Phloiotrya vaudoueri (Mulsant, 1856)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

MELANDRYIDAE Leach, 1815

MELANDRYINAE Leach, 1815

Phloiotrya Stephens, 1832

This is a very local and generally scarce species restricted to lowland areas of western and southern Europe, there may be references in the literature to a much wider European distribution but these generally refer to the similar P. rufipes (Gyllenhal, 1810) with which it has sometimes been confused. In the UK it is very local across south and central England north to Leeds and there are a few records from South Wales and North Somerset but it is otherwise absent from the West Country. The species is associated with various broadleaf trees, mostly beech (Fagus L.), ash (Fraxinus L.), oak (Quercus L.) and hornbeam (Carpinus L.) but occasionally others e.g. we have found them under hazel (Corylus L.) bark in south Hertfordshire. Adults occur over a relatively short period in the summer, beginning in June and continuing into August, they are nocturnal and generally occur in numbers on the surface of logs and trunks infested with fungi but they have also been recorded at light and are strongly attracted to sap, they may also become active on the warmest days as we observed them swarming on fallen hornbeam logs in bright sun at Bricket wood common during June and July 2011. Larvae develop in soft decaying sapwood, they burrow through soft xylem and leave meandering tunnels, winter is passed within the wood and feeding resumes in the spring, they come to the surface in early June to pupate, either directly beneath the surface of exposed xylem or under tight-fitting bark. Larvae have been found developing in a range of trees including oaks, hornbeams, alders (Alnus Mill.) and willows (Salix L.), they are thought to feed on dead and decaying wood but they usually occur in trunks and branches infested with fungal hyphae. Patient searching at night is the best way to find the adults, from experience they may suddenly appear in numbers at well-worked sites or they may appear for only a few nights at a particular site and then vanish, suggesting that they may be overlooked and more frequent than supposed.

Phloiotrya vauoderi 1

Phloiotrya vauoderi 1

Phloiotrya vauoderi 2

Phloiotrya vauoderi 2

Phloiotrya vauoderi 3

Phloiotrya vauoderi 3

6.0-14.0mm, females being almost always larger than males. Elongate and rather parallel-sided, entirely dark brown but often with the elytra a little lighter than the forebody and sometimes with the shoulders and/or elytral apex pale. Legs and antennae pale to mid-brown. Head reflexed under the pronotum and entirely hidden from above, vertex and frons smoothly convex and finely punctured and pubescent, eyes transverse and only weakly sinuate anteriorly, antennae filiform with all segments elongate and the terminal maxillary palpomere long and only weakly securiform. Pronotum very convex, smoothly rounded from apex to a slightly sinuate margin in front of perpendicular posterior angles, basal margin curved and weakly sinuate, the surface finely and very densely punctured and with fine recumbent pubescence, with various indistinct depressions but lacking basal fovea. Base of elytra slightly wider than the pronotal base, lateral margins reflexed in the basal half and strongly bordered throughout, apical margins separately rounded, surface finely and densely punctured and pubescent throughout, without striae but usually with two or three weakly raised ridges that continue into the apical half. Legs long and slender, in normal setting the hind femora are mostly hidden from above, tibiae only slightly widened from the base and each with a pair of small apical spurs. Tarsi 5-5-4, the penultimate segment bilobed and the basal segment longer than the others, claws smooth and lacking a basal tooth.

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