Lycoperdina bovistae (Fabricius, 1792)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

ENDOMYCHIDAE Leach, 1815

LYCOPERDININAE Bromhead, 1838

Lycoperdina Latreille, 1807

This is a mostly western and central European species, it is generally very local and rare although because of its lifestyle it is likely to be overlooked and under-recorded, it occurs in lowlands and lower mountain altitudes from Portugal to Italy and north to the UK and a few southern provinces in Fennoscandia, in the UK it is widespread but very local across England north to Nottingham though generally absent from the West Country, and there are a few scattered records from southern Wales. Adults occur year-round and although very local they tend to occur in numbers, they are most abundant in the spring and autumn and only infrequently recorded between June and August. Typical habitats are damp woodland and wooded parkland with a good proportion of trees in various stages of decay, they have been recorded from a range of fungi e.g. from various Boletus L. but they are usually associated with puffballs (Lycoperdaceae) where the larvae are known to develop. Among the more frequented species are Lycoperdon perlatum Pers. (1796), Apioperdon pyriforme (Schaeff.) Vizzini and Handkea utriformis (Bull.) Kreisel (1989) but they have been recorded from many puffball sporocarps e.g. adults have been found overwintering en masse inside Collared Earthstars, Geastrum triplex Jungh. though they are not usually associated with this species. As is typical of the family the larvae are very likely to be mycophagous, they have been found in various stages of development within puffballs through the summer and the peak in adult abundance in the autumn would suggest they pupate in late summer and autumn but otherwise little is known of the biology. Adults may be sampled by pulling apart sporocarps, especially where they occur among dense leaf-litter and other woodland debris, or puffball samples may be kept in containers indoors, any adults present usually exit the fungus within a few days and become very active, running around the containers, probably in response to altered temperature or humidity.

Lycoperdina bovistae 1

Lycoperdina bovistae 1

Lycoperdina bovistae 2

Lycoperdina bovistae 2

Lycoperdina bovistae 3

Lycoperdina bovistae 3

4.0-5.0 mm. Elongate and discontinuous in outline, entirely dark brown or with the head, elytral apex and appendages paler reddish-brown, very distinct among our fauna and only likely to be confused with our other member of the genus, L. succincta (Linnaeus, 1767). Entire dorsal surface shiny and appearing glabrous; at very high magnification there are tiny pale hairs scattered across the surface which is extremely finely microsculptured. Head prognathous but usually inclined forward and only narrowly visible from above, eyes weakly convex and coarsely-faceted, vertex and frons flat or with a weakly-defined depression between the eyes, antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, 11-segmented with elongate basal segments and quadrate distal segments, the terminal segment excavate across the apex. Pronotum transverse, broadest in the apical third and rounded to obtuse anterior angles, basal half strongly bordered and narrowed to perpendicular posterior angles, basal weakly bisinuate, surface with a deep and well-defined longitudinal impression from the base to beyond the middle on either side of the disc. Scutellum tiny and almost circular. Elytra broadest before the middle and evenly curved to angled shoulders and separately rounded apical margins, with a fine sutural stria from the base to just before the apex and sometimes with weakly-defined longitudinal impressions towards the lateral margins, otherwise smooth. Legs long and very robust, especially the femora. Front tibiae weakly angled externally just before the apex, middle and hind tibiae weakly curved, all tibiae without an obvious apical spur. Tarsi 4-segmented; the two basal segments very strongly lobed, the third small and unmodified, the terminal segment curved and longer than the others combined. Claws smooth and without a basal tooth.