Cantharis pellucida Fabricius, 1792

A widespread species with modern records throughout England and Wales including the Isle of Wight and Anglesey. In Scotland widespread below Edinburgh and Glasgow, further north there are western coastal records to Wester Ross and scattered records from Aberdeen, Moray and (especially) the Loch Ness area (NBN). Generally an insect of lowland, broad leaved woodland (Alexander), the adults are active in bright sunshine from late April or early May until July and may be observed on a variety of flowers. Locally we have recorded them from Crataegus (Hawthorn) blossom and various umbels along woodland borders and in parkland, sweeping suitable flowers is probably the easiest way to record them as they are easily disturbed and fly readily. They are locally common throughout our Watford area but numbers vary widely from year to year eg during 2007 (when, admittedly, the weather did not afford many opportunities to record the species) we did not record a singly example whereas during 2008 we found them to be common in several locations.

Care needs to be taken when recording this species as there are several similar sized cantharids with dark elytra eg C.nigricans, C.rustica, C.lateralis.

9-12mm. (Joy) Head shiny, black from base to middle or front margin of eyes, testaceous anteriorly. Finely punctate and with fine, pale and recumbent pubescence. Clypeus convex between antennal insertions, antennae darkened from third segment. Pronotum slightly transverse (26:23), shiny testaceous, very finely and sparsely puntured and pubescent. Convex with lateral and basal margins explanate, front margin rounded and weakly raised. Front and hind angles rounded. Scutellum black, as elytra. Elytra entirely black or with lateral margin very narrowly red at middle, weakly rugose (manipulate under light) and so somewhat dull compared with pronotum. Surfaxce finely and densely punctured and with dense, recumbent grey or golden pubescence. Apical margins separately rounded, often leaving abdominal segments exposed. Abdomen entirely red (view from side). Front legs entirely red or with apical tarsal segments obscurely dark. Mid and hind femora red or with apex narrowly black. All tibiae with two fine terminal spurs on inside. Mid and hind tibiae black or very narrowly red at base. Mid and hind tarsi dark. Third tarsal segment bilobed in all cases. Anterior claw on all legs toothed from base.

Description from 3 Watford specimens at X10.

For a separation of C.nigricans and C.pellucida please see ID Aids.

Elytral pubescence