Agriotes pallidulus (Illiger, 1807)
This is a mostly western and central European species which reaches north to Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, it extends east into Ukraine and Turkey but is absent from the Balkan Peninsula and several eastern countries, it is generally common and often abundant from lowlands to about 1200m but becomes scarce in some eastern regions and is only doubtfully recorded from several countries e.g. Poland. In the UK it is common throughout England and Wales, including the islands with the exception of Man, and more local and scarce further north to the Scottish Highlands. Adults are active from April until June or, exceptionally, into July and occur in a wide range of habitats, typically grassland and parkland but also woodland, moorland and dunes etc. They are abundant from early in the season and may be found in large numbers on hawthorn blossom and umbel flowers, they sometimes swarm among herbaceous vegetation and along woodland pathways but more generally will be found in grassland and parkland as well as disturbed sites such as gardens and road verges. Adults overwinter and spend some time feeding before mating and oviposition begins in early spring, mating pairs are a common sight on flowers until May or June and females oviposit throughout their short season. Larvae develop in the soil feeding on roots, they are highly mobile and can move between plants or through the soil in order to escape unfavourable conditions, they move deeper into the soil to overwinter and ascend in the spring to continue feeding and most will pupate in March or April after the first winter but this can be extended over a further season if they are not fully developed. Adults will appear when sweeping low herbage or flowers and might also be found swarming early in the season, especially in open woodland situations, but specimens will need to be examined carefully as there are several superficially similar species.
Agriotes pallidulus 1
Agriotes pallidulus 2
Agriotes pallidulus 3
3.5-5.7 mm. A long and slender species which is finely pubescent throughout, the colour varies from completely pale to completely dark but most specimens have a dark forebody and pale brown elytra with a darkened suture and base, legs pale brown, antennae pale but darkened towards the apex, sometimes only weakly so but always obvious. Head broad, only narrowly visible from above and as wide as the anterior margin of the pronotum, evenly convex and finely punctured and with large transverse eyes that touch the pronotal margin. Antennae 11-segmented, the second segment as long as the fourth. Pronotum elongate, broadest across produced posterior angles and gently sinuate laterally to a rounded apical margin, surface evenly convex, shiny and finely punctured, colour typically dark brown to black with the margins variably pale but the produced angles are almost always pale. Elytra elongate, at most 2.6X longer than the pronotum, with rounded shoulders and gently curved to an acuminate apical margin, striae impressed and punctured to the apex, interstices flat and finely punctured throughout; usually with two or three rows of punctures. Legs long and slender with all femora of similar thickness and tibiae only slightly thickened from the base, tarsi 5-segmented; all segments plainly visible and the fourth only a little shorter than the third. Claws smooth and without a distinct basal tooth.