Leptura quadrifasciata Linnaeus, 1758

Four-banded Longhorn Beetle

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CERAMBYCIDAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINI Latreille, 1802

Leptura Linnaeus, 1758

This widespread and generally common longhorn occurs throughout central and northern Europe, extending east through Asia to China, north to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia and to the far north of mainland UK where it remains locally common despite a general reduction over recent decades. Adults are active from June to August, although exceptionally they have been recorded as early as March, the typical habitat is woodland, wooded borders and wooded parkland where there is a supply of dead and decaying wood, they fly readily in warm weather and frequent a range of flowers, typically various umbels but also e.g. brambles, hawthorne, meadowsweet, thistles and woody nightshade. The species is widely polyphagous with larvae developing in dead or decaying wood, especially in the lower parts of standing trees, stumps, felled trunks and fallen branches, they may develop in wet or dry wood but dry conditions are required for pupation. Larvae excavate curving galleries in the outer phloem and their development usually takes 2 years with pupation occurring in a cell near the surface or under the bark from May onwards. Infestations generally continue over several or many years. A wide range of broadleaved hosts have been recorded including alder, aspen, beech, birch-which may be the preferred host, hazel, oak, poplar, willow and elder, and they have also been recorded from various conifers e.g. Picea and spruces.

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11-20mm. a distinctive species with the forebody, appendages and ventral surface, except for the anterior margins of the abdominal segments, black, and the elytra characteristically banded. The entire insect is covered with fine pubescence which is mostly dark or pale according to the colour of the cuticle. Head with the vertex roughly sculptured and depressed medially, and below the antennae, including the labrum, densely punctured. Eyes transverse and deeply emarginate anteriorly, temples short and prominent anterior to a narrow and convex neck. Antennae longer in the male; reaching the elytral apex, in the female usually extending just beyond the middle. Pronotum campanulate and slightly transverse, lacking lateral sculpture or margins and with sharp, obliquely-produced posterior angles, surface depressed either side of the middle and constricted before the anterior and posterior margins. Elytra broadest behind the shoulders and tapering to a truncate, externally-toothed apex, the surface lustrous with very fine punctation, pattern variable in development but typically consisting of 4 transverse pale macula; very rarely these may be reduced or fused and in extreme cases the elytra are black with a small pale humeral mark. Legs long and robust with femora only weakly clavate and tibiae without teeth but with 2 well-developed spurs at the inner apical angle. Tarsi very long; basal segment of metatarsi as long as the others combined, terminal segment of all tarsi long and curved. Claws smooth and with a small tooth at the base.

Leptura quadrifasciata 1

Leptura quadrifasciata 1

Leptura quadrifasciata 2

Leptura quadrifasciata 2

Similar species
Leptura aurulenta
  • Antennae and legs variously yellow.

  • Posterior and anterior margins of pronotum fringed with golden-yellow pubescence.

  • Body generally broader.

  • Legs and antennae bicoloured.

  • Elytral patterns variable; distinct from L. quadrifasciata.

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