Othius punctulatus (Goeze, 1777)

POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLININAE Latreille, 1802

OTHIINI Thomson, C.G., 1859

Othius Stephens, 1829 

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This very distinctive species is generally common and widely distributed throughout Mediterranean North Africa, The Middle East and Europe north to Scandinavia and the UK, it extends east through Asia Minor to Mongolia and occurs from lowland to mountain altitudes; it is widespread up to 1000m across Europe and recorded from 1700m in the Alps, 1450m in the Canary Islands and 3000m in the Grand Atlas of Morocco. First recorded in 2011, it has now become established in the northwest United States. In the UK it is common throughout England, Wales and northeast Scotland although rather sporadic and scarce in the West Country and Scotland generally. Adults occur year-round, peaking in abundance from February to June and again during the autumn, they occur in a wide range of habitats; deciduous and mixed woodland, wooded parkland and scrub etc. but also among reed litter and vegetation on pond and lake margins, generally under bark or logs or among matted vegetation and tussocks in damp grassland, very occasionally at carrion or decaying fungi, and tend to spend much of their time in the soil. Mating occurs in the autumn and eggs develop as the adults overwinter, oviposition occurs early in the year; January or February, and larvae develop through the winter until the following summer, probably pupating from July as soft-bodied adults have been recorded from August. In colder northern regions the larvae may pass a second winter and produce spring adults. Both adults and larvae are predatory on eggs and larvae of other insects etc. Adults are readily recognized in the field, they may be sampled by searching in suitable habitats or by pitfall trapping, although they tend to be absent during the warmest part of the summer, and during spring and autumn are often active at night on pathways and tree trunks etc. when the temperature allows. The only species likely to be confused with O. pumicatus is Atrecus affinis (Paykull, 1789) which is superficially similar and occurs among decaying wood.

9-14mm, head, pronotum and abdomen except for the apex black, legs and antennae pale. Head and pronotum glabrous except for sensory setae, elytra and abdomen with fine recumbent pubescence. Head parallel-sided, elongate and as wide as the pronotum, shiny with faint microsculpture (X20), vertex smooth but with large punctures laterally and two pairs of larger punctures between the eyes. Temples long behind small and weakly convex eyes, posterior angles widely rounded to a short and convex neck. Antennae inserted inside the base of the mandibles, scape as long as segments 2-4, third segment much longer than the second, 6-8 quadrate or nearly so, 9 and 10 quadrate to weakly transverse. Pronotum elongate with distinct anterior angles and rounded at the base, basal and lateral margins strongly bordered, this continues around the anterior angles but not along the margin. Surface shiny and weakly microsculptured, with 2 large punctures either side of the middle and a few smaller ones inside the anterior angles. Scutellum shiny black; impunctate but strongly microsculptured. Elytra quadrate, randomly and quite strongly punctured, sutural margins raised but not overlapping. Abdomen with strongly raised lateral borders, finely and sparsely punctured and with microsculpture obvious at X20. All tibiae with stiff lateral setae and strong terminal spurs, tarsi 5-5-5; basal segments of pro-tarsi dilated in both sexes, basal segment of meso- and metatibiae longer than the second.

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