Trypocopris pyrenaeus (Charpentier, 1825)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPIDAE Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPINAE Latreille, 1802

TRYPOCOPRIS Motschulsky, 1860

This is a very local species of southern and Western Europe, extending north to the UK and east to the Black Sea; it occurs from lowlands to low-mountain altitudes and is locally abundant in the south but generally local and rare in the north. Across Europe the species occupies a wide range of habitats, it is often common in sheltered mountain meadows and moorland in the Alps and Pyrenees while in Spain and Italy it may be abundant on lowland dung pasture and in open woodland, in the UK it is a very local species of sandy heathland and open woodland in the south and east of England with only very occasional records further north and west. It may be found in all types of dung and has also been recorded from decaying fungi and owl pellets, most records are from spring and early summer and the species is usually common where it occurs. The life cycle is typical of the family with larvae developing during the spring and summer in brood masses of host material buried by the female although the adults appear to be only rarely recorded late in the year. They fly readily in warm weather, usually close to the ground, and may be recognized by the shiny blue colouration which is distinctive in flight.

12-20mm. A short and broadly oval species which should be obvious in the field; bright, shiny metallic blue and lacking distinct elytral striae. Distinguished from other UK geotrupids by the combination of a shiny pronotum with an incomplete basal border, smooth and shiny elytra and the abdomen which is much more sparsely punctured and pubescent medially than laterally, the only confusion might be with T. vernalis (Linnaeus, 1758) which has a much more densely and strongly punctured pronotum, distinctly microsculptured elytra and evenly punctured and pubescent abdomen. UK specimens are in some sense atypical as throughout Europe there are at least four subspecies (or varieties); the nominate subspecies, T. p. pyrenaeus (Charpentier, 1825) which is widespread and extends to the UK is generally black with a metallic blue reflection, but others are more local and vary widely in colour from metallic green to purple, blue or brilliant golden-yellow, in some areas e.g. Italy, two subspecies may overlap but they seem to be ecologically isolated.

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