Sepedophilus bipunctatus (Gravenhorst, 1802)
This widespread Western Palaearctic species occurs throughout Europe from France to Italy and Greece in the south and north to the UK, Denmark and the Baltic countries where it extends into southern provinces of Sweden and reaches the Arctic Circle in Finland. Recently discovered in Spain (Madrid) and also known from North Africa, Asia Minor and parts of western Russia. The species occurs from lowland to lower mountain altitudes; it is generally very local and scarce and adults rarely occur in numbers. In the UK it is widespread across Southern and Central England though mostly absent from the West Country and more frequent in the east. Typical habitats are broadleaf or mixed woodland, wooded parkland and pasture etc., especially in damp and shaded situations. Adults occur year-round; they are active from early spring until the autumn and peak in abundance during late spring and early summer and again in the autumn. They are generally associated with various fungi on a wide range of broadleaf trees, perhaps more often on willows (Salix L.), as well as Pines (Pinus L.) and Spruce (Picea Mill.), adults will often occur within decaying sporocarps or under damaged bark nearby but sometimes occur under damp bark with no obvious fungal associations, and sometimes among damp litter beneath trunks or fallen timber. During the winter they occur among wood debris in old hollows, especially where birds have nested, or among moss or under damp or even wet bark. Little is known of the biology but adults and larvae are thought to be mycetophagous, feeding on hyphae rather than on sporocarps. Adults can be sieved or extracted from likely samples but they need to be looked for very carefully as they usually occur as individual specimens or in small numbers among much larger numbers of other tiny staphs.
2.0-2.5 mm. Elongate and fusiform, dorsal surface finely punctured and pubescent throughout, head and pronotum black, sometimes with the pronotal base narrowly pale, elytra black with an oblique sub humeral mark which may extend to, and even continue along the suture, abdomen black with the apical margin of at least some distal tergites pale reddish. Antennae dark with four basal segments and the terminal segment pale yellow, legs pale brown, usually with lighter tarsi. Head transversely depressed between convex eyes that follow the outline, temples short and weakly converging, anterior margin produced and smoothly rounded. Antennae inserted anteriorly above the mandibles, 11-segmented; segments 1-4 elongate, 5 & 6 quadrate or nearly so, 8-10 transverse and 11 elongate-oval. Pronotum transverse, broadest across perpendicular posterior angles and narrowed to a rounded apical margin, basal margin sinuate towards the angles, lateral margins without outstanding setae, surface evenly convex and smooth; the extremely fine microsculpture being visible only at very high magnifications. Elytra quadrate or slightly elongate, tapering from rounded shoulders to truncate apical margins, surface without striae, rather densely punctured and with fine transverse microsculpture which is often only visible across the base, lateral margin with four outstanding setae, apical margin with three outstanding setae. Abdomen long and evenly tapering (although very prone to be retracted), basal tergites with fine lateral borders and four or five stiff setae along the apical margin, all tergites densely punctured and with outstanding setae. Legs long and slender, tibiae only weakly broadened from the base, middle tibiae with paired apical spurs, front and hind tibial spurs diminutive, Tarsi with five simple segments, middle and hind tarsi longer than the corresponding tibiae. Claws smooth and not toothed at the base. Easily recognized among our fauna by the size and shape, dorsal pubescence and elytral markings.