Salpingus ruficollis (Linnaeus, 1761)
This species is locally common throughout Europe from the Mediterranean north to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia and east to Ukraine and much of Western Russia; in the UK it is generally common throughout Wales and the south of England, becoming more sporadic and local to the north of Scotland and it is generally one of our most common members of the family. It occurs among damaged and decaying wood, especially where fungus is present, on standing trunks and stumps of a wide range of broadleaf trees, among those most frequented are alder, birch, oak, ash and hawthorne but locally we find them in large numbers among fungus infected bark on decaying horse chestnut stumps. They occur in woodland generally and also in parks and gardens close to human activity, they fly well, are quick to colonize new habitats and often occur in flight-interception traps and at light, adults occur year-round and are active nocturnally from April or May, peaking from July to September, otherwise they remain under bark or among decaying wood but will occasionally become active during mild winter spells. They overwinter among bark and wood but also in tussocks and litter close to host material and we often recover them in extraction samples of such material through the winter. Both adults and larvae are predatory, adults prey on other insects etc. among bark and fungus while the larvae feed in bark beetle galleries; they will consume small larvae but also feed on their dead remains and excrement.
A very distinctive species due to the bicoloured body and long rostrum but care must be taken with the literature as the generic names Vincenzellus, Rhinosimus and Salpingus have variously changed places over the years and there is a further UK species named Vincenzellus ruficollis (Panzer, 1794) which is, however, also very distinctive. 2.5-4.5mm. Dorsal surface shiny and glabrous; head (at least dorsally; ventrally it is red) and elytra black with a distinct, sometimes strong, metallic green or (rarely) blue reflection, rostrum and pronotum red, the pronotum sometimes darker anteriorly. Head transverse with protruding convex eyes, vertex and frons depressed and finely
Salpingus ruficollis 1
Salpingus ruficollis 2
Salpingus ruficollis 3
Salpingus ruficollis 4
Salpingus ruficollis 5
and moderately densely punctured, rostrum at least twice as long as broad; narrowed to the antennal insertions then dilated apically. Antennae only weakly expanded towards the apex and without a distinct club. Pronotum quadrate; broadest in the anterior half, narrowed to a sub-basal constriction and rounded posterior angles, punctation a little finer than on the head, and with a variable but usually deep and wide depression either side towards the base. Elytra with prominent shoulders and evenly curved to a continuously rounded apex which completely covers the abdomen, punctures generally arranged as striae but these may become confused towards the base, and before the apex where they are weaker. Legs entirely red or the tibiae may be darkened towards the apex, antennae pale with the apical segments variously darker.