Scaphidium quadrimaculatum Olivier, 1790

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

STAPHYLINIDAE Latreille, 1802

SCAPHIDIINAE Latreille, 1806

SCAPHIDIINI Latreille, 1806

Scaphidium Olivier, 1790

This is a sporadic and often rare species occurring throughout Europe to southern Scandinavia, North Africa and the Near East, and east to the Altai Mountains. In the UK it is locally common throughout England and Wales with most records from Wales and the southeast, and there is a single modern record from Scotland (East Ross, see Ramsay, A, 1999 Coleopterist 8(2):91). The typical habitat is deciduous or mixed woodland or parkland with a good supply of fallen and decaying timber.  Adults occur year-round, spending the winter under logs or among decaying wood in the vicinity of fungus, they become active in the spring when they may be found on logs or trunks at night, often on decaying fungal fruiting bodies or under bark among mycelia. In late spring they sometimes aggregate under logs or loose bark on mats of white fungus but they soon disperse and through the summer occur on trunks and logs etc. by night and under bark and logs by day. Adults are active into late summer or early autumn before retreating to overwintering sites. Both adults and larvae are thought to feed on fresh spore tissue, spores and mycelia of arboreal and, much less frequently, terrestrial fungi. Finding Scaphidium is straightforward, at night among fungi, the cut ends of felled timber are often the most productive, and during the day under loose bark or logs, often those covered with moss or soil and leaf-litter.

Although there are other four-spotted UK beetles e.g. Diaperis and certain Mycetophagus, the present species is very distinctive due to the antennal structure and overall appearance. 4.5-6.0mm Broad elongate-oval and continuous in outline. Body entirely shiny-black but for two pale markings to each elytron, legs dark with pale tarsi and, sometimes, tibiae. Antennae black with various basal segments pale, 11-segmented with a 5-segmented gradual club; segments 9 and 10 transverse. Pronotum broadest at the base, with well-defined anterior and posterior angles, basal margin sinuate either side of a roundly produced median area, surface finely and sparsely punctured, with a curved transverse row of strong punctures anterior to the base. Elytra smoothly rounded to truncate apical margins which leave 1 or 2 abdominal tergites exposed. Surface finely and randomly punctured, with a strongly punctured sutural stria which extends almost to the apex and continues along the basal margin. Legs long and slender; tibiae with  rows of short and sharp teeth between fine longitudinal ridges, tarsi 5-segmented with all segments obvious, and a pair of smooth and equal claws.

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