Lasiorhynchites comatus (Gyllenhal, 1833)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

ATTELABIDAE Billberg, 1820

RHYNCHITINAE Gistel, 1848

RHYNCHITINI Gistel, 1848

LASIORHYNCHITES Jekel, 1860

Widely referred to in the literature as L. olivaceus (Gyllenhal, 1833), this species has recently been reassigned its present name, it is widespread but mostly scarce and sporadic throughout southern and central Europe, reaching south into North Africa (Algeria) and north to Denmark, southern Sweden and the UK, to the east it extends to Ukraine and the west of Russia as far as St. Petersburg. In the UK it is a very local species in lowland parts of Wales and central and south east England, typical habitats are broad-leaved woodland and wooded parkland where the adults occur on various oaks although early in the season they may also be found on hawthorn, blackthorn and rowan blossom. Adults occur over a relatively short season, from April until late June, and will usually be found in small numbers, reproduction occurs in early spring and females chew holes below leaf buds on small twigs into which they oviposit, and larvae mine below soft bark through the summer. Fully grown larvae emerge from the bark and drop to the ground in the autumn, it is not known whether pupation occurs in autumn or spring but winter is passed below ground and fresh adults emerge from April to feed on young foliage and flowers. Adults may be swept or beaten early in the season  from the previous year’s growth on young oaks but are probably easiest recorded by beating suitably located hawthorn blossom, they rarely occur in numbers and often alongside superficially-similar rhynchitids and so will need to be looked for very carefully.

Among our UK rhynchitids the present species may be recognized by the following combination of characters: elytra at least 1.4X longer than wide, with long, erect pubescence, a distinct scutellary striole and the ninth stria joining the tenth about half way along the margin. 3.3-6.0mm. Body dark metallic blue, legs dark with a weaker metallic reflection and antennae black. Dorsal surface, including the rostrum, with long dark brown pubescence. Head slightly transverse with prominent convex eyes and long, slightly bulging temples, the surface finely punctured and wrinkled. Male rostrum parallel-sided and very finely punctured towards the apex, female rostrum dilated about the base and apex and more strongly punctured towards the apex when compared with the male.  Pronotum quadrate, rounded laterally and slightly constricted before the apical margin, the surface moderately strongly and discretely punctured throughout. Elytra much wider across the base than the width of the pronotum, with broadly-rounded shoulders and near-parallel lateral margins, striae strongly punctured throughout and slightly broader than the interstices; the ninth and tenth fusing about the middle, interstices flat or very weakly convex and each with a single row of very fine punctures. Male with a single small apical spur on all tibiae, female with two small spurs on all tibiae, males have larger and more prominent eyes than females which, combined with the form of the rostrum, makes them obvious even in the field. Fourth tarsomere strongly bilobed and all claws with a long and robust basal tooth.

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