Creophilus maxillosus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Creophilus maxilosus ♂
Creophilus maxilosus ♀
Creophilus maxilosus ♂
until October or November, being most common in the spring; they generally arrive at carrion a few days after it has been infested with dipteran larvae etc. and they will continue to show interest for as long as these are present. The life-cycle is brief with the period from freshly laid eggs to the eclosion of adults being 5-6 weeks under good conditions. Small creamy-white eggs are laid in soil under or around the host and the larvae emerge within about 4 days. Like the adults they are both predatory, feeding on a wide range of insects etc. as well as scavengers, consuming the host material directly, and they develop quickly, being full-grown after about 2 weeks. They pupate in a cell in the soil either under or away from the host and adults eclose after 2 or 3 weeks. So far as is known there is a single generation, usually commencing in the spring, in temperate regions. Adults may fly long distances in search of host material and are very distinctive when seen flying above dung pasture etc. or along wooded margins in bright sun, they are also crepuscular and nocturnal, being occasionally recorded at light.
At 15-22mm this is one of the largest U.K. (and European) rove beetles; this large size, robust form and very distinctive pattern of pale grey pubescence are unmistakable, the only other large and pubescent species being the equally distinctive Emus. The head is widely transverse with relatively small and flat eyes and long, curved temples, the vertex is finely punctured and mostly glabrous but with sparse setiferous punctures behind the eyes. All appendages are black; the antennae are short and stout with the segments becoming more transverse towards the apex. The mandibles are broad and strongly toothed internally in the basal half, and slender and sharply pointed towards the apex. The pronotum is shiny black, mostly glabrous and lacks any large punctures on the disc; broadest just behind sharp anterior angles and evenly narrowed to a rounded basal margin, all margins are strongly bordered. The scutellum is large, triangular and densely pubescent. Elytra quadrate with prominent, angled shoulders, pale pubescence forming various characteristic transverse bands, the surface finely punctured and each with a longitudinal row of 6-8 strong punctures which are generally visible through the pubescence. Abdomen with pale pubescence forming a symmetrical and generally transverse pattern but this varies widely, and specimens may lose this with age. The head shape is sexually dimorphic; in the female it is more tapered from the basal angles to the mandibles.
Creophilus Samouelle, 1819
Creophilus Samouelle, 1819 is a small genus of about 13 species of large insectivorous rove beetles with an almost cosmopolitan distribution. Northern temperate species are of a typical appearance, much like C. maxillosus (Linnaeus, 1758), but tropical species are very different and distinctive. Two species occur in New Zealand; C. huttoni (Broun, 1880) and C. occuatus (Fabricius, 1775), and two in Australia; C. lanio (Erichson, 1839) and C. erythrocephalus (Fabricius, 1775), the last of which has been introduced to many other areas e.g. Hawaii and Cook Islands to help control horn flies, Haematobia irritans (Linnaeus, 1758), a major cattle pest which causes an estimated $1bn damage globally each year. C. erythrocephalus and C. lanio are dark metallic blue with a scarlet head patterned with a dark spot on the vertex. The Neotropical C. variegatus (Mannerhein, 1830) is vividly variegated metallic, and C. albertisi (Fauvel, 1879) from New Guinea has a bright metallic blue elytra, black pronotum and abdomen and a red head and terminal abdominal segment, coupled with abruptly bicoloured black and yellow antennae this species hardly looks genuine.