Phyllobius pyri (Linnaeus, 1758)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CURCULIONIDAE Latreille, 1802

ENTIMINAE Schönherr, 1823

PHYLLOBIINI Schönherr, 1826

Phyllobius Germar, 1824

Phyllobius Germar, 1824

A generally common and often abundant weevil occurring throughout the Palaearctic region and east through Asia, in the U.K. it is common throughout England and Wales while in Scotland records are scattered to the far north. Adults occur early in the year, generally appearing in March or April, and are soon abundant among low vegetation e.g. nettles, grass or heather, moving onto trees and shrubs as these come into leaf; beating hawthorne or birch as the buds burst will often produce them in numbers. Locally they are particularly attracted to oak seedlings in parkland as soon as the leaves appear. Adult weevils feed upon leaves and flowers of a wide range of woody plants and may be found in most habitats; parkland, gardens, wooded borders and dunes etc. Although widely polyphagous the adults show a preference for Prunus, Betula, Quercus and Carpinus while Tilia, Sorbus and Fraxinus only rarely host the species. Occasionally they peak in abundance and may cause severe defoliation in recently established farm woodlands. Adults are short-lived and persist into late June or early July. Freshly eclosed females are reproductively immature and feed for two or three weeks before laying eggs in batches directly into the soil among the host roots, and each female will eventually lay several hundred eggs. The larvae hatch after two or three weeks and feed upon the roots of a range of herbaceous plants and grasses, development is slow and they overwinter, pupating in the soil the following spring.

Although there are several other ‘green weevils’ in the U.K. the general habitus of pyri will soon become obvious in the field, and more especially so because they are generally abundant through the spring and early summer. 4.5-7.5mm, elongate and near-parallel, with dense metallic golden or coppery-green scales although these become worn with age and late in the season specimens almost devoid of scales are common. In most specimens the scales on the scutellum are paler than those on the elytra and this contrast is usually obvious in the field. The head is closely punctured and flat or gently concave between convex and  prominent eyes, the temples  relatively long and smooth

i.e. without striations. Rostrum quadrate, with scrobes extending back to the anterior margin of the eyes and generally covered with scales. The antennae are proportionally very long, and pale with the apices darker. The scape is curved with a strong kink at the base. Pronotum transverse and closely, often confluently, punctured. The elytra are nearly parallel in the male and dilated towards the apex in the female, the shoulders are prominent and the striae are usually visible, even in fully-scaled specimens. The scales vary in colour and show no distinct or constant pattern. The legs are pale and metallic, or the femora and tarsi may be variously darkened. The femora are strongly toothed beneath and the tibiae-uniquely among British members of the genus-have a sharp ridge along the outer edge, this appears as a thin dark line when viewed under a lens in the field. The claws are fused at the base.

Similar Species
Phyllobius vespertinus
  • Generally slightly smaller (4.7-6.5mm)
  • Head and pronotum broader compared to elytra.
  • Rostrum quadrate or nearly so.
  • Confined to east coast saltmarshes.

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