Quedius fuliginosus (Gravenhorst, 1802)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLININAE Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLININI Latreille, 1802

Quedius Stephens, 1829

Quedius Stephens, 1829

This species is generally common from lowland to middle mountain altitudes throughout Europe from the Pyrenees to Greece in the south and north to the UK, Faeroes and the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia, it extends through Russia and Asia Minor into the Eastern Palaearctic (although not from China, as is sometimes quoted) and is known from most of the Mediterranean islands, the Azores and North Africa. In North America it is known from a few specimens collected in Eastern Canada since 1996, it is probably now established but is so far not recorded from the United States. In the UK it is common throughout England and Wales, and a little less so throughout Scotland north to Orkney and across the north of Ireland. Adults are present year-round, they overwinter among damp litter or under bark or logs etc. and are active over a long season from March or April until the late in the autumn, peaking in abundance during June and July and again in September and October. Typical habitats are permanently damp woodland and open grassland but they are hygrophilous and fairly eurytopic and so might be expected in any damp situation, they are nocturnal and spend the day among tussocks or moss, under stones, logs or loose bark or among decayed plant material, they have also been recorded from mole nests and, on the continent, from caves, decaying fungi and ant nests. In Central Europe it shows a particular affinity for marshland and sphagnum bogs, and in Northern Ireland it is often associated with peat wetlands, cutover bogs and inter-drumlin fens. Adults are fully-winged and can fly though they rarely seem to do so. Both adults and larvae are predatory, larvae are thought to develop through the spring and summer in much the same habitats as the adults, and pupae have been recorded from moist leaf-litter in the autumn.

Quedius fuliginosus 1

Quedius fuliginosus 1

Quedius fuliginosus 2

Quedius fuliginosus 2

Quedius fuliginosus 3

Quedius fuliginosus 3

Adults may be found by searching patchy vegetation or pathways by night, they occasionally climb trunks and fence posts etc. and often occur near reed bed margins and other marginal situations, they can run fast and vanish into tussocks and crevices and so need to be collected quickly. They usually occur as single specimens but pitfall traps can be very effective, taking numbers of adults which will either kill or damage each, other along with most other insects present and so they should (as always) be avoided. Unfortunately they sometimes occur alongside the very similar and also common Q. curtipennis Bernhauer, 1908 and so specimens will need to be taken for close examination.

10-15 mm. Elongate and discontinuous in outline with the pronotum slightly wider than the elytra, body shiny black, antennae reddish with the dorsal surface of the basal segment and segments two and three darkened, legs mostly black but usually with the front tibiae and tarsi at least partly red. Head with large, convex eyes that occupy more than half the side of the head and strongly converging temples, surface very finely punctured among linear microsculpture, with three setiferous punctures beside each eye and a few more beside the temples, anterior margin of labrum smooth, not incised medially. Three basal antennomeres very elongate and glabrous, except for scattered setae, beyond this all segments densely pubescent and only slightly elongate. Pronotum transverse, broadest near a widely-rounded basal margin and strongly narrowed to a rounded anterior margin, surface with linear microsculpture and a series of three setiferous punctures either side of the disc in the apical half. Metasternum smoothly convex, without a central longitudinal ridge. Scutellum glabrous and largely unpunctured, microsculpture linear, as on the pronotum. Elytra quadrate or nearly so and slightly widened from rounded shoulders to separately rounded apical margins, surface with dense backward-pointing punctures and overlapping pubescence. Abdomen almost parallel-sided, surface finely punctured and wrinkled and slightly iridescent. Abdominal sternite 7 with an apical depression and sternite 8 widely excised in males. Front tarsi dilated in both sexes.

Compared with Q. curtipennis the present species has slightly more convex eyes, darker basal antennomeres and more finely punctured elytra but these features are difficult to appreciate unless viewed in a series of each species, there are differences in the aedeagi but the easiest way to separate them is by the metasternum; finely ridged in curtipennis and smooth in fuliginosum.