Phyllobius pomaceus Gyllenhal, 1834

Green Nettle Weevil

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CURCULIONIDAE Latreille, 1802

ENTIMINAE Schönherr, 1823

PHYLLOBIINI Schönherr, 1826

Phyllobius Germar, 1824

Metaphyllobius Smirnov, 1913

A widespread and generally common central and northern European species distributed from France to Germany and east to western Russia and north to southern Scandinavia with scattered records from northwest Norway. In the U.K. this very distinctive large green weevil has suffered a decline in recent decades, at least in our experience of London, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, but nonetheless remains generally common throughout England and Wales and there are records scattered through Scotland. It is associated with nettles and, occasionally, meadow sweet, Filipendula ulmaria (L.), in a wide range of situations; woodland, parkland, waste ground and gardens etc. although early in the summer they disperse and might be swept from grassland and herbaceous vegetation generally. Formerly the adults were seen in large groups on nettle foliage, especially during April and May, but nowadays we no longer see this; they are still relatively common but occur as single specimens or pairs distributed throughout a nettlebed. The adults appear in early April and by May they are generally common and obvious on the host, at this time they are fresh and clothed with brilliant metallic green, golden or red scales but these soon rub off, firstly from the pronotum and elytra, and by late in the season they are largely devoid of scales. Adults feed on the foliage, generally working their way in from the edges of tender leaves, and they are highly host specific so that any large green weevil with dark legs seen on nettles is almost certain to be this species. Mating occurs on the host foliage during April and May, and eggs are laid in the soil during the spring. The larvae inhabit the soil feeding upon the roots. The adults probably eclose late in the year, and overwinter in the soil around the host roots.

7-10mm. Entire body and legs, when fresh, with brilliant, elongate metallic green, coppery or blue scales which are rounded at the apex (X50). Head strongly punctured, with prominent eyes and long, smooth temples. Rostrum short and broad, flattened in front of the eyes and with the scrobes and antennal insertions visible from above. Antennae long and slender; the scape curved and gradually thickened towards the apex, the third funicular segment less than twice as broad as long, and about half the length of the first segment. Pronotum a little transverse, convex and broadest about the middle; without borders and strongly punctured, as the head. Elytra parallel in the male, broadest from the middle in the female, with elongate and recumbent metallic scales and sparse semi-erect setae. Apical declivity steep. Legs robust and long, with fine with fine metallic scales, the underside of the male tibiae are more densely scaled, with the femora toothed, the front pair very strongly so. The legs are generally black but occasional specimens occur where they are pale, or partly so, and this may cause confusion with the superficially similar P. glaucus (Scopoli, 1763), in that species the legs are pale and the scales on the dorsal surface are long and pointed. Tibiae rounded in cross-section c.f. pyri. Claws connate.

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