Uloma culinaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

TENEBRIONIDAE Latreille, 1802

TENEBRIONINAE Latreille, 1802

ULOMINI Blanchard, 1845

Uloma Dejean, 1821

A widespread Palaearctic species occurring throughout Europe, including Scandinavia, to Western Russia, Ukraine and Iran. In the U.K. it was until recently known from two series of specimens collected in the latter half of the twentieth century. One series, from the Forest of Dean in 1973, is thought to have originated from imported timber, a large quantity of which passed through Cardiff to be used as pit props etc. in the local mining areas. The continued presence of the species at this site remains to be confirmed. A second series, from ‘Bushey Hall’-presumed to be the Bushey in Hertfordshire-from 1950 again needs modern records to verify its continued existence. In 2006 a specimen was found at Cassiobury Park in Watford, Herts, only a few miles from Bushey, and since that time it has proved to be (sometimes) common in the few Km² surrounding that site. The area consists of a few Km² of mostly deciduous woodland and a few Km² of wooded parkland. A few years later a further specimen was found under loose Betula bark at Bricket Wood Common in Herts. only a few km from the Cassiobury Park site. The adults can be found by day under the bark of dead or damaged trees, both conifers (Pine) and a range of deciduous trees host the species and a wide range of conditions are tolerated from dry, loose, dusty and cobwebby bark to damp close-fitting bark packed with frass and fungi. They occur on standing trees as well as fallen trunks and logs. By far the easiest way to record them is at night by torchlight as they are large, distinctively coloured and eye-catching. They may be found on a range of standing trunks both dead and alive, and the presence of bark is not necessary as we have often seen them on denuded trunks and stumps. Adults are long lived and occur year round; they are generally between June and September but much earlier or later depending on the season. They overwinter under bark or among moss etc. on logs. Foreign reports record them as ‘lucifugous’ (averse to light) and flying between 22.00 and 04.00 hours. The species lives and develops in a wide range of deciduous trees and there  are records, including  many of our own, from dead

pine. Adults live for up to two years and occupy the same decaying wood as the larvae, hiding by day under bark or logs etc. Larval development takes about ten months and they move up and down their host trunks over the seasons to occupy optimum conditions of temperature and moisture. Both adults and larvae consume fungal mycelia within the wood and larvae at different stages of development may be found alongside the adults.

Within the context of the British fauna Uloma is unmistakable; the large size, 10-12mm, and distinctive red-brown colouration are striking even under torchlight.

ULOMA Dejean, 1821 

Elongate species; mostly parallel and weakly convex with the upper surface shiny and glabrous. Some species are sexually dimorphic with the male possessing tubercles or depressions to the head and/or pronotum. Most are uniformly dark to pale brown although some tropical species are bicoloured or dark with pale macula(e). The head is distinctly narrower than the pronotum; transverse with a large impression medially in front of the eyes. The genae are distinct and generally parallel. Antennae short and inserted under the side margin of the head, the base of the first segment being hidden. The segments generally widen from the third or fourth, seven to ten are usually transverse and the terminal segment is round or nearly so. Terminal segment of the maxillary palps dilated. Pronotum transverse with lateral margins curved and front and hind angles distinct. Scutellum visible. Elytra smooth and shiny generally with seven well impressed and punctured striae. Interstices weakly punctured and to some extent convex. Pro- (particularly) and mesotibiae dilated apically and dentate externally. Tarsi always 5-5-4; segments one to four quadrate or very nearly so. Terminal segment of all tarsi elongate.

The two European species are easily separated:

Base of the pronotum margined, the anterior margin weakly emarginate at centre. Male pronotum distinctly impressed behind the anterior margin. Elytral interstices distinctly convex. 10-12mm.

Uloma culinaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

-Base of pronotum not margined along the middle, anterior margin straight in the centre. Pronotum not impressed in the male. Elytral interstices only very weakly convex. 8-9mm.

Uloma rufa (Piller & Mitterpacher, 1781)

ULOMINI BLANCHARD, 1845

The Ulomini is an extensive tribe with a worldwide distribution. They are very diverse in the Far East and Africa. As with many groups diversity decreases with latitude; in North America there are five species of Uloma and two species of Eutochia LeConte, 1862. Six genera and about sixty species occur in the Palaearctic region of which two species of the genus Uloma Dejean, 1821 are found in central Europe. Uloma is a worldwide genus of more than a hundred species of very distinctive tenebrionid beetles. Most are nocturnal saproxylic species.

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