Philonthus laminatus (Creutzer, 1799)
This species is locally common from lowland to low mountain altitudes throughout most of Europe from the Mediterranean north to the UK and the northern provinces of Sweden and from Spain east into Asia Minor, Ukraine and Russia as far as Turkestan, it tends to be more sporadic and local in northern regions but is generally common across England and Wales and occurs less frequently north to Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, it is sporadic and generally scarce in Northern Ireland but absent from the south. Adults are present year round and are active over a long season from early spring, they occur among all kinds of decaying organic matter in a wide range of damp habitats from open grassland to woodland, they are often associated with semi-natural and disturbed habitats and may be abundant among crops on farmland, often in company with other staphs and carabids. Both adults and larvae are predatory and occur in habitats such as compost and dung which are rich in fly larvae and other prey, adults will otherwise be found by searching moss and litter etc. and they will often be swept from long grass and herbaceous vegetation on warm summer days when they disperse by flight. Adults may be difficult to sample as they move very rapidly and seem to disappear as they enter the soil or run into tussocks, they also take flight very quickly and are strong fliers, thus groups may disperse from dung or carrion without a trace but sieving suitable material into a tray will usually secure them in numbers, they also occur regularly throughout the year from extraction samples and occasionally come to light traps in the summer.
Adults are distinctive due to the lack of dorsal series of punctures on the pronotum coupled with the bright metallic colouration, this combination of characters is otherwise seen only in P. intermedius (Lacordaire, 1835) but differences in the form of the head and antennae are sufficient to distinguish them, see below. 9.0-12.5mm. Head, pronotum and elytra black with a bright green or bluish-green metallic reflection, abdomen shiny black. Head almost quadrate, at most slightly transverse (1.2:1), with rounded posterior angles and weakly convex eyes that are about equal in length to the temples (from above), surface smoothly convex, with several setiferous punctured inside the eyes and numerous punctures behind the eyes and extending along the base, anterior margin simply curved forwards between the antennal insertions. Mandibles asymmetric; the right mandible with a single strong median tooth, the left with two smaller teeth, the anterior slightly larger, palps dark brown with the slender and elongate terminal segment entirely red or darkened apically. Antennae slender, three basal segments much longer than the others, 4-7 slightly elongate, 8 and 9 quadrate and 10 weakly transverse. Pronotum quadrate or nearly so, broadest before rounded posterior angles and narrowed to a curved anterior margin, surface smooth and lacking dorsal series of punctures; with only a few large punctures near the lateral margins and usually one inside the anterior angle. Elytra quadrate or slightly transverse with sloping shoulders and weakly dilated to rounded posterior angles, surface finely and densely punctured and with pale overlapping pubescence. Abdominal tergites sparsely punctured and pubescent throughout. Legs long and slender, basal segment of middle and hind tarsi longer than the others, basal segment of front tarsus transverse.
Philonthus laminatus 1
Philonthus laminatus 2