 1 ex. in the  brushwood of alder (Alnetum incanae association) was sieved from the litter under alder, spruce, ash, hazel, dogwood, lilac and large-leaf willow, leg., det. and coll. SK.

A. commutatus is recorded for the first time to the Tatra massif as a whole, and it is new for the weevil fauna of the Belianske Tatra and Western Tatra regions belonging to the Slovakian territory. In the Tatra Mountains the upper limit of this weevil is 980 m a.s.l.

 This species was described not long ago [Dieckmann 1982], and is known recently from the eastern parts of the Pyrenees (France), Lombardia and Istria (Italy), Bosnia, Germany, Poland, Moravia (Czech Republic), Slovakia and European part of Turkey [Burakowski at al. 1995].


Onyxacalles croaticus (H. Brisout de Barneville, 1867) [Fig. 27] [Fig. 28]

            Acalles croaticus BRIS.: Knutelski [1988, 1991, 1993], Knutelski & Skalski [1993], Petryszak

         [1993], Dieckmann & Behne [1994], Burakowski et al. [1995].

            BT [Fig. 8]: Javorina [Fig. 33] (Knutelski 1998).

            PWT [Fig. 5] [Fig. 13]: Val. Spadowiec [Fig. 33] [Fig. 39], Val. nad Capkami [Fig. 33], Kończysta Turnia [Fig. 14] [Fig. 33] [Knutelski 1988, 1993]. 

It was also quoted from the Tatra Mountains by Knutelski & Skalski [1993], Petryszak [1993], Dieckmann & Behne [1994] and Burakowski et al. [1995] but without localities.

In the Tatra Mountains O. croaticus was discovered not long ago [Knutelski 1988] but only on northern slopes of the Western Tatra region belonging to the Polish territory and on north-eastern slopes of Slovakian Belianske Tatra, where it occurs mainly in deciduous beech forest (Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum association) [Fig. 17] [Fig. 37] [Fig. 38] [Fig. 39], as well as in the alder and willow brushwood (Alnetum incanae association), and reaches to 1050 m a.s.l. Adults were sieved from the litter under different kind of trees: beech (Fagus sylvatica), alder (Alnus incana (L.) MNCH.) and willow (Salix caprea) in May and June, and once (August 17th) 1 ex. was scooped from the floor plants using the sweep net.

O. croaticus, an European zoogeographical element, is a very rare species, in Poland only known from the Western Carpathians (Male Pieniny Mts., Magura Spiska Mts., Tatra Mts.) [Knutelski 1988, 1991, 1993] [Knutelski & Skalski 1993] [Petryszak 1993]. In Europe also noted from: Slovakia (Beskid Niski Mts.), Czech Republic (Bohemia), Germany (Bayerische Alpen), Austria (Karawanken, Österreichische Alpen, Salzburg and Tirol), Slovenia (Julische Alpen), Bosnia and Hercegovina (Bosnia: Rudava), Croatia (without localities) and Italy (Venezia-Giulia) [Solari 1907] [Porta 1932] [Junk 1936] [Horion 1951] [Kippenberg 1983] [Knutelski 1988] [Strejček 1993] [Stüben 1999].


Onyxacalles pyrenaeus (Boheman, 1844) [Fig. 29]

Acalles pyrenaeus BOH.: Smreczyński [1932], Endrödi [1961], Jakuczun & Kuśka [1979],  Petryszak [1982], Knutelski & Szwałko [1992], Knutelski [1993], Knutelski & Skalski [1993], Knutelski et al. [1986], Knutelski & Knutelska [1998].

BT [Fig. 8]: Černa val. [Fig. 34], Zdiar-Strednica [Fig. 34] [Knutelski & Knutelska 1998].

            *SHT [Fig. 7]: Stary Smokovec [Fig. 34], 1070 m a.s.l., 1997/9/4, 1 ex. in a forest clearing of the lower montane belt was scooped using the sweep net; Try Studnicky [Fig. 34], 1126 m a.s.l., 1993/9/15, 1 ex. in destroyed spruce forest by “halny” wind from the litter, leg., det. and coll. SK.

            *SWT: Borova voda [Fig. 34], 830 m a.s.l., 1993/9/14, 4 exx. In the brushwood near the stream; Kycera [Fig. 34], 830-891 m a.s.l., 1993/9/14, 2 exx. In xerothermophilous brushwood, leg., det. and coll. SK.

            It is the first record of this species for the High and Western Tatra region belonging to the Slovakian territory.

            PHT [Fig. 6] [Fig. 18]: Val. Filipka [Fig. 35], 1250-1280 m a.s.l., 1988/8/1, 1 ex. in the spruce forest of the upper montane belt was scooped from the floor plants using the sweep net; Łysa Skałka [Fig. 35], 950-1080 m a.s.l., 1988/6/30, 1 ex. in the beech forest (Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum association), also scooped from the floor plants; Wierch Poroniec - Rusinowa Clearing [Fig. 35], 980-1200 m a.s.l., 1991/6/11, 1 ex. in  a spruce forest of the lower mountain belt was taken directly from decayed branches of spruce, leg., det. and coll. SK.

It was just quoted from the Polish High Tatra region but without localities [Knutelski & Szwałko 1992].

PWT [Fig. 5] [Fig. 13]: Brzeziny [Fig. 35], 1000 m a.s.l., 1987/5/29, 1 ex. in willow-mountain-ash brushwood was sieved from the litter with decayed branches under large-leaf willows (Salix caprea) and mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.); Val. Chochołowska [Fig. 35], 950 m a.s.l., 1985/7/8, 1 ex. in brushwood near stream from the litter under willows, roses (Rosa canina L.) and spruces; Val. Kościeliska [Fig. 35], 940 m a.s.l, 1986/7/5, 1 ex. in a spruce forest of the lower montane belt from the litter, and at 960 m a.s.l., 1986/7/4, 2 exx. in brushwood near the stream from the litter under spruce, willow and alder; Val. Miętusia [Fig. 35], 1200 m a.s.l., 1985/10/8, 1 ex. in spruce forest of the lower montane belt from the litter at forest side; Grzybowiec [Fig. 35], 1410-1420 m a.s.l., 1996/7/24, 1 ex. and Wielka Clearing [Fig. 35], 1250 m a.s.l., 1988/7/7, 1 ex., both individuals in destroyed spruce forest by “halny” wind from the litter; Kazalnica [Fig. 35] [Fig. 14] [Fig. 17], 920-955 m a.s.l., 1986/7/28, 1 ex. and 9/5, 1 ex.; Kończysta Turnia [Fig. 35], 950-980 m a.s.l., 1987/7/16, 1 ex., all specimens in beech forest (Dentario-glandulosae Fagetum association) from the litter; Niżni Toporowy Pond - Wyżni Toporowy Pond [Fig. 35], 1100-1170 m a.s.l., 1990/7/9, 1 ex., in spruce forests of the lower montane belt was scooped from the floor-plants using the sweep net.

O. pyrenaeus in the Polish part of the Western Tatra region was recorded before from other localities: Siwiańskie Turnie [Fig. 35], Hotarz [Fig. 35], Kazalnica [Fig. 35] [Jakuczun and Kuśka 1979], Sarnia Skała [Fig. 35] [Knutelski & Szwałko 1992], Val. Spadowiec [Fig. 35] [Knutelski 1993] and Val. Chochołowska [Fig. 35] [Burakowski et al. 1995].

            It was also quoted generally (without localities) from the Tatra Mountains. [Smreczyński 1932] [Endrödi 1961] [Petryszak 1982] [Knutelski et al. 1986] [Knutelski & Skalski 1993].

            In the Tatra Mountains O. pyrenaeus mainly occurs in coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous, and coniferous-coniferous forests as well as in destroyed spruce forests by “halny” wind and brushwood near roads and streams (f. ex. in: Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum, Piceo-Abietetum albae, Piceetum excelsae subnormale, Piceetum tatricum abietetosum, Pinetum subalpinum calcicolum, Epilobietea angustifolii associations) [Fig. 17] [Fig. 18] [Fig. 19] [Fig. 20] [Fig. 21] [Fig. 22] [Fig. 23]. Among the species from Cryptorhynchinae subfamily O. pyrenaeus shows the highest limit of vertical distribution in the Tatra Mountains, where 1420 m a.s.l. are reached [Fig. 13]. But much more specimens were collected at a level of 1020 m of altitude [Fig. 36]. 

            Larvae were reared in a decaying branch of Sorbus chamaemespilus (L.) CR. and in a dead offshoot of S. glabrata Hedl., representing Rosaceae plant family [Knutelski & Szwałko 1992]. Probably they also live in the dead parts of other tree species. 

            Adults were collected from dead branches of mountain ash and spruces, tree trunks, pieces of bark, moss, under sticks and stones as well as in the litter under dead branches of various trees (spruce, fir, beech, alder, hazel), rock cracks and basalt crevices. They usually hide during the day but sometimes, from June to September, especially after heavy rainfalls they climb small firs and spruces as well as other forest floor plants [Fig. 34] [Fig. 35] [Fig. 36] [Fig. 40] [Fig. 41].

            O. pyrenaeus lives in the mountains of south (Bosnien, north Italy), south-western (Pyrenees Mts.), western and central parts of Europe [Burakowski et al. 1995] [Stüben 1999].



            The Tatra Mountains are inhabited by 5 weevil species of the Cryptorhynchinae subfamily: Cryptorhynchus lapathi, Acalles camelus, A. commutatus, Onyxacalles croaticus and O. pyrenaeus. These are about 36 % of all Cryptorhynchinae weevil species quoted from the whole area of Poland and 50 % of the species living in Polish Carpathians [Burakowski at al. 1995]. In the neighbouring Magura Spiska Mts., with the exception of A. commutatus, there are the same species [Knutelski 2000] as recorded here from the Tatra Mountains, but just a little bit further on, in the Pieniny Spiskie Mts. [Knutelski & Witkowski 1995], only occur: C. lapathi, A. camelus, O. pyrenaeus and Ruteria hypocrita Boh., 1837. Comparing with Cryptorhynchinae of the Pyrenées Orientales and Hautes Pyrenées Mts. [Stüben et al. 2000], where 13 weevil species of Cryptorhynchinae were discovered, the fauna of this subfamily in the Tatra Mountains is strongly poorer, but in the Pyrenees, C. lapathi and O. croaticus are not found [Tempčre 1987].

            Among the recorded species, O. pyrenaeus is the most popular weevil of Cryptorhynchinae living in the Tatra Mountains, and it was collected in all geobotanical Tatra regions, as well as on Slovakian and Polish side of the Tatra Mountains. Other species are rarer and occur in the narrower area of this mountain massif; only in Polish parts of the Tatras, I found C. lapathi, and only in Slovakian territory - A. camelus and A. commutatus, and only in Polish Western Tatra and Slovakian Belianske Tatra O. croaticus was collected.




            I am grateful to: Tatra National Park and Tatranský narodný park for permissions to provide researches in the Nature Reserve “Tatra”; Institute of Zoology of Jagiellonian University in Kraków for granting my researches; Museum and Institute of Zoology of Polish Academy of Science in Warszawa, Institute of Systematic and Animal Evolution of Polish Academy of Science in Kraków and Slovak National Museum in Bratislava for reaching me weevil collections; R. Laskowski PhD. head of Department of Ecotoxycology, Jagiellonian University for help in photos scanning; and my wife E. Knutelska, Msc. for drawing the map and help in collecting of weevils in the Tatra Mountains.




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Adress of author

Dr. Stanisław Knutelski

Department of Entomology and Mountain Station

Jagiellonian University

PL-30-060 Kraków

R. Ingardena 6



Investigations were granted by DS/IZ/ZS and BW/IZ/9 of Jagiellonian University grants from KBN.