Pedius longicollis (Duftschmid, 1812)

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ADEPHAGA Clairville, 1806

CARABIDAE Latreille, 1802

PTEROSTICHINAE Bonelli, 1810

PTEROSTICHINI Bonelli, 1810

Pedius Motschulsky, 1850

This widespread Palaearctic species has a mostly central and eastern distribution in Europe; it occurs from northern Spain to Ukraine, reaching north to the UK, Denmark and Poland but is otherwise absent from the Baltic countries, to the south it reaches the Balkans and Greece but this distribution is patchy; it absent from Italy and has only recently been recorded from Switzerland. The northern Mediterranean borders seem to be the southern limit of the range as it is not reported from the islands or North Africa, to the east it extends through Asia Minor and Russia to the far east of Siberia. Throughout this range it is very local and generally rare, especially in the north where it is red-listed and thought to have declined over recent decades in several countries e.g. the last record from Luxembourg was in 1986, from the Netherlands in 1942 and in Denmark it is known from only a few coastal records. In the UK it is very local but widespread across southern and central England north to the Humber, there are only a few records further north and from South Wales and it is generally absent from the West Country although it has been recorded from the Isles of Scilly. In Northern Europe most of the records are coastal while in central regions it is associated with damp loamy soil on wetlands or on wooded margins and hedgerows etc., especially on lowland clay or limestone substrates, it tends to be rare in upland regions and is absent at mountain altitudes. In the UK it often occurs on sparsely vegetated ground near wetland margins or on damp grassland but the species is probably more eurytopic as we have found it among flood refuse on peaty agricultural borders in the West Country and among litter beside a tennis court in west London. Adults are nocturnal, spending the day under debris, among litter or in the soil, they are short winged (at least in the UK; they have been recorded in light traps in Hungary) and so disperse by walking, they rarely occur in numbers and usually along with other small carabids e.g. on two occasions we have found them along with Calathus melanocephalus. They occur year-round, overwintering in tussocks or in the soil and are active over a long season from early spring, they peak in abundance during May and June. Reproduction occurs in the spring and fresh adults appear in late summer and autumn. Both adults and larvae are predatory but little is known of the biology and the larva is unknown, according to some writers both stages may be primarily subterranean but this needs to be investigated.

Pedius longicollis

Pedius longicollis

5.0-6.5 mm. Body long and narrow, glabrous, shiny dark brown to black with pale brown appendages. Head with two setiferous punctures beside weakly convex eyes and short, parallel temples, surface without furrows or fovea.  Antennae densely pubescent from the fourth segment. Pronotum transverse, broadest about the middle and sinuate before sharp, almost perpendicular, posterior angles, disc smoothly convex with a narrow longitudinal furrow, basal third extensively punctured and with single deep and wide basal fovea. Elytra almost parallel-sided from rounded shoulders to a weak subapical constriction, striae punctured in the basal half (or more) and well-impressed throughout, scutellary striole missing, interstices slightly convex, the third with a single puncture towards the apex, epipleura crossed. Legs long and slender, the front tibiae gradually and not strongly thickened towards the apex and all tarsi lacking a dorsal furrow. Basal segments of front tarsi expanded in males.

The only other UK species to lack a scutellary striole is Pterostichus vernalis (Panzer, 1795) but this is a little larger, 6.0-7.5 mm, darker body and has dorsal furrows on the tarsi.