Meligethes atratus (Olivier, 1790)

Suborder:

Superfamily:

Family:

Subfamily:

Genus:  

POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

NITIDULIDAE Latreille, 1802

MELIGETHINAE Thomson, C.G., 1859

Meligethes (Stephens, 1829)

Native to the Palaearctic region this species occurs throughout Europe from the Mediterranean north to the UK and some northern provinces of Fennoscandia, it extends east through Asia Minor and Russia into eastern Siberia, it is present on many of the Mediterranean islands but absent from North Africa although specimens have been widely transported with horticultural products and while they have been reported from e.g. Tunisia, Tanzania, Canada and the United States, it seems not to have established outside its natural range. Across Europe it occurs up to about 2000 m but is generally most common and widespread from lowlands to about 1000 m. In the UK it is locally common across Wales and southern England north to the Humber, although much less so in the West Country, and very local and scarce further north as southern Scotland. Adults are active from February until September, peaking in abundance during May and June, but they occasionally appear on flowers later than this and they sometimes occur in winter extraction samples of leaf-litter. Typical habitats are open and rather dry scrub, wooded borders, parkland and hedgerows with plenty of flowers, adults are pollen feeders and occur on a wide range of plants including brambles (Rubus L.) and roses (Rosa L.) (Rosaceae), buttercups (Ranunculus L, Ranunculaceae) and various umbels (Apiaceae), they appear on flowering shrubs in hedgerows and may be very common on hawthorn (Crataegus Tourn, ex L.) blossom in the spring. Mating occurs in spring and early summer and females oviposit in unopened flowers where the larvae will feed on pollen and flower structures including stamens and pistil, pupation occurs in within the bud and new-generation adults occur from early summer. Larvae usually occur in wild and some cultivated roses, particularly Rosa canina L, but it is likely they also develop on other members of the family such as hawthorn and various fruit trees. Adults will appear when sweeping flowers generally and they sometimes occur in numbers but will need to be taken for critical examination as there are many superficially-similar species.

Meligethes atratus 1

Meligethes atratus 1

Meligethes atratus 2

Meligethes atratus 2

2.3-4.2 mm. The general appearance is a good indication of this species in the field; it is broadly-oval and weakly convex, entirely black, without a metallic reflection, or with the lateral pronotal and elytral margins a little paler, legs pale brown or yellow and antennae pale with the club dark brown, dorsal pubescence short, very fine and pale golden brown. Head strongly narrowed in front of small and convex eyes, surface finely and densely punctured throughout, antennae about as long as the pronotal midline, with a wide and club. Pronotum broadest across posterior angles which project very slightly backwards and evenly rounded to projecting anterior angles, explanate margin narrow apically but hardly present towards the base, surface weakly convex and smooth between dense and very fine punctures. Elytra broadest across finely toothed shoulders and evenly narrowed to separate apical margins, without striae but with a longitudinal subhumeral depression which may be weak but is usually obvious with low lighting, punctures more dense and finer than those on the pronotum, discrete (more widely separated longitudinally than transversely) and forming transverse series although these vary in intensity, cuticle between punctures reticulate. The presence of a subhumeral depression and contrasting smooth pronotal interspaces and reticulate (duller) elytral interspaces is a good guide to the species. External margin of front tibiae finely denticulate from the base and with only four or five larger teeth before the apical margin. Males may be recognized by the broader basal segments of the front tarsi, the metasternum is only weakly depressed medially in both sexes but usually a little more strongly so in males. The male genitalia are distinct (when taken with the above combination of characters) and should be examined in doubtful cases, here the median lobe is broadly rounded and has a small projection either side of a median notch.

Very similar to M. flavimanus Stephens, 1830, but here the pronotum is reticulate between the punctures and the elytra are at most only weakly cross-strigose, the body is more convex and less elongate, and the median lobe is constricted before a widely-truncate apical margin.