Volinus sticticus (Panzer, 1798)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

SCARABAEOIDEA Latreille, 1802

SCARABAEIDAE Latreille, 1802

APHODIINAE Leach, 1815

APHODIINI Leach, 1815 

VOLINUS Mulsant & Rey, 1870

Often referred to in the literature by the older name Aphodius equestris (Panzer, 1798), this locally common species occurs throughout Europe and Asia Minor, except for the far north and various regions of the northern Mediterranean, to Morocco and the Canary Islands and extending east to Turkmenistan, from lowland to low mountain altitudes up to 1500m or more and through much of this continental range it is an insect of sandy soils in forested or other sheltered areas. In the UK it is a locally common and often abundant species throughout Wales and south and central England though generally absent from the West Country and rare and sporadic further north. Typically a species of shaded situations it also occurs on open dung pastures and might be found wherever suitable host material occurs. Adults are present year-round; they overwinter in the soil or among plant litter and become active in early spring when mating occurs on or near to host material. Eggs are laid directly in cattle or horse dung and larvae develop rapidly in the spring and summer. New generation adults occur in the summer and there is generally some overlap with the previous generation so that they may be present through the summer with peaks in April and May and from July until October. Adults may be collected directly from wide range of dung types in most situations; locally they are common in horse dung in Whippendel woods but in some years they are abundant in cattle dung on Croxley moor, during the spring and summer they disperse by flight and may occur at light in numbers and through the winter they occasionally appear among flood-refuse. Care should be taken when collecting as several other common dung beetles are likely to occur alongside the present species e.g. Agrilinus ater (DeGeer, 1774) or Aphodius fimetarius (Linnaeus, 1758) and some e.g. Chilothorax conspurcatus (Linnaeus, 1758), Nimbus obliteratus (Panzer, 1823) or N. contaminatus (Herbst, 1783) are superficially similar.

Among those with patterned elytra this species is distinct having the pronotal margins glabrous and the head not expanded laterally and angled in front of the eyes. 4.0-5.5mm. Head smooth and finely punctured, not or only weakly expanded in front of the eyes and never with a distinct angle, clypeus glabrous, finely punctured and densely microsculptured, usually black along the anterior margin, head otherwise extensively dark with a variable, though usually large, pale clypeal mark anterior to the eyes. Pronotum finely bordered laterally and basally, finely punctured throughout and also with much larger punctures, especially towards the sides and base. Black with the lateral margins and anterior angles broadly yellow, often with a distinctive pattern in the basal half, basal margin yellow but this may be interrupted along the middle. Scutellum dark and equilateral or nearly so, with lateral margins angled towards the base. Elytra glabrous, yellow with characteristic markings although these may be diffuse or indistinct, striae narrow and punctured, interstices convex, especially towards the apex.  Legs extensively pale. Male with 3 tubercles along the posterior margin of the clypeus and much finer punctures to the pronotum, female clypeus smooth or nearly so.

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