- Download PDF -

SEEFOR 12(2): 143-147
Article ID: 2113

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.21-13


First Record of the Saproxylic Beetle Cossonus parallelepipedus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Adi Vesnić1, Osman Mujezinović2,*, Dejan Kulijer3, Sead Ivojević2, Mirza Dautbašić2, Milan Pernek4

(1)University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Sciences, Department for Biology, Zmaja od Bosne 33-35, BA-71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
(2) University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Forestry, Department for Forest Protection, Zagrebačka 20, BA-71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
(3) National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zmaja od Bosne 3, BA-71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
(4) Croatian Forest Research Institute, Division of Forest Protection and Game Management, Cvjetno naselje 41, HR-10450 Jastrebarsko, Croatia

* Correspondence: e-mail: 

Citation: Vesnić A, Mujezinović O, Kulijer D, Ivojević S, Dautbašić M, Pernek M, 2021. First Record of the Saproxylic Beetle Cossonus parallelepipedus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. South-east Eur for 12(2): 143-147. https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.21-13.

Received: 9 Oct 2021; Revised: 19 Nov 2021; Accepted: 21 Nov 2021; Published online: 29 Nov 2021

Cited by:     Crossref     Google Scholar


Balkan Peninsula is considered to be a hotspot of beetle biodiversity. Registering occurrence of saproxylic beetles is an important first step for expanding the general knowledge about saproxylic beetles as ecologically important insect species. Cossonus parallelepipedus is a European saproxylic species distributed from Iberian Peninsula in the west to Russia in the east, and from the Mediterranean in the south to Fennoscandia in the north. The first, and until now the only find of this species for the Balkan Peninsula is from Croatia. We report the first find of C. parallelepipedus in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In April 2020, larvae, pupae and imagoes were collected, in the central part of BiH, north of Sarajevo, on Zvijezda Mt. near Vareš from decaying moist wood in the lower part of a tree trunk of European silver fir, Abies alba. We expect that this species has a wider presence, especially in mountain areas in the central part of the country. Due to the similar environment conditions for other two European Cossonus species (C. cylindrus and C. linearis) their presence is also possible.

Keywords: weevil; wood boring insect; decaying wood; biodiversity; Abies alba


The genus Cossonus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) in Europe is represented with three widely distributed species: Cossonus cylindricus Sahlberg, 1835, C. parallelepipedus (Herbst 1795) and C. linearis (Fabricius, 1775) (Löbl and Smetana 2013). C. parallelepipedus is a European species distributed from Iberian Peninsula in the west to Russia in the east, and from the Mediterranean in the south to Fennoscandia in the north. The first, and until now the only find of this species for the Balkan Peninsula is from Croatia (Löbl and Smetana 2013, Alonso-Zarazaga 2017, de Jong 2021). In Sweden, the species has been noted on deciduous tree species such as elm, aspen, poplar, oak, beech and willow, and in some cases on spruce (Ehnström and Axelsson 2002). In England, besides of the mentioned hosts it has also been registered on silver fir (https://www.ukbeetles.co.uk/cossonus-parallelepipedus). The status of the species (e.g. in Finland) is critically endangered (https://laji.fi/en/taxon/MX.196213?showTree=true). 

The adult beetles of C. parallelepipedus are 4.5-6 mm in length, with long dark brown elytrae, the antennae and the legs being usually brighter (Reitter 1916). The larvae live in dead wood, mostly under bark of rotting deciduous trees (Yunakov et al. 2018). They dig tunnels in the tree trunks in various stages of decay for a duration of two years, making winding galleries (Folwaczny 1983). After pupation adult beetles stay in the wood during the winter. Regularly the adults leave the wood during the early summer and can be detected around the exit holes, but they remain hidden under bark by day. Over the years, the species can increase its population in the same trunk.

Decomposition processes is very important in the nutrient cycle of natural ecosystems where saproxylic beetles are irreplaceable (Gotelli and Colwell 2011, Kacprzy and Bilnsk 2017). The knowledge of the biology of saproxylic beetles, for example where they live, what they eat and who eats them is insufficient, so the first step would be to find and identify them. Many saproxylic beetle species remain widely distributed in Europe, although their populations and ranges have suffered significant long-term decline (Gotelli and Colwell 2011).

According to the available data, Cossonus spp. have not been registered until now in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Löbl and Smetana 2013, Osella and Zuppa 2013). Our paper provides the first data on the occurrence of this saproxylic species within the territory of the country.

Since basic data on species distribution and population status of saproxylic beetles are limited, there is a clear need for drawing together information providing new data to improve the quality of information, such as in (Nieto and Alexander 2010).



Material examined: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zvijezda Mt., Sarić, lat. 44.177174° lon. 18.406838°, 1060 m a.s.l., 5/IV/2020 (Figure 1). The larvae, pupae and the adults of insects were sampled from damp decaying wood of European silver fir, Abies alba Mill. Larvae, pupae and adults were collected by hand, stored in 96% ethyl alcohol and deposited in the entomological collection of the Faculty of Science, University of Sarajevo. The identification was done by using identification keys (Jordal 2014) and was confirmed by Gabor Mesaroš from Protego Society (Subotica, Serbia).


Figure 1. The location of the finding site of Cossonus parallelepipedus.



The specimens of C. parallelepipedus were found at the log warehouse at Šeirići locality (Zvijezda Mt.) (Figure 1) by the first author. They were discovered during inspection of decaying moist wood of tree trunks that were dragged from section 34. Šimin potok to the warehouse. The locality is surrounded by mixed woods of spruce, fir and beech, widely distributed forest community on Zvijezda Mt. (Figure 2). Six specimens of imagoes and larvae (Figure 3 and 4) have been found.


Figure 2. The habitats of mixed woods of spruce, fir and beech on Zvijezda Mt., near Vareš.


Figure 3. Imago of Cossonus parallelepipedus (Herbst, 1795) sampled on Mt. Zvijezda near Vareš.


Figure 4. larva (a) and imago (b) of Cossonus parallelepipedus in a decaying tree stump.


According to the available literature (e.g., Löbl and Smetana 2013, Osella and Zuppa 2013), this is the first finding of the species in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which after Croatia is the second country in the Balkan Peninsula where the species has been recorded.
Nevertheless, this finding is not unexpected as C. parallelepipedus is widespread in Europe and suitable habitats are widely present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly on Zvijezda Mt. where there are large complexes of preserved forests.

The Balkan Peninsula emerges as a hotspot of beetle biodiversity (Nieto and Alexander 2010) and this is a contribution to knowledge of an up to now unknown species in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are many possible reasons why this beetle was not found earlier. The secretive life cycle of the species that is nocturnal (UK Beetles, 2019) is one possibility or it has not been studied. Saproxylic beetle fauna is insufficiently known in the country and increasingly threatened due to logging and habitat fragmentation and destruction (Kulijer and Miljević 2017), and therefore insufficiently protected. After forest logging, the remaining branches and tree tops on the ground are forming fine wood debris that represents the habitat for many xylobiont beetles, which accelerates the process of organic matter circulation (Gunnarsson et al. 2004, Lindhe and Lindelöw 2004, Jonsell 2008, Zeniauskas and Gedminas 2010). Even under these circumstances logging and wood harvesting in Europe have so far the largest impact on both threatened and non-threatened saproxylic beetles, affecting 35 out of 75 threatened species, and 232 species in total (Nieto and Alexander 2010). 

We believe that target research focusing on habitats of this species, particularly in mountain areas in central part of the country will probably result with more records. The occurrence of other two European Cossonus (C. cylindrus and C. linearis) is also possible due to the similar environment conditions and the fact that they are known from neighboring countries (Löbl and Smetana 2013, Osella and Zuppa 2013), and appropriate habitats exist.


Author Contributions
AV, OM, DK, SI conceived and designed the research, AV and OM carried out the field research, AV and OM performed laboratory analysis. DK and SI processed the data and performed the literature review, MD and MP supervised the research and helped to draft the manuscript; all authors wrote the manuscript

No funding.

We would like to thank Gabor Mesaroš from Protego Society, Subotica, who helped with the identification of adult specimens.

Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest. 


Alonso-Zarazaga MA, Barrios H, Borovec R, Bouchard P, Caldara R, Colonnelli E, Gültekin L, Hlavá P, Korotyaev B, Lyal CHC, Machado A, Meregalli M, Pierotti H, Ren L, Sánchez-Ruiz M, Sforzi A, Silfverberg H, Skuhrovec J, Trýzna M, Velázquez de Castro AJ , Yunakov NN, 2017. Cooperative catalogue of palaearctic coleoptera Curculionoidea. Monografías electrónicas S.E.A., vol. 8, 729 p.

de Jong, YSDM 2021. Fauna Europaea [] [as Cossonus parallelepipedus (Herbst, 1795)]. Available online: http://www.faunaeur.org  (17 November 2021).

Folwaczny B, 1983. Unterfamilie Cossoninae.. In: Freude H, Harde KW,  Lohse GA (eds) Die Käfer Mitteleuropas. Band 11. — Goecke and Evers, Krefeld, Germany, pp 30-42.

Gotelli NJ, Colwell RK 2011. Estimating Species Richness. In: Biological Diversity: Frontiers in Measurement and Assessment, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, pp 39-54.

Gunnarsson B, Nittérus K, Wirdenäs P, 2004. Effect of logging residue removal on ground-active beetles in temperate forests. Forest Ecol Manag 201(2): 229-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2004.06.028.

Kacprzy M, Bilnsk P, 2017. The First Stages of Xylobiont Entomofauna Succession on European Silver Fir Logging Residues in elation to Utilisation Method and Microenvironmental Conditions. J Entomol Res Soc 19(1): 91-104.

Kulijer D, Miljević I, 2017. New records and the distribution of saproxylic beetles (Coleoptera) important for the establishment of the Natura 2000 ecological network, in the Sutjeska National Park and wider area of Mt. Zelengora. Glasnik Šumarskog fakulteta Univerziteta u Banjoj Luci 26: 5-14. https://doi.org/10.7251/GSF1726005K.

Jonsell M, 2008. Saproxylic beetle species in logging residues: which are they and which residues do they use? Norwegian Journal of Entomology 55(1): 109-122.

Jordal BH, Sequeira AS, Cognato AI, 2011. The age and phylogeny of wood boring weevils and the origin of subsociality. Mol Phylogenet Evol 59: 708-724. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.016.

Jordal BH, 2014. Cossoninae Schoenherr, 1825. In: Leschen RAB, Beutel RG (eds) Handbook of Zoology. Tb. 40: Coleoptera (Beetles). Vol. 3: Morphology and Systematics (Phytophaga), pp 629-632.

Lindhe A, Lindelöw Å, 2004. Cut high stumps of spruce, birch, aspen and oak as breeding substrates for saproxylic beetles. Forest Ecol Manag 203(1): 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2004.07.047.

Lobl I, Smetana A, 2013. Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera. Volume 8 Curculionoidea II, Leiden, Brill, 700 p.

Nieto A, Alexander KNA, 2010. European Red List of Saproxylic Beetles. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 45 p.

Oberprieler RG, Marvaldi AE, Anderson RS, 2007. Weevils, weevils, weevils everywhere. In: Zhang Z-Q, Shear WA (eds). Linnaeus Tercentenary: Progress in Invertebrate Taxonomy. Zootaxa 1668: 491-520.

Osella G, Zuppa AM, 2013. Fauna Europaea: Cossonus. In: Alonso-Zarazaga MA (ed), 2013: Fauna Europaea: Curculionidae. Fauna Europaea version 2017.06. Available online:  https://fauna-eu.org (15 June 2021).

Reitter, E, 1916. Fauna Germanica. V. band, Lutz Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 168 p.

Sauvard D, Rodrigues Branco M, Faccoli M, Lakatos F, Kirkendall L, 2010. Weevils and Bark Beetles (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea). Chapter 8.2. BioRisk 4(1): 219-266. https://doi.org/10.3897/biorisk.4.64.

UK Beetles 2019. Cossonus parallelepipedus (Herbst, 1795) (Web page). Available online: https://www.ukbeetles.co.uk/cossonus-parallelepipedus (15 March 2021).

Von Lengerken H, 1939. Die Brutfürsorge- und Brutpflegeinstinkte der Käfer. Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft. Leipzig, Germany.

Yunakov, N, Nazarenko V, Filimonov R, Volovnik S, 2018. A survey of the weevils of Ukraine (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea), Zootaxa 4404 (1): 173. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4404.1.1.

Zeniauskas R, Gedminas A, 2010. Insects infesting Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) branches in clear-cuts and adjacent stands. Baltic For 16(1): 93-101.

© 2021 by the Croatian Forest Research Institute. This is an Open Access paper distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).