Quedius curtipennis Bernhauer, 1908
This widespread Palaearctic species occurs commonly throughout Europe from Spain to Italy and Greece in the south and north to the UK and some central provinces of Fennoscandia, it is also common across North West Africa and the Near East and occurs on most of the Mediterranean islands, the Azores and Faroe. It was first recorded in North America in 1962 from specimens collected from Washington in 1934 and it is now established along both the east and west coasts, it is also established in both eastern and western Canada, presumably from European imports, and a recent discovery in Nova Scotia is thought to represent a separate introduction. In the UK it is generally common throughout England and Wales, including all the islands, and rather less so to the far north of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and across Ireland. In Europe the species occurs naturally up to the subalpine zone although also appears synanthropically at higher altitudes. Typical habitats are damp grassland and woodland on a variety of soils but it often occurs on ruderal sites such as waste ground, parks and domestic gardens; it is likely to occur in any permanently damp situation but in general avoids wetland areas; in North America it seems to be much more synanthropic and away from human habitation is more typical of agricultural fields, regenerating woodland and other disturbed sites. Adults occur year-round, they overwinter under bark or in tussocks or litter and are active from the first warm spells in February until late in the autumn, peaking in abundance during May and June and again in September and October. Little is known of the biology of the species but both adults and larvae are predatory and breeding is thought to occur in the winter, at least in the UK. Adults are nocturnal and they fly well and so may appear in any suitable habitat. Nocturnal searching is the best way to find adults although they often appear under logs and loose bark during the day, they usually occur on the ground, less often on trunks fence posts etc., and they are generally very active, even during mild winter spells, beyond this they sometimes occur among samples of moss, decaying vegetation and compost. Because of the close similarity with Q. fuliginosus (Gravenhorst, 1802) they will need to be taken for close examination.
Quedius curtipennis 1
Quedius curtipennis 2
10.0-15.0 mm. Elongate, parallel-sided and discontinuous in outline, glabrous and shiny black, maxillary palpi red, antennae entirely red or with the basal segments partially darkened, legs black but usually with the front tibiae and tarsi partly red. Head with large eyes that follow the outline and occupy more than half the lateral margin, surface with very fine punctures among linear microsculpture and three setiferous punctures beside each eye, anterior margin of labrum rounded, not notched at the centre. Antennae with three glabrous (except for scattered longer setae) and very elongate basal segments, from segment four densely pubescent and only slightly elongate. Pronotum quadrate or nearly so, broadest near widely-rounded basal margin and narrowed to slightly projecting anterior angles, surface with very fine punctures among linear microsculpture and with a series of three setiferous punctures in the anterior half either side of the disc. Scutellum smooth, unpunctured and microsculptured as the pronotum. Metasternum with a fine longitudinal median keel. Elytra quadrate to slightly transverse and a little narrower than the pronotum, weakly dilated from rounded shoulders to separately curved apical margins, surface with dense backwardly-pointing punctures and overlapping pubescence. Abdomen finely punctured and wrinkled and slightly iridescent. Sternite 7 depressed along the apical margin, and sternite 8 widely excised in males. Front tarsi dilated in both sexes.
Compared with Q. fuliginosus the eyes are not so convex, the elytral punctures are stronger and the antennae are paler; specimens with completely pale antennae are invariably curtipennis. There are differences in the aedeagi but the most convenient feature is the finely keeled metasternum, in Q. fuliginosus it is smooth.