Cantharis flavilabris Fallén, 1807

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

ELATEROIDEA Leach, 1815

CANTHARIDAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINI Imhoff, 1856

Cantharis Linnaeus, 1758

More generally referred to in the literature as C. nigra (De Geer, 1774), the correct identity of this species has only recently been established and the reasons for the change are subtle (1.) This species is generally common throughout the Palaearctic region, extending into eastern Siberia and south to Turkey and Iran; in Europe it is widespread from lowlands to low mountain altitudes up to 2500m from the Pyrenees north to the UK and southern provinces of Fennoscandia and east to Ukraine and Russia. In the UK it is common and often abundant throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including the islands, and more local and generally scarce further north to the Scottish Highlands and in Southern Ireland. Adults occur from mid-May until late July, the typical habitats are damp lowland meadows, marshes and wetland margins but they fly well and disperse early in the season and may be found away from these areas, they often occur in open woodland and parkland and visit a range of flowers including hawthorn blossom and umbels. Both adults and larvae are predators of other small insects; larvae live among damp moss and litter, and while the biology of the species is not known, it is likely they overwinter and pupate in the ground during the spring as is typical of the family, adults hunt for aphids and springtails etc on foliage and flowers and are also known to consume pollen. Adults will soon occur when sweeping flowers or foliage, often in numbers on umbels or foliage in shady wooded areas.

5.0-7.5 mm. Distinctive by its size and colour but the pronotum and legs vary from dark grey to yellow; in specimens with a pale pronotum the legs are usually entirely pale but otherwise it is very variable, important characters are the dark scutellum and elytra, these together with the size and pale tibiae will identify the species with certainty. Head finely punctured and pubescent, black above and pale in front of the eyes, with prominent convex eyes and converging temples, antennae dark grey with the three or four basal segments variously pale. Pronotum  broadest about the middle and curved to obtuse posterior angles and a rounded anterior margin, surface finely punctured and pubescent throughout, unevenly convex and widely explanate, colour varies as above but often pale with a variable dark marking on the disc. Elytra entirely shiny black, almost parallel-sided and continuously rounded apically, weakly sinuate and finely bordered laterally, surface rugose, sometimes rather strongly so and with transverse patterns in places, finely punctured and with file pale pubescence throughout. Legs vary from entirely pale to extensively darkened with only the tibiae pale. Third segment of the middle and hind tarsi strongly bilobed, anterior claw on all tarsi appendiculate and so very obviously different to the posterior claw.

1. Geiser, M.F. and Fanti, F. On the nomenclature of Cantharis nigra (De Geer, 1774) and C. thoracica (A.G. Olivier, 1790) (Cantharidae) as used in Britain and Ireland. The Coleopterist 24/2:164-166 Dec. 2015.

Cantharis flavilabris 1

Cantharis flavilabris 1

Cantharis flavilabris 2

Cantharis flavilabris 2

Cantharis flavilabris 3

Cantharis flavilabris 3

Cantharis flavilabris 4

Cantharis flavilabris 4