Anoplotrupes stercorosus (Scriba, 1791)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPIDAE Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPINAE Latreille, 1802

Anoplotrupes Jekel, 1866

This generally common species occurs throughout Europe except for southern areas of Spain and the Balkan Peninsula, it extends east into western Siberia and to the north above the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia, in many northern areas it is the most common member of the family. It occurs from lowlands to about 2000m and is most prevalent in damp deciduous and mixed woodlands.  Here it is widely distributed, occurring throughout England, Wales and Scotland, including the Western Isles, Anglesey and Scilly but not, apparently, The Isle of Wight or Man; it is common across most of Wales and the Scottish Highlands but more sporadic and rather local elsewhere and is the typical Dor beetle of woodland, moorland and upland habitats; hill and mountainsides etc. Adults appear early in the year after overwintering in their brood burrows, they feed and mate in the spring and females burrow to a depth of 30cm, depending on soil type, beneath herbivore dung and oviposit within dung pellets placed in brood chambers, on the continent where they are abundant in wooded areas they often provision brood chambers with decaying humus, moss or fungi and may play an important part in forest nutrient-recycling, especially in coniferous woodland where other burying species are rare. Larvae develop through the summer and pupate within the brood chambers, adults eclose in late summer or autumn and emerge to feed on dung, decayed litter, fungi and sap etc. before returning to the soil to overwinter, they generally emerge from March and may be found active until the autumn with peaks of activity in late spring and late summer. Adults are crepuscular and may be seen flying low over dung pasture, moorland or around woodland, they are attracted to light and may arrive in large numbers, they are also active during warm days and may be seen in numbers on the ground, especially along woodland pathways or in short-cropped grassy glades.

12-19mm. A short-oval and very convex species, the dorsal surface is black with a distinct metallic blue reflection and the ventral surface is bright metallic blue.  The pronotal base has a complete raised border and the disc often has a distinct longitudinal punctured impression medially towards the base, the punctation is sparse and fine, becoming denser laterally. Elytra with 7 rather weakly-impressed striae between the suture and the shoulder and interstices cross rugose throughout. Abdominal punctation and pubescence evenly distributed and not sparser medially. The outer face of the hind tibiae has a complete transverse line joining each of the apical pairs of teeth.  With experience the short and rounded form of this species becomes obvious in the field.

Similar Species
Geotrupes spiniger
  • Generally larger (16-26mm)
  • Less rounded general appearance.
  • Outer face of posteroir tibiae with two complete transverse carinae.
  • Abdomen more sparsely pubescent medially.
Trypocopris pyrenaeus
  • Distinctively metallic upperside.
  • Smooth elytra.
  • Basal pronotal border narrowed either side of the middle.

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