Lochmaea crataegi (Forster, 1771)
This is a widespread and generally common species across the western Palaearctic region from France east to Asia Minor, Russia and central Siberia, and from North Africa to southern Sweden and the UK although in eastern parts of the range this may not be so straightforward as the species forms part of a widespread complex which has only recently been investigated, see HERE. In Britain it is generally common across Wales and south and central England, becoming more local and sporadic further north to southern Scotland, and in the West Country almost entirely coastal. Adults are usually associated with hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna Jacq.; they appear from April, usually a week or two before the host blossom opens, and at this time they feed on the pollen as soon as the flowers open, they may occasionally occur on other flowers e.g. Blackthorn, Prunus spinose L. or Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia L. but only to find pollen; the larval host is hawthorne. Mating occurs after a period of feeding and females lay eggs singly or in small groups among leaves and flowers from mid-May to early June. Larva consume the newly developing fruits, causing them to stop developing and turn brown and soft, they develop rapidly, passing through three instars, and are fully-grown within six weeks. When fully-grown they stop feeding and drop to the ground where they enter the soil and form a cell in which pupation occurs, this stage is also brief and new-generation adults occur from August. Overwintered adults peak in abundance during May and June but die off soon after reproducing and so adults are scarce during July but a second, much smaller, peak occurs in August and September as the new generation emerges; these will feed on foliage for a while before overwintering in the soil and emerging to consume pollen during the following spring. Typical habitats are wherever the host occurs, they occur in a wide range of habitats including parks and gardens, and they fly well and so should be expected even on recently disturbed sites. Adults are easily sampled, usually along with many other species and usually in good numbers, by beating or sweeping the host, the dull red colour and distinctive habitus makes them unmistakable.
Lochmaea crataegi 1
Lochmaea crataegi 2
Lochmaea crataegi 3
4-5mm. Elongate and broadly oval, body dull reddish-brown throughout, the pronotal disc often darker and the elytra with longitudinal black elytral markings of varying in size and intensity. Head, pronotum and elytra strongly and densely punctured. Head transverse with convex, protruding eyes and temples converging towards the base, antennae inserted close together on the anterior margin. Antennae extensively dark, sometimes entirely so, or with the basal segments variously paler. Pronotum distinctive; with rounded lateral margins, sharply perpendicular posterior angles and a strongly sinuate basal margin, the surface variously impressed and uneven. Scutellum large; elongate and broadest across the base but otherwise rather variable in shape. Elytra elongate with broadly-rounded shoulders and continuously rounded apically, in the female distinctly dilated towards the apex; in the male hardly so. Legs long and robust; finely and densely pubescent and usually darker than the body.