Phyllobius virideaeris (Laicharting, 1781)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CURCULIONIDAE Latreille, 1802

ENTIMINAE Schönherr, 1823

PHYLLOBIINI Schönherr, 1826

Phyllobius Germar, 1824

Subphyllobius Schilsky, 1911

This generally common species occurs throughout the Palaearctic region to the far east of Russia and China; it is common and often abundant throughout Europe, extending north into the UK and middle provinces of Fennoscandia and is also known from Algeria. The nominate subspecies occurs throughout the range but three others are known from Europe; ssp. cinereipennis Gyllenhal, 1834 from Ukraine and southwest Russia, ssp. padanus Pesarini, 1975 from Switzerland and Italy, and ssp. pedestris Schilsky, 1911 from Italy and Bulgaria. Here it is generally common throughout England and Wales, though less so in the west, and very local and sporadic further north to the Scottish Highlands and in Ireland, it is present on Anglesey and Wight but otherwise absent from the islands. Adults occur from late in April until August, peaking in abundance during late May and early June, although individuals often survive into September. Typical habitats are open and not too dry grassland and scrub with plenty of herbaceous vegetation but they may also occur in disturbed sites such as urban gardens, grass verges and agricultural margins and they almost always occur in numbers. Adults are polyphagous; they are often associated with various Compositae such as Yarrow, Achillea millefolium L. and Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris L. but will be found on a wide range of grasses and herbaceous plants, early in the season they also occur on a range of deciduous trees and are often abundant on flowers and blossom, particularly on umbels and Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna Jacq. Mating begins early in the season after a period of maturation feeding and females oviposit into the soil among suitable roots which the larvae will consume. Larvae feed through the summer and overwinter in the soil to complete their development and pupate in the spring. Adults will soon be found by general sweeping and at the height of the season they tend to be difficult to avoid as they occur on flowers and foliage almost anywhere but they will need to be examined carefully as the superficially similar P. roboretanus Gredler, 1882.

Phyllobius virideaeris 1

Phyllobius virideaeris 1

Phyllobius virideaeris 2

Phyllobius virideaeris 2

Phyllobius virideaeris 3

Phyllobius virideaeris 3

Phyllobius virideaeris 4

Phyllobius virideaeris 4

3.5-5.0 mm. Recognized among our members of the genus by the metallic green colour and lack a tooth on the front femora, the only other species with these characters is P. roboretanus. Body densely covered with round metallic green, golden or bluish scales, elytra with short, pale and recumbent setae which may only be cryptic among the scales and obvious only towards the margins, femora dark and usually densely scaled, tibiae and tarsi red, antennae red but often darkened apically. Head moderately convex but almost flat between the small and convex eyes, vestiture consisting of dense oval and closely adpressed metallic scales as well as pale erect and slightly curved setae-like scales. Rostrum slightly transverse, scrobes straight and aligned with the anterior margin of the eyes, antennae inserted at the apices of the scrobes which are visible from above. Antennal scape long, curved and gradually broadened from the base, segments 2 & 3 elongate, 4-8 quadrate or nearly so, and 9-11 form a long and pointed club. Pronotum transverse, widest about the middle and narrowed to straight apical and basal margins, without lateral borders or dorsal impressions. Elytra elongate and broadest slightly behind the middle, with broadly-rounded shoulders and a continuously-curved or weakly acuminate apical margin, densely scaled (in fresh specimens) but with narrow and punctured striae obvious to the apex, declivity in side view forming a smooth curve, without any hint of an angle. Ventral surface, including the entire abdomen, with dense metallic scales similar to those on the elytra. Femora not toothed below, tibiae smoothly-rounded i.e. the external margin not forming a longitudinal ridge, tarsi pseudotetramerous. Males may be distinguished by the narrower elytra and simple apical abdominal sternite; females are broader and have the apical sternite strongly impressed.