Caulotrupis Lucifugus

Thomas Vernon Wollaston published this drawing in his book ‘Insecta Maderensia’ in 1854. In the book he thanks Westwood for providing the illustrations, ‘Particularly, however, would I draw attention to the valuable help which I have received from J. O. Westwood, Esq., whose pencil has been so elaborately employed in the figures which I am thus enabled to attach, and by whom many of the minutest of the dissections were accomplished, — with a degree of delicacy, moreover, to which I did not myself at the commencement of this Work (though I have since succeeded in anatomizing the larger portion of them, likewise) lay claim.’

235. Caulotrupis lucifugus, Woll. (Tab. VI. fig. 7, 9.)

Although ranging through no very opposite phases, either of outline or sculpture, the present Caulotrupis (which I would consider the generic type) appeal's to possess a slight modification for every island of the Madeiran group : and hence small shades of difference, which might otherwise be regarded as trifling, become directly important, and cannot be ignored in a local Fauna,—even though a general collector may deem it unnecessary to recognise them. In real fact however, such distinctions, when viewed geographically, arc of the greatest interest, as serving to illustrate what we have already so often had occasion to comment upon, namely the influence of isolation and other circumstances on external insect form. Not only is the C. lucifungus more generally diffused than any of the remaining species, but it would seem, likewise, to be peculiarly normal both in its struicture and habits, and therefore eminently calculated as it were to represent the genus. It is found exclusively, so far as I have hitherto observed, either in the stems of mountain plants or else beneath stones, in exposed grassy spots (entirely free from timber) of rather low and intermediate altitudes. It is apparently scarcer in Madeira proper than on the other islands, the only position in which I have as yet taken it being the sunny slopes above the cliffs to the eastward of Funchal, towards the Cabo Gerajao or Brazen Head,—where during the autumn of 1847 I captured it sparingly, from amongst short vegetation and broken fragments of shrubs between the detached blocks of tufa and scoriae. In December 1848 I discovered the var.γ. in tolerable abundance in Porto Santo, adhering to dried stalks and the under-sides of stones, on the ascent of nearly all the peaks : and on the 19th of March 1849 I met with specimens on the Ilheo de Fora receding in no respect from the Madeiran ones. At the end of May 1850 I took the var. β. on the sumimit of the Dezerta Grande, during my encampment there with the Rev. R. T. Lowe : and a week later (namely, early in June) the var. δ. occurred in the utmost profusion on the Northern Dezerta, or Ilheo Chao, from whence I collected a large series of examples, all bearing the slight distinctive features which I have endeavoured to indicate in the diagnosis of that variety. They delight in the most windy positions ; nevertheless they would appear to secrete themselves either beneath or immediately around the loose slabs of basalt, or about the stems and roots of the harder, stunted plants, with which such localities everywhere abound.

237. Caulotrupis terebrans, Woll. (Tab. VI. fig. 8.). Wollaston wrote the following about this species:

‘Easily distinguishable by its small bulk, comparatively brilliant and entirely brassy surface, and by its deeply punctured prothorax. [...] It is, apparently, excessively local, being confined, so far as I have hitherto observed, to Porto Santo,—where, during my visit to that island with the Rev. W. J. Armitage in April and May 1848, I captured a pair from out of the crevices of the rocks on the northern side of the extreme summit of the Pico de Facho (about 1600 feet above the sea) ; a spot in which I first discovered the Tarphius Lowei and Hypera lunata. Although I searched diligently in the same place on two subsequent occasions, I failed in detecting more ; and hence it may be presumed to be not only local, but rare.’

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
watercolour on paper
Common Name
Caulotrupis Lucifugus
Simple Name
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Production Town

Production Date
Production Person Initials
John Obadiah
Production Person Surname
Production Year Low
Production Year High

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Caulotrupis Lucifugus