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Micrambe ulicis (Stephens, 1830)







POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802




Micrambe Thomson, C.G., 1863

Locally common across Southern Europe from Portugal to Greece and Ukraine and extending sporadically north to Denmark and the UK, absent from several Central European countries and from the Baltic area generally, it extends east into Western Russia and is known from North Africa but records from tropical Africa are probably in error and refer to other species. In contrast to much of Northern Europe where it is very local and scarce, the species is generally common throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland while in Scotland the distribution is more eastern, it reaches the far north but is absent from Orkney and Shetland. Host plants include various Genisteae, usually gorse (Ulex L.) and broom (Cytisus Desf.) (in northern Europe sometimes on Psorothamnus Rybd) and the species is likely to occur wherever these are common, usually in open habitats on commons or moorland but also frequently in parkland and waste ground and other disturbed places, in Northern Europe they have been recorded from mouldy wine barrels in cellars but they show no particular synanthropic behaviour in the UK. Adults occur year-round, they overwinter among litter and moss about the base of host plants or under bark on dead stems and branches and are active over a very long season, peaking in abundance during May and June. Little is known about the biology but it is likely that breeding occurs in the spring and larvae develop in spring and early summer as adults are rarely found away from the hosts. Adults may be sampled by day or night by beating or sweeping host foliage, especially on flowering plants, they usually occur in large numbers and often along with other species associated with these hosts e.g. Phloeotribus rhododactylus (Marsham, 1802) or Andrion regensteinense (Herbst, 1797).

Micrambe ulicis 1

Micrambe ulicis 1

Micrambe ulicis 2

Micrambe ulicis 2

© U.Schmidt

Micrambe ulicis 3

Micrambe ulicis 3

© Lech Borowiec

1.8-2.3 mm. Very similar to Cryptophagus but without a tooth on the lateral pronotal margin. Elongate and discontinuous in outline, finely pubescent and variable in colour; usually entirely pale brown but often with the forebody and a triangular mark about the scutellum darker. Eyes large, protruding and coarsely faceted, from certain angles distinctly asymmetric, vertex and frons depressed medially, clypeus produced in front of the eyes. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, narrow with a long and loose three segmented club, segment three slightly longer than the second, the fifth 1.5-2X longer than wide and longer than the fourth and sixth segments. Pronotum transverse (about 1.7:1), widest across the anterior calli and much narrower across the base than the base of the elytra, lateral margins narrowed and dentate from below the calli to obtuse posterior angles, calli long and oblique with the outer face narrowly visible from directly above, surface moderately strongly but discretely punctured throughout and more or less flat across the disc, without structure but for a pair of (usually) weakly-defined latero-medial fovea along the basal margin. Scutellum widely transverse and only weakly produced apically. Elytra almost parallel-sided from rounded shoulders to a continuous apical margin, randomly punctured throughout, although in places they may form distinct rows, overall slightly weaker than those on the pronotum but this is difficult to appreciate, pubescence short and decumbent with only a few longer and more erect hairs scattered throughout. Legs long and slender, femora unarmed and tibiae without apical spurs, tarsi 5-segmented in females, 5-5-4 in males. Among our UK species only likely to be confused with M. woodroffei Johnson, 2007, but here the elytral pubescence is of two types, with numerous longer erect hairs throughout.

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