Cantharis cryptica Ashe, 1947

Widespread throughout England, Wales and southernmost Scotland, continuing its range north along the west coast to Eddrachillis bay and including some of the Western Isles (Alexander). Depending on season the adults appear during early or mid May around wooded borders in Cassiobury park and among the long grass bordering the reedlands in Radlett road. In our experience they never become really common as do some of the other cantharids but turn up in the sweep net, usually as single specimens, erratically during June and July. By July they are widespread and may occur anywhere in Watford's parkland and open spaces. Occasionally found into August by which time Rhagonycha fulva tends to make sampling for any testaceous cantharid rather tedious. As with most members of the family most easily found by sweeping long grass, especially where there is some shrub or tree cover, and by looking on umbel flowers.

Care must be taken when identifying cryptica, especially in the field, as there are several superficially similar species e.g. C.pallida, C.figurata, C.rufa and some Rhagonycha spp. (Claw structure).

6-8.5mm. Entire insect testaceous, elytra a little darker, antennae darkened towards apex and femora, or at the very least the hind femora, narrowly black at apex (cf. C.figurata Mannerheim, C.rufa L.). Antennae longer in male. Head finely punctured and pubescent, eyes small and protruding, temples rounded and longer than eyes. Clypeus convex centrally between eyes. Pronotum shining, punctate and pubescent with widely explanate lateral margins, front margin evenly rounded, hind angles usually discernable. Disc strongly convex in posterior half, without basal fovea. Elytra with dense, short, recumbent pubescence as well as longer erect pubescence over entire surface (cf. C.pallida Goeze). Third tarsal segment bilobed, anterior claw of each pair toothed at base (cf. Rhagonycha spp.).

For a separation of C.cryptica and C.pallida please see ID Aids.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X20