Bruchela rufipes (Olivier, 1790)
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802
URODONTINAE Thomson, C.G., 1859
BRUCHELA Dejean, 1821
Variously referred to as Urodon Schönherr, 1823 this genus is sometimes classified within a distinct family, the Urodontidae, or as a subfamily of either Bruchidae or Anthribidae, it has also been assigned to Nemonychidae in the past. To avoid confusion we have followed the latest Palaearctic checklist; there are about 50 Palaearctic species of Bruchela Dejean, 1821, of which 20 occur in Europe and the single species B. rufipes has recently become established in the UK. First recognized by Hyman in 1984 from near-coastal specimens collected in Essex; it may have been introduced or it may have occurred earlier as it is mentioned in Fowler (Vol.5, p.108). There are now (2018) records throughout the southeast to the Humber but the species is undoubtedly more widespread than this as we have found it near Tring in the Chilterns (SP952135) and have heard several personal accounts of its wider occurrence in the southeast. The host plant is Reseda lutea L., adult beetles occur between May and September, they may be abundant when found and are easiest recorded by sweeping or tapping plants over a sheet. Adults first appear on flowers, mostly those of the host, and feed on nectar and pollen for a while before mating begins in the spring. Eggs are laid near to developing flower buds and larvae develop in the seed pods, they overwinter within fallen pods and pupate in the soil during the spring. The continental distribution includes the whole of Europe, except for the far north, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Western Russia but it does not extend further into Asia. All European species develop on either Resedacaea or Cruciferae.
Without experience this species be mistaken for a seed beetle (Bruchinae, Chrysomelidae) but in that group the eyes are very deeply notched and the elytra have distinct striae.
Bruchela rufipes 1
Bruchela rufipes 2
Bruchela rufipes 3
2.1-3mm. Entire body black, the surface densely punctured (usually not visible) and covered with pale grey recumbent pubescence which gives the insect a silvery appearance in the field. Head elongate and smooth, without depressions. Rostrum transverse, bordered and expanded laterally over the antennal insertions. Eyes notched over the rostral expansion. Antennae relatively short, mostly red but variously darkened towards the apex; basal segment broad, much more so in the male; and a little longer than the second, 2-8 short and progressively more transverse towards the apex, 9-11 form a narrow and elongate club. Pronotum quadrate or slightly elongate, broadest near the base and narrowed to a rounded anterior margin, the basal margin is produced medially and so covers the scutellum. Base behind hind angles keeled. Elytra parallel sided and separately rounded apically, with only a single stria adjacent to the suture, often only visible towards the apex. Pygidium large, exposed and pubescent as the elytra; produced laterally in male but unmodified in the female. Front legs and middle tibiae pale. Front tarsi with two basal segments normal; elongate triangular (broader in male), third strongly bilobed, fourth small and usually difficult to see, fifth long and curved. Claws smooth and toothed at base.