Biospeleology of the Piemonte
(North-western Italy)

Systematic Photographic

Web page created and updated by Enrico LANA

Arthropoda, Insecta, Coleoptera, Carabidae, Trechinae


Insecta, Coleoptera, Carabidae, Trechinae, Agostinia launoi (Gestro, 1892) - It is the most specialized troglobite Trechinae of the Piemonte, together to Canavesiella lanai, for the Cholevidae Leptodirinae Insects. It is completely eyeless (total anophthalmy), and shows a tapered habitus, lengthened legs with very developed sensitive bristles. Moreover, on the abdomen it brings most lengthened sensitive bristles by means of which it sounds the environment. It has been described by Gestro at the end of the nineteenth century and the studious dedicate it to Mr. Launo, a local guide that took him to the lower Camoscere Cave, locus typicus of the species. In the sixties of the last century has been discovered a new cave near to the lower Camoscere Cave, but situated some metres higher. This second cave of the Camoscere, defined "higher Camoscere Cave" is colder than the lower and its entrance is very difficult to find. On the walls of this fissure cave, hardly practicable, it's possible, rarely, to find specimens of Agostinia that walk quickly searching alive preys, like all the Trechinae that are predators. The author has recently begin search in order to find this species also in little caves situated at higher quotas on respect to the classical Camoscere Caves and named with the abbreviation "GP", being indicated by the Park-guards of the High Pesio Valley Park, where stand the Punta Camoussè in which are open all the citated caves. The author besides, as collaborator of the Regional Natural Science Museum of Turin, has captured alive specimens of Agostinia for the carrying out of the first film of this Trechinae, in a documentary, produced by the Museum, on the cavernicole fauna of the southern Piemonte. This insect has been found by Achille Casale in several little caves of the "Conca delle Carsene" and the "Conca di Piaggia Bella", on the Marguareis Mons massif, above the Pesio Valley; this species is besides indicated for the Veins Cave, also if it's hardly available. The biology of this species is pratically unknown and attempts of raising carried out in the Bossea laboratory in the period 1970-74 have failed because of the high sensitivity of the insect also to minimum variations of temperature and humidity. Agostinia launoi lives in cave that are the habitat also of other less specialized Trechinae of the genus Duvalius and, according to the interpretation of Jeannel, this should be because of two subsequent phases of colonisation of the underground environment by part of common ancestors of the two genuses. The size of the body is about 6-7 mm, excluded the antennas, that are long as the rest of the body.

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