Opilo mollis (Linnaeus, 1758)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CLEROIDEA Latreille, 1802

CLERIDAE Latreille, 1802

CLERINAE Latreille, 1802

Opilo Latreille, 1802

Native to western and central Europe, this attractive clerid has been transported widely over the centuries with international trade and is now established in many countries worldwide; in Europe it is locally common from France to the Balkans and occurs sporadically north to the UK and the south of Norway and Sweden. In the UK it is very local; it is most frequent in the southeast of England and along the Severn catchment, it is almost unknown from the West Country and East Anglia and very rarely recorded further north. Typical habitats are older coniferous and deciduous woodlands with a good proportion of trees in various stages of decay, they may occur anywhere with the exception of the highest mountain regions, are often associated with beech, oak or pine but both larvae and adults have been recorded from a wide range of both deciduous and coniferous trees. Adults are present from April until July although in warmer continental regions they occur over a much longer season from early March, they are mostly nocturnal and are rarely seen during the day, they spend much of their time hunting insects on the surface of old dry wood or under peeling bark but will also enter galleries in search of larvae and other small prey. Adults usually occur as single specimens but several may be attracted to a particular tree, mating occurs in the summer and females oviposit in the galleries of other wood-boring insects. Larvae are pale red or pink with long yellow or golden pubescence, they are general predators of other beetle larvae and are known to predate ptinids, melandryids, bostrichids, cerambycids, and scolytids, they feed until the autumn, overwinter within the galleries and complete their development and pupate in the spring. Sampling adults usually involves searching old dry wood at night, but they sometimes rest under loose bark during the day (rather than in crevices or galleries) and they have been found among old dry bracket fungi, they sometimes emerge from piled logs or fire wood stored inside and have been found inside at windows during the summer.

Opillo mollis 1

Opillo mollis 1

Opillo mollis 2

Opillo mollis 2

© U.Schmidt

8.5-13mm. Adults are readily recognized by their general appearance and colouration; elongate and narrow with long legs and slender filiform antennae, body dark brown, elytra with pale markings across the base, middle and apex, dorsal surface with long pale pubescence. Head transverse, with large convex eyes and a wide and flat vertex, apical maxillary palpomere securiform. Antennae inserted under the anterior margin of the eyes, second segment much shorter than first and third, and 9-11 less elongate than 8. Pronotum elongate, lateral margins sinuate and anterior margin straight, surface uneven and finely punctured throughout. Elytra long and slightly dilated in the apical half, width of base across rounded shoulders much broader than the pronotum and apical margin continuously rounded, striae strongly punctured from the base and fading in the apical third, surface rugose across the base and becoming smooth towards the apex. In most specimens the pale elytral markings consist of a longitudinal streak from the shoulders and another inside this in the apical third although these may be fused, two maculae across the middle which are often fused, and a variable apical area which may be continuous or may leave the sutural area dark. Legs usually substantially dark brown with the femoral bases pale.