Monotoma quadrifoveolata Aubé, 1837

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

MONOTOMIDAE Laporte, 1840

MONOTOMINAE Laporte, 1840

Monotoma Herbst,1793

Thought to be native to the southern Palaearctic region, this species has a predominantly southern and western distribution in Europe although it is generally very rare and there are only a few records from most countries. To the north it reaches Denmark and a few southern provinces of Fennoscandia, it was reported from Surrey in the UK in 1936 but there are no reliably dated specimens and, if it did occur here, it is now considered to be long extinct. The species is now known throughout the Palaearctic region and it continues to be reported from many countries worldwide and so it is now considered to be cosmopolitan. In all likelihood the species is invasive to Europe and arrived many centuries ago with trade from the east. In the wild the species is generally associated with decaying vegetation although in Northern Europe it has also been found in numbers under conifer bark, but its global dispersal is due to its synanthropic habits. Outside it often occurs among old hay and straw in stables, sheds and barns, especially where it is infested with mice, although there is no particular association with mammal borrows or nests in the wild, and among cut grass and crop debris lying in fields, and here the adults occasionally swarm in warm weather. The species also breeds in granaries and bone mills etc., and large populations may develop but in general they seem not to disperse into the wild, at least in temperate regions. Little is known of the biology of the species but it is generally accepted that both adults and larvae are mould-feeders, in the wild it is probably univoltine with reproduction occurring in the summer, but under artificial conditions this is will depend on temperature etc. Flight seems not to have been observed although the species obviously does so, and within its native range adults have been sieved from compost year-round.

Monotoma quadrifoveolata 1

Monotoma quadrifoveolata 1

© Arved Lompe

1.8-2.3 mm. Easily recognized by the two fovea joined by a longitudinal furrow on either side of the pronotal disc. Body entirely pale yellowish-brown or sometimes with the forebody a little darker, dorsal surface finely pubescent throughout. Head with small convex eyes and long, sub-parallel temples, frons slightly raised medially but without longitudinal furrows, lateral margin between the eyes and antennal insertions angled. Antennae 11-segmented with two basal segments enlarged and a rather compact 3-segmented club. Pronotum quadrate to slightly elongate, parallel-sided and with distinct angles, lateral teeth small and often indistinct, anterior angles rounded and slightly projecting, punctation dense and moderately strong. Elytra elongate, broadest about the middle and smoothly curved from angled shoulders to separately curved apical margin, surface slightly rugose, with punctured striae and rows of short pale pubescence.  Legs short and robust with broad femora and tibiae broadened from the base. Tarsi 5-5-4 in males, 5-segmented in females.