John Bratton's picture

Malachius on I-Spot

How are people identifying Malachius bipustulatus? I've always found this and Malachius viridis (now Cordynepherus apparently) rather tricky. The NBN suggests bipustulatus is 2-3x as common as viridis, while on I-Spot there are 45 bipustulatus identifications and zero viridis. I suspect a proportion of the I-Spot viridis are misidentifications.

John Bratton



DavidHowdon's picture


It might be worth posting your question under one or two of the more recent entries of this species, I'm not sure that all (or even most) iSpot users read this forum.

I suspect some of them may well be mis-identifications. I've thought for a while that iSpot should perhaps have a 'I disagree' button to deal with situations like this. Although in this case I suppose posting a genus level ID "Malachius" as an alternative ID would be a way of making the point.

John Bratton's picture

Yes, I did put comments under

Yes, I did put comments under a couple of the bipustulatus entries, but bipustulatus continues to be the favoured species. I'm not sure enough of how to separate them to referee all the photos.

Roger Key once told me that bipustulatus always has at least a trace of red at the front corners of the pronotum, and viridis never does, but you can't always see that in the photos. And the red is on the pronotum, not to be confused with the red defensive structures on the thorax that Malachius can inflate when stressed.

Fenwickfield's picture

add an id

It may be worth you putting on a different identification then other's will see it because as you say not many read the forum site.


Dioctria's picture

Another factor might be that

Another factor might be that Malachius bipustulatus always seems to be the species illustrated in general insect guides and many people may not be aware of M. viridis.


Martin Harvey's picture


There is usually a perceptible colour difference - viridis is a bluer green, and the red spots at the end of the elytra are usually less distinct on viridis. There's an excellent comparison on the Watford Coleoptera Group site:

They point out a good and reliable difference in the shape of the front of the head, between the antennae (curved backwards in bipustulatus, forwards in viridis).

Having said that I'm sure I have overlooked viridis sometimes, and it's good to be reminded that we should be checking the iSpot ones carefully.

P.S. it's certainly my experience in central southern England that bipustulatus is a good deal more frequent than viridis, so hopefully the iSpot ratio isn't too far out, although it's surprising we've never found viridis.

P.P.S. just seen that we do have a candidate viridis, posted in the last few days!:

Entomologist and biological recorder