Loricera pilicornis (Fabricius, 1775)
Loricera pilicornis is a generalist occurring in a very wide range of both natural and artificial biotopes; farmland (among most crop types), woodland, grassland, parks and gardens. Adults fly readily and are quick to colonize disturbed ground. Both larvae and adults are specialist springtail feeders although mites and small insects are also taken. Both have mouthparts adapted to this and in the adult the long setae at the antennal bases also contribute to this role. Adults are active by day and night; on wooded margins, agricultural land and grassland we have observed them active by day, especially in warm sunshine. In woodland and shaded habitats they shelter beneath logs etc. and become active at night. They can be abundant at night on pathways in local parks. Spring and autumn seem to be the periods of maximum activity. Adults occur year round and overwinter in grass tussocks, among leaf litter and under logs and bark but becoming active during warmer spells. In the U.K. the species is generally aspring and summer breeder although we have observed them mating in January in local woodland.
A very distinctive species which is soon recognised in the field even though they tend to move quickly when disturbed. 6-8.5mm Body almost entirely dark metallic or sometimes with reddish elytra, most specimens tend to be reddish towards the elytral apex. Legs long and slender. Tibiae, tarsi, palps and mandibles red. Antennal segments one to four with long, downward pointing setae. Segments six to eleven very elongate. Head smooth with two deep depressions on frons in front of eyes. Strongly contracted behind large and prominent eyes. Underside with numerous long setae; along with those on the antennae these form a ‘cage’ used in catching springtails etc. Pronotum and elytra with fine, granular microsculpture (x30). Pronotum evenly rounded to obtuse hind angles, broadly explanate towards base. Basal fovea strongly impressed and linear to about middle. Base strongly punctured. Scutellum smooth and shining. Each elytron with twelve regularly punctured striae which become weak towards the apex. Without scutellary stria. Fourth interstice with three foveate punctures. Pro tibia strongly notched. Claws smooth. Male with three strongly dilated pro tarsal segment.
LORICERINI Bonelli, 1810
This tribe contains a single genus, Loricera Latrielle, 1802, including more than a dozen species in three subgenera. They occur in China (especially), India, The United States including Alaska and Mexico. L. Pilicornis (Fabricius, 1775) (ssp. pilicornis s.str.) is the only widely distributed species, occurring throughout the Palaearctic and east to Mongolia, China and North Korea. It is also widespread throughout the United States including Alaska, and Mexico. In central Russia it is also represented by the subspecies congesta Mannerheim, 1853. In the United Kingdom it is widespread and common to the far north including Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.