Worcestershire Record No. 24 April 2008 p. 11

ODONTAEUS ARMIGER (SCOPALI 1772) COLEOPTERA: GEOTRUPIDAE AT ASTLEY BURF

Dave & Jane Scott

We found an exciting little dung beetle in our garden Monday night (23rd July 2007) and would be grateful if you could let me know whether it has become more common in the last few years. Fortunately it is so distinctive there is no doubt about the identification and, even better, itís the only member of the genus in Central and Northern Europe. Illustrative sketch from Dave's notebook

Odonteus (= Odontaeus) armiger has a long horn on the head, movable at the base, which is very distinctive. Extracts from the entry on the RECORDER database as follows

Large black 'dumbledore' type beetle, confined to the south and east of England. Associated with underground fungi. Adults fly in daylight and at dusk. Very rare, categorised as NOTABLE A. Odonteus armiger (Scopoli, 1772). Formerly known as: Odontaeus armiger (Scopoli, 1772), Odontaeus mobilicornis (F., 1775).

Distribution: Recorded from North Somerset, South Wiltshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, South Hampshire, North Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, East Kent, West Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, West Suffolk, East Norfolk, West Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, East Gloucestershire and West Gloucestershire before 1970 and South Hampshire, East Kent, West Kent, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, West Suffolk, West Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Radnorshire from 1970 onwards.

Habitat and ecology: Grassland and heathland on chalky or sandy soils. Subterranean, occasionally found in and around rabbit burrows. Possibly feeds on subterranean fungi. This species has been found under dry cow dung and sheep droppings. Adults fly in the evening in hot weather, in cooler weather they have been noted flying in the afternoon. Adults have been found from May to November, though most records are from June and July. A high proportion of records of this beetle are from light traps.

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