Phytoecia cylindrica (Linnaeus, 1758)
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802
LAMIINAE Latreille, 1825
PHYTOECIINI Mulsant, 1839
PHYTOECIA Dejean, 1835
This is a widespread and generally common species throughout Europe, with the exception of the western Mediterranean islands, extending east into Asia Minor, Kazakhstan and Russia to Siberia and China, to the north it extends to the south of the UK and the northern provinces of Fennoscandia. In the UK it is locally common but mostly confined to England below the level of the Wash although there are a few scattered records further north, the typical habitat is grassland, parkland, wooded borders and hedgerows where the adults are active in bright sun. They occur on the flowers of various herbaceous plants where they consume pollen and nectar but otherwise spend much of their time on the stems of host plants, mating and running up and down looking for oviposition sites. Hosts include various umbels but more particularly cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, chervil, Chaerophyllum tenulentum, hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, and wild carrot, Daucus carota. Adults are active from March until July, they mate in the spring and oviposit from April or May; females cut into suitable stems, generally of 5-6 mm in diameter and just below an inflorescence, and insert a single egg before walking or flying off to find more sites. Larvae emerge quickly and begin to bore into the pith, they will consume the entire contents of the stem before moving down to continue feeding, eventually ending up at the base near ground level, as the larva feeds the stem wilts from the top downwards and this can be a good indication of its presence, fully grown larvae pupate from August in a cell within the roots near the ground and adults eclose in late summer or autumn although they will remain in the cell until the following spring, larvae from late eggs or those that have developed slowly occasionally overwinter and pupate in the spring.
The small and slender adults are quite unlike any other UK species and should be unmistakable. 6-10mm. Rather parallel-sided with wide and prominent shoulders and-typical of the subfamily-a head steeply declined in front of the eyes, body entirely dark leaden grey but for pale scales to the scutellum and variously continued in a narrow longitudinal line on the head, pronotum and elytral suture. Legs dark, the apex of the anterior femora and most of the anterior tibiae orange, antennae entirely dark. Head and pronotum densely punctured and finely pubescent, eyes transverse, almost divided in two, and curved around the antennal insertions, terminal palpomeres elongate and pointed. Pronotum quadrate or nearly so, parallel-sided and lacking sculpture or raised lateral margins. Elytra gradually tapering from prominent shoulders to obliquely-truncate apices, each with three variously-developed longitudinal ridges; one at the suture, one along the disc and one along the lateral margin which is usually not visible from above, entire surface densely punctured and finely pubescent.