Oxyomus sylvestris (Scopoli, 1763)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SCARABAEIDAE Latreille, 1802

APHODIINAE Leach, 1815

APHODIINI Leach, 1815 

OXYOMUS Dejean, 1833 

This species is a generally common across North Africa and western, southern and central Europe, becoming sporadic and more local further north to southern Fennoscandia and the UK, further east it extends into central Asia and, following introductions, is now established in North America. In the UK it is locally common in the southeast and East Anglia and sporadic and generally rare in the midlands, South Wales and the northwest of England although, as with other species occurring in similar habitats, it is likely to be under recorded. Adults occur in all types of decaying organic matter, only rarely in dung deposited on pasture but often when this is mixed with straw and in more sheltered situations, otherwise among accumulated and well-decayed leaf litter in sheltered or wooded situations, decaying fungi, carrion and compost-often among decaying grass cuttings and sometimes in domestic gardens- and they have been recorded from mammal and bird nests on the continent. In certain continental areas e.g. southwest Germany it has been found to prefer cattle dung (Wassmer, 1995) but this seems never to have been the case in the UK and In central Poland it occurs in moose (Alces alces Linnaeus, 1758) dung in a wide variety of habitats. Adults occur from early spring until May or June and again in the autumn but they regularly occur among flood refuse and suitable extraction samples through the winter, they disperse by flight and occasionally swarm over host material on warm spring afternoons and evenings, they are attracted to light and when found among compost they generally occur in numbers. The larva has been described in Ritcher (1966).

2.5-3.7mm. Suggestive of a small Aphodius in the field but distinguished by the pronotal sculpture. Elongate, convex and parallel-sided, black with the appendages and pronotal anterior and lateral margins variously pale. Head transverse and unevenly convex, expanded and rounded anterior to eyes that are mostly hidden beneath the thorax, and widely emarginate anteriorly, surface finely and variably punctured. Palps entirely pale, antennae pale with the club darker. Pronotum transverse, broadest across the base and narrowed to rounded anterior angles, basal margin sinuate before posterior angles, surface with quite dense large and shallow punctures and a broad longitudinal depression in the basal half. Scutellum triangular with a raised central area. Elytra humeri with a distinct and sharp tooth (hence the name which is from the Greek; oxy for sharp, omo for shoulder and sylvestris for wood or forest). Elytra weakly rounded and not sinuate before the continuously curved apex, each with 10 longitudinal shiny carinae; the fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth abbreviated before the apex, and between each a series of large and slightly transverse punctures. Anterior tibiae with three strong external teeth in the apical half although these become worn and reduced in life, middle and posterior tibiae with two spinose transverse ridges and strong apical spurs.

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