Epiphanis cornutus Eschscholtz, 1829

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

ELATEROIDEA Leach, 1815

EUCNEMIDAE Eschscholtz, 1829

MELASINAE Fleming, 1821

EPIPHANINI Muona, 1993

Epiphanis Eschscholtz, 1829

Variously quoted as either Holarctic in distribution or native to North America and introduced to Europe through trade, this species now seems to be established and widespread in Europe from France to Turkey and north to the UK and southern provinces of Fennoscandia, it has been found up to 1500 m in France and although in general it is only occasionally recorded it seems to be increasing in range and abundance. It is also known from the Far East, China and Japan; in North America it is widespread and common in northern temperate regions, reaching into Alaska to the north. It was discovered in the UK in the 1960s and is now established and widespread, though only occasionally recorded, across the mainland including Scotland. Adults occur year-round although most records are from the spring and summer; in North America they peak in abundance from June to August and are otherwise almost always recorded from bark. In the UK they occur mostly in long established woodland rich in saproxylic beetles generally, the larvae are known to develop in among decaying wood of various broadleaf and conifer trees and new-generation adults appear in the summer. In North America it is associated with extensive forest areas and is thought to be increasing in abundance; it was first recorded from Canada in 1952 and is now the most widespread and abundant eucnemid in some areas e.g. Nova Scotia, here it is almost exclusively associated with a range of conifers and only rarely occurs broadleaf trees. In the UK adults are usually found by chance recording; searching among bark or sweeping foliage are the best methods as they are diurnal as well as crepuscular, and they sometimes appear in flight-interception traps.

Epiphanis cornutus 1

Epiphanis cornutus 1

© U.Schmidt www.kaefer-der-welt.de

3.5-7.0 mm. Very elaterid-like in general appearance but distinguished by the form of the antennae, entire body with fine recumbent yellow or creamy pubescence, dark brown with the pronotal base, or at least the hind angles, and the underside paler brown, appendages usually a little paler than the body. Head transverse with protruding convex eyes, surface roughly and closely punctured, frons evenly convex and vertex with a raised and unpunctured median line. Antennae inserted anteriorly and separated by about the length of the basal segment, second segment expanded towards the apex, ‘kinked’ at the base and inserted on the outer lateral margin of the basal segment, third segment elongate, 4-7 quadrate or nearly so, 8-11 much longer than the preceding segments, especially in the male, apical segment gradually narrowed to a rounded apex. Pronotum slightly elongate, broadest across the backwardly produced posterior angles and gradually narrowed to a rounded (from above) anterior margin, surface evenly convex or rather flattened across the disc and densely but discretely punctured throughout although there is usually an unpunctured median line in the basal half, basal margin curved either side of a pair of tiny projections in front of the scutellum. Scutellum transverse, broadest across the base and narrowed to a truncate apical margin. Elytra elongate with sloping shoulders closely approximated to the produced posterior pronotal angles, laterally slightly dilated towards the apex or parallel-sided in the basal two-thirds and narrowed to a continuously-curved apical margin, striae well-impressed  but fading behind the middle; the second stria bisinuate and diverging just before the apex, inner striae, especially the fourth, may be strongly-impressed at the base where the elytra are slightly convex, interstices flat or weakly convex, finely and densely punctured throughout, these are often arranges transversely so giving a cross-rugose appearance. Legs long and slender; the tibiae only weakly broadened from the base, middle and hind tibiae with a pair of small but conspicuous apical spurs, front tibiae without obvious spurs. Tarsi 5-segmented; without bilobed segments although the penultimate segment has weak ventral lobes, basal segment of the hind tarsi longer than the next three combined, apical segment of all tarsi long and slightly curved, claws smooth and without a basal tooth.

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