A clown in the saddle

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 17 July 2010 19:09

I found these large Dryad's Saddles at the base of a dead tree at The Mens by the side of the road last week. There were some really mushy old ones there too and it is these older fungi that often have more inverts in or on them, you can see one at the bottom of the second photo, it just looks like mud or tree roots. I flipped one over and saw what I thought was a beetle's pronotum but it was actually still alive, it's a histerid. or clown beetle. There about 50 species in the UK with 9 on the saproxylic list so I need to key it out. for the deadwood beetle survey we are doing there this year. That means working my way through Joy using a key that I have not used before without any reference specimens so I will have to get someone more experienced to check the ID. Histerids can retract the head in and fake death (hence I thought it was a part of the beetle when I saw it first). The last few segments of the abdomen are exposed, the antennae are clubbed and the tibia are flattened. They are predatory species occupying many different niches. I'll report back with what I think it  is at a later date. Lets hope its a rare one!

1 Response to "A clown in the saddle"

Graeme Lyons Says:

The key was not too difficult although typically I had to work right through to the very last couplet to get a result. I think it is Margarinotus striola. A local species but not one of the saproxylic histerids and that is all the info I can find on it.

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