Rhagonycha lutea (Müller, O.F., 1764)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

ELATEROIDEA Leach, 1815

CANTHARIDAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINI Imhoff, 1856

Rhagonycha Eschscholtz, 1830

This species is very local though sometimes common throughout Europe from France to Ukraine and north to the UK and central provinces of Fennoscandia, it occurs mostly in upland areas in southern and central Europe and in lowlands further north, it is locally common across eastern and central England north to Nottingham, very local and scarce further north and in Wales and absent from the West country. Adults are active over a short season from late May or June until July and frequent woodland margins, hedgerows and scrub, often in damp areas with plenty of shade, they visit a range of flowers, especially thistles and umbels, and may often be beaten from the last of the hawthorn blossom. They diurnal, they fly well and mate and hunt small insects on flowers and foliage but they are also often recorded at light traps. Females are fecund and have been recorded laying more than 160 eggs; these are laid in the soil where the larvae will hunt small insects etc. on the surface. Larvae develop through the summer and autumn and pass the winter in tussocks or in the soil but they are frequently active at this time and in northern Europe have been recorded hunting on snow during mild spells, they pupate among litter or in the soil in the spring but adults do not emerge until May, or later at higher European altitudes where the adults may be active into August.

7-10mm. Adults may be identified by the combination of black head and black-tipped yellow elytra; R. fulva (Scopoli, 1763) has a pale head, and pale species of Cantharis lack the darkened elytral tips. Head entirely black or sometimes dark reddish anteriorly, vertex and frons flat and finely punctured and pubescent between large, convex eyes, temples short and strongly converging towards the base. Antennae entirely dark or with the basal segments a little paler, all segments narrow and elongate. Pronotum transverse, entirely pale orange or yellow, lateral margins evenly curved to a rounded anterior margin and obscure posterior angles, surface weakly convex, uneven and raised laterally. Elytra slightly broader across the rounded shoulders than the base of the pronotum, sinuate laterally and continuously rounded apically, surface rugose, finely punctured and pubescent and without striae. Legs entirely pale or with the tarsi slightly darker. Third tarsomere simple, fourth deeply bilobed, claws divided longitudinally.

Rhagonycha lutea 1

Rhagonycha lutea 1

Rhagonycha lutea 2

Rhagonycha lutea 2

Rhagonycha lutea 3

Rhagonycha lutea 3