Anaspis frontalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SCRAPTIIDAE Gistel, 1848

ANASPIDINAE Mulsant, 1856

Anaspis Geoffroy, 1762

Among the most common members of the genus, this species occurs throughout the Palaearctic region from the Iberian Peninsula east to China and Japan and extends far beyond the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia; it is generally abundant across England and Wales but more local and sporadic in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Adults appear in May, they are generally common until July and specimens occasionally survive into August or September, they occur on various flowers in parks, gardens, woodland margins and grassland and will often be found on disturbed land. Early in the season they are common on hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) blossom but soon appear on umbel flowers and by the middle of June may be swept from trees and shrubs and a wide range of flowers, especially various Rosaceae e.g. bramble (Rubus fruiticosa L.). Adults are diurnal and active in bright sun, they usually occur in numbers and often alongside other members of the genus, they can run rapidly and will readily fly when disturbed but are easily sampled by sweeping or shaking flowers into a net, they may also be sampled at night while they rest on flower heads. Little is known of the biology but adults are often seen mating on flowers and larvae are known to develop under bark or within decaying wood of various broadleaf trees and shrubs, on the continent they have been recorded from oak and maple, and they are thought to feed either on wood fibres or on wood infested with fungi.

2.5-4.4m. Elongate-oval and more or less continuous in outline, body substantially black usually with the front of the head and the prosternum yellow, appendages mostly black, the four basal antennomeres and middle and hind tibial spurs yellow and the front legs and maxillary palps variably but usually substantially yellow. This dark coloured form occurs throughout central and northern Europe, including the UK, but in south east Europe the colour is usually lighter, often entirely pale with only the posterior half of the head darker. Dorsal surface with dense and very fine grey pubescence throughout. Head evenly convex, rounded laterally and with weakly convex eyes that follow the outline and abut the basal occipital ridge, terminal segment of maxillary palps large and securiform. Antennae moniliform, antennomeres 2-7 distinctly elongate, 8 broader and slightly elongate, 9 and 10 quadrate or nearly so and the terminal segment at most only a little longer than the penultimate segment. Pronotum transverse, about 4:3, continuously curved laterally and anteriorly, anterior angles not visible in normal setting, basal margin weakly sinuate and surface evenly convex or vaguely depressed about the base, with fine transverse microsculpture throughout. Terminal abdominal tergites without discrete patches of dense setae. Elytra microsculptured as the pronotum but otherwise lacking striae or other structure; the surface evenly pubescent throughout and the sutural area not contrasting with the rest of the surface, shape long and narrow with separately rounded apices and narrow epipleura which are visible to at least the level of the third sternite. Legs long and robust, especially the hind legs; the middle and hind tibiae with straight inner margins and a pair of long terminal spurs in both sexes. Males may be distinguished by the enlarged second pro-tarsomere and the paired appendages at the apex of the third abdominal sternite; these are weakly sinuate in the basal half and strongly curved beyond the apex of the fourth sternite, the apices converging but not meeting. Species of Anaspis can be very difficult to identify but A. frontalis is distinctive due to the colour the form of the antennae, tibiae and abdominal tergites and sternites. An excellent key to our UK species is provided in the Royal Society Handbook by Brian Levey and a detailed key to many European species is available online HERE.

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