Aleochara lanuginosa Gravenhorst, 1802

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

ALEOCHARINAE Fleming, 1821

ALEOCHARINI Fleming, 1821

Aleochara Gravenhorst, 1802

This is a common and often abundant species throughout Europe from the Mediterranean to the far north of Fennoscandia and the UK, it extends through the Caucasus and Asia Minor to Iraq, Turkestan and Russia, reaching eastern Siberia and extending south to Korea, Thailand and into Indonesia where it is common in palm plantations, it has recently been discovered in Tenerife and its is widespread in the United States, where it is also recorded from Alaska, and eastern Canada. In the UK it is generally common throughout England and Wales, though less so in the West Country and more local and scattered further north to the Scottish highlands, the Outer Hebrides, and Northern Ireland. Adults are present year-round, through the winter among tussocks or in the soil beneath litter and matted grass etc. and through the spring and summer among a wide range of decaying organic matter such as carrion, compost and decaying fungi, but especially in herbivore dung. Adults appear in April, they peak in abundance in June and again, though less so, in September and October, and they are often among the most numerous species in cattle dung. They occur in a wide range of not too wet habitats from woodland to open grassland and they may be common on coastal dunes or under algae on beaches above the tidal zone. Breeding occurs in spring and early summer and larvae develop among decaying matter where they parasitize diptera pupae, killing them in the process, pupation occurs within empty puparia or nearby and adults eclose soon afterwards, the entire life-cycle taking only a few weeks. Sampling adults is easiest by searching through dung or netting them as they fly over dung pasture in warm weather, disturbing a crusted dung pat will usually entice them and they can be netted as they arrive, usually along with many other staphs, they can also be found by sieving carrion, decaying fungi or compost and they regularly occur in winter flood refuse and extraction samples.

Aleochara lanuginosa 1

Aleochara lanuginosa 1

Aleochara lanuginosa 2

Aleochara lanuginosa 2

Aleochara lanuginosa aedeagus

Aleochara lanuginosa aedeagus

© U.Schmidt

Aleochara lanuginosa spermatheca

Aleochara lanuginosa spermatheca

© U.Schmidt

3.0-5.5 mm. Elongate, broad and discontinuous in outline, entirely black or with the elytral apices reddish, this may extend to the disc or to the posterior angles but is usually diffuse and not well defined, legs black with pale tarsi, antennae black. Head transverse and distinctly narrower than the pronotum, with weakly convex eyes and long, curved temples, surface evenly convex and finely punctured and pubescent throughout, the pubescence semi-erect and directed forwards. Penultimate maxillary palpomere long and expanded towards the apex, terminal segment diminutive. Antennomeres 1-3 elongate, 1 and 3 much longer than 2, 4 quadrate and 5-10 transverse. Pronotum transverse and narrower than the elytra, broadest behind the middle and curved to rounded angles, apical margin straight, basal margin curved, surface without microsculpture; evenly and finely punctured and pubescent, the pubescence directed obliquely backwards from the centreline. From below the mesosternum has a raised ridge from the basal margin to the apex. From the lateral aspect the metepisternum extends beyond the elytral apex and is gradually broadened from the base. Elytra transverse with rounded shoulders, curved laterally and strongly sinuate across the base before sharp, almost perpendicular posterior angles, surface densely punctured and with pale pubescence directed obliquely backwards from the suture. Abdomen broad and evenly curved from base to apex, strongly bordered laterally, basal tergites impressed and strongly punctured across the base, all tergites otherwise finely and sparsely punctured and pubescent. Tibiae finely punctured and pubescent, with short erect setae but without isolated longer setae, middle and hind tibiae with a short apical spur. Tarsi 5-segmented, the hind tarsi at most as long as the tibiae and with the first segment at most a little shorter than the next two segments.

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