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It was described in 1763 by the correspondant of Carolus Linnaeus, Johannes Antonius Scopoli, while he was a physician in Slovenian mining town Idria. Ascalaphus is a daytime predator inhabitating warm, dry, uncultivated meadows from Slovenia to Caucasus, and is famous due to the unique spectral sensitivity of its dorsofrontal eye that ranges only over the ultra-violet part of the solar spectrum. Ascalaphus lives as an adult imago only for approximately two months in the summer; even then, it is actively hunting only under unobscured skies.