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Othius subuliformis Stephens, 1833

POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLININAE Latreille, 1802

OTHIINI Thomson, C.G., 1859

Othius Stephens, 1829 







This species is widespread and generally common from lowland to alpine altitudes across western and central Europe, it reaches 3000m in the alps and is sometimes the most common staphylinid of subalpine forest areas, it extends from the south of Portugal and Spain into central Europe and to the far north of Fennoscandia and the Faroe Islands, to the east it becomes more local and rare, extending to Ukraine and western Russia, although it is absent from many Mediterranean countries, and it has recently been recorded as an adventive from North America. In the UK it is locally common throughout England and Wales and extends north through much of eastern Scotland to Orkney, in Ireland it is very local and known from only a few records in the north. Adults occur year-round, they are active over a long season from March until November and peak in abundance during July and August when the new generation appears. On the continent it is more typically a species of forest areas where it occurs among litter and moss or in hollows in decaying trees, it is often recorded from ant nests (it was variously known as O. myrmecophilus Kiesenwetter, 1843) and in mole tunnels and rodent nests, but it also occurs in open habitats under moss and debris or among litter on damp sandy and gravel soils. In the UK they occur in wooded areas and on open heathland but are also frequent among compost and other decaying organic matter in parks and domestic gardens and, although they are wingless, may appear quickly in new habitats e.g., we found them in numbers during the summer among grass cuttings only a few days after being discarded along wooded margins on a local golf course.  Both adults and larvae are predatory, feeding on small insects and springtails etc among the host material, larvae have been recorded throughout the year and may result from a very long period of oviposition. Sampling is usually by sieving suitable material but adults may be found under logs or stones in grassland, they occasionally appear when sweeping low vegetation in the summer and may occur at any time in suitable extraction samples.

Othius subuliformis 1

Othius subuliformis 1

Othius subuliformis 2

Othius subuliformis 2

4.5-5.5mm. Elongate and parallel-sided, forebody dark brown, often with the head darker, elytra dark brown with paler margins, abdomen dark reddish brown, appendages pale to dark brown. Head slightly elongate with small flat eyes and long parallel temples that curve to a short neck, vertex punctured and pubescent behind the eyes, frons with longitudinal furrows and a shallow transverse depression, the surface with  fine cellular microsculpture throughout. Antennae inserted laterally within the base of the mandibles, basal segment long and expanded apically, 2 and 3 elongate, 4 and 5 quadrate and 6-10 transverse. Pronotum elongate (about 4:3), and parallel-sided with rounded angles, surface with fine transverse linear microsculpture and a series of three setiferous punctures  either side of the disc, the first of these well behind the anterior margin-although there are other punctures scattered around all the margins- and the last situated well behind the middle. Scutellum large and triangular. Elytra with rounded shoulders, slightly dilated laterally and angled across the base to the suture, surface randomly and sparsely punctured and pubescent, the suture straight and simple i.e. not overlapping. Abdomen strongly bordered and finely pubescent, the segments finely punctured and with very fine transverse linear microsculpture which sometimes fades towards the apex of the segments. Basal segments of the front tarsi strongly expanded in both sexes. Distinct among our UK species due to the microsculpture on the head and pronotum.

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