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Cryptophagus scanicus (Linnaeus, 1758)







POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802




Cryptophagus Herbst, 1792

Native to the Palaearctic region, this species is locally common throughout Europe and North Africa, extending north to the UK, Iceland and above the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia, it occurs throughout the Middle East and Asia Minor and extends to China and the far east of Russia, it is widely eurytopic and has been recorded sporadically worldwide through trade in agricultural products etc. and has become established in sub-Saharan Africa and eastern Canada. In the UK it is generally common across Wales and central and southern England and more sporadic and scarce in the West Country and further north to the Scottish Highlands. Adults occur throughout the year, peaking in abundance in May and June and again in September and October, although under certain conditions they may be continuously-breeding and so common year-round. Across much of northern Europe it is common in mountains and foothills but much less so in lowlands, while in the UK it occurs in a very wide range of wooded and open environments from lowland to low mountain altitudes. Both adults and larvae are associated with decaying and mouldy vegetation and fungi, they are sometimes abundant among damp hay and straw stored in the open or under cover and so sometimes occur in cellars and stables etc. More generally they occur among accumulated litter under bark or on fallen deciduous and coniferous timber and have been found in a wide range of decaying sporophores including those of Fomes fomentarius (L.) Fr, 1849, Xanthoporia radiata (Sowerby) and Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull. Ex Fr,) Murrill, they often occur in old nesting boxes and sometimes in Hornet and mammal nests and, though they are mostly nocturnal, they sometimes occur on blossom and flowering shrubs in the spring. Typical of the family, the larvae are probably mould feeders and develop in the same habitats frequented by the adults. Sieving or extracting likely samples is likely to produce adults at any time of the year; in the summer they may be common in accumulated grass cuttings and compost, and on warm nights may be found roaming the surface of logs and trunks, they do not seem to be particularly attracted to light but may sometimes be found on walls etc. during the spring and summer. Large populations occasionally occur among debris in animal feed troughs or among neglected debris in granaries and flour mills and these tend to be long-lived if the material is left undisturbed.

Cryptophagus scanicus 1

Cryptophagus scanicus 1

Cryptophagus scanicus 2

Cryptophagus scanicus 2

Cryptophagus scanicus 3

Cryptophagus scanicus 3

© Lech Borowiec

1.8-2.8 mm. Elongate, weakly-convex and discontinuous in outline, forebody reddish brown, elytra bicoloured; usually reddish across the base, though this may be confined to subhumeral patches, and otherwise very dark grey or brown, contrasting with the forebody, dorsal surface with fine decumbent pale pubescence, appendages pale brown. Head narrowed in front of large and convex eyes, surface weakly convex and finely punctured, the punctures about the same as those on the pronotum (~10 µm) and a little larger than the eye facets, antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, relatively long (extending beyond the pronotal base when extended back) and abruptly clubbed, with segments 9 and 10 transverse and almost equal in width. Pronotum transverse, the median lateral tooth situated at or slightly behind the middle and the margin finely toothed and only weakly narrowed to the obtuse posterior angles, anterior calli occupying at least one-fifth of the lateral margin; prominent, rounded (not produced) and joining the lateral margin at a shallow angle, explanate margin of equal width throughout not noticeably narrower in the anterior half, surface very closely but not confluently punctured. Scutellum transverse and broadened from the base to a truncate or curved apical margin. Elytra much broader across the base than the base of the pronotum and evenly curved laterally from rounded shoulder to a continuous apical margin, surface punctured about the same as the pronotum or a little more finely so. All tibiae slender in both sexes and with, at most, only a very weak tooth at the external apical angle. Male tarsi 5-5-4, female tarsi 5-segmented, all segments simple. Readily identified by the bicoloured elytra although immature specimens may be entirely pale.

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