|The latest beetle specimen in dorsal view.|
|The groove along the rear edge of the pronotum.|
|Aedeagus (ventral view)|
|Aedeagus (dorsal view)|
|Aedeagus (lateral view)|
This is an interesting find as it was only recognised as a British species in 2000 (Cox, 2000) and is found on meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) in a variety of habitats, mainly in the south and east of England, though there has been a recent (2011) record from further north in Cheshire. Since 2000, there have been numerous records of this species in the UK and, although the Cheshire record has not yet been included on the database, the distribution is shown by the NBN as follows:
|Distribution map of Altica carinthiaca in Britain © National Biodiversity Network|
So, we have a species which, although not a rarity, was overlooked until fairly recently, so records are valuable in order to provide information about its British distribution. It is also a good example of the importance of dissection in the identification of some chrysomelid species, especially the 'flea beetles' as well as showing that even once dissected out, care may be needed to accurately use sometimes subtle and variable features of structures such as the aedeagus. Now, where's that 4th envelope of beetles..?
Cox, M.L. (2000). Progress report on the Bruchidae/Chrysomelidae recording scheme. The Coleopterist 9(2): 65-74.
Cox, M.L. (2007). Atlas of the Seed and Leaf Beetles of Britain and Ireland. Pisces, Newbury.
Kangas, E. & Rutanen, I. (1993). Identification of the females of the Finnish species of Altica Müller (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). Entomologica Fennica 31(4): 115-129.