Silpha carinata Herbst, 1783

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SILPHIDAE Latreille, 1806

SILPHINAE Latreille, 1806

SILPHINI Latreille, 1807

Silpha Linnaeus, 1758

This widespread Palaearctic species occurs from lowland to subalpine altitudes from France to eastern Siberia; it is present throughout Asia Minor but absent from North Africa and in Europe extends south to Northern Italy and north to into southern Fennoscandia; it is very variable and populations isolated at altitudes in the European mountain ranges were formerly considered as distinct species but are now classified either as subspecies e.g. ssp. italic Küster, 1851, austriaca Otto, 1891 and blattiformis Reitter, 1901 or simply as junior subjective synonyms. In the UK it was known from Hampshire in the early 19th century but since then it had come to be considered extinct until it was rediscovered in Wiltshire in the 1970s; there have been a few further records from the 1970s and 1980s across the south of England but it has not been seen recently and is now classed as critically endangered and possibly extinct. In Europe it is sometimes locally common or even abundant in southern areas and it is often common at subalpine altitudes but in northern regions it tends to be local and sporadic although as with most silphids it may be common where it occurs; in northern regions it is eurytopic, occurring in mixed and deciduous woodland, open grassland, heaths and maritime dunes, it is also frequent in disturbed habitats such as waste ground and gardens. Adults occur over a long season from early spring; they overwinter under bark in wooded situations or under debris and among tussocks and soil in more open habitats and become active in early spring, breeding occurs in the spring and these adults will die off in the summer to be replaced by the new generation in July and August which will go on to overwinter. Both adults and larvae feed on carrion but they are also predatory and roam the soil by night searching for slugs and insect larvae etc. which they seize and devour readily. Although primarily nocturnal both stages may be active on warm summer days, they generally hunt on the ground or among bark but adults have occurred in numbers among decaying straw and leaf-litter. Larvae develop quickly through the spring and summer, resembling large black woodlice as they mature, they are very mobile and readily attack any likely prey items, including snails although they are not specialist snail predators, and they are thought to pupate under bark in wooded habitats or in the soil in open situations. Adults have been recorded in numbers at carrion and pitfall traps in a range of situations.

Silpha carinata 1

Silpha carinata 1

Silpha carinata 2

Silpha carinata 2

Silpha carinata 3

Silpha carinata 3

11.0-21.0 mm. Broadly-oval and discontinuous in outline, weakly convex and rather dull in appearance; glabrous and typically entirely black but the margins of the pronotum and elytra may be narrowly reddish, in Europe and Asia specimens occur with extensive pale brown explanate margins, appendages black. Head notably small compared with the pronotum, with small eyes and rounded temples that follow the outline, clypeus transverse in front of the eyes, evenly convex or vaguely depressed between the eyes, vertex more strongly punctured than the frons. Antennae only very gradually thickened from the base, basal segment long and broad, 2-8 elongate; the eighth expanded towards the apex and much longer then the ninth, 9 and 10 quadrate, 11 elongate and rounded apically. Pronotum transverse, broadest in front of widely rounded posterior angles and curved laterally to broad and distinctly emarginate anterior margin, lateral and apical margins strongly bordered, basal margin variable, surface finely and densely punctured throughout, explanate apically and usually rather uneven across the disc. Scutellum large with lateral margins angled in the basal third, surface slightly depressed and finely punctured. Elytra evenly curved to a continuous apical margin, lateral margin explanate and raised although this fades towards the apices, each with three longitudinal carina; the first and third reaching the base and the first and second continuing almost to the apex, surface densely punctured, a little more strongly so than the pronotum, the explanate margins less densely so, especially below the shoulders. Middle and hind tibiae with a long apical spur, front tibial spur much shorter. Tarsi 5-segmented, in the male the front and middle tarsi are dilated. Claws smooth and lacking a basal tooth.