Trypocopris vernalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPIDAE Latreille, 1802

GEOTRUPINAE Latreille, 1802

TRYPOCOPRIS Motschulsky, 1860

This is a generally common species throughout Europe with the exception of the far north of Fennoscandia and southern parts of the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, it occurs in both open and wooded habitats from lowland to low mountain altitudes and is mostly associated with horse and cattle dung although it has also been recorded from other types and adults have occurred among decaying fungi and carrion. In the UK it is widespread but very local and generally rare; there are records scattered through England and Wales, with the exception of most of the West Country, but most are from the southeast, Wales and the northeast, it is absent from most of Scotland but there are records from the far northern coast including Skye and the Outer Hebrides. It was formerly much more widespread but has now vanished from many of its known localities in the southeast and has suffered a general decline in recent decades.  Here it occurs mostly on dry and sandy moorlands and upland areas and seems to avoid wooded habitats, it is said to prefer the dung of sheep and foxes and in the north has been found under dead birds in grassy places. The life cycle is typical of the family with adults occurring in the spring and autumn; burrows are excavated and by the female to about 10 cm directly below or very near to host material, they are provisioned and sealed with soil but unlike those of Geotrupes, each will accommodate only a single larva. Adults are mostly crepuscular but may also be seen flying in bright sun.

This distinctive species is rather dull black in colour with a variable blue, green or pale pink metallic reflection, the underside is usually metallic blue and the body is rounded in outline. The pronotum is clearly punctured with both large and small punctures and the basal border is evident only near the middle. The elytra lack distinct striae and have granular microsculpture on the interstices (X50). The abdominal sternites have distinct punctures and long pubescence evenly distributed across the width.

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