Eusphalerum luteum (Marsham, 1802)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

OMALIINAE MacLeay, 1825

EUSPHALERINI Hatch, 1957

EUSPHALERUM Kraatz, 1858

This is a generally common species throughout Europe from Portugal east to western Siberia and from the northern Mediterranean north to beyond the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia, the nominate subspecies occurs throughout this range while a second subspecies, E. l. dispar Baudi di Selve, 1889, is endemic to Italy; it differs in having the abdomen entirely black. In the UK it is locally common across Wales and England north to South Yorkshire, though absent from the West Country, and there are a few records further north to Southern Scotland and north-east Ireland. Adults appear in June, exceptionally in May, and are soon abundant on flowers and foliage; they may be found by sweeping vegetation generally or by beating hawthorn blossom but they soon aggregate on umbel flowers in very large numbers and may be sampled by gently shaking a flower-head into a bag or net, this will sometimes produce them by the hundreds, and they remain on these flowers through the night and so may be sampled at any time. They remain abundant into late July but then suddenly vanish although the timing depends on the season as in more southern European regions they appear in July and remain common into September. Typical habitats are wooded margins, hedgerows and parkland where umbel flowers are common, generally on rather damp soils where the larvae are thought to develop through the summer and autumn. Adults feed on pollen and nectar and may be found mating on flower-heads through the season.

2.0-3.0mm. Quite distinctive in appearance; entirely pale brown to yellow or with the elytra paler, broadly elongate with the head narrower than the pronotum and the pronotum narrower then the elytra which leave five abdominal tergites exposed. Head with convex and prominent eyes and short, strongly converging temples, vertex quite strongly and closely punctures; laterally longitudinally striate to the margin of the eyes. Antennae long and slender, entirely pale or with 5 or 6 distal segments variously darkened, basal segment very long, following segments decreasingly so to the quadrate penultimate segment. Pronotum transverse, evenly curved laterally to rounded

anterior angles and blunt, obtuse posterior angles, surface smoothly and weakly convex and evenly punctured throughout, the punctures separated by about their own width. Elytra elongate with rounded shoulders and posterior angles, surface evenly and randomly punctured, without any trace of striae, punctures stronger and less dense than those on the pronotum. The female elytra are shorter and more strongly dilated towards the apex, a difference that soon becomes obvious in a series. Abdomen very finely punctured and pubescent.  Legs entirely pale, femora robust and smooth, tibiae smooth i.e. without rows of setae along the outer margins. Tarsi with broad and lobed basal segments, especially on the fore-tarsi where they are clothed ventrally with dense setae, and long, gradually widened terminal segments which are about as long as the others combined.

The ocelli lie among punctures in a weak depression either side on the vertex and may not be easy to appreciate, but nonetheless this small beetle should be obvious even from a picture search; the pale colour, form of the anterior tarsi and longitudinal striations beside the eyes are sufficient to identify this species.

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