Rugilus rufipes Germar, 1836
Generally common throughout Europe from the Pyrenees to the Black sea and north to the UK and into central provinces of Fennoscandia, this species has also become established in north eastern North America from European introductions. In the UK it is generally common across southern and central England and Wales, although much less so in the West Country, and much more local and generally rare further north to Shetland and in Ireland, and through most of this range it is the most commonly recorded member of the genus. The species is widely eurytopic, occurring in both very dry as well as wet habitats; it is often common among decaying vegetation in meadows, arable land, heathland and upland moorland, among decaying fungi and in leaf-litter in woodland and it is often common in all types of wetland, including reed beds, bogs and salt marshes, it is also frequent in disturbed sites such as waste ground, parks and gardens where it may occur in numbers in compost and old grass cuttings etc. Adults occur year-round and peak in abundance during spring and autumn, they tend to remain active throughout the year and in North America they have been recorded in wetland areas before the snow has melted. Breeding occurs in spring and early summer, females oviposit into soil and die shortly afterwards but all adults of the present generation die off by July. First instar larvae predate eggs and small springtails etc. but later instars take larger prey, mostly diptera larvae. Mature larvae burrow deeper into the soil to form a pupal chamber and this stage lasts about 10 days. The entire cycle from egg laying to adult eclosion takes about 40 days and new generation adults appear from June or July (Smolenski, 1997). Adults may be sampled by taking litter etc. for extraction (decaying fungi are often productive in the autumn) or by sieving suitable material, they frequently occur in flood refuse, tussocks and moss, and may occur among stored vegetables. Specimens will need to be examined carefully as there are closely similar species and several may occur together.
Rugilus rufipes 1
Rugilus rufipes 2
5.5-7.5 mm. Elongate and discontinuous in outline, with a proportionally large head and narrow pronotum, finely pubescent throughout, forebody black, elytra dark brown, abdomen dark brown with the apical margin of all tergites pale, appendages reddish-brown. Head transverse with eyes that occupy less than half the lateral margin and long, widely curved temples, surface densely punctured throughout except sometimes less so along the middle, genae converging to a smoothly curved apical margin, labrum usually paler than the clypeus, rounded and with two teeth either side of a small central excision. Mandibles robust; narrow and sharp apically, strongly curved and with three strong internal teeth towards the base. Penultimate maxillary palpomere long and gradually widened from the base, terminal segment diminutive, narrow and pointed. Antennae filiform; segments 1-6 elongate, basal segment slightly longer than the next two, 7-10 quadrate or nearly so and the terminal segment oval and pointed. Pronotum slightly narrower than the head, broadest in front of the middle, strongly converging to a narrow neck and less strongly narrowed to a straight basal margin, surface densely and confluently punctured but for a smooth median strip from the base. Elytra elongate and broader than the pronotum, smoothly curved laterally from rounded shoulders to recurved apical margins, surface sparsely punctured from the suture, more densely so laterally, without striae. Abdomen broadest about the middle and with strongly raised borders, first three visible tergites impressed and strongly punctured across the base, the fifth longer than the others, seventh sternite in males emarginate with rows of long apical setae. Legs long and slender with femora and tibiae hardly expanded from the base. Tarsi 5-segmented, the front tarsi slightly expanded in both sexes. Claws smooth and not toothed at the base.