Phalacrus championi Guillebeau, 1892
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802
Phalacrus Paykull, 1800
Widespread in Europe but, with the exception of the UK and parts of Southern Sweden, very rare and infrequently recorded; the distribution is sporadic and in many countries it is known from only a few records. The present distribution includes Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Holland, Austria, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Poland where it was first recorded in 1994, and parts of European Russia. In the UK it occurs locally in south-eastern England and East Anglia but is otherwise very local and scarce across the south although it does seem to be spreading. There are also records from central Scotland but this need to be verified. The species is associated with grasses and sedges in a variety of habitats including damp grassland, open woodland, arable margins and saltmarshes, although in Finland, where it is very rare, it is more typical of dry moorland, and adults tend to be common where they occur. Larvae are thought to develop through the spring among grasses and sedges, feeding on fungal spores (Basidiomycota: Ustilaginales) and pupating either in the ground or in situ to produce teneral adults from May or June. Adults are present year-round; they overwinter in tussocks or among decaying vegetation and are active from February or March until late in the autumn, peaking in abundance during May and June. They are diurnal and spend much of their time on foliage but they will often gather on flowers during warm and sunny weather, usually in numbers and often along with other members of the family.
2.0-3.5 mm. Broadly-oval and continuous in outline, glabrous and entirely shiny black, including the antennae and legs although the tibiae and tarsi may be dark brown in some specimens. Head hidden or only narrowly visible in life, smoothly convex and very finely punctured between convex and slightly protruding eyes. Antennae 11-segmented with a long and loose 3-segmented club, the tenth segment transverse and the terminal segment elongate, longer than 9 & 10 combined and about 1.7X longer than wide. Pronotum transverse broadest across perpendicular (in side view) posterior angles and smoothly narrowed to slightly obtuse anterior angles, lateral margins finely bordered, basal margin simple, surface smoothly convex and very finely punctured throughout. Scutellum large, triangular and punctured as the pronotum. Elytra quadrate or nearly so; broadest at or near rounded shoulders and narrowed to a continuous apical margin, each with a single sutural striae which is usually fine or broken up near the base and deepened towards the apex, surface with striae consisting of fine puncture rows and randomly and very finely punctured interstices, surface with very fine mesh-like microsculpture visible at x100. Identification depends on the form of the front tibiae; here the external margin is setose, especially towards the apex, but on the outer apical angle there are four or five short spines placed close together; in other species these are either much more numerous (fimetarius) or there are only two or three (the rest.) Tarsi 5-segmented but appearing 4-segmented due to the diminutive fourth segment being largely obscured by the lobes of the third segment. Claws very finely toothed.