Bruchus rufipes Herbst, 1783
This western Palaearctic species with a rather limited distribution in Europe; it is generally common across the south from Spain to the western borders of the Black sea, it is local and sporadic in central Europe and generally absent from the Baltic countries although it is known from parts of western Russia, it is common in north west Africa and occurs on most of the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands. In the UK it is generally common across southeast and central England, very local and sporadic in the West Country and East Anglia and there are a few isolated records further north and from Wales. Adults occur year-round but are only rarely found during the winter, they are active from March until October, peaking in abundance during May and June and again, but much less so, during August and September, they occur in a wide range of both natural and disturbed habitats and disperse by flight during the spring and summer and so may occur suddenly at well-worked sites. Host plants include a range of Fabaceae; they have been recorded from a wide range of Lathyrus L. (peas) and various vetches including Vicia articulate Hornem, 1807, V. cracca L. and ssp., V. incana Gouan, 1764, V. ervillia (L.) Willd., V. sativa L. and ssp., V. tenuifolia Roth and ssp., V. tetrasperma (L.) Schreb and V. villosa Roth. and ssp. and adults occasionally occur on flowers of a range of cultivated and wild plants including clovers, gorse, garden peas, lentils and fenugreek where they feed on pollen. Mating occurs early in the season and gravid females are present in May and June, eggs are laid in developing seed pods where the larvae will burrow into growing seeds and consume them from inside, each seed within a pod may host a larvae and when the beetles are present in high densities almost all of the pods on a single plant may be infested. Pupation occurs inside the pod and new-generation adults emerge from July. Adults may be sampled by sweeping suitable host material in grassland, heathland, open woodland and road verges etc., they are often common at disturbed sites and may occur in large numbers where e.g. Hairy Vetch, V. villosa or Common Vetch, V. sativa, are grown as a fodder crops. Specimens will also occasionally occur in domestic gardens where suitable hosts are cultivated.
Bruchus rufipes 1
Bruchus rufipes 2
Bruchus rufipes 3
2.5-3.5 mm. Broadly-oval and continuous in outline, body dark grey mottled with small patches of pale pubescence, hind legs dark, front and middle legs to some extent, and usually substantially, yellowish, antennae variable from entirely black to entirely yellow but typically dark with four or five pale basal segments. Distinguished from our other bruchids by the form of the pronotum; widely transverse (at least 1.5:1) with a small tooth on each lateral margin, surface densely punctured and with pale grey scale-like pubescence which becomes denser towards the centre of the basal margin. Elytra broad and almost parallel-sided, quadrate or nearly so in females and slightly elongate in males, striae narrow and distinct among the pubescence, apices separately-rounded, most specimens have numerous small patches of pale pubescence, these often form three irregular transverse lines, one across the base and one before and after the middle, and there is often a dark area towards the base devoid of pale scales but this is very variable. Pygidium with dense pale pubescence. Legs long and robust, hind tibiae with two unequal preapical ventral teeth, outer very much smaller than the inner, in males the middle femora are produced apically into two closely approximated internal teeth. Leg colour varies but in general the hind legs are entirely dark and the front and middle legs are pale, sometimes only towards the apex of the femora and the tibial bases, and occasionally specimens occur with entirely dark legs.