The "Beetles and Rock Art" web site is the result of the meeting and friendship between a professional archaeologist, Jean-Loic Le-Quellec, and an amateur entomologist (geologist in professional life), Jean-Claude Ringenbach.
So far no links between beetles and rock art have been found, our ancestors having engraved and painted only pastoral (and sometimes sexual) scenes and a bestiary of large animals. However, this site, which also depicts the Libyan nature, aims at showing the riches of this desertic country seen through naturalist eyes.


The site is divided into three main sections: archaeology, beetles and habitats. Some fiches of plants are also proposed.
 
 


ENTOMOLOGY:
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.

ARCHAEOLOGY:
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.


HABITATS:
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.