Dictyoptera aurora (Herbst, 1784)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

ELATEROIDEA Leach, 1815

LYCIDAE Laporte, 1836

EROTINAE LeConte, 1881

DICTYOPTERINI Kleine, 1928 

Dictyoptera Latreille, 1829

This very widespread Holarctic species occurs across northern Europe and Asia and is also native to the northern United States, including Alaska, and Canada. It is locally common in central Europe and more scarce and sporadic further afield from Algeria to the northern parts of Scandinavia; it is associated with Abies, Picea and Pinus in mature conifer forests from lowland to mountain altitudes up to 1500m where adults occur among decaying wood or bark on trunks and stumps from May to July, and are also known to visit flowers where they feed on pollen and nectar. In the UK it is a widespread though local species of the northern Scottish Highlands; formerly more common but thought to be declining and recently known from only a dozen or so sites in Inverness-shire, Moray, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and Sutherland; associated with native Scots pine forests the short-lived adults are active from May to July, they have been found under bark and observed flying in evening sunshine during May and June. Larvae are known to develop in standing or fallen decaying pine trunks and stumps.

8.0-13.0mm. Readily recognized by the colouration; body entirely bright red but for the dark head and pronotal disc, appendages entirely black or the terminal antennal segment may be pale towards the apex. Head transverse from above, with large convex eyes and various depressions and convex areas to the vertex and frons, the cuticle shiny black with fine dark pubescence, antennae long and filiform with the second segment much shorter than the third, the remaining segments elongate and parallel-sided towards the apex. Pronotum broadly campanulate with an enclosed central cell and 4 larger cells dividing the remainder into unequal quadrants, the median dividing costa oblique, surface finely punctured and with fine pale recumbent pubescence. Scutellum dark, quadrate and roundly bilobed apically and finely punctured and pubescent. Elytra very elongate with prominent shoulders and rather abruptly widened in the basal third, each with 4 strongly raised longitudinal costae separated by a double row of cells. Legs entirely dark or obscurely paler at the femora-tibia junction; long and robust with parallel-sided femora, curved tibiae and 5-segmented tarsi.

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