Malthodes fibulatus Kiesenwetter, 1852
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
ELATEROIDEA Leach, 1815
MALTHININAE Kiesenwetter, 1852
MALTHODINI Böving & Craighead, 1931
Malthodes Kiesenwetter, 1852
This is a mostly central European species; it is widespread but very local and generally uncommon in lowlands and low mountain altitudes, up to 2000 m, from Germany and Belgium east to Ukraine and European Russia and south to Kosovo though it is absent from most Mediterranean countries, to the north it reaches the UK and southern provinces of Sweden and Finland but is absent from Denmark and many of the Baltic countries. In the UK it is widespread but very local across England western Wales although absent from East Anglia and the West Country, and sporadic and scarce north to Newcastle upon Tyne. Adults are active from May until July and typically occur in open broadleaf woodland and scrubland in chalk and limestone areas but they fly well and on warm days may occur further afield e.g. we have found them to be common at several sites in the South Buckinghamshire Chilterns on calcareous grassland hillsides exposed to the sun. Adults are predaceous and roam deciduous foliage in search of prey, they mate early in the season and pairs may be beaten from trees and shrubs or swept from surrounding grass etc., they are good fliers; they fly readily when disturbed and often visit flowers along wooded borders. Larvae are terrestrial predators; they develop through the summer and autumn and very probably overwinter and pupate in the ground in the spring. Although a very local species (in the UK it is classed as nationally scarce), adults are generally common where they occur.
3.3-4.0mm, the size coupled with the very distinctive colouration should make this species obvious, even in the field. Head black, pronotum testaceous, usually darker about the centre and always with a very narrow but distinct and contrasting yellow border, elytra uniformly pale to dark brown or becoming paler apically but never with the bright yellow apex seen in some members of the genus. Head transverse with large convex eyes and long curved temples that converge to a narrow neck, vertex evenly convex and very finely punctured and pubescent, antennae long and filiform with all segments elongate, mostly dark brown but with at least two basal segments paler. Pronotum transverse, broadest at obtuse anterior angles and slightly narrowed to protruding posterior angles, apical and basal margins almost straight, surface smoothly convex but variously impressed along the basal margin, lateral margin without a complete raised border. Elytra elongate with rounded shoulders and separately curved apical margins, without striae but sometimes with obscure longitudinal raised ridges; the cuticle is this and soft and in set specimens tends to be wrinkled and so obscures any surface structure, very finely punctured and with fine semi-erect pubescence. Legs slender and proportionally very long, femora dark brown with pale apices, tibiae variable but the front tibiae are substantially or entirely pale and the middle and hind tibiae variously darkened, and the tarsi are usually pale. In lateral view the terminal segments of the male abdomen are characteristic (although they often collapse in dry specimens and the feature tend to be difficult to appreciate) and might only be confused with Malthodes maurus (Castelnau, 1840) which is otherwise distinct in lacking the yellow pronotal borders.
Malthodes fibulatus 1
Malthodes fibulatus 2