Clerus mutillarius Fabricius, 1775
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CLEROIDEA Latreille, 1802
CLERINAE Latreille, 1802
Widespread and locally common in warmer parts of Southern and Central Europe from Spain to Greece and extending east to the Caspian Sea, also known from North Africa but the distribution here is uncertain. There are a few scattered records further north but the species is thought to have declined and is known only from older records in e.g. Poland, in most other northern areas it is considered to be critically endangered. The species is not recorded from the UK. The usual habitat is old established woodland, usually with plenty of mature oaks, although in Mediterranean areas it may occur in numbers about larger trees on heaths and scrub. Adults are present year-round although they are usually active between May and August, earlier or later depending on latitude, they are otherwise recorded under bark or among decaying wood. They usually occur in numbers and are active in warm weather, especially on trunks and low branches exposed to the sun, they are predacious and can run very rapidly as they hunt other insects; their prey is often larger than themselves and they seem to excel at hunting longhorn beetles. Mating occurs in the spring and females search for insect-infested wood in which to oviposit. Larvae develop through spring and summer; they predate early stages of other insects among decaying wood and may also take adult insects as they roam under loose bark; in this respect they have been observed taking adult Bostrichus capucinus (Linnaeus, 1758) as well as its early stages. Pupation occurs in late summer and adults overwinter in situ. Despite the rather scattered and local occurrence and the more or less general decline in the species over recent decades, adults can still be abundant in warmer undisturbed woodlands in southern parts of the distribution.
Clerus mutillarius 1
Clerus mutillarius 2
Clerus mutillarius 3
8-15 mm. Elongate and robust with a broad forebody, narrow mesonotum and almost parallel-sided elytra, anterior parts of the head, pronotal hind margin and elytral base with long pale pubescence, colour distinctive; black with the basal quarter of the elytra red (in the other two European members of the genus this red colour extends at least across the basal third of the elytra) and three basal spots and a subapical transverse elytral band of dense white pubescence. Head smoothly convex and finely and densely punctured between large and deeply emarginate eyes, labrum transverse and emarginate anteriorly. Apical maxillary palpomere long, slender and narrowly truncate, apical labial palpomere securiform. Antennae slender, weakly serrate from segment five, terminal segment long and pointed. Pronotum transverse, the lateral and basal margins forming a more or less continuous curve and the anterior margin recurved, surface finely, densely and in places rugosely punctured, uneven but without definite structure. Elytra elongate and smoothly curved from broad and rounded shoulders to a continuous apical margin, with traces of strongly punctured striae in the basal quarter or half, otherwise finely and randomly punctured, surface evenly rather flat but for a variously developed lateral oblique ridge from the shoulders which may extend beyond the middle. Legs black with dense pale pubescence, femora large and robust, tibiae long and slender; middle and hind tibiae with small but obvious apical spurs. Tarsi 5-segmented; segments 1-4 of front tarsi strongly bilobed, segments 2-4 of middle and hind tarsi less strongly so. All claws with a sharp basal tooth.