Aphodius ater (De Geer, 1774)

Female
A common species throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Found in various types of dung as well as decaying vegetable matter. Adults appear slightly later than other spring species, in small numbers at first and often in company with large populations of A. prodromus, A. sphacelatus or A. sticticus, they are then found continuously till autumn. During 2007 adults first appeared at several sites around Watford in late April in small numbers in horse dung. They are also found in winter flood refuse. Said to prefer open sites but this is not always the case as our records from Whippendell wood show.

4-6mm. Head black, clypeus narrowly expanded laterally in front of eyes, evenly rounded then sinuate to front angles, front margin distinctly curved, with a prominent ridge anteriorly in male. Central tubercle much larger than lateral ones in male. Pronotum black, very convex and shining, finely bordered laterally and basally. Evenly punctured throughout with large and small punctures (X20). Elytra uniformly black or sometimes obscurely reddish. With strong reticulate microsculpture so appearing dull against pronotum. Striae shallow and shining to apex, punctate basally. Interstices finely punctate throughout, obvious at X20. Scutellum equilateral, with large punctures and microreticulate, as elytra. Legs black. Hind tarsi with first segment as long as next three together.

Very similar to A. borealis (Gyllenhal) where there are usually paler areas to the elytra; a humeral spot and markings on interstices 2-4 behind middle but these are usually vague. In ater there are fine and sharp longitudinal lines between the mid coxae (Mesosternum), in borealis this area is smooth and shining.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X20


Male

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

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