Serica brunnea (Linnaeus, 1758)
Brown Chafer

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SCARABAEIDAE Latreille, 1802

MELOLONTHINAE Leach, 1819

SERICINI Kirby, 1837

Serica MacLeay, 1819

This Western Palaearctic species is generally common throughout Europe from Spain to Greece and north to the UK and the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia, it extends east through Asia Minor and Russia to Western Siberia but is absent from North Africa. In the UK it is locally common and often abundant throughout England and Wales, including all the islands, though less so in the north, more local and scattered to the far north of Scotland including the Western Isles and Orkney, and in Northern Ireland. Typical habitats include a wide range of not too wet biotopes from lowland to middle mountain altitudes, typically grassland and scrub, deciduous and mixed woodland, parkland and wasteland and it is often common in ruderal areas and even gardens but despite its occasional reputation as a pest, it rarely occurs on agricultural land. Adults occur from May until September although specimens are occasionally recorded earlier or later in the year, they peak in abundance during July and August and usually occur in numbers. Breeding occurs in the summer and females lay batches of eggs into the ground among roots on which the larvae will develop, larvae have been recorded feeding on a wide range of herbaceous and woody plants but they seem to prefer various grasses and often in sheltered situations such as wooded margins and along hedgerows etc. Larval development lasts two years, they feed during the first summer, move deeper into the soil to overwinter and complete their development the following summer, pupation occurs in late summer and adults are fully formed by the autumn but remain in situ until the following spring or summer. Adults are mostly crepuscular and nocturnal although they are often active in warm sun when they may be found feeding on foliage or visiting umbel flowers etc., but they normally spend the day low down among vegetation and become active at dusk, they usually occur in numbers and large swarms sometimes appear, here specimens may climb grass and flower stems or walk in numbers among turf or on pathways. Specimens are sometimes encountered nocturnally on trunks and low foliage, they occasionally appear at sap runs and both sexes are attracted to light. Although widespread and locally common, the species seems to have a preference for sheltered grassland on light sandy or calcareous soils, but in most suitable areas they will sooner or later appear through general sweeping.

Serrica brunnea 1

Serrica brunnea 1

Serrica brunnea 2

Serrica brunnea 2

Serrica brunnea 3

Serrica brunnea 3

Serrica brunnea 4

Serrica brunnea 4

Serrica brunnea 5

Serrica brunnea 5

Serrica brunnea larva

Serrica brunnea larva

8.0-11.0 mm. Elongate-oval, discontinuous in outline and rather dilated towards the apex, entirely dark brown to yellowish-brown, often with the head distinctly darker. Head transverse with convex eyes, which are much larger in males, and short temples, vertex smoothly convex and finely punctured, clypeus uneven, more strongly punctured and with raised margins. Antennal lamellae dimorphic, about 2 mm. in males and about 0.7 mm. in females. Pronotum widely transverse, broadest about the base and narrowed to rounded anterior angles in the male and projecting angles in the female, surface evenly and moderately strongly punctured throughout, apical and lateral margins with sparse pale pubescence and basal margin not bordered.  Scutellum large and almost quadrate, rounded apically and punctured a little more densely than the pronotum. Each elytron with ten punctured striae and weakly convex and randomly punctured interstices, lateral margins with sparse fine pubescence.  Legs long and slender, fore tibiae fossorial, in females with two large teeth at the apex, in males generally less developed, hind tibia with two widely separated apical spurs, all tarsi with five long segments, front claws unequal in males, more or less equal in females, middle and hind claws appendiculate in both sexes,