For Jean-Claude, the Libyan story has been short but nevertheless intense,
with almost three years of expatriation in Tripoli for an oil company.
WE, vacations and environmental and geological field trips have provided
the opportunity to collect beetles in the NW half of Libya (Fazzan,
Cyrenaica and Tripolitania). Collecting has been complemented by breeding
of wood borers. Enough specimen and data were gathered to revise some
families of Beetles as the knowledge of the Libyan fauna was poor.
The only checklist is 70 years olds, dating back to the Italian colonial
times (Zavatarri, 1934), and since then only few ecological papers on
Tripolitania had been published by other Italians in the late 50s-early
70s (Mellini, Fiori…). For the French Fazzan, Peyerhimhoff (1948)
published another checklist. So far, no books or recent comprehensive
publications allowing even a rough determination of Libyan beetles exist
and without the help of a network of friends and specialists, it would
have been impossible to perform this work. The Cerambycids have been
checked or studied by Gianfranco Sama and Martin Rejzek; the Buprestids
by Maurizio Gigli, Daniele Baiocchi, Gianfranco Curletti and for some
Gianluca Magnani; the Tenebrionids by Piero Leo and Daniele Sechi; the
Carabids are being studied by Jan Muilwijk; the Meloidae by Stanislav
Krejcik; the Scarabaoidea by Denis Keith and Patrick Le-Thuault and
the Curculionidae by Enzo Colonnelli and Jean Pelletier. For the main
families of Beetles a revised checklist is proposed and all the beetles
collected in Libya in the past 3 years are depicted in a fiche with
includes the geographical distribution of the species, some data on
its ecology and its captures in Libya. These lists include a lot of
new records and some new species to be described.
Since JC left Libya, Patrick
Weill a friend and also colleague was appointed there. He spent almost
four years in Libya (2005-2010) and has intensively collected insects
in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica mainly, but also in the southern deserts
during weekly trips. He mainly focused on Curculionidae (beetles) and
Tingidae (bugs) but also collected many species of other families. New
addition from his collection are indicated (P. Weill or PW Leg.). When
no indication = JCR Leg.
Beside a lot of new citations
one Cerambycidae and two Buprestidae have been described. 3 new Curculionidae
are being studied.
Jean-Loic has been travelling to Libya and studying the prehistory of
Fazzan since 1976. He is known as a rock-art specialist and wrote several
books on Saharan Prehistory and on the deserts. Since 1999, he has been
leading a salvage archaeological project on the Messak (Fazzan, South-West
Libya) in association with an oil company which gave him the opportunity
to meet Jean-Claude. During three years, 3500 km have been scouted on
foot in the Messak and surrounding areas, with the help of a party of
Libyan and French archaeologists.
This experience allowed to better understand the palaeoenvironments
of this part of the Sahara. The only other recent archaeological work
has been done in the Akakus by the Italian team lead by Savino di Lernia,
and in the area of Germah by English archaeologists under the leadership
of David Mattingly. The Messak Plateau is known as the oldest rock art
site ever found in the Sahara, and as far as engravings are concerned
it is probably the largest site known in Africa. Recent surveys provided
thousands of new documents: engravings, lithic monuments, ceramic, stone
tools, ancient campsites, etc, whose study is under way.
The site presents some preliminary results for the area explored, and
gives an introduction to climatic changes and cultural evolution in
the Central Sahara during the Holocene. Some of the beetles collected
here by Jean-Claude are relic species trapped in this harsh environment
since the Climatic Optimum which allowed the flourishing of the so-called
“Messak civilization”, ca. 6000 years ago.
This part deals with the geographical and climatic setting of this large
country. Typical habitats of the three main regions visited (Tripolitania,
Cyrenaica and Fazzan) are illustrated.
To complete the site and
make it friendlier to the non-initiated visitors, slides shows
give an overview of the landscapes of the different region and of the
topic treated. One also shows some of the people who participated to
the trips including Jean-Claude’s family, Annie and kids Sarah
and Tristan. They have been very patient during these three years, and
still are when they see my back when updating the site on the PC.