Microcara testacea (Linnaeus, 1767)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCIRTOIDEA Fleming, 1821

SCIRTIDAE Fleming, 1821

Microcara Thomson, C.G., 1859

This species is locally common in lowlands and lower mountain altitudes across central and northern Europe, it extends from Spain to northern parts of European Russia but with the exceptions of France and Spain is absent from most Mediterranean areas, to the north it reaches the UK and far above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. In the UK it is generally common throughout England and Wales, including all the islands, and more local and scattered through Ireland and the east of Scotland. Adults occur from May until July or August, peaking in abundance during late May and early June, they frequent wet or permanently damp habitats, especially where there are small stagnant pools or slow-flowing water in shaded situations, often in open woodland or wooded parkland but also on densely vegetated areas of heaths and moorland and in swamps etc. Sweeping dense vegetation is the easiest way to sample adults as they are diurnal and spend their time among foliage but during warm weather they also fly to a range of flowers where they feed on pollen. Little is known of the biology but adults often occur at ponds that dry out in the summer and they may be adapted to this habitat, eggs are laid into damp soil near water where the aquatic larvae will develop through the summer. Larvae are known to feed on algae and decaying plant material in stagnant water, it is not known for sure whether they overwinter but it is very likely that they do, in common with various other members of the family, and that pupation occurs out of water in the spring.

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4.0-5.5 mm although smaller specimens very occasionally occur. Readily identified among our fauna by the large size, colouration and the form of the pronotum. Finely pubescent throughout, yellowish brown with the centre of the pronotum and parts of the elytra often darker, legs pale brown, antennae dark with three basal segments pale. Head produced and narrowed in front of convex and protruding eyes, flat and very finely punctured, terminal segment of all palps long and pointed. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, 11-segmented and filiform; the first and third segments about equal in length and longer than the small second segment, the remainder long and slender. Pronotum widely transverse, broadest in front of rounded posterior angles and smoothly curved anteriorly, basal margin sinuate and slightly produced back across the middle, surface weakly convex, flattened laterally and finely punctured throughout. Scutellum large, triangular and more finely punctured than the surrounding elytra. Elytra elongate, broadest behind the middle and almost continuously-rounded apically, without striae but often with weak and incomplete longitudinal ridges, finely and quite densely punctured throughout, in places these give the impression of transverse series. Legs long and slender, the femora only narrowly visible in normal setting and the tibiae hardly widened from the base. Tarsi 5-segmented; the basal segment much shorter than the rest combined and the fourth widely bilobed. Females may be distinguished by the form of the fourth and fifth visible sternites, these have a flattened round tubercle bearing a stiff bristle, in the male they are simple convex.

Microcara testacea 1

Microcara testacea 1

Microcara testacea 2

Microcara testacea 2

teneral specimen

Microcara testacea 3

Microcara testacea 3

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