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Choragus sheppardi Kirby, 1819







POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

ANTHRIBIDAE Billberg, 1820

CHORAGINAE Kirby, 1819

CHORAGINI Kirby, 1819

Choragus Kirby, 1819

This species is widespread but very local and generally rare throughout Europe north to the UK and southern provinces of Fennoscandia and extends east as far as western Russia and Ukraine; in the UK it is local in the midlands and the south east of England and very local and rare further north to southern Scotland, it is sporadic and mostly coastal in Wales and absent from the West Country. Adults occur year-round and peak in abundance during spring and autumn, in the UK they are usually quoted as being associated with ivy in established broadleaf woodland, although there are also records from a few broadleaf trees, but on the continent they are associated with a range of trees including hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), wych elm (Ulmus glabra), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Beech (Fagus sylvatica), oak (Quercus spp.), Apple (Malus domestica), alder (Alnus glutinosa), various willows (Salix spp.) and other species. They emerge from dead wood during spring and summer and may be found on trunks and branches, especially at night, or beaten from old dense ivy, but they disperse by flight and are often recorded from flight-interception traps, mating occurs in the spring and eggs are laid in the fruiting bodies of various fungi of the family Xylariales Nannf. (1932) (Sordariomycetes). Several larvae develop together within the fungus but as they grow they bore small circular galleries into mycelium infested xylem where they will eventually pupate. Larval development is slow; it continues into the autumn and is completed the following spring after an overwintering phase and pupation occurs over a long season extending into early summer. Late emerging adults overwinter and appear early in the spring and a peak in abundance usually occurs in April as they are joined by new generation adults from overwintered larvae.

Choragus sheppardi

Choragus sheppardi

These small and rather nondescript beetles can be difficult to place into the correct family, they are not obviously weevils as the rostrum is short, transverse and flat, but the form of the antennae and tarsi, coupled with the general habitus should be sufficient for certain identification. 1.4-2.5mm. Body shiny dark brown to black, entire dorsal surface with short pale semi-recumbent pubescence, legs dark to pale brown, antennae substantially dark with two basal segments and the club (variably, and not always) pale. Head widely transverse from above, vertex and frons weakly convex and eyes large, convex and coarsely-faceted, antennae placed laterally on the frons, the insertions visible from above. Antennae 11-segmented; two basal segments broad, long and curved, 3-8 narrow and elongate, the third much shorter and narrower than the second, 9-11 elongate and broader than 2-8, forming a long and narrow club. Pronotum broadest between acute posterior angles and smoothly narrowed to a rounded anterior margin, surface evenly convex from a sharply raised sub-basal margin and strongly and densely punctured throughout. Scutellum small and triangular, often hardly visible. Elytra elongate, broadest about the middle and smoothly curved to a continuously rounded apical margin, striae complete and strongly punctured, interstices only slightly wider than the striae and rugosely punctured throughout. Legs short and slender but for the middle and hind femora which are broadened (some specimens can make feeble jumps in the manner of flea beetles), tibiae slender and lacking obvious apical spurs, tarsi pseudotetramerous, the tiny fourth segment usually hidden within the long lobes of the third, claws short, curved and lacking a basal tooth. The sexes may be determined by the form of the abdomen, in the male the fifth segment is flat and about as long as the third and fourth combined, in the female it is convex and shorter than the third and fourth combined.

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