Lobrathium multipunctum (Gravenhorst, 1802)
Lobrathium Mulsant & Rey, 1878 is a large and almost cosmopolitan genus of more than 110 species, the greatest diversity is in the Nearctic region with about 70 species, this includes 2 adventive, among them our only UK species M. multipunctum, but the Western Palaearctic region is also well represented with 18 species of 3 subgenera occurring in Europe and North Africa. M. multipunctum is locally common throughout Europe from Portugal to Greece and extends east as far as the Caspian Sea, it is widespread in North Africa and is present on most of the Mediterranean islands as well as Madeira and the Canaries, to the north, where it becomes more local and scattered, it reaches the UK and southern provinces of Fennoscandia. The nominate subspecies occurs throughout this range while ssp. canariense (Wollaston, 186) is endemic to the Canaries, and ssp. cassolai Coiffait, 1972 is endemic to Sardinia. The species occurs from lowland to higher mountain altitudes; in the Pyrenees up to 2200 m, to 1500 m in the Alps and in wet meadows up to 2500 m in the Atlas Mountains. In the UK it is locally common in South East and Central England and across Wales but otherwise very local and scarce north to Southern Scotland including Scilly, Anglesey and Man. Typical habitats are wetland margins, reed beds, vegetated beaches and dunes, soft cliff seepages and marshland, often on fine sediments or clay, but they also occur on permanently damp grassland and ruderal sites. Little is known of the biology but adults are predaceous and occur year-round, they overwinter away from wetland margins (though we have found them in reed stems during the winter) and are active from March until November, peaking in abundance from April until July. Adults are mostly nocturnal, during the day they may be found among reed litter or under logs etc., and at night they are very active on the surface, they are wing dimorphic and both forms, along with intermediates, may occur in a single population. Sampling is easiest by searching through marginal debris, they have been recorded from flight-interception traps and often occur among flood refuse during the winter.
Lobrathium multipunctum 1
Lobrathium multipunctum 2
126.96.36.199 mm. Elongate, narrow and discontinuous in outline, head, pronotum and abdomen black to dark brown, elytra dark, becoming pale towards the apex, sometimes substantially pale, appendages pale brown to reddish-brown, often the antennae are darker than the legs. Head slightly elongate with weakly convex eyes that are about half the length of the temples which are rounded to a narrow neck, surface shiny between moderately strong punctures and pubescent behind the eyes, frontal furrows absent, anterior clypeal margin straight. Penultimate maxillary palpomere gradually dilated from the base, terminal segment diminutive. Antennae inserted laterally outside the base of the mandibles, 11-segmented with all segments elongate and about equal in width. Pronotum elongate, slightly narrowed behind the middle and with rounded angles, surface shiny and punctured as the head but usually with a narrow longitudinal median line. Pronotum and elytra separated by a broad peduncle which is depressed either side of a raised median area. Elytra elongate and parallel-sided from rounded shoulders to a continuous (incurved) apical margin, surface without striae but variously depressed beside the suture, especially in the apical two-thirds, rather strongly punctured throughout; randomly in the apical half but forming distinct longitudinal series from the base, lateral reflexed margin longitudinally impressed. Legs long and robust, front femora toothed below and much broader than the middle and hind femora, front tibiae more strongly broadened from the base than the middle and hind tibiae and all tibiae with a short apical spur. Tarsi 5-segmented, basal segment of hind tarsi shorter than the second segment and usually obscured by the fringe of tibial setae, basal segments of front tarsi dilated in both sexes. Eighth abdominal sternite deeply excised in males, rounded in females.
UK specimens conform more-or-less to the above description but through the continental range the species is very variable in size and colour, from entirely black to pale yellowish-brown, and the relative proportions of various body parts including the head shape, eyes and punctation and the proportions of the pronotum and elytra.