Ittai Renan, Department of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University
The first year of study was characterized mainly by sorting material (beetle specimens) from collections, and collecting fresh material in the field for molecular studies, as well as identifying morphological characters and initial definition of species. The data of all the group's specimens in the National Collection of Natural History in Tel-Aviv University was sorted and inserted into the computerized database. Specimen data collecting and sorting was done in the Natural History Museum in Paris (MNHN). This work was devoted mainly to locating specimens in the enormous and unsorted ground beetle collection. One hundred seventy specimens and two types were loaned for further study in Israel.
Collecting excursions were made in most of the Israeli distribution sites of the group. In Kasuy sands, southern Arava sands, and southern Jordanian Arava sands, visual searches were made and pitfall-traps were placed, but without results. Forty adults specimens were collected from the western Negev sands and were kept in two laboratories in order to study the biology of the group; rearing the larvae was so far unsuccessful. Plans were made in connection with two laboratories specializing in molecular taxonomy in Israel and in Germany.
The initial results of the impact of stabilized dunes on arthropods were presented in an ecological conference in Germany (GFO), funded by Adesman travel grant. In the conference of the Entomological Society of Israel ideas for using insects as bioindicators were presented.
Morphological identification and characterization of the group populations so far suggest definition of four species from Israel, a species from Morocco and another one from Syria, five of them never before described.