Quedius picipes (Mannerheim, 1830)

The latest NBN (Sep. 09) map shows a wide distribution of modern records throughout England and Wales west to west cornwall and north to north Yorkshire and Lancashire, further north there are several older (pre 1950) records from Cumbria and a single modern (post 1990) record from the highlands below Wester Ross. Joy states simply England and southern Scotland, common while Fowler considered the species as 'rather common' throughout southern England and the midlands becoming rare further north and uncommon in Scotland. The species is common throughout our Cassiobury park and Whippendell wood areas (and no doubt elsewhere locally) and we have recorded them each month from May to October. Typical habitat is open woodland, wooded pasture and parkland and pifall trapping in such situations is likely to produce the species, usually as single specimens or in low numbers. On warm summer nights they are active out in the open: on pathways or among grass and leaf litter and are easily spotted by torchlight. Beyond this they generally occur in rather damp situations, under logs or under the bark of dead stumps etc, usually at ground level and we have often extracted them from moss and fungus samples taken from logs and decaying wood throughout our area. Through the summer and autumn of 2008 they were common under birch logs along the northern side of Cassiobury park. During September 2009 several were found among debris under loose and scolytid infested pine bark in Whippendell woods.

A large (8-10mm) and distinctive rove beetle that is soon recognised in the field; the combination of large eyes and red elytra are obvious with a X10 lens. Head and pronotum shiny black; without microsculpture (X20), elongate oval with eyes occupying about 2/3 of sides, with a small 'cheek' between the eyes and antennal insertions. Temples rounded to a transverse impression (often hidden by front margin of pronotum) in front of neck, with short forwardly recumbent black pubescence. Vertex with two or three punctures close to inner margin of eyes, otherwise impunctate. Labrum bilobed. Antennal insertions in front of raised clypeal margin, inside outer margin of mandibles. Antennae long and thin, all segments elongate, becoming less so towards apex, yellow with segments beyond fourth or fifth a little darker. Pronotum black or gradually pitchy red laterally. Margin smoothly rounded and bordered to front angles, anterior margin not bordered. With a series of three setiferous punctures in anterior half either side of middle and others close to margin and inside front angles. Scutellum black or pitchy red, shiny and impunctate. Elytra red or obscurely darker along suture, entire surface with fine and dense puncturation and recumbent pubescence, sutural margin raised and impunctate. Abdomen gradually tapering and with strongly raised side borders. Black or with hind margin of segments red, and strongly irridescent metallic, with fine puncturation and rather dense, pale pubescence. Legs testaceous. Protarsi weakly dilated in both sexes. Tibiae weakly broadened to apex, with strong spines throughout. Tarsi 5-5-5. First segment of metatarsi obviously longer than last. Claws proportionally quite small and fine, smooth and without appendages. [Male with the sixth and seventh segments of hind body feebly sinuate in middle of apical margins, with a snooth space (longitudinal in seventh segment) before each sinuation]

Description from 5 Watford specimens at X20