Narcis Mrsic (1951 - 1997)

abit, non obit. Three Years Later

For the first time, he wept in Slovenia, his mother's country. To the primary and grammar school, he went in Croatia, his father's land. Then he returned to Slovenia to study biology in Ljubljana. He graduated in 1975, and on March 3rd 1983, he was the first one of his generation to defend his doctor thesis on taxonomic, ecological and coenotic researches in earthworms (Lumbricidae, Oligochaeta) in the transection Kranjska gora-Spik Mt. and Preddvor-Storzic Mt.

In 1975, he was engaged as graduate assistant at the Jovan Hadzi Institute of Biology of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. Although a zoologist at heart, he there began his scientific work in the field of forestry and phytocoenology. In 1977, he was elected to the assistant and when achieving his doctorship, he became research associate at the institute's zoological team. For few months in 1994, he was substitute director of the institute. Since 1992, he was senior research fellow and leader of the institute's research team in the main research project in floristic, faunistic, and vegetation researches of Slovenia and adjacent regions.

Narcis Mrsic had done a lot of work in the field of taxonomy as a scientist as well as an organiser in the first years of his scientific career. For his scientific contribution to the knowledge of Slovenia's and Western Balkans' faunas, he got many awards. He took part in international biological excursions to Nepal (1978), New Guinea (1992), and Indonesia (1993), where he intensely collected material and the learning of ecology and biodiversity. In the years 1989-1991, he was scientific editor in natural sciences for the Enciklopedija Slovenije (Encyclopedia of Slovenia). In 1995, he was elected to the assistant professor of ecology at the University of Ljubljana, holding lectures on general and animal ecology, zoogeography and ecosystems to pre- and postgraduate students. In the last few years, he was consultant at the Ministry of Science and Technology and its coordinator of the long-term programme entitled The Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Slovene People, especially in creating an adequate programme for the preservation of biodiversity. Narcis Mrsic was member of the following international editorial boards: Atlas of European Myriapods, Catalogue of Palearctic Myriapods, Atlas des Reptiles et Amphibiens d'Europe, and reviewer for lumbricids and diplopods for Miscellanea Zoologica, Barcelona (since 1992); for lumbricids for Bios, Thessaloniki (since 1992); for lumbricids and diplopods for Natura Croatica, Zagreb (since 1996); and since 1993 for The International Foundation Programmes (Soros), Washington.

He had no free time at all. Whenever and wherever, not directly engaged professionally, he was very busy in collecting diplopods, lumbricids, and reptiles or with drawing. Taxonomically and ecologically, he was dealing with three animal groups: lumbricids, diplopods, and reptiles, while his main ecological preoccupation persisted in edaphic organisms on the whole and pedogenetic processes. The biodiversity of the Slovene territory was a kind of obsession of his last fifteen years. The fact, he had discovered, that in this region there is an important European hot spot inspired him obstinately.

In 33 scientific papers on lumbricids, he described 49 new species, 4 subgenera, 2 genera, and additionally 2 species, 1 subgenus, and 4 genera in co-authorship. In his monograph on the earthworms of Balkans, he analysed beside setal formulas the taxonomic values of muscle bundles types, shape and orientation of nephridial bladders, position of male pore, structure and position of calciferous glands, and typhlosoles. Using these morphological characters, he carried out a complete systematical revision of Lumbricidae.

In 26 papers on diplopods, he dealt with faunistics and taxonomy. In his treatise on Attemsiidae, he analysed male and female genitalia making a determination key for both sexes. He, besides, proved the status of some taxa. He described 12 new subspecies, 17 species, 2 subgenera, 6 genera, 2 subfamilies, and 1 family (the works in print are not included).

The diplopod taxa, described by Narcis MRSIC

Polydesmidae LEACH, 1815

Polydesmus (Acanthotarsius) pseudoedentulus MRSIC, 1986 (sp. n.) (4)
Polydesmus (Basicentrus) fontius saviniense MRSIC, 1986 (ssp. n.) (4)
Absurdodesmus MRSIC, 1988 (subg. n.) (11)
Polydesmus (Absurdodesmus) jalzici MRSIC, 1988 (sp. n.) (11)
Polydesmus (Absurdodesmus) novaki MRSIC, 1988 (sp. n.) (11)
Polydesmus (Nomarchus) juergengruberi MRSIC, 1994 (sp. n.) (21)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) liboensis MRSIC, 1988 (sp. n.) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) macedonicus MRSIC, 1988 (sp. n.) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) splitensis ragusensis MRSIC, 1988 (ssp. n.) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) herzegowinensis serbicus MRSIC, 1988 (ssp. n.) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) inferus velebiticus MRSIC, 1988 (ssp. n.) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) calcarius KOVACEVIC, 1928) (redescription) (13)
Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) henrikenghoffi MRSIC, 1994 (sp. n.) (21)

Haaseidae ATTEMS, 1899

Haasea (Brachybainosoma) lacusnigri intermedia MRSIC, 1985 (ssp. n.) (2)

Craspedosomatidae GRAY, 1843

Desultorosoma MRSIC, 1985 (subg. n.) (1)
Dyocerasoma (Desultorosoma) drimicum MRSIC, 1985 (sp. n.) (1)
Dyocerasoma (Dyocerasoma) biokovense MRSIC, 1986 (sp. n.) (3)
Ochogona (Ochogona) pusillum amabilitatum MRSIC, 1986 (ssp. n.) (4)
Ochogona (Ochogona) pusillum celjense MRSIC, 1986 (ssp. n.) (10)
Ochogona (Ochogona) pusillum zagrebense MRSIC, 1986 (ssp. n.) (10)
Craspedosoma montenegrina MRSIC, 1987 (sp. n.) (5)


Schizmohetera MRSIC, 1987 (g. n.) (6)
Schizmohetera sketi MRSIC, 1987 (sp. n.) (6)

Julidae LEACH, 1814

Orioiulus MRSIC, 1987 (subg. n.) (8)
Xestoiulus (Orioiulus) dalmaticus MRSIC, 1987 (sp. n.) (8)
Interleptoiulus MRSIC, 1988 (g. n.) (12)
Interleptoiulus cernagorans MRSIC, 1988 (sp. n.) (12)

Biokoviellidae MRSIC, 1992 (fam. nov.) (15)

Biokoviella MRSIC, 1992 (g. n.) (15)
Biokoviella mauriesi MRSIC, 1992 (sp. n.) (15)


Macrochaetosomatinae MRSIC, 1992 (subfam. n.) (15)
Macrochaetosoma troglomontanum biokovense MRSIC, 1987 (ssp. n.) (9)

Attemsiidae VERHOEFF, 1899

Grassografinae MRSIC, 1987 (subfam. n.) (7)
Grassografia MRSIC, 1987 (g. n.) (7)
Grassografia makolensis MRSIC, 1987 (sp. n.) (7)
Mecogonopodium zirianus MRSIC, 1987 (sp. n.) (7)
Glomogonium karawankarum saviniense MRSIC, 1987 (ssp. n.) (7)
Glomogonium karawankarum intermedium MRSIC, 1987 (ssp. n.) (7)
Stiphrogonium attemsi celeae MRSIC, 1987 (ssp. n.) (7)


Malayorthomorpha MRSIC, 1996 (g. n.) (21)
Malayorthomorpha siveci MRSIC, 1996 (sp. n.) (21)
Haplogonomorpha MRSIC, 1996 (g. n.) (21)
Haplogonomorpha gogalai MRSIC, 1996 (sp. n.) (21)
Anoplodesmus tarmani MRSIC, 1996 (sp. n.) (21)

In reptiles, Mrsic was especially interested in the speciation of lizards genera Lacerta and Podarcis of the coastal parts of Croatia (Hrvatsko Primorje, Dalmatia) and the Adriatic isles.

For his book on edaphic organisms, he made about 1200 excellent drawings of animals, preparing thus one of the most exhaustive recent representation of the edaphon in Slovenia and in the world.

In his treatise on the biodiversity of the Slovene territory, he proved that its south-western parts, the adjacent regions in Italy and Croatia included, constitute a biotically very rich European region for the following reasons: the biogeographical one (crossing of Alpine, Central European, Sub-Pannonian, Sub-Mediterranean, and Dinaric regions), the geohistorical one (the Adriatic tectonic plate, initially a part of Gondwana, paleoclimatic changes, etc.), geological one (very diverse geological structure, a great extent of limestone), and consequent (e. g. pedological) ones. Among them, the past tectonic events were found out to perform a very important influence upon the diversification processes and speciation of some groups, e. g. attemsiid diplopods. He gave his heart to the idea that the region should be treated as an important biotic park of Europe.

Narcis Mrsic was a very productive scientist. More than 140 scientific, professional, popular, and educational papers and articles of his make a great contribution to the knowledge and advancement of zoology and biology in Slovenia. He was one of the most agile biologists of ours fulfilling thus a whole scientific life.

For a lot of his piercing ideas, he found energy, courage, and time to handle all of them. His new refreshing and shocking visions, and the perseverance in defending them were not accepted by all his colleagues. As it is a rule in most cases of such, formal criticism on his scientific methodology or weak linguistic expressions, etc. were exposed, while the intrinsic values of his visionary announcements many times escaped notice. How couldn't it be! "A good horse ever rises dust", says an old Croatian proverb and the mode of Narcis's work was quite like that: to escape from the daytime nightmare he was overtaken by his night lovers, drawing.

For the ancient Greeks, a man of worth complies with four excellences: he must be clever, hard working, honest, and proving charity. Narcis did. Yet, everybody has some problem with his own health. When little mental wheels turn well, than the physical health uses to go wrong. Narcis was a heart-patient, and nothing could be added to his way of life to increase the risks: he was an extreme ergophile, nightlong active, heavy smoker and coffee consumer. He knew it. "You'll see", he repeatedly reminded us in a sarcastic way with no sorrow in his voice, "one day my heart will break down". And it did. But only his physical, anatomical heart.

We do miss him very much.

Tone Novak, Tatjana Celik, March 2000


From 146 bibliographic units, the complete diplopod bibliography and only the most important other works are presented here.


1. MRSIC N. 1985a: Dyocerasoma (Desultorosoma) drimicum subg. n., sp. n. (Diplopoda: Craspedosomatidae). Biol. vestn. 33 (2): 53-60.
2. MRSIC N. 1985b: Contribution to the knowledge of Diplopods (Myriapoda: Diplopoda) of Serbia. Glas. Prir. muz. Beogr., B 40: 143-168.
3. MRSIC N. 1986a: Dyocerasoma (Dyocerasoma) biokovense sp. n. (Diplopoda: Craspedosomatidae). Biol. vestn. 34 (1): 81-87.
4. MRSIC N. 1986b: New taxa of the Diplopods (Myriapoda, Diplopod) of Slovenia. Biol. vestn. 34 (2): 65-77.
5. MRSIC N. 1987a: Craspedosoma montenegrina sp. n. (Diplopoda: Craspedosomatidae). Biol. vestn. 35 (1): 59-65.
6. MRSIC N. 1987b: Schizmohetera sketi g. n., sp. n. (Diplopoda: Neotractosomatidae). Biol. vestn. 35 (1): 77-82.
7. MRSIC N. 1987c: Attemsiidae (Diplopoda) of Yugoslavia. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razr. naravosl. vede 27 (5): 101-168.
8. MRSIC N. 1987d: Genus Xestoiulus Verhoeff 1893 (Diplopoda: Julidae) in Yugoslavia. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razr. naravosl. vede 28 (1): 3-25.
9. MRSIC N. 1987e: Diplopod fauna (Diplopoda: Myriapoda) Biokova. Acta biokov. 4: 267-276.
10. MRSIC N. 1987f: Genus Ochogona Cook 1895 (Craspedosomatidae, Diplopoda) of Yugoslavia. Glas. Prir. muz. Beogr., B 42: 51-74.
11. MRSIC N. 1988a: Description of a New Subgenus and Two New Species of the Genus Polydesmus Latreille 1802 (Diplopoda). Biol. vestn. 36 (2): 25-30.
12. MRSIC N. 1988b: Interleptoiulus cernagorans g. n., sp. n. (Diplopoda: Julidae) and a Survey of the Tribus Leptoiulini in Yugoslavia. Biol. vestn. 36 (2): 31-51.
13. MRSIC N. 1988c: Polydesmida (Diplopoda) of Yugoslavia. I.. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razpr. naravosl. vede 29 (3): 69-112.
14. MRSIC N. 1990: Research of the fauna of Diplopoda (Myriapoda, Arthropoda). In: NONVEILLER G. (ed.) Fauna of Durmitor. Part 3. Special Editions, 23, of the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, 14: 91-98.
15. MRSIC N. 1992a: Biokoviella mauriesi gen. nov., sp.nov. (Biokoviellidae fam. nov.), Macrochaetosomatinae subfam. nov. (Anthogonidae) and superfamily Cleidogonoidea (Craspedosomidea, Diplopoda) of the Western Balkans. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razr. naravosl. vede 33 (3): 51-91.
16. MRSIC N. 1992b: Rdeci seznam ogrozenih dvojnonog (Myriapoda: Diplopoda) v Sloveniji. (The red list of the endangered diplopods in Slovenia.) Varst. narave 17: 131-136.
17. MRSIC N. 1993: The fauna of diplopods (Diplopoda) of Macedonia. Favna dvojnonog (Diplopoda) Makedonije. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razr. naravosl. vede 34 (2): 19-44.
18. MRSIC N. 1994a: Dvojnonoge (Diplopoda) Koprskega primorja in sosednjih območij. (The Diplopods of the Koprsko primorje and the adjacent regions.) Annales (Koper) 4: 15-30.
19. MRSIC N. 1994b: The Diplopoda (Myriapoda) of Croatia. Dvojnonoge (Diplopoda: Myriapoda) Hrvatske. Razpr. - Slov. akad. znan. umet., Razr. naravosl. vede 35 (12): 219-296.
20. MRSIC N. 1994c: Polydesmus (Nomarchus) juergengruberi sp. n., Brachydesmus (Brachydesmus) henrikenghoffi sp. n. (Diplopoda) of Macedonia. Zool. Anz. 5/6: 177-180.
21. MRSIC N. 1996a: On three new Paradoxosomatidae from Malaysia (Diplopoda Polydesmida). Arthr. Selecta 5 (1/2): 139-144.
22. MRSIC N. 1996b: Dvojnonoge (Diplopoda) ¬ pomen, stanje raziskanosti in ogrozenosti. (Diplopoda ¬ their Significance, State of Research and Treat Status.) Narava Slovenije. Slov. ecol. Soc.: 263-267.
23. MRSIC N., T. NOVAK, F. POTOCNIK & T. AMON 1996: Ecological evaluation of oniscoids and diplopods from cavities in Slovenia. Mem. biospeol. 23: 203-210.

in print

24. MRSIC N. : New Paradoxosomatid taxons (Diplopoda: Paradoxosomatidae) from Irian Jaya (western New Guinea). Tijd. Entom.
26. MRSIC N. : New Diplopod Taxons (Diplopoda: Paradoxosomatidae) from Indonesia. Contr. Zool.

Other most important works


KEROVEC M. & N. MRSIC 1981: Oligochaeta. Catalogues faunae Jugoslaviae III/1, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Ljubljana, 38 p.
MRSIC N. 1983: Effect of edaphic factors on distribution of earthworms (Lumbricidae) in certain associations in Slovenia. Acta biologica Iugoslavica, Ekologija 18 (1): 43-54.
MRSIC N. & J. SAPKAREV 1987: Survey of the Earthworms (Lumbricidae) of Serbia in a Restricted Sense and Description of New Taxa. Biol. vestn. 35 (2): 67-85.
MRSIC N. 1987: Present State of Research in the Earthworm Fauna (Lumbricidae) of Yugoslavia. In: BONVICI-PAGLIAI A. M. & P. OMODEO (ed.): On Earthworms. Selected Symposia and Monographs U.Z.I. 2, Mucchi, Modena: 329-344.
MRSIC N. 1991a and b: Monograph on earthworms (Lumbricidae) of the Balkans I. and II. Monografija o dezevnikih (Lumbricidae) Balkana I. Dela 31, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Ljubljana, pp. 1-355 and 356-757.
MRSIC N. 1992a: Rdeci seznam ogrozenih dezevnikov (Lumbricidae, Oligochaeta) v Sloveniji. (The red list of the endengered lumbricids in Slovenia.)Varst. narave 17: 179-181.
MRSIC N. 1992b: Revision of the genera Cernosvitovia Omodeo, 1956, Italobalkaniona Mrsic & Sapkarev, 1988 and Allolobophora Eisen, 1874 from the Balkans. Misc. Zool. 16: 21-28.


MRSIC N. 1980: Herpetofauna of the Nepal valley of Langtang and its vicinity. Biol. vestn. 28 (1): 67-82.
MRSIC N., H. L. NEMESCHKAL, F. POTOCNIK, G. SCHWAMMER, H. SCHWAMMER 1989: Ein Beitrag zur Herpetofauna der Quarner-Inseln (Jugoslawien - Croatien). Biol. vestn. 37 (1): 57-73.
MRSIC N. 1992: Rdeci seznam ogrozenih plazilcev (Reptilia) v Sloveniji. (The red list of the endengered reptiles in Slovenia.)Varst. narave 17: 41-44.
MRSIC N. 1997: Plazilci (Reptilia) Slovenije. (The reptiles of Slovenia.) Zavod RS za solstvo, Ljubljana, 167 pp.

Soil zoology

MRSIC N. 1997: Zivali nasih tal. Uvod v pedozoologijo ¬ sistematika in ekologija s splosnim pregledom talnih zivali. (Animals of our soils. The introduction to pedozoology ¬ systematics and ecology with an review upon the soil animals.) Tehniska zalozba Slovenije, Ljubljana, 416 pp.


MRSIC N. 1997: Biotska raznovrstnost v Sloveniji. Slovenija ¬ "vroca tocka" Evrope, (Biotic diversity in Slovenia. Slovenia ¬ the "hot spot" of Europe.) Ministrstvo za okolje in prostor, Uprava RS za varstvo narave, Ljubljana, 129 pp.

Copyright © Centre International de Myriapodologie, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz Senckenberg Logo