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Paratillus carus (Newman, 1840)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CLEROIDEA Latreille, 1802

CLERIDAE Latreille, 1802

KORYNETINAE Laporte, 1836

Paratillus Gorham, 1878

Native to Australia where it is locally common in western and southern coastal areas, this species has become established in many parts of the world through the trade in timber; it is established and widespread in Western France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and here it seems to be increasing in range and abundance, and there are a few records from Central Europe but here it remains very local and rare. It was first recorded in the UK in 1933 and it soon became established and began to spread, but there has been a general decline since the 1950s and now it is very local and rare with modern records from South-eastern, Central and Northern England. The natural habitat is broadleaved or mixed woodland with plenty of decaying wood, in temperate regions they are associated with a range of trees where they predate various saproxylic beetles and their larvae, but in Australia it is recorded under bark on Eucalyptus saligna Sm. and adults have been reared from larvae found in coccid galls. Prey include a range of buprestid and bostrychids beetles and the species is probably a generalist predator e.g. in France adults were observed predating the bostrychids Xylonites praeustus (Germar, 1817), but it is also a specialist predator of various species of Lyctus Fab. as in laboratory experiments it was able to hunt Lyctus larvae by following scent trails. Adults have been recorded throughout the year in warmer parts of the world and this is more or less the case in temperate regions where beetles are recorded from imported timber, but the majority of European records are from spring and summer. Adults are diurnal and crepuscular, they are sometimes active on the surface of trunks but they otherwise search for prey, as do the larvae, among infested galleries, often dislodging lines of frass and wood dust as they go.

Paratillus carus

Paratillus carus

4-7 mm. Elongate, narrow and discontinuous in outline, dorsal surface with long erect pubescence, colour variable (there are several named varieties), forebody red or with the head darker, sometimes black, elytra black with a blue or green reflection but the base and apex may be reddish, the apex sometimes extensively so, antennae brown darker towards the apices, legs black to brown; usually with dark femora and paler tibiae and tarsi. Head large, transverse and about as wide as the widest part of the pronotum, weakly convex and strongly punctured between large and weakly emarginate eyes, temples short and converging, cheeks converging to a wide and emarginate labrum. Terminal labial palpomere short and narrowly triangular, terminal maxillary palpomere almost cylindrical, weakly broadened from the base and obliquely truncate apically. Antennae 11-segmented, long and slender with an elongate and loose 3-segmented club. Pronotum elongate, almost parallel-sided from rounded anterior angles and converging behind the middle to a rounded basal margin, surface evenly convex or depressed along the centre and finely but not densely punctured. Elytra parallel-sided or only weakly dilated behind the middle, shoulders rounded, apices separately curved, surface with regular striae from the base, where the punctures are about twice as wide as the intervals, becoming weaker towards the apex. Legs long, slender and finely pubescent, femora unarmed, tibiae only weakly broadened from the base. Tarsi 5-segmented but appearing 4-segmented due to the diminutive forth segment, terminal segment long and slender, Claws smooth and not toothed basally.

Easily distinguished among our fauna by the slender form and distinctive colour, but Tarsostenus univittatus may cause confusion, here the terminal maxillary palpomere is broadly triangular while in the present species it is narrow and only weakly broadened from the base.

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