Phaleria cadaverina (Fabricius, 1792)
This strictly halobionte species inhabits fine sandy beaches from Portugal to the southern coast of Sweden and the UK, it is also present on the Azores and Canary Islands, but over much of this range it is sporadic and rare, especially in the north e.g. there is only a single record from Poland and it is very rare in Fennoscandia, here it occurs around the English coast from the Humber estuary to Cumbria, Man and Anglesey and may be locally abundant. Adults are present year-round and are active from early spring until late in the autumn, they spend the day beneath the sand, usually high on the beach or at the base of dunes where the sand is dry to some depth, and are active nocturnally when they may be seen walking on the surface or attracted to carrion or decayed seaweed. Adults are readily found during the day by pulling up partially buried seaweed high on the beach or by sieving dry sand containing patches of buried seaweed, they may be sampled at night using carrion bait or pitfall traps, and once found their will usually be plenty of specimens close by. Adults are probably omnivorous as they have been found on and beneath dead gulls etc and even on gull droppings, while larvae feed in the sand among decaying plant remains, both stages may occur together and they usually in dry loose sand away from the high-tide level.
Adults are easily recognized by the overall form and colour, and the habitat will be a good guide to the species as nothing similar occurs in the UK. 5-7mm. Elongate-oval and moderately convex; entire insect matt yellow to pale brown with various darker markings to the elytra or with the head and pronotum a little darker. Head narrow compared with the pronotum, rounded anteriorly and expanded over the antennal bases, vertex finely and densely punctured, eyes convex, slightly transverse and strongly faceted. Antennae narrow and short, about the length of the anterior pronotal margin, segments 1-6 narrow and only slightly elongate, 8-10 transverse forming a long and loose club and the terminal segment round. Pronotum transverse, and broadest across the base, near-parallel in the basal half and narrowed to rounded anterior angles, posterior angles perpendicular, surface finely granulate and very finely punctured; sometimes with a longitudinal series of larger punctures either side in the apical half, and usually with small and linear basal fovea. Elytra evenly rounded to an almost continuously curved apex, each with nine punctured striae and finely granulate and punctured interstices. Legs slender and robust, the femora only narrowly visible from above, middle and hind tibiae with numerous short erect setae and strong apical spurs, front tibiae flattened and strongly widened in the apical half, the apex truncate and bearing a stout curved spine on the inner angle. Tarsi 5-5-4; basal pro-tarsal segments dilated in the male; simple in the female.
Phaleria cadaverina 1
Phaleria cadaverina 2
Phaleria cadaverina 3
Phaleria cadaverina 4