Hypocoprus latridioides Motschulsky, 1839

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CRYPTOPHAGIDAE Kirby, 1826

ATOMARIINAE LeConte, 1861

HYPOCOPRINI Reitter, 1879

Hypocoprus Motschulsky, 1839

Hypocoprus latridioides has a very wide Palaearctic distribution, extending from Europe into Eastern Siberia and known from North Africa and the Atlantic islands. In Europe it is very local and generally rare, it extends sporadically from Spain to Italy and Ukraine in the south and is present on most of the Mediterranean islands, it is widespread in central and northern Europe, reaching and into the UK and Fennoscandia to the north although it is absent from many of the Baltic countries and there seems to have been a general decline over recent decades; there are older records from as far north as the Arctic Circle but during the 21st century it has only been recorded from a few sites in southern Sweden. In the UK it is very local and rare; there are older records from Suffolk and several sites in Sussex but it now seems to be confined to a single site at Rye Harbour in East Sussex. Very little is known of the biology of the species but adults have been recorded from May until October and they always occur in low numbers. In Northern Europe they occur mostly on light sandy soils, often on coastal dunes and usually under herbivore droppings; most records are from cattle, horse and sheep dung but they are also occur among rabbit and deer droppings, and they are almost always associated with ants, typically various species of Formica Linnaeus, 1758, but especially F. exsecta Nylander, 1846, which is very local and rare in the UK and is not known from Rye Harbour. The habitat requirement are not very well understood and are likely to be complex e.g. in northern Sweden the species was formerly associated open and dry grassland and with Formica anthills beside bogs in upland wooded areas but it is not known whether these populations still survive.

Hypocoprus latridioides 1

Hypocoprus latridioides 1

© Lech Borowiec

Hypocoprus latridioides 2

Hypocoprus latridioides 2

© Udo Schmidt

1.0-1.2 mm. Elongate and discontinuous in outline with the head slightly narrower then the pronotum and the pronotum much narrower than the elytra. Body shiny yellowish-brown to almost black, finely and randomly punctured and with very fine pale pubescence. Head with small, weakly convex eyes and curved temples, strongly converging cheeks and an almost straight anterior margin, surface finely sculptured and rather flat. Antennae inserted laterally, 11-segmented with a loose 3-segmented club, basal segment thick and slightly curved, 2 and 3 elongate, 4-8 quadrate or nearly so. Pronotum quadrate or very slightly elongate, broadest behind rounded anterior angles and narrowed to rounded posterior angles, apical and basal margins subequal and not bordered, surface without depressions or tubercles, with fine granular microsculpture and shallow punctures throughout. Scutellum broadly triangular. Elytra evenly curved from rounded shoulders to separately curved apical margins, surface without striae, finely punctured and granulate, as the pronotum and with very fine, backwardly-directed pubescence. Wings well developed and with long fine setae along the posterior margin. Pygidium at least partly exposed beyond the elytra, densely and very finely punctured and with extremely fine pale pubescence. Legs long and slender, femora unarmed and much thicker than the tibiae which are only weakly broadened from the base and lack apical spurs. Tarsi 5-segmented but appear 4-segmented due to the diminutive basal segment, the terminal segment curved and much longer than the others. Claws smooth and without a basal tooth.

Hypocoprus Motschulsky, 1839

Includes two species; one Palaearctic and one Nearctic although others may be found in older literature e.g. the European H. quadricollis Reitter, 1877 was formerly regarded as a distinct species but is now considered conspecific with the widespread H. latridioides Motschulsky, 1839 (Otero, 2002). H. latridioides is also sometimes quoted as occurring in North America but this almost certainly in error; the closely similar Nearctic species H. tenuis Casey, 1916 being confined to certain areas of the Rocky Mountains. The species are small, 1.0-1.3 mm, elongate and sparsely pubescent, suggestive of some monotomids but distinguished by the form of the pronotum, beyond this the genus may be distinguished from other cryptophagids by the mostly exposed head with small eyes and relatively long temples, simple pronotal margins and exposed pygidium. Both species occur in dung and other decaying organic matter and are often associated with ants.