Anaspis maculata (Fourcroy, 1785)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SCRAPTIIDAE Gistel, 1848

ANASPIDINAE Mulsant, 1856

Anaspis Geoffroy, 1762

Sometimes referred to by the older name of A. melanopa (Forster, 1771), especially in European works. This is a mostly Western and Central European species; it extends from Portugal to Italy and Poland to the east and north to the UK and into southern Sweden where it is confined to coastal areas, it is generally common and often abundant from the Pyrenees into central and northern Europe but otherwise very local and sporadic, it is absent from many of the Mediterranean islands and North Africa and very local and scarce on the Channel Islands. In the UK it is very common throughout England and Wales, including the islands, and widespread though much more local across Scotland and Ireland. Adults are active from April until August, peaking in abundance during May and June, although specimens are occasionally recorded throughout the year. They are almost always associated with various flowers where they feed on pollen and nectar although they also nibble freshly emergent foliage. During April they may be found on Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) and other early blossom, usually in small numbers, but they generally appear in abundance on hawthorn and various umbels as soon as the flowers open, and soon they may be found on a wide range of flowers, especially bramble (Rubus L.) and dog rose (Rosa canina L.). Typical habitats are open woodland, wooded pasture and parkland, hedgerows and grassland etc, and they may be common in disturbed areas such as roadsides or domestic gardens. Little is known of the biology but larvae are thought to be detritivores or scavengers and have been found under bark and among decaying wood of a very wide range of deciduous trees and shrubs including hawthorn, holly (Ilex L.) and broom (Cytisus Desf.), as well as also various conifer species including Pine (Pinus L.) and larch (Larix Mill.). They mostly develop under bark or in small branches and twigs, often where these are hosting lichens or moss, but they have also been reared from larger fallen branches of oaks etc. Adults will be found in numbers when working blossom or flowers and no particular effort need be made to find them; tapping umbel flowers will often produce them in abundance as when disturbed they tend to fall in numbers and then take flight or jump or move around rapidly.

Anaspis maculata 1

Anaspis maculata 1

2.5-3.0 mm. Easily identified to genus by the general habitus, sharp occipital ridge and strong transverse microsculpture to the pronotum and elytra. Long-oval and discontinuous in outline, dorsal surface with fine pale pubescence, colour variable but normally pale brown to yellowish brown with variable dark markings to the elytra; a triangular area around the scutellum, a round or transverse marking on the disc and an elongate mark along the suture towards the apex, but entirely pale as well as virtually melanistic specimens are not uncommon. There are other common species that may have a similar colour pattern and here the form of the antennae will separate the present species. Head with large and slightly convex eyes and lacking temples, basal margin curved, surface evenly convex and without structure. Terminal maxillary palpomere securiform. Antennae 11-segmented, variable in colour but pale at the base and darkened towards the apex, segments 1-7 long and narrow, 8 long and expanded gradually expanded to the apex, 9 & 10 quadrate or very slightly elongate, widest near the apex and strongly narrowed to the base, terminal segment smoothly elongate-oval. Pronotum strongly transverse, broadest towards obtuse posterior angles and narrowed and rounded anteriorly, surface smoothly convex. Elytra as wide across the base as the base of the pronotum, evenly curved laterally to separately rounded apical margins and usually divergent towards the apex, epipleura visible almost to the apex and always distinct to the level of the third sternite. Legs long and robust. Femora unarmed. Front tibiae elongate and weakly curved, middle tibiae sinuate internally to a sinuate and broadly truncate apex, hind tibiae gradually widened to an oblique apex, all tibiae with distinct apical spurs. Tarsi 5-5-4 in both sexes, front tarsi expanded in males, basal segment of hind tarsi between three and four times longer than the longer tibial spur. Males may be distinguished by the dilated front tarsi and the presence of a pair of long appendages at the apex of the third abdominal sternite which are slightly curved and almost joined at the base.