Cryptophilus propinquus Reitter, 1874

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

EROTYLIDAE Latreille, 1802

CRYPTOPHILINAE Casey, 1900

Cryptophilus  Reitter, 1874

This is one of two species that until recently have been known collectively as Cryptophilus integer (Heer, 1841), and included in the distinct family Languriidae Hope, 1840, and both are widely referred to in the literature with respect to this species. Originally abundant around the northern Mediterranean region from Spain to Greece, this species has spread throughout Europe with the trade in food and horticultural products etc. similarly it is now established widely though sporadically throughout the world e.g. Australasia, Asia and North and South America, and in warmer climates has become a minor pest of various stored products. In Europe it is widespread though very local and may be increasing in range and abundance; it has long been known from stored products in the UK but was first recorded in the wild in the early 21st century. In temperate northern regions of Europe, including the UK where it is occurs very locally in the south but seems to be spreading, adults occur throughout the year and seem to be most common in autumn and early winter when they sometimes appear in large numbers and have been found swarming in flight. Typical habitats are decomposing compost, grass cuttings and straw but they may occur among any material rich in mould and micro fungi on which both adults and larvae feed, such as accumulated leaf-litter or wood debris. Under artificial conditions both stages have been found throughout the year and it is likely they are continuous breeders under warm and humid conditions, in temperate regions they occur generally among food that was mouldy before it was packed and they form temporary populations depending on local conditions, thus they sometimes occur and breed in domestic kitchens and the opportunities for dispersal are good. In warmer regions they have been found breeding among a wide range of foods such as stored wheat and beans, flour, cereals, dried fruit and nuts and fresh fruits infested with moulds, they are sometimes abundant among rice residues and vegetable refuse and occur among traditional Chinese medicine ingredients. The most likely way to find specimens is by sieving compost or wood debris etc infested with mould.

Cryptophilus propinquus 1

Cryptophilus propinquus 1

Cryptophilus propinquus 2

Cryptophilus propinquus 2

1.6-2.3 mm. A tiny and rather nondescript species which is strongly suggestive of a cryptophagid but with a distinctive antennal club and different tarsal formula. Entirely pale brown, dorsal surface finely and rather densely punctured and with fine pale pubescence throughout. Head produced and rounded in front of convex and asymmetric eyes that are very finely setose, surface smooth and evenly convex, without structure, mandibles bidentate and terminal labial palpomere quadrate or nearly so. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, segments 2-7 elongate and segments 9-11 form an abrupt symmetrical club. Pronotum transverse, broadest about the middle and evenly curved to rounded posterior angles and slightly produced anterior angles, lateral margins finely bordered, basal margin sinuate, surface weakly convex and with two small basal fovea. Scutellum widely transverse and curved across the apical margin. Elytra broadest behind angled shoulders and evenly narrowed to a continuously curved apical margin, surface randomly punctured although these tend to run in longitudinal series in places. Legs long and slender with femora widely visible in normal setting. Tibiae curved externally, almost straight internally and without apical spurs. Basal tarsomeres weakly lobed ventrally, terminal segment long and slender, claws smooth, slender and without a basal tooth.

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