Dasytes aeratus Stephens, 1830

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CLEROIDEA Latreille, 1802

DASYTIDAE Laporte, 1840

DASYTINAE Laporte, 1840

DASYTES Paykull, 1799

A generally common and often abundant species occurring from lowlands to 2000m throughout central Europe north to southern Scandinavia and the UK; here it is locally common across England and Wales although generally absent from the West Country and becoming scarce in the north. Adults appear in April and persist into July or August, they are typically insects of deciduous woodland, parkland  and hedges bordering agricultural land but later in the season may occur far from apparently suitable habitat, they feed on pollen and so may be swept from a range of flowering trees and shrubs, early on from Crataegus and other blossoming fruits e.g. Rosa and Malus and later more widely e.g. from Viburnum etc. and may be beaten from a wide range of deciduous foliage, Quercus seems to be preferred but they may occur on e.g. Tillus, Fagus and Salix etc. They are generally very active; they fly well and sometimes occur at light in the spring. Mating occurs in the spring and eggs are laid under bark or among wood on both live trees and decaying wood on stumps and logs, larvae develop through the summer and presumably overwinter as they have been found in early March, along with the pupae, among decaying wood, they are carnivorous, feeding on other organisms among decaying wood or beneath and upon the bark, and they are known to also consume dead insects etc.

Distinguished among our Dasytes by the entirely dark legs-in D. plumbeus (Muller, O.F., 1776), our other ‘common’ species, the tibiae and tarsi are extensively pale-the sparsely punctured pronotal disc and lack of baso-lateral pronotal depressions. 4.0-5.2mm Body entirely dark, black with a weak metallic reflection, and densely pubescent; with dense recumbent pale hairs and much sparser long and erect setae. Head across eyes narrower than the pronotum, vertex depressed and often with a longitudinal depression towards the base, clypeus extended anteriorly beyond the antennal insertions, punctation fine but distinct. The male has much larger eyes and longer, thinner antennae. Pronotum quadrate and broadest about the middle or in the basal half, more or less evenly convex with posterior angles obtuse or indistinct and anterior angles near-perpendicular; surface with small and deep punctures, on the disc often separated by their diameter. Elytra elongate and separately rounded apically; the suture diverging in the apical fifth or so, with well-developed shoulders and generally dilated from the basal third, more so in the female, surface densely and quite strongly punctured, and without striae. Legs long and thin; entirely dark, including the coxae, and without modifications or obvious sexual dimorphism. Tarsi 5-segmented, without bilobed or otherwise modified segments (cf. Cantharidae). The penultimate abdominal ventrite is distinctly notched in the male. UK species of Dasytes Paykull, 1799 keyed here.

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