Oedemera lurida (Marsham, 1802)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

TENEBRIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

OEDEMERIDAE Latreille, 1810

OEDEMERINAE Latreille, 1810

OEDEMERINI Latreille, 1810

Oedemera Olivier, 1789

Oedemera Olivier, 1789

This species is generally common and often abundant throughout the Palaearctic region, from Portugal to the far east of Russia and China, it is present throughout Asia Minor and much of North Africa and is known from most of the Mediterranean islands. In Europe it occurs in all but the higher mountain regions from the Mediterranean north to the UK and into southern provinces of Fennoscandia and is generally the most frequently recorded member of the genus. Here it is generally abundant throughout Wales and England as far north as the Humber, including the islands with the possible exception of Man, less so further north into Southern Scotland and there are scattered records further north and from Ireland. Adults are active from March until August or September although occasional specimens have been recorded throughout the autumn and winter. They are likely to occur in any open and not too wet habitat with a an abundant and varied vegetation, especially on grassland, open woodland, heaths and agricultural borders but also in disturbed areas such as roadsides, allotments, railway embankments, wasteland and domestic gardens. Adults are diurnal and active in all but the coolest weather and spend much of their time on flowers where they consume pollen and nectar; early in the season they may be found on dandelions (Taraxacum officinale Wigg.), buttercups (Ranunculus L.) and other early flowers, they then move onto umbels (Apiaceae) and, often in abundance, to hawthorn (Crataegus Tourn. Ex L.) and other blossom, and by early May they may be found on a very wide range of flowers. Reproduction begins early, following a period of feeding, and continues through spring and into summer. Females oviposit low down on a wide range of herbaceous stems in which the larvae will develop. Larvae mine stems and make their way down into the root collar where they will grow through the summer and overwinter, they finish developing in the spring and pupate in situ from March, probably in response to increasing temperature or day length. Adults can usually be found by searching flowers but they tend to occur in numbers when sweeping grass and mixed vegetation generally, mating pairs will also occur commonly and so no particular effort need be applied to finding them.

Oedemera lurida 1

Oedemera lurida 1

Oedemera lurida 2

Oedemera lurida 2

Oedemera lurida 3

Oedemera lurida 3

5.0-7.5 mm but occasional specimens may reach 9.0 mm. Elongate, slender and with the forebody narrower than the base of the elytra, body dark sage-green, bluish-green or grey, dorsal surface with short pale and mostly recumbent pubescence. Head narrowed and produced in front of strongly convex and protruding eyes which are smoothly rounded anteriorly, surface rugose and finely punctured. Terminal maxillary palpomere narrow and cylindrical. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, 11-segmented, the second segment much shorter than the rest which are long and narrow. Pronotum quadrate; broadest behind a rounded apical margin and constricted before slightly acute posterior angles and a sinuate basal margin. Pronotal surface strongly rugose and confluently punctured, depressed anteriorly and raised towards the base. Elytra very elongate, narrowed from sloping shoulders to separately rounded or pointed apical margins, variable but often diverging towards the apex, each with three almost complete longitudinal carinae (including the sutural and lateral) and an incomplete carina from the base, surface rugose, becoming granulate towards the apex. Legs long and slender, all femora similar in width or, rarely, the hind femora weakly swollen in males, front and middle tibiae straight, hind tibiae weakly curved in both sexes. Tarsi 5-5-4,  each with the penultimate segment strongly bilobed. Claws smooth and without a distinct basal tooth.

Larger specimens may be confused with O. virescens (Linnaeus, 1767) but here the males have swollen hind femora; not so strongly swollen as in O. nobilis (Scopoli, 1763) but always distinctly so, and generally about 2X, broader than the middle femora. Females of the present species may be identified by the smoothly rounded apical margin of the terminal abdominal sternite (look from below and ignore any overlapping tergites), in O. virescens it is weakly emarginate across the apex.