Coccidula scutellata (Herbst, 1783)
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802
COCCIDULINAE Mulsant, 1846
Coccidula Kugelann in Illiger, 1798
This is a very widespread Western Palaearctic species occurring throughout Europe from lowlands to about 1000m, from North Africa to the south of the United Kingdom and Fennoscandia and east through western Asia, it is locally common and often abundant throughout this range although generally less so than C. rufa. Here it is widespread across southern and central England, more sporadic and local further north to the Scottish borders and mostly absent from the West Country. Welsh records are mostly from southern coastal regions. It is more or less confined to wetland environments, adults will occasionally occur elsewhere but this is accidental, they occur mostly among dense and tall vegetation, especially around reedbeds, bulrush and sweet grasses where they may be seen in flowers, but also in marshes and peat bogs etc. Adults occur throughout the year; they overwinter in the soil or among litter in permanently wet situations and also in stems or under loose bark on marginal trees, especially willows, and become active in the spring. Mating begins in the spring and proceeds into the summer, eggs are laid in batches on reed stems and foliage etc. and larvae develop through the spring and summer, they develop rapidly and pass through 3 instars, producing new generation adults in June and July. Both adults and larvae predate aphids among wetland vegetation and while the species is univoltine large populations may be generated in favourable years. The species occurrence is sometimes sporadic; we found them around a local reed bed after about 10 years of sampling and they persisted for 2 years, building up a large population, but then vanished and we have not recorded them for several years.
2.5-3.0mm. The size and overall form this species is closely similar to C. rufa but is immediately recognized by the discrete elytral markings. Entire upper surface finely pubescent and red but for black eyes and elytral markings; 4 discrete spots in a transverse band about the middle and the area below the scutellum variously dark. Head smoothly convex with large asymmetrically convex eyes and long antennae which terminate in a narrow, elongate and truncate club. Pronotum widely transverse and broadest about the middle, lateral margins explanate and curved to sharp posterior angles. Surface evenly convex, without fovea or furrows, and with fine and quite dense punctures. Elytra elongate and parallel-sided or weakly broadened behind the middle, finely punctured throughout although a little less densely so than those on the pronotum, and with series of larger punctures that form longitudinal rows. Legs long and slender with 4-segmented tarsi that appear 3-segmented as the tiny third segment is mostly hidden within the strongly bilobed second segment, claws bifid apically.
Coccidula scutellata 1
Coccidula scutellata 2
Coccidula scutellata 3