Cryptocephalus violaceus Laicharting, 1781
This is a mostly southern and central European species, it occurs continuously from southern Spain to Greece and extends into western Russia, although all populations from Spain to the central European Alps belong to ssp. scaffaiolus Burlini, 1961, and to the north it reaches the Baltic coast but there has been a drastic decline over recent decades and it is now missing from many of its former sites, e.g. in Germany it was widespread and generally common until the 1960s but is now very local and generally rare. In the UK it is considered to be long extinct, it is included in our checklist on the strength of several nineteenth century records from Cambridgeshire and Kent but was last recorded from Folkestone in 1864. In Europe it occurs in lowland and mountain areas in undisturbed open woodland and meadows with a variety of herbaceous flowers, it is thermophilic and, at least in the south, often occurs on grassy slopes exposed to the sun and other xerothermic situations. Adults occur between May and July or, in warmer regions, into August, they sometimes frequent various deciduous trees such as birches (Betula L.) and willows (Salix L.) but more generally occur on a range of herbaceous plants, especially daisies and hawkweeds (Asteraceae) and cranesbills (Geraniaceae) where they feed on pollen and nectar. Little is known of the lifestyle but oviposition occurs in June and larvae have been found feeding on foliage of a range of herbaceous plants including hawkweeds (Heiracium L.), daisies (Senecio L.), scabious (Scabiosa L.) and various species of Knautia L.
4-6mm. Broadly-oval and rather parallel-sided, entire insect dark metallic blue or violet, sometimes weakly so and sometimes with a greenish reflection, underside black with fine pale pubescence. Head hypognathous, very finely punctured and pubescent between large and reniform eyes, antennae filiform and much longer and a little thicker in males. Pronotum broadest across produced posterior angles and rounded (from above) anteriorly, basal margin produced medially and flat in front of the scutellum, surface finely punctured throughout, in places the punctures being longitudinally wrinkled, lateral borders smooth, without transverse or oblique ridges. Elytra with broadly-rounded basal and apical margins, smoothly and in places strongly rugose, especially across the disc, and with a mixture of strong and fine punctures throughout. Legs and antennae with rather dense pale pubescence.