Bulletin de la Société royale belge d’Entomologie/Bulletin van de Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Entomologie, 154 (2018): 176–182
Recent records of the very rare European carabid beetle
Dyschirius (Eudyschirius) semistriatus (Dejean, 1825)
Wouter DEKONINCK1, Marc VAN KERCKVOORDE2, Lut VAN NIEUWENHUYSE3 & Philippe ZORGATI4
1 Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
2 Vennestraat 6, B-9051 Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Belgium
3 Monterreystraat 43, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
4 5 rue de la Jouennerie, F-50130 Cherbourg-Octeville, France
Recent European records of the rare carabid beetle Dyschirius semistriatus (Dejean, 1825) are
presented for France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Spain. Additionally an overview of its
distribution in Europe and Northern Africa is given, as well as details on phenology, ecology and
Keywords: Dyschirius, rare European species, distribution
In Europe the genus Dyschirius (Carabidae, Scaritinae, Dyschiriini) includes about sixty species
within five subgenera (BALKENOHL, 2017). All of them are more or less active burrowing carabids
journeying in small galleries, but they also use tunnels made by other insects like Bledius species
(Staphylinidae) or other beetles. Moreover, many species are halophilic (BRO LARSEN, 1936;
Amongst them Dyschirius semistriatus (Dejean, 1825) seems to be the rarest because it is very
scarcely presented in public and private collections. It is recorded from small collection spots from the
Netherlands to Morocco. The species was so far very rarely recorded and often these records are old
ones and from a single specimen. Recent captures of the species in new localities in France (Fig. 1),
Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain led us to write this paper, presenting these new records and
summarizes all previously known findings of this species in Europe.
The faunistic work is based on the available material of museums and the material, records and
information given by private collectors. In addition, data from the literature have been used. Moreover
pitfall trap investigations from Belgium during the years 2014-2018 amended the work considerably.
Abbreviations used: BMNH – British Museum of Natural History; RBINS – Royal Belgian Institute
of Natural Sciences; UTM – Universal Transverse Mercator.
Fig. 1. Habitus of D. semistriatus
from Ger – Manche (Photo R.
Fig. 2. Distribution map of Dyschirius semistriatus red dots are records
before 1960, black dots are records after 1960.
Distribution (Fig. 2)
Ardennes: Sedan (1 specimen, coll. Caillol) (D
, 1949); Aude: Carcassonne (1 specimen, coll.
De Brunier) (D
, 1949); Gironde: Arcachon (1 specimen collected on 27.IV.1916, leg. & coll.
, 1949); Yvelines: Forêt de Marly (3 specimens, coll. Marmottan) (D
1949); Val d’Oise: Bois-Corbon – Forêt de Montmorency, leg. O. Schmitt, more than 100 specimens
found between 1952 and 1956) (F
, 1989) of which 4 specimens in coll. RBINS;
Hautes-Pyrénées: Argelès-Gazost, («bords sablonneux du Gave», 10.VII.1963 leg. G. Tiberghien)
(Tiberghien, 1967), two specimens were given to L. Schuler for verification (Tiberghien, Pers. Com.);
Haute-Garonne: Toulouse, “bords de la Garonne”, 1 specimen coll. Fauvel in coll. RBINS
, 1996); Landes: Pontonx-les-Forges, “bord de ruisseau”, leg. C. Jeanne (V
1997); 1 specimen collected in Pyrénées-Atlantiques: Biarritz, in coll. RBINS (F
Some other old records, often lacking detailed information, were discovered in RBINS collection:
“Fajari Brutaine” (unreadable label) coll. Putzeys in RBINS; “France” coll. Fauvel in RBINS; “Paris”
no more details, in coll. RBINS; Toulouse March 1874 and March 1879, coll. Putzeys in coll. RBINS.
Invalid records: Vaucluse: Avignon (3 specimens «des inondations du Rhône», leg. Chobaut, coll.
Fagniez); La Bonde (1 specimen, leg. & coll. Fagniez). These specimens belong to the species
Dyschirius lafertei = Dyschirius gracilis (Heer, 1837), (D
, 1949). Isère Vienne (leg. C. Rey),
these specimens belong to the species Dyschirius abditus (Fedorenko, 1993) (C
et al., 2000).
Doubtful or not confirmed records: Old data from Lyon and border of the river Ain (A
, 1959) could not be checked (C
et al., 2000) «En l’état actuel des connaissances, la
présence de l’espèce dans la région Rhône-Alpes reste à démontrer». V
also the following localities: Pyrénées-Orientales: Bords de la Têt; Haute-Vienne: Berneuil; Saône-et-
Loire: Le Creusot; Aude: Carcassonne. All these later records are without dates and we did not find
any publication mentioning and confirming these records.
New record: One specimen of D. semistriatus was collected on June 10th 2016 at « Pré Corbin » in
Ger (Manche) and a second one on June 3rd 2017 by Philippe Zorgati. This protected area, managed
by Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels (CEN) de Normandie Ouest, consist mainly of wet meadows
more or less with a peaty soil (Fig. 3). The first specimen was found near a drinking pond for cattle on
trampled muddy ground, together with Dyschirius (Dyschiriodes) tristis Stephens, 1827. The second
specimen was found in a meadow that was less wet.
found on June 10th, 2016 and June 3rd 2017.
Kult described in 1940 (KULT, 1940) a new species of Dyschirius (“Dyschirius Iserlei”) based on 3
specimens: A specimen designed as Type, from Tanger (Marocco), in coll. Kult, a specimen designed
as Cotype, from Portugal (S. Martinho, Barros) in coll. Dr. Fleisher and a specimen from Spain
(“Inondations du fleuve Tiertar, Candeleda, 1934, leg Dr. Baum, in coll. Museum Praha”).
This species was later designated as a junior synonym of Dyschirius semistriatus by Fedorenko
(FEDORENKO, 1996) who was able to examine the specimens of Spain and Portugal.
The species was not recorded from Portugal since that record.
In the recent Catalogue of Carabidae of the Iberian Peninsula (SERRANO, 2013), nearly no other
localities as those from the Catalogue of Claude JEANNE (1986) are mentioned (SERRANO, 2013).
Records: Léon: Lago de la Baña; Barcelona: Centellas; Madrid: El Escorial; Badajoz: Higuera la real.
José Serano gave us two additional records: Ciudad Real: Navas de Estena and Málaga: Marbella.
Further, FEDORENKO (1996) mentions the following records of D. semistriatus: Avila: Candeleda
labelled “Inondations du fleuve Tietar, avril” (specimen formerly assigned to D. iserlei Kult, 1940);
Léon: Branuelas (leg G.C. Champion), 3 specimens, coll. BMNH; Sierra Nevada, Laguna de Guejar
1270m, 1 specimen collected on 13.VI.1991 by D. Wrase. One more record was mentioned by
GUTÉRREZ et al. (2004) from Picos de Europa National Park, where it was collected in 1993.
New record: Bernard Jünger recently examined a recent sample of Dyschirius semistriatus,
communicated to him by Hervé Brustel. One specimen was collected in a window trap in Parc
National de Cabañeros (Prov. Ciudad Real) - Gargantilla on 14.IV.2016 by CIBIO (Centro
Iberoamaricano de la Biodiversidad) of Alicante.
DESENDER et al. (2008) give records of D. semistriatus in two UTM 5x5km squares between 1830 et
1950, one UTM 5x5km square between 1950 and 1980 and two UTM 5x5km squares between 1980
and 2008. For the period before 1950 there are records from Ukkel (Bruxelles): 22.VII.1910 (Fort
Jaco); Verrewinkel: 24.III.1918 and 2.III.1920; Eppegem: 18.V.1918. There is one record of three
specimens from Houthulst (West-Flanders) from 1978 without details of these records in the database
of Belgian Carabidae. More recent observations of the species are from Hoeselt (Prov. Limburg):
4.III.2000 (Wijngaardbos) in a pitfall trap; Turnhout (Prov. Antwerp): during a survey in the former
Military Domain “Sevendonk”, where two specimens were collected using pitfall traps: one specimen
in the period 14-28.IV.2000 and the second specimen in the period 28.IV-13.V.2000. One specimen
was collected with a pitfall trap at Sablière du Haut Fays in Villers-Le-Bouillet during the period
04.V-6.VI.2010 by Marc Migon.
Fig. 3. Wet meadow in Ger “Pré Corbin” (Manche –
France) where two specimens were found on June
10th, 2016 and June 3rd 2017.
Fig. 4. One of the recent restored heathland sites on a
former corn field in Beisbroek, Brugge where
yschirius semistriatus was collected.
Recently, more than 15 specimens of the species were collected in four succeeding years of sampling
with pitfall traps, in recently restored heathland relicts west of Brugge (one of these sites is presented
in Fig. 4). All specimens were collected between beginning of March and middle of June. Because the
species was recorded in the same two localities during four consecutive, year-round sampling
schemes, we can conclude that these sites have vital and stable populations in this site dominated by
Erica cinerea, Calluna vulgaris, lichens and mosses in a mosaic of bare sand. Other characteristic
carabid species at these sites were: Amara equestris, Harpalus griseus, Harpalus rufipalpis and
TURIN (2000) mentions two recent localities and several ancient records. We list the records here of
these single specimens captures (unless otherwise mentioned): Prov. Gelderland: Warsveld (1850 and
1890) and Doetinchem (1918, two specimens); Prov. Noord-Brabant: Hoeven (1960), Tilburg (1965),
Eindhoven (1969), De Hilver (1980, three specimens, one by pitfall), Baarschot (1980, 2ex) and
Diessen (1980); Prov. Limburg: Exaeten (1850) and Heidse Peel (1987).
The most recent record of the species from the Netherlands is from Meersen, Curfsgroeve in the
Province of Limburg: 18.V.2013, leg. R. Jansen, det. J. Muilwijk (MUILWIJK & FELIX, 2014).
Only one historical record of this species is known from Germany, Seligenstadt (Hessen) 1863
(according to HORION, 1941). No other recent records for this species for Germany exist (pers. com.
M. BALKENOHL). The occurrence of the species in the Western parts of Germany cannot be excluded
(KÖHLER & KLAUSNITZER, 1998).
One specimen of the Type serie of the former species Dyschirius iserlei K
ULT, 1940 was later
synonymised by Fedorenko (FEDORENKO, 1996), a specimen collected from “Tanger”.
Patrice MACHARD (pers. com.) mentions that this species was never rediscovered in Morocco and for
that reason he did not retained this record in his catalogue of 1997 (MACHARD, 1997).
The species was mentioned from Romania in the Palearctic Catalogue (BALKENOHL, 2017). This
species was earlier excluded from the Romanian Carabidae checklist by JENISTEA (1979). However in
1982, Michael BALKENOHL (pers. com.) visited Prof. Dr. M.-A. Jeniştea who showed him two
specimens of Dyschirius semistriatus from Romania that he got by exchange. Unfortunately he did not
make more notes of the exact label and also does not know where this collection went after Jenistea
passed away. Nevertheless BALKENOHL (2017) judged this record reliable enough to take it into
account for the Catalogue.
More recently, a record of Dyschirius semistriatus using a pitfall trap in Iasi (Moldavia) on 20.VI.2006
was cited by TĂLMACIU et al. (2007). We were not able to contact these authors for further details on
Our colleague Bernard JÜNGER gave us a record from this country he got from Riccardo MONGUZZI.
The unique specimen is labelled “HELVETIA / Büsch / 6.68 / Mallosi” (in coll. Monguzzi). We did
not find any locality with this name in Switzerland. In the faunistic catalogue of Switzerland it is
mentioned “no proven records” (MARGGI, 1992). The species is listed as “probable false report” in
MARGGI & LUKA (2001).
Some notes on the recent Belgian records
To investigate the phenology of carabid species, pitfall traps had been installed in some heathland
relicts in the northeast of Belgium near Bruges since 2014 (DEKONINCK et al., 2015. LOCK et al.,
2017). In three localities (both dominated by Erica cinerea) a population of Dyschirius semistriatus
was discovered. As the pitfall traps operated year-round, the records of D. semistriatus from these
traps, allow to have an idea of the period the species is active in this type of habitat. Together with the
dates we could gather from other observations in Europe (see above) it was possible to construct a
phenology diagram of D. semistriatus (Fig. 5). Obviously the species is active mostly in spring and
early summer (March to June with 82 % of all records) which confirms its status as spring species in
Belgium (DESENDER, 1986a, b, c, d).
Fig. 5. Number of records of Dyschirius semistriatus for each month during the period 1900 and 2018 in Europe
(pitfall traps and collections).
Its survival in highly fragmented heathland vegetations near Bruges
The habitat in which the three populations of D. semistriatus were found, recently and during several
consecutive years, is a recently restored dry (and in the winter wet), mosaic heathland vegetation with
open sandy places, dominated by Erica cinerea, Calluna vulgaris, lichens and mosses. Two of these
sites were recently transformed (8 years) from maize field into heathland by removing the fertilized
top layer up to the sandy soil. For these sites, this open habitat seems to be a temporary habitat in the
succession to more mature heathland where, on bare sandy soil as in time a thick layer of litter will be
formed, produced by mature heathland as is the case in nearby older heathland patches. It will be very
interesting to see if these subpopulations will survive at these sites and how the population will
develop compared to the population at the reference heathland. The sampling will be continued in
2018 and later.
It seems that D. semistriatus is only occasionally recorded in Europe so far, nevertheless it has a wide
distribution from the Netherlands in the north to Marocco in the south and from Portugal to Romania.
Some explanations for its rarity might be that the period when it is most active is quite early in the
Carabidae-season (peak in March-April) and most Carabidae samplings take place starting from May
until September in Europe (at least for Belgian pitfall trapping campaigns conducted during the last 40
years). In this way the species might have been missed during such summer pitfall trapping surveys.
Moreover species from the genus Dyschirius are in general not often found in pitfall traps (the only
exception is Dyschirius globosus) and hence overlooking of members of the genus is very probable in
pitfall trap studies. Dyschirius sp. usually occur at banks with slow or not running water, watering
places for cattle, small ponds, etc. Dyschirius semistriatus belongs to a smaller number of species who
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
adapted to dry habitats and carabidologist not often look for Dyschirus there. As the new finds
demonstrate, the species might not be so scarce as supposed.
Another explanation might be found in its ecology and habitat preference. All Dyschirius species are
digging, soil inhabiting carabids living in small burrows and tunnels made by species like for instance
Staphylindae of the genus Bledius. Several Dyschirius species have specific preferences for the
galleries of a certain species of Bledius. Some species within the genus Dyschirius are widely regarded
as the principal predators of Bledius species. Nevertheless little evidence is found so far to support a
species-specific host-prey relationship. More likely, the relationship of Bledius and Dyschirius is
based on a similar geographical distribution and habitat preference (HERMAN, 1986) and a symbiontic
relationship is also possible. In Bruges D. semistriatus was found in heathland relicts where Bledius
gallicus is present and Bledius femoralis was found in high numbers.
So far only little is known about the habitat preferences of D. semistriatus. It seems that temporary wet
but also thermophilic and oligotrophic habitats (like heathlands and temporary marshes) are ideal
places to search for this rare European carabid species. For Flanders but also elsewhere in Europe this
kind of particular habitat is becoming more and more rare and therefore we suggest to give special
attention both to the Carabid and Staphylinidae communities of these - in certain regions - endangered
We want to thank the following colleagues for sharing information on records of Dyschirius semistriatus: Rémy
Ancellin (France), Michael Balkenohl (Switzerland), Jacques Coulon (France), Bernard Jünger (France), Patrice
Machard (France), José Serrano (Spain), Gérard Tiberghien (France), Hans Turin (The Netherlands), Marc
Migon (Belgium). We also want to thank Hans Turin and Michael Balkenohl for their useful comments on an
earlier version of this manuscript. We also want to thank all conservators and responsible persons of the
sampling sites who gave us the permission to sample insects in these heathland relicts: Yan Verschueren (Stad
Brugge, Natuureducatief Centrum Beisbroek); Stefaan Verplancke and Karim Neirynck (conservators Rode
Dopheidegebied and Heidegebied Zevenkerken), de Abdij Zevenkerken alsook Georgette Aeck en Olivier
Dochy (Provincie West-Vlaanderen), Hubert Hedebouw plaatselijke domeinchef and Peter Goossens. Special
thanks goes to Loïc Chéreau and William Arial from the « CEN Normandie Ouest » who gave us authorization
to prospect in « Pré Corbin ». We also want to thank Rémy Ancellin for the picture.
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