Cucujus Cinnaberinus: the Beetle extinct in all Europe, returns to live in Sila

The Sila plateau is also knows as “great Forest of Italy” for its marvelous lush woods, rich in centuries-old trees. From the particular naturalistic, monumental, historical and cultural value the landscape of the Sila plateau is a reality of extraordinary value, the result of particularly favorable ecological conditions, but also a consequence of the careful man’s activity to model the landscape in thousands of years.

Thanks to these climatic and naturalistic conditions, we can find animal, in particular species of insects, very rare and unique in the world, as the “cucujus cinnaberinus”, a beetle discovered for the first time by the Naturalist Johannes Antonius Scopoli, described in his etymological treatry: “Etimologia carniolica – vindobonae” published in 1973.

The “cucujus cinnaberinus”, from the 80’s and 90’s, was considered extinct in all Europe and it had been identified only two other exemplaries in Piemonte (always in Italy) in 2008. The beetle also called “the great Sila’s guardian” is considered a “bioindicator” of considerable ecological importance because it attests the favorable and positive state of health of the Sila National Park.

The sensational discovery that the beetle was not extinct comes in 2009 thanks to some researchers of the University “Università della Calabria” (Antonio Mazzei, Pietro Brandmayr)  and to the responsible of the protected naturalistic area that, after 49 years, have come across the insect.

The “cucujus cinnaberinus” lives under the bark of Sila’s trees almost exclusively Laricio Pine, red / orange, the insect often feeds on decaying wood. It was also observed eating larvae of other beetles.

So the Sila plateau is a place of breathtaking beauty that preserves precious and rare nature’s jewels as the “cucujus cinnaberinus”, just one of hundreds of species that are in this territory of timeless charm, where it’s possible to meet  a wild  and uncontaminated Nature, unique in its kind.


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