Lesteva longoelytrata (Goeze, 1777)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

OMALIINAE MacLeay, 1825

ANTHOPHAGINI Thomson, C.G., 1859

LESTEVA Latreille, 1796

This is probably the most widespread European member of the genus; it is locally common from the northern Mediterranean north to mid Fennoscandian latitudes, extending east through the Caucasus and Asia Minor and then sporadically so to India, in the south it occurs in northwest Africa and northern areas of the Middle East. Three subspecies are known; the nominotypical subspecies is widespread and occurs in the UK while L. l. maura Erichson, 1840 occurs on Corsica and Sardinia, and L.l. cretica Lohse & Steel, 1961 is endemic to Crete. Here it is generally common throughout England and Wales and extends north through eastern Scotland to Orkney. Adults occur year-round and are generally associated with leaf-litter and moss etc. in marginal wetland situations, especially in cool and shaded habitats beside running water where they may occur in numbers alongside other members of the genus e.g. we found them abundant among submerged gravel in a shallow woodland stream in North Somerset along with L. sicula Erichson, 1840, L. punctata Erichson, 1839 and L. pubescens Mannerheim, 1830. During the spring and summer they are easily sampled by searching suitable habitats and during the colder months they regularly occur in samples of moss and litter e.g. we have repeatedly found them among thick moss growing on partly-submerged logs in a drainage ditch in a local park. In some northern continental areas they are known to migrate from wetland areas to agricultural fields in the winter where they are minor but significant predators of aphids. They are fully-winged and may sometimes be netted in flight on warm evenings.

With a little experience adults of this genus are very distinctive; the head is slightly narrower than the pronotum, with convex eyes and rounded temples, the pronotum is widest in front of the middle and sinuate to perpendicular or slightly obtuse hind angles and the elytra long and broad, leaving 4 or 5 abdominal tergites exposed.  The present species is distinguished by the strong and random punctation on the head and pronotum, which is only slightly weaker than that on the elytra, and the form of the posterior tarsi which

are at least half as long as the tibiae; the basal segment is shorter than the following 2 segments combined and shorter than the terminal segment. 3.5-5.0mm. Colour varies from pale to dark brown, generally the forebody is darker than the elytra and abdomen, entire dorsal surface with fine and long pubescence, appendages usually paler than the body. Head weakly convex with a pair of distinct ocelli at the base of the vertex, terminal maxillary palpomere tapering to the apex and much longer than the penultimate segment, antennae mounted laterally in front of the eyes; all segments elongate and more or less equal in length, the terminal segment narrow and sharply pointed. Pronotum slightly elongate, widely rounded anteriorly and sinuate and strongly narrowed to distinct posterior angles, surface weakly convex; laterally impressed in the basal third, basal margin straight. Elytra much wider than the pronotum, elongate with sloping shoulders and separately rounded posterior margins, variably but usually quite strongly widened towards the apex, punctation random and strong. Abdomen gradually narrowed to a pointed apex i.e. mot parallel-sided, tergites finely punctured and pubescent and with distinct microsculpture.  Legs long and slender, femora robust and broad, tibiae long, hardly thickened towards the apex and with very fine apical spurs. Tarsi slender and without obviously lobed segments, anterior tarsi with short and slightly dilated basal segments, otherwise all tarsomeres elongate.

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