Meligethes flavimanus Stephens, 1830

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

NITIDULIDAE Latreille, 1802

MELIGETHINAE Thomson, C.G., 1859

Meligethes (Stephens, 1829)

This is among the most widespread members of the genus (or subgenus, whichever is preferred); it is native to the Palaearctic region and occurs continuously from Portugal through Asia Minor and Russia to north-western China and the Pacific coast, it is generally common throughout Europe north to central Fennoscandia and is a predominantly a species of lowlands and foothills although it has been recorded up to 2000 m in central regions. In the UK it is generally common throughout England and Wales north to the Humber though much less so in the West Country, and very local and scarce further north to southern Scotland and in Northern Ireland. Adults occur year-round, they are active from March until October, peaking in abundance during May and June, and overwintering among litter etc. Typical habitats are open and well-vegetated scrub and woodland, heathland, parkland, road verges and other disturbed areas such as domestic gardens. Adults are pollen-feeders that visit a wide range of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to feed; they are sometimes common on hawthorn (Crataegus Tourn. Ex L.) and various umbels early in the season but otherwise occur more generally and especially on various wild and cultivated roses. Mating occurs early in the season and females oviposit in unopened flower buds, here they usually choose various roses but especially dog rose (Rosa canina L.), and very probably other wild members of the family such hawthorn or various species of Prunus L. or Pyrus L. etc. Infested buds do not open and larvae develop within, feeding on pollen as well as flower parts, in late spring and early summer, they pupate within and new-generation adults appear from early summer. There is a single generation each year and most of the overwintered adults die off before the new generation appears. Adults fly well and will visit a range of flowers on warm days, they are easily sampled by sweeping flowers but several other closely-similar species occur in the same situations, often along with the present species, and so they will need to be taken for close examination.

Meligethes flavimanus 1

Meligethes flavimanus 1

Meligethes flavimanus 2

Meligethes flavimanus 2

2.0-4.2 mm. A broadly-oval and moderately convex species, entirely black without any metallic reflection or with the lateral pronotal and elytral margins a little paler, legs pale brown or reddish-brown and antennae pale brown or yellow with the club and sometimes the basal segment dark brown to black, dorsal pubescence short and pale to golden-yellow in colour.  Head transverse and weakly convex, strongly narrowed in front of convex and protruding eyes and with short antennae bearing a relatively large and broad club, surface finely and densely punctured throughout. Pronotum transverse, broadest towards the base and evenly curved laterally from slightly protruding posterior angles to produced anterior angles, basal margin distinctly sinuate laterally, surface evenly convex between narrowly explanate lateral margins and distinctly reticulate between fine and rather dense punctures which may form irregular transverse series on the disc. Elytra evenly curved laterally from a finely-toothed humeral angle to separately-rounded apical margins, without striae but with a variously-developed longitudinal depression below the shoulders, punctures denser and finer than those on the pronotum and usually not forming a distinct transverse strigosity except around the scutellum, generally more widely separated longitudinally than transversely, cuticle between the punctures finely reticulate and dull. Outer margin of front tibiae with fine teeth from the base and several larger teeth before the apical margin. Males may be recognized by their wider basal pro-tarsal segments, the metasternum is flat and shiny and only weakly depressed medially in both sexes. Males of doubtful specimens will need to be dissected; here the median lobe is constricted before a widely truncate apical margin.

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Among the UK fauna very similar to M. atratus (Olivier, 1790) but that species is less elongate and convex, the pronotum is smooth between the punctures and they elytra have a more distinct transverse strigosity. The male genitalia are distinct and doubtful specimens will need to be dissected; in M. atratus the apex of the median lobe is widely rounded and has a short blunt tooth either side of a shallow median emargination.

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