Vincenzellus ruficollis (Panzer, 1794)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SALPINGIDAE Leach, 1815

SALPINGINAE Leach, 1815

Vincenzellus Reitter, 1911

This species is locally common throughout much of Europe from Spain to Italy and Ukraine in the south, and more sporadic and local further north to the Baltic countries, the UK and southern provinces of Fennoscandia, it seems to be absent from the Mediterranean islands and the eastern limit of the distribution is north-west Russia. In the UK it is locally common across England north to Nottingham, very local and mostly coastal in the West Country and Wales and sporadic and generally scarce further north to the Scottish border and in Northern Ireland. Typical habitats are open woodland, wooded parkland and orchards but they also occur on individual larger trees in hedgerows and gardens. Adults are present year-round, during the autumn they usually retreat into crevices and are rarely seem among samples of subcortical refuse, but they sometimes overwinter among fallen brushwood or leaf-litter accumulated around the base of trunks. They are active over a long season from March or April, peaking in abundance during July and August, and are exclusively nocturnal and easy to spot as they crawl around on trunks and branches predating small insects and their early stages. Breeding occurs in the spring and larvae develop under bark, they are predatory and often occur near bark beetle burrows or among masses of mycelia and have been recorded from a wide range of deciduous trees, probably most frequently from Birch (Betula pendula Roth), Beech (Fagus sylvatica), oak (Quercus L.) and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) but also commonly on Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) and Lime (Tilia x europaea L.) among others. Little is known of the biology but we have found teneral adults from August in south Hertfordshire. Sampling is easiest by searching at night but adults are often recorded from flight-interception traps in wooded areas.

Vinzencellus ruficollis 1

Vinzencellus ruficollis 1

Vinzencellus ruficollis 2

Vinzencellus ruficollis 2

Vinzencellus ruficollis 3

Vinzencellus ruficollis 3

2.5-3.5 mm. Elongate with a narrow forebody and broadly-oval elytra, glabrous, forebody and legs pale red or orange, elytra metallic blue or sometimes greenish-blue, antennae dark grey but usually paler towards the base. Head narrowed from the base to a transverse rostrum in front of small and very convex eyes, surface finely and quite densely punctured throughout, mandibles narrowed from a very broad base to a sharp and curved apex. Antennae inserted laterally between the eyes and the outer margin of the mandibles, basal segment globose, 2-5 elongate  and 6-11 form an indistinct club, Pronotum quadrate, broadest in front of the middle and narrowed to a sub-basal constriction, apical margin smoothly rounded, surface finely punctured throughout; about as finely as the head but less densely so. Elytral base much broader than the pronotum, shoulders rounded and lateral margins smoothly curved to a continuous apical margin, with regularly punctured striae which fade towards the apex and are usually random before the base, surface smooth and shiny, without microsculpture or smaller punctures. Legs long and slender, each tibia with a very fine apical spur, tarsi 5-5-4 in both sexes, without lobed segments. Only likely to be confused with Salpingus ruficollis (Linnaeus, 1761).

Similar species
Salpingus ruficollis 1a.jpg
  • Rostrum narrow and much longer, at least twice longer than broad

  • Head darker than the pronotum

  • Eyes less prominent