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Dasytes caeruleus (De Geer, 1774)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CLEROIDEA Latreille, 1802

DASYTIDAE Laporte, 1840

DASYTINAE Laporte, 1840

Dasytes Paykull, 1799

Widespread throughout Europe from Spain to Greece in the south and extending north into the Baltic countries where it reaches southern provinces of Norway and Sweden, this species is generally common in central regions but otherwise very local and scarce.  Included in the UK checklist from specimens recorded from Kent during the 1970s, but not recorded since and probably never established here. The usual habitat is open broadleaved or mixed woodland with plenty of decaying and dead wood although adults fly well and often visit flowers in nearby grassland or scrub to feed on nectar and pollen. Adults are active from April until July, peaking in abundance during May, but they have been recorded in every month as the new-generation eclose during the summer, earlier insects may become active but in general they remain in situ to overwinter and become active during the following spring. Larvae live under bark or among dead wood where they predate the early stages of other saproxylic beetles etc. Beating or sweeping flowers or foliage in suitable situations is the easiest way to find the species, and adults usually occur in numbers, often alongside other common members of the genus.

5-6 mm. Dorsal and ventral surfaces black with a bright blue or greenish reflection, dorsal pubescence of two types but the denser semi-erect hairs and often difficult to separate from the erect setae, appendages black with a bluish reflection. Head densely and moderately strongly punctured, vertex flat, clypeus slightly concave, eyes large (larger in males) and weakly convex. Antennae 11-segmented and slender, almost filiform; in males more than half the body length, in females much shorter. Pronotum quadrate to slightly transverse, broadest behind the middle and narrowed to rounded angles, surface uneven, sometimes distinctly wrinkled, and strongly punctured throughout although often less densely so along the centre. Elytra gently (males) or rather strongly (females) dilated from rounded shoulders to separately-rounded apical margins, surface uneven and strongly and densely punctured throughout, without striae. Legs long and slender. Tarsi 5-segmented with all segments obvious except on the front tarsi where the diminutive forth segment is often hidden within the lobes of the third segment. Claws very finely serrate. Larger on average than our UK species and easily recognized by the form of the pubescence; in our other species the long and dark erect setae on the elytra are very clearly different from the denser pale background pubescence which tends to lie close to the surface.

Dasytes caeruleus 1

Dasytes caeruleus 1

Dasytes caeruleus 2

Dasytes caeruleus 2

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