Neocoenorrhinus germanicus (Herbst, 1797)
A locally common species occurring throughout Europe from the Mediterranean north to the UK and central Fennoscandia, to the south extending to Algeria and further east through Asia Minor and Russia to Mongolia and Siberia, in some continental regions it is an occasional serious pest of various soft fruits, occurring in huge numbers and requiring chemical treatment, but although it may occur in numbers among fruit crops in the UK, it is very rarely a serious pest. Here it is widespread and locally common across Wales and England north to Nottingham and much more sporadic and rare further north to southern Scotland. Typical habitats are well-vegetated open woodland and parkland, wooded borders and hedgerows, adults may be swept from low vegetation or, frequently, beaten from various shrubs, and in the spring they may also occur on hawthorn blossom. Host plants include a variety of wild and cultivated soft fruits, in a commercial sense the most important being strawberry, but also raspberry and loganberry, and in the wild also from various broadleaf trees such as oak, hazel and sweet cherry. Adults overwinter and become active during the first warm days of March or April, they feed on emerging tender foliage for a while before mating and oviposition begins in April and continues into July or even August depending on the season. Eggs are laid in soft stems below blossom trusses or stolons; females bite a hole, or sometimes several holes, into the surface tissue and insert up to four eggs into each stem, they then bite a series of small punctures around the stalk below the oviposition site and these cause the stem to slowly die-off and eventually fall to the ground. Larvae feed within the stems on decaying tissues and grow rapidly, they are fully grown within six weeks and leave the fallen stem to enter the ground to pupate, but if the stem does not fall they will emerge and fall to the ground in order to pupate. They burrow down a few centimetres and construct an earth cocoon in which to pupate, pupation occurs after about a week and adults are fully formed after a few weeks but they remain in the soil until the following spring when they will emerge and begin maturation feeding. Adult feeding does not adversely affect the plant, it is the destruction of blossom trusses and terminal shoots by the larvae that cause commercial losses.
Adults are small, 2.1-3.1mm, and entirely dull metallic blue or black with a blue reflection. Identification relies on the formation of the outer elytral striae; the ninth and tenth striae are complete and separate almost to the elytral apex and between these there is a short basal striae consisting of seven to ten punctures. Entire forebody strongly and densely punctured, the punctures mostly discrete and only rarely confluent, and with dark semi-erect and curved pubescence; that on the head mostly directed posteriorly and that on the pronotum mostly directed anteriorly. Head transverse and rather flat between large and convex eyes, temples weakly curved and only a little shorter than the eyes although they are usually retracted within the prothorax, rostrum long and weakly curved; in the male sub-parallel and shorter than the head and pronotum combined, in the female dilated slightly towards the apex and at least as long as the head and pronotum combined. Antennae long and slender, with an elongate three-segmented club, inserted about the middle in the male, behind the middle in the female. Pronotum quadrate or nearly so, with evenly-curved lateral margins and distinct angles, anterior margin curved forward, basal margin almost straight. Elytra elongate; about 5:4, with broad rounded shoulders much wider than the pronotum and lateral margins slightly widened before a continuously curved apical margin. Each elytron with ten strongly punctured striae complete to the apex and a short scutellary stria, each stria about as wide as or a little narrower than the adjacent interstices, pubescence short, semi-erect and directed obliquely backwards, plainly obvious from above along margins. Legs dark brown to black and usually without the blue reflection seen on the body.