Cephalota (Taenidia) vartianorum (Mandl, 1967),

Assmann, Thorsten, Boutaud, Esteve, Buse, Joern, Gebert, Joerg, Drees, Claudia, Friedman, Ariel-Leib-Leonid, Khoury, Fares, Marcus, Tamar, Orbach, Eylon, Ittai Renan,, Schmidt, Constantin & Zumstein, Pascale, 2018, The tiger beetles (Coleoptera, Cicindelidae) of the southern Levant and adjacent territories: from cybertaxonomy to conservation biology, ZooKeys 734, pp. 43-103: 69

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Cephalota (Taenidia) vartianorum (Mandl, 1967)


18. Cephalota (Taenidia) vartianorum (Mandl, 1967) 


Saline habitats with sparse vegetation and salt crusts during summer. Diurnal and nocturnal. Attracted by light ( Korell 1984).


Spring, records from February to June ( Gebert 2016; Matalin and Chikatunov 2016; Nussbaum 1987).

Distribution range.

Israel, Syria to Iran ( Gebert 2016).

Distribution in the southern Levant.

In the Dead Sea region of Israel ( Gebert 2016; Matalin and Chikatunov 2016; Nussbaum 1987). We do not know any verifiable record from Jordan. This is in agreement with the distribution indications of Puchkov and Matalin (2003) and Wiesner (1992), but it is in disagreement with Puchkow and Matalin (2017). The country indications for Saudia-Arabia, Yemen and Jordan have not been verified (Matalin pers. comm. to Jörg Gebert on November 26, 2017).

Taxonomic notes.

While in older publications this taxon is listed as a subspecies of C. zarudniana  ( Tschitschérine, 1903), Gebert (2016) elevated it to full species rank. Cephalota vartianorum  differs from C. zarudniana  by slightly slender habitus as well as shape of the median lobe of aedeagus, and in the complete lack of white setae on the genae.


Critically endangered in Israel. Israel has a national responsibility for the worldwide conservation of the taxon.

Tiger beetles of coastal habitats are often sensitive to touristic use of beaches ( Aydın et al. 2005; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2009). Most of the Israeli beaches known to host this species are intensively used as recreational areas. With high probability at least some of the (local) populations have become extinct. Matalin and Chikatunov (2016) stated that the most recent records date from the late 80's to the 90's of the last century. Our most recent records are from 1990 in Israel (Neot HaKikkar = Neot Hakikar, 13. May 1990, leg. E. Orbach, COQ, CAL) and from 2000 in Syria (Euphrates, database Gebert). All other 34 entries in the database Gebert date back to the late 1980s and 1990s. Intensive searches, including use of light traps at night, of several sites in Israel such as the Enot Tsukim Reserve (= Enot Zuqim = Enot Zukim = Einot Zukim = En Fescha) from where populations have been previously recorded, have yielded no new records. The lowering of the water table and changes in land use in the Dead Sea region have strongly impacted many habitats, both freshwater and saltwater. Therefore, at further studies of the Dead Sea region, both on the Israeli and the Jordanian side, are needed to establish wether or not populations still exist.