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Silpha tyrolensis Laicharting, 1781







POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

STAPHYLINOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SILPHIDAE Latreille, 1806

SILPHINAE Latreille, 1806

SILPHINI Latreille, 1807

Silpha Linnaeus, 1758

This is a mostly western and central European species; it is locally common in subalpine and alpine regions from the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Carpathians as well as other mountain areas of Spain, France and southern Europe but is otherwise very local and sporadic. There are modern records from Austria, Italy, Romania, Germany and Switzerland, and older records from Poland, and it may be that populations in the UK and the Czech Republic could be relicts from the last glaciations. But recent lowland records from Belgium (Scheers et al, 2020) and many older records from the UK demonstrate that the species is not wholly confined to mountain regions. Formerly widespread though very local in the UK from Wales and the midlands north to the Scottish Highlands and parts of Ireland, the species is now known only from Coll and Tiree in the Western Isles, but while the range has decreased drastically it remains common and even occasionally abundant where it occurs. The usual habitat is open grassland and pasture near to or above the tree line but more generally the species has been recorded from a variety of mostly upland and mountain sites including hay meadows and grazing pasture. Adults have been recorded from January to November and it is likely they overwinter; they are active from April until October and peak in abundance during June or July. They are mostly diurnal and spend much of their time under plant remains or debris but they often walk on open ground and sometimes in numbers. Both adults and larvae feed on insects, worms and molluscs but adults also consume leaves of grasses and other plants and, in captivity, they have fed on fruit and mushrooms. Little is known of the biology but reproduction probably occurs in the summer and at least some adults overwinter. Adults are often recorded in numbers from pitfall traps.

Silpha tyrolensis

Silpha tyrolensis

12-16 mm. Elongate and broadly-oval, glabrous and entirely silky black or with the elytra reddish-brown. Head transverse, broadest across convex but not protruding eyes and with long converging temples, cheeks short and converging, surface sloping forward from the hind margin of the eyes, densely punctured throughout. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, 11-segmented with the last four segments broader than the others, second and third segments almost equal in length, eighth segment at most as long as the ninth. Pronotum transverse, broadest near the base and narrowed to rounded angles, apical margin almost straight, basal margin weakly produced but straight in front of the scutellum. Pronotal surface unevenly convex but without definite impressions, finely and evenly punctured throughout. Scutellum large and triangular with lateral margins angled near the centre. Elytra variable in shape; shorter and more rounded to longer and rather parallel-sided, surface with four rather weak longitudinal ridges (including the sutural), punctures irregular, in places confluent or rugose, and with scattered larger punctures, especially near the ridges, explanate margin broad and deeply impressed below the shoulders and narrowing to the apex. Legs long and robust. Front tibiae excavate apically, all tibiae with fine spines externally and strong apical spurs. Tarsi 5-segmented, simple in females, front and middle tarsomeres dilated in males.

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