Lycoperdina succincta (Linnaeus, 1767)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

ENDOMYCHIDAE Leach, 1815

LYCOPERDININAE Bromhead, 1838

Lycoperdina Latreille, 1807

This very local and generally rare species has a discontinuous distribution in Europe, it is absent from France and Switzerland but widespread through Central and Northern Europe, reaching south to Italy, the Black Sea to the East and extending north into Denmark and the Baltic countries as far north as Latvia and Southern Sweden, it occurs in a few localities in Spain and is known from the Brecklands of West Norfolk and west Suffolk in the UK. It is present on only a few of the Mediterranean islands and is not known from North Africa, to the east it extends into Eastern Siberia but whether the distribution is continuous is uncertain. In Europe it occurs from lowlands to lower mountain regions and is frequently recorded from old deciduous woodland with plenty of wood in various stages of decay although it also occurs in open and dry habitats depending on the presence of the host fungi; in the UK they occur in puffballs on dry sandy soils rather than in woodland habitats. Adults occur year–round but they overwinter within decaying fungi and so are rarely recorded at this time, they are active from May until October or November and peak in abundance during April and again, this time in larger numbers, during September and October. They are fully winged and probably disperse to find host material by flight. Host fungi include various species of Agaricaceae, particularly of Lycoperdon Pers. Non Tourn. Ex L. and Bovista Pers (1794), especially in Brown puffballs (B. nigrescens (Pers.) (1794)) and they often occur in Mosaic puffball (Handkea utriformis (Bull.) Kreisel (1989) (a widespread species of sandy heathland). Larvae develop within dry and dusty puffballs through the summer, they pupate in situ towards the end of summer and adults appear for a short while before entering old sporocarps to overwinter. Adults may be found throughout the year by searching puffballs but during the warmer months they often climb vegetation (in order to disperse by flight?) and walk in open situations, hence they can be swept and pitfall trapping is often successful.

Lycoperdina succincta 1

Lycoperdina succincta 1

4.0-4.5 mm. Shiny and very finely pubescent, broadly elongate and discontinuous in outline, body and appendages pale to dark reddish-brown, elytra reddish-brown with a broad median transverse dark band which may be discontinuous at the suture or, in some European specimens, may continue to the apex. Head smoothly convex and finely punctured between large eyes that are more-or-less continuous with the outline, anterior margin concave between antennal insertions which are visible from above. Antennae 11-segmented, basal segment broad and curved, 2 and 3 elongate, 4-8 quadrate or nearly so, and 9-11 broader, forming an indistinct club. Pronotum  transverse and broadest in front of the middle, anteriorly smoothly curved to projecting angles and posteriorly smoothly sinuate to slightly acute angles, basal margin straight, apical margin curved between the angles. Surface very finely punctured throughout, towards the lateral margins each side with a deep groove from the base to about the middle. Elytra elongate and broadest about the middle; smoothly curved from rounded shoulders to separately-rounded apical margins, surface shiny and without striae although there may be short longitudinal impressions from the base inside the humeral prominence. Legs long and robust with femora widely visible from above, tibiae flattened and expanded from the base, in males the front tibiae have a strong internal tooth, in females this is reduced to a blunt swelling. Tarsi 4-segmented but appearing 3-segmented as the third is diminutive and mostly hidden within the strongly lobed second segment, terminal segment long, curved and expanded from the base. Claws smooth and without a basal tooth. Among our UK fauna the only possible confusion is with Lycoperdina bovistae (Fabricius, 1792) but they can always be distinguished by colour.