On some “lost” types of Cerambyx and Leptura species described by Linnaeus (1758), and a new synonymy in Rhinotragini (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae)

  • Antonio Santos-Silva Universidade de São Paulo. Museu de Zoologia
Keywords: Cerambycinae, De Geer, Lamiinae, Prioninae


The depository institution of the types of five species described by Linnaeus (1758), which is currently recorded as “unknown”, is reported to be at the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden: Cerambyx auratus; C. festivus; C. glaucus; C. stigma; and Leptura necydalea. The synonymy between Acyphoderes odyneroides White, 1855 (currently, Acutiphoderes odyneroides) and Leptura necydalea Linnaeus, 1758 is proposed, resulting in a new combination: Acutiphoderes necydalea.


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How to Cite
Santos-Silva, A. (2015). On some “lost” types of Cerambyx and Leptura species described by Linnaeus (1758), and a new synonymy in Rhinotragini (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 55(29), 397-403. https://doi.org/10.1590/0031-1049.2015.55.29
Original Article


Frequently, to find the types of the species described by Linnaeus is not an easy task. Usually, it is also difficult to be sure if a specimen is or is not the type of the species. For example, according to Wallin (2001): "The establishment of material being 'Linnaean' or not (for the ultimate purpose of a typification) involves a study of the history of the collections and a scrutiny of individual specimens. An important obstacle to an unequivocal interpretation is, in many cases, the fact that Linné did not label any of the specimens included in the present 'Linnaean collection' in Uppsala (at least there are no surviving labels or inscriptions with his handwriting or referable to his own marking of specimens; a single exception will be pointed out below in the historical survey)."

Fortunately, the work by Dobreff (2010)allowed to know where the specimens of Cerambycidae described by Linnaeus (1758)and collected by Daniel Rolander in Suriname are deposited. According to him: "In 1758 Linnaeus published the tenth edition of his famous Systema Naturae[...] The tenth edition includes Daniel Rolander and his journey to Surinam and St. Eustatius as one of Linnaeus's sources [...] Moreover, Charles De Geer, the most famous Swedish entomologist of Linnaeus's age, used Rolander the same way in his own publications [...] However, I have mentioned above that Rolander had never allowed Linnaeus to examine his collections [...] If we turn back to the mystery of how Linnaeus got hold of Rolander's insects, we only have to travel a short distance from Linnaeus's residence in Uppsala to Charles De Geer's Leufsta manor, a country estate [...] A letter from former Linnaeus student Daniel Solander (1733-1782) to his fellow Linnean Eric Gustaf Lidbeck (professor of natural history at Lund University) solves everything. Linnaeus, according to Solander, had gone to Leufsta in either December 1756 or January 1757 to study Rolander's insects."

Although the specimens sent to De Geer by Rolander are "probably duplicates" ( Dobreff, 2010), the eventual specimens of species of Cerambycidae described by Linnaeus (1758)in Rolander's collection are not syntypes because they were not examined or directly mentioned by Linnaeus.

Currently, De Geer's Collection is deposited at Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Cerambyx auratus Linnaeus, 1758(Currently, Hileolaspis auratus(Prioninae, Mallaspini))

Linnaeus (1758)described Cerambyx auratus,based on a specimen collected by Daniel Rolander in Suriname, as follows (translated): " Cerambyxwith lateral thoracic tooth somewhat golden-green, antennae black, hind femora dark blue. Habitat in America. Rolander.It is similar to C. violaceo.Head and thorax golden-green. Thoracic margin concave excavated between base and lateral tooth. Elytra red-green-gold, slightly longer than body. Abdomen and whole underside of body green-bronze. Legs purple: hind femora dark-blue."

According to Monné (2015c): "Type locality - America. (Depository unknown)." However, De Geer (1775)recorded (translated): "this beautiful Capricorn, also from Suriname, from where Mr. Rolander sent it to me, has eight lines of length and three lines and a half, so it has a short body, but broad and flattened, and the antennae, that are somewhat thick, have the length of the body. The elytra are large and rounded at apex."

Based only on that information, evidently it is not possible to be sure that Linnaeus (1758)used the specimen deposited in De Geer Collection to describe C. auratus.Nevertheless, that becomes evident when the information published by Dobreff (2010)is added (see introduction). Thus, there is no doubt that the specimen used by Linnaeus to describe C. auratusbelonged to De Geer's Collection. And, as De Geer (1775)gave only the dimension of a single specimen, it is evident that only a holotype exists.

The holotype of C. auratusshould be deposited at Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden. However, according to Dobreff (2010)on C. auratus:" Cerambyx auratusL. / Sys. Nat.(1758), p. 395, #179 / NRM box 14 (label present; specimen missing)."

Following De Geer (1775)it is possible to give a more accurate type locality: Suriname (originally recorded as "America").

Cerambyx festivus Linnaeus, 1758(Currently, Chlorida festiva(Cerambycinae, Bothriospilini))

As occurred with C. auratus, Linnaeus (1758)described Cerambyx festivus,based on specimen(s) collected by Daniel Rolander in Suriname, as follows (translated): " Cerambyxwith thorax bidentate at each side, elytra bidentate, green with yellow line. Habitat in America. Rolander.Thorax reddish variegated with black; antennae with reddish base, slightly longer than body. Elytral apex bidentate, green, with two elevate carinae; with longitudinal yellow line near lateral margin."

According to Monné (2015a): "Type locality - America. (LSUK) [Linnaean Society, London, United Kingdom]."

The website of The Linnaean Society of London (2015)actually shows photographs of three specimens of Cerambyx festivus(LINN 3627; LINN 3628; LINN 3629) that belonged to Linnaeus' Collection. Only two of them have labels: "Cayenne / W. Roe" (LINN 3629); and "afer? I. festivus" (LINN 3627). However, as seen above, the specimen used by Linnaeus was collected by Rolander, and did not belong to Linnaeus' collection. Thus, the three specimens in The Linnaean Society of London are not syntypes of C. festivus(notably the specimen collected by W. Roe).

One more time, De Geer (1775)recorded (translated): "This Capricorn was sent to me from Suriname by Mr. Rolander.It is slightly longer than an inch and with width of three lines and a half; this is the measure of the female, the male being smaller than half, but also of the same appearance and colors." De Geer (1775)used two names to refer to this species: "Cerambyx(spinosus) thorax depressed...";and "Cerambyx(festivus) thorax bidentate at each side... Linn. Syst. Ed. 12. p. 623. nº 11."At the same time, he listed two works where the species was figured: "Gronov. Zooph. nº 541. Tab. 16. Fig. 5";and "Drury Ins. Exot. Pl. 37. Fig. 5."

Dobreff (2010: figure 3.5) published a photograph of a specimen of C. festivusdeposited in De Geer's Collection that belonged to Daniel Rolander.Without doubt, this is one of the syntypes of C. festivus(see introduction). As De Geer had more than one specimen, it is possible to infer that Linnaeus studied more than one specimen. The syntypes of C. festivusare deposited at the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (at least one specimen survived).

According to Monné (2015a): " Cerambyx spinosus De Geer, 1775: 100, pl. 13, fig. 14. Type locality - Surinam. (NHRS) [Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden]." De Geer's description makes clear that there were two specimens (one male and one female). Thus there are "syntypes" and not holotype.

Evidently De Geer (1775)was just giving a new name (unnecessary nomen novum) for C. festivus(and for the same specimens). ICZN (1999: Article 72.7) makes clear that the types of C. spinosusare the same as C. festivus.Consequently, there are no different syntypes of the former, and the type locality is the same for both.

Following De Geer (1775)it is possible to give a more accurate type locality: Suriname (originally recorded as "America").

Cerambyx glaucus Linnaeus, 1758(Currently, Oreodera glauca glauca(Lamiinae, Acanthoderini))

According to Linnaeus (1758)(translated): " Cerambyxwith thorax with five spines, grayish-blue, elytra muricate, laterally with black band, antennae long. Habitat in America. Rolander.Insect dorsally grayish-blue whitish, ventrally dark. Thorax dorsally with four spines, and a fifth at posterior half. Elytra truncate, unidentate, anteriorly spinose-muricate, laterally with short black side, posteriorly almost dividing elytra. Antennae about as long as twice body length."

According to Monné (2015b): "Type locality - America. (Depository unknown)."

As seen above the holotype of C. glaucusshould be deposited at Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet. However, according to Dobreff (2010): " Cerambyx glaucusL. = C. tuberculatus/ Sys. Nat.(1758), p. 390, #179 / NRM box 14 (label present; specimen missing)."

De Geer (1775)gave a new name (unjustified nomen novum), C. tuberculatus,for C. glaucus,and recorded (translated): "This beautiful and singular Capricorn, from Suriname, is of moderate size, or about that of our Capricorns charpentiers,that means that its length is eight lines and a half and the width has three lines."

As De Geer (1775)made clear that it is the same species described by Linnaeus as C. glaucus,there is no doubt that the specimen was collected by Rolander, and is the same used by Linnaeus to describe the species (holotype).

Monné (2015b)recorded: " Cerambyx tuberculatus De Geer, 1775: 112, pl. 14, fig. 4. Type locality - Surinam. (NHRS) [Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden]."

Notwithstanding, as with C. spinosus De Geer, 1775, according to ICZN (1999: Article 72.7), the holotype of C. tuberculatusis the same as C. glaucus.Consequently, the type locality is also the same.

Cerambyx stigma Linnaeus, 1758(Currently, Megaderus stigma(Cerambycinae, Trachyderini))

Described by Linnaeus (1758)as follows (translated): "Cerambyx sub-short, roundish, coarsely punctate, body dark, elytra smooth: with white macula. Habitat in America. Rolander.Totally black. Thorax hemispherical, sub-margined, abundantly coarsely punctate, posteriorly excavated close to lateral tooth. Scutellum smooth, longer in the other species. Elytra smooth, black, on each side of scutellum with white line outward oblique."

Monné (2015a)pointed out where the type of C. stigmawas collected: "Type locality - America. (Depository unknown)."

According to De Geer (1775)(translated): "This Capricorn, that Mr. Rolander sent me from Surinam, is of a shape quite different from that of other species, having great body, but dorsally flattened and ventrally convex." De Geer (1775)was describing the same specimen used by Linnaeus to describe C. stigma.The holotype of C. stigmabelonged to De Geer's Collection (see introduction).

Following De Geer (1775)it is possible to give a more accurate type locality: Suriname (originally recorded as "America").

Leptura necydalea Linnaeus, 1758(Currently, Isthmiade necydalea(Cerambycinae, Rhinotragini))

According to Linnaeus (1758)(translated): " Lepturawith thorax subglobose, elytra notably acuminate towards apex, grayish-blue yellowish. Habitat in America. Rolander.Similar to L. aquatica.Elytra reduced and very acuminate towards apex, very glabrous, grayish-blue yellowish, margins somewhat purple. Head black. Antennae filiform, black, as long as half of body. Femora clavate. Abdomen black, ichneumoniform, margins maculated with white."

Later, Linnaeus (1767)transferred the species to Necydalis Linnaeus, 1758, and gave it a new name (unjustified nomen novum), Necydalis glaucescens,and commented (translated): " Necydaliswith elytra notably acuminate towards apex, grayish-blue yellowish. Syst. Nat. 10. p. 399. n. 17. Leptura necydalea.Habitat in Suriname. Head black. Abdomen black with margins maculated with white. Antennae black, as long as half of body."

Monné (2015a)recorded the type locality for L. necydalea:"Type locality - America. (Depository unknown)."

However, the holotype belonged to De Geer's collection and is (or should be) deposited at the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (see introduction). According to De Geer (1775)(translated): "This remarkable Necydale, that Mr. Rolander found in Suriname, has six lines of length and one line and a half of width." De Geer (1775)made clear that it is the same species described by Linnaeus (1758)as Leptura necydaleaand gave a new name for it: Necydalis nitida.

Regarding Necydalis glaucescens Linnaeus, 1767, and N. nitida De Geer, 1775, Monné (2015a)reported, respectively: "Type locality - Surinam. (Depository unknown)"; and "Type locality - Surinam. (NHRS) [Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden]." But both N. glaucescensand N. nitidaare new names (both are unjustified nomen novum) for Leptura necydaleaand, consequently, have no different "type" or type locality from Leptura necydalea( ICZN 1999: Article 72.7).

Linnaeus (1767)gave a more accurate type locality: "Habitat Surinami" (originally recorded as "America"). Fabricius (1787)incomprehensibly recorded: "N. elytris subulatis glaucis, corpora nigro, abdominis incisures albis. Necydalis glaucescenselytris subulatis glauco flavescentibus, femoribus clavatis. Linn. Syst. Nat. 2. 642. 7. Schaeff. Icon. Tab. 94. fig. 6. Habitat in Europa australiori." Gmelin (1790)followed Fabricius (1787)and wrongly pointed out that the species is from Europe. Schönherr (1817)transferred Necydalis glaucescensto Molorchus Fabricius, 1793, but correctly pointed out that the species is from "America, Surinam." According to Schönherr (1817), Necydalis glaucescens sensu Fabricius (1787, 1793, 1801) is equal to Necydalis rufa Linnaeus, 1767(currently, Stenopterus rufus): " Nec. glaucescens,* Fabr. S. El. II. p. 373. 31. * Ent. S. I. II. p. 355.24. * Mant. I. p. 171. 13. variatio forte. (Minime [not comparable] N. glaucesc.Linn.)." However, Schönherr (1817)did not comment on the error by Gmelin (1790). Nevertheless, following the reasoning by Schönherr (1817), Necydalis glaucescens sensu Gmelin (1790)also corresponds to Necydalis rufa,because according to him: "N. elytris glaucis, corpora nigro, abdominis incisures albis. Fabr. mant. Ins. I. p. 171. n. 13/ [...] / Syst. Nat. X. p. 399. n. 17. Leptura necydalea/ [...] / Habitatin Europa magis australi."

Olivier (1811)considered that species as belonging to OedemeraOlivier, 1789 (Oedemeridae). I have not been able to find another citation of the species in Oedemeridae, nor if some author formally corrected the erroneous transfer.

Aurivillius (1912)transferred Necydalis necydaleato IsthmiadeThomson, 1864. However, reading the description by De Geer (1775), it is possible to see that the species cannot belong to Isthmiade(length of antennae; presence of bands with dense setae on prothorax, etc.). Tippmann (1953)questioned the inclusion of that species in Isthmiade,when he described I. laevicollis(translated): " I. necydaleaLin. ruled out, because it involves a clear Acyphoderes-like". Linsley (1961)pointed out: " Leptura necydalea Linnaeus, 1758(= Necydalis glaucescens Linnaeus, 1767) (= Necydalis nitidaDeGeer, 1775), from Surinam, has been referred to this genus by Aurivillius (1912). I do not know this species, but judging from the description and figure provided by DeGeer (1775) is does not appear to be congeneric with the Brazilian species, which include the type of the genus. However, the generic assignment provided by Aurivillius may have resulted from examination of the type specimen." It is not possible to know whether or not Aurivillius examined the holotype, but there is no doubt that the inclusion in Isthmiadewas a mistake.

Tavakilian & Peñaherrera-Leiva (2007)discussed the holotype of Leptura necydalea(translated): "... at Linnaeus' time, "glauca" in Latin meant a pretty color between green and blue that today fallen into disuse"; "We could not find the typical material of this species nor in Stockholm (former De Geer collection) or in Uppsala (Gustave-Adolphe collection) or London (C. Linnaeus collection)... It is quite possible that Aurivillius have considered the type of De Geer and at least interpreted the pattern shown by him in 1775: pl. XV, Fig. 2. To date, no green species belonging to the genus Isthmiadeis known and no species found in French Guiana have the proposed features." Regarding the elytral color, according to De Geer (1775), the elytra are "flavi nitidissimis" (or in French, "Les etuis sont d'un jaune de citron pâle, très-luisants & polis comme une glace, ayant tout autour de leur étendue une espece de bordure brune"). That means that the elytra are pale lemon-yellow, shiny, margined with brown.

Dobreff (2010: appendix 1) listed Leptura necydalea,but apparently, he did not see the specimen, because the number of the box in NHRS was not mentioned. According to Johannes Bergsten (personal communication): "I looked in the De Geer collection and there is a label in the drawer for N. nitida/ N. glaucesens;there is a hole after a pin under the label, but there is no specimen. I do not know where the specimen could be, it is not due to any loan. I also looked in world collection and in our database but it is not indicated in our database which means it has not been in the collection for quite some time, it has not disappeared recently."

According to Linnaeus (1758)and De Geer (1775)the antennae are about half length of body. However, seeing the drawing ( Fig. 3), apparently they are just longer than one-third of the body length.

(1, 2)   Acutiphoderes odyneroides  (White, 1855), male: (1) Lateral view; (2) Dorsal view. (3, 4)   Necydalis nitida    De Geer, 1775(after   De Geer (1775), Plate 15, figures 2-3) (=   Leptura necydalea    Linnaeus, 1758; =   Necydalis glaucescens    Linnaeus, 1767): (3) Lateral view; (4) elytra.

FIGURES 1‑4:: (1, 2) Acutiphoderes odyneroides (White, 1855), male: (1) Lateral view; (2) Dorsal view. (3, 4) Necydalis nitida De Geer, 1775(after De Geer (1775), Plate 15, figures 2-3) (= Leptura necydalea Linnaeus, 1758; = Necydalis glaucescens Linnaeus, 1767): (3) Lateral view; (4) elytra.

I believe that L. necydaleais equal to Acyphoderes odyneroidesWhite, 1855 (currently, Acutiphoderes odyneroides(Rhinotragini)), described from Brazil (Pará), because the description and drawings by De Geer (1775)( Figs. 3-4), and the specimens examined ( Figs. 1-2), agree well with both. Thus, Acyphoderes odyneroidesis a junior synonym of L. necydalea.Following the transference by Clarke (2015): Acutiphoderes necydaleacomb. nov.



I thank Eugenio H. Nearns (Purdue Entomological Research Collection, Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, U.S.A.) for providing a PDF of Dobreff's work, and for his help trying to find the holotype of L. necydalea.Special thank for Dr. Johannes Bergsten (Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Zoology, Entomology Collection, Stockholm, Sweden) for the information on the holotype of L. necydalea.I express my sincere thanks to Norbert Delahaye and Gérard L. Tavakilian for sharing their opinions on L. necydalea.I am grateful to Larry G. Bezark for the corrections and suggestions to an earlier version of this manuscript.


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