Clytra quadripunctata (Linnaeus, 1758)
A widely distributed species of very local occurence throughout England and Wales north to Cumbria and Northumberland; the only island record id from the Isle of Wight, occurence is rather patchy eg virtually absent from East Anglia and the Cheshire/Lancashire region. There are many older records and it would seem the species was formerly more widespread (NBN, July 2009). From Scotland there are a few modern records from Stirling to Easter Ross, otherwise absent. We have no records of the species from our Watford area; in terms of distribution there seems no reason why it should not occur here but its ecological requirements may rule this out. Typical habitat is broad-leaved or coniferous woodland where the adults feed on young tender leaves of a range of trees and bushes, they have been recorded from birch (Betula), oak (Quercus), hawthorn (Crataegus), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), willows (Salix spp.), alder (Alnus incana), hazel (Corylus) and elm (Ulmus), generally near nests of the wood ant (Formica rufa) in which the larvae develop. Adults occur from April to November or December, most commonly so from May to July. During June 2009 we found the adults to be common in the New Forest near Brockenhurst, Hants where they were observed to fly from hawthorn and oak foliage to the ground near large Formica rufa nests, others were swept from the foliage of birch saplings overhanging the nests. Mating occurs from late spring and ovipositing is fascinating; eggs are dropped onto the ground near the ant nests from adjacent low foliage and the ants then carry them into the nests. Larvae emerge within three weeks or so and (probably) feed upon debris within the nest through the summer, autumn and winter. Fully grown larvae are present in the spring; development takes either one or two years as larvae of different sizes have been found together in the nests but this may be due to a protracted egg laying period, this might also explain the long seasonal occurence of the adults which are known to live only for about a month. Pupation occurs inside a larval case attached to debris within the nest and adults emerge within two weeks or so.

7-11mm (Joy). A large and strongly convex, elongate and parallel sided species unmistakeable among the British fauna. Elytra and antennal segments 2 and 3 testaceous, otherwise black. Head finely punctate and pubescent, weakly depressed between eyes. Eyes strongly transverse and weakly emarginate behind antennal insertions. Antennae short, basal segment dilated on inner side, 2 and 3 quadrate or nearly so, 4-10 serrate, 11 quadrate, black with segments 2 and 3 entirely and 4 and 5 partly or obscurely testaceous. Pronotum transverse with raised lateral and basal margins. Front and hind angles rounded. Surface shiny black and finely punctured, puncturation stronger towards margins and dense inside narrow explanate lateral ands basal borders. Hind margin sinuate; produced backwards at centre. Scutellum elongate triangular and large, shiny black and very finely punctured (barely visible at X10). Elytra testaceous with a black mark at shoulder and behind middle. Surface shiny, puncturation fine and random or with a tendency to form rows on disc. Lateral margin sinuate and strongly bordered. In our specimen the cuticle behind the posterior dark mark is transparent and so the wings are visible, the elytral trachea are visible throughout. Legs black with fine and dense yellow pubescence, stout with tibiae broadened towards apex and sinuate on outer side, not toothed at apex. Tarsi appear 4 segmented, segments broad, 3rd deeply bilobed. Claws weakly curved and smooth.

Terminal obdominal sternite in male with a broad shiny obsolete impression, with a deep subtriangular impression at apex in female (Fowler)

Description from 1 Hampshire specimen at X10

Formica rufa

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