Three species of Grammoptera occur in Britain of which one. G.ruficornis (Fab.)
is widespread and common.
G.abdominalis (Stephens)(Notable A) is a very local southern English species mainly associated with Oak in
broad-leaved woodland. G.ustulata (Schaller)(RDB3) is also a very local insect of woodland and wood pasture
with records from Surrey, Berkshire, and south Hampshire and also scattered individual records further north;
Gloucester, Cambridge, mid Wales and south Yorkshire. All our species occur from April until July or August
(Twinn and Harding).
These are small, slender insects with long appendages, the basal segment of the hind tarsus being longer than the other segments combined. But for variously lighter marked appendages the colouration is drab and the pubescence obvious. The pronotum lacks grooves or, except for the produced hind angles, spines, is broadest basally and slightly elongate. Elytral apices weakly truncate, least so in ruficornis.
In G.ustulata (6-7mm) the femora and tibiae are entirely red or orange, the elytral pubescence is dense and golden yellow to before apex where it is black.
G.abdominalis (7-9mm) has bicoloured femora; orange with base and apex black or, rarely, entirely black. The elytral pubescence is greyish-yellow and sparse.
In both G.ustulata and G.abdominalis the segments of at least the apical half of the antennae are entirely reddish-brown and the second segment is quadrate. This will separate both from G.ruficornis where the segments are bicoloured and second segment is elongate.
Duffy's key couplet 3 leads to G.variegata (Germar) and G.ruficornis var. holomelina Pool. G.variegata is G.abdominalis (Stephens) and var. holomelina is now regarded as a synonym of G.ruficornis
Joy's key works for G.ustulata (Schaller), holomelina Pool as keyed can include G.abdominalis but Bily, Hickin and Duffy all describe the antennae as having the apical half reddish brown so this couplet is not good. The general feeling when comparing Joy's key with the others is that it may lead to confusion.