Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Coleoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including Anaspididae.

False Flower-beetles.

General appearance. 2–4.5 mm long. Body length/maximum body width 2–3.6. Elytral length/pronotal length 2.6–6.4. Base of prothorax not or scarcely narrower than the combined elytral bases. Greatest prothoracic width not narrower or only slightly narrower than the greatest elytral width. Beetles elongate-oval to elongate; conspicuously necked; not waisted to somewhat waisted; conspicuously long-legged; yellowish or yellowish brown, with darker head and antennae (Scraptia), or (Anaspis) variable in colour but with black antennae having a yellow basal segment. Upper surfaces of body non-glabrous; not bristly; with neither scales nor scale-like setae.

Detailed morphology. Beetles not prognathous. Eyes strongly protuberant, or not strongly protuberant; bristly, or without bristles. The labrum at least partly visible in antero-dorsal view; labrum mostly moderately to heavily sclerotized. Mandibles with a well developed mola. The mandibular apices bidentate or bilobed. The incisor edges of the mandibles with a single tooth, or with two or more teeth. The maxillae with distinct galea and lacinia apically to the palp. The apical segment of the maxillary palps somewhat expanded and truncate to subtriangular (Anaspidinae), or securiform to cultriform (Scraptiinae). The apical segment of the labial palps more or less expanded apically. Antennae short to long, but not exceeding the insect’s head to tail length. Antennal scape not swollen. Antennae filiform. Antennal insertions visible from above.

Cervical sclerites present. Pronotal length/maximum pronotal width 0.48–1.07. The pronotum with lateral keels (pronotal carinae); keels incomplete. Prothorax without notopleural sutures. Scutellum conspicuous; not elevated; anteriorly simple; posteriorly narrowly rounded or acute, or broadly rounded or obtusely angulate, or truncate. The prosternal process present; incomplete; falling short of the mesoventrite. Metaventrite without a transverse groove. The fore-leg coxae countersunk in ‘procoxal cavities’. The fore-leg coxal cavities open behind externally; broadly open; medianly confluent; strongly transverse to slightly transverse; without lateral extensions; internally closed by a slender bar, or broadly closed internally. The mid-leg coxae countersunk in ‘mesocoxal cavities’; separated by less than the shortest diameter of the cavity. The mid-leg coxal cavities contiguous, or narrowly separated; not or scarcely oblique, or markedly oblique; open laterally. Hind-leg coxae contiguous or narrowly separated; extending laterally to meet the elytra; not shaped posteriorly to receive the femur. Tarsal segmentation formula 5, 5, 4, or 4, 4, 4. The tarsi exhibiting bilobed segments; with a tiny penultimate segment hidden by distal lobing of the fourth and fused to the fifth, or without ‘hidden’ segments (basal segments very long, penultimate segments very short and lobed beneath). Front tarsi with as many segments as the mid-tarsi; 5-segmented. Mid-leg tarsi 5-segmented; pentamerous, or pseudotetramerous; the penultimate segment not distinctly shorter than the antepenultimate one (Scraptiinae), or distinctly shorter than the antepenultimate one (Anaspidinae). The claws of the mid-leg tarsi not appendaged. The claws of the mid-leg tarsi simple, or one-toothed or bifid (very small). Hind tarsi with one segment fewer than the mid-tarsi; 4-segmented.

Elytral length/maximum width across the elytra 1.55–3.1. Elytra covering most to all of the abdomen; exposing no more than part of the terminal tergite to at least one but fewer than three complete abdominal tergites; not truncate; non-glabrous (uniformly hairy). Elytra apunctate, irregularly punctate, or each with fewer than 6 longitudinal lines of punctures or impressed striae. Scutellary striole absent. Elytra with epipleura. Elytral epipleura reaching to the tips of the elytra. Wings well developed, or absent or much reduced. Wings without an anal lobe. Wings with a medial fleck, or without a medial fleck; the medial fleck when present, not bisected by a vein. Abdominal sternites 5; all articulated and moveable. Abdominal segment 8 apparently without functional spiracles. The male external genitalia tenebrionoid.

Adult habitat, ecology. Land-dwellers; not predacious (?); on living vegetation and associated with flowers (on spring flowers (Anaspis)), or in rotting wood (Scraptia).

Larvae. Mature larvae minute (less than 3 mm long), or small to medium-sized. The larvae elongate and more or less parallel-sided. Body somewhat flattened. Vestiture restricted to fine hairs or setae. The larvae dorsally only very lightly pigmented or sclerotized; ventrally only very lightly pigmented. The antennae 3 segmented. Stemmata present (Anaspis), or absent (Scraptia); on either side of the larval head when present, 1. The frontoclypeal suture between frons and clypeus indistinct or absent (Anaspis), or distinct (Scraptia). The labrum and head capsule separated by a complete suture. Apices of the mandibles bilobed or bidentate, or trilobed or tridentate. The maxillary palps 3 segmented. The labium with a short ligula between the palps. Labial palps present and segmented; 2 segmented. Mesothoracic legs present and segmented; 5 segmented; with 1 moveable claw. Visible abdominal segments 9 (Scraptia), or 10 (Anaspis). Tergum 9 of the abdomen entirely dorsal (Scraptia), or extending to the underside (Anaspis). The abdomen having functional spiracles on anterior segments (these annular or annular-uniforous); without spiracular tubes. The abdominal apex without a respiratory chamber. Abdominal tergum 8 without amature. The last abdominal segment with cerci (Anaspis), or without cerci (Scraptia).

Larvae in decaying plant material, in rotting wood, under bark, and on lichens; probably consuming decaying plant material, consuming rotting wood, and mycetophagous.

Classification. Suborder Polyphaga; Infraorder Cucujiformia; Superfamily Tenebrionoidea.

Representation in Britain and Ireland, and worldwide. About 400 species worldwide. 17 species in Britain; genera in Britain 2; Anaspis, Scraptia.

General comments. Small beetles, elongate-oval, yellowish brown, uniformly pubescent, heads deflexed.

Illustrations. • Anaspis (6 spp.), with Mordellidae: Fowler 5, 149 (1891). • Fowler 5, 149 (1891): original legend.. • Anaspis costai (as flava var. thoracica) and A. maculata, with Anthicidae and Metoecus: Fowler 5, 150 (1891). • Fowler 5, 150 (1891): original legend.. • 12 Anaspis species (from Joy). • Scraptia fuscula, with Oedemeridae, Pyrochroidae, Mordellidae etc.: Fowler 5, 148 (1891). • Fowler 5, 148 (1891): original legend..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Coleoptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.