Pseudovadonia livida (Fabricius, 1777)
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802
LEPTURINAE Latreille, 1802
LEPTURINI Latreille, 1802
PSEUDOVADONIA Lobanov et al., 1981
Among the most common of the European longhorns this species is widespread from Portugal to Asia Minor, Syria, Iran, Ukraine and Russia east to Baikal, to the north extending to the UK and Denmark, where it is rare, but not reaching Scandinavia, and in recent decades there has been a general decline in many areas e.g. Germany. In the UK it is generally common across England north to the Wash though absent from most of Wales and only very rarely found further north. Adults occur from May until August, they frequent open and sunny situations such as meadows and pasture, roadsides, arable land, parkland and wooded margins etc. where they visit a range of flowers to feed on pollen and nectar; mostly buttercups, umbels, yarrow, ox-eye daisy and blackberry but also many others. They fly well and so may be expected in any flower-rich situation, mating occurs on flowers early in the year and females oviposit in humus rich soil infested with the fungus Marasmius oreades (Bolton) Fr (1836)-the fairy-ring mushroom, hence the beetle’s common name. Larvae develop over two years although in warmer southern European areas this may be shortened to a single season, feeding on humus, roots and other subterranean parts of plants as well as hypertrophic mycelia of the fungus which would appear to be an essential part of the diet, in the autumn they burrow down to about 5cm where they will overwinter and resume feeding in the spring. Fully grown larvae construct a cell in the soil and pupate during April and new generation adults appear in May, in some northern European areas the pupal cell is constructed in the autumn and the larvae remain inside until the spring when they will pupate. In older literature the larvae are described as developing in dead wood of oak and chestnut etc. but this has proved to be wrong. Adults may be swept from flowers in many open habitats but they are worth searching for as they will sometimes appear in large numbers on umbels or in buttercup flowers; we once found such a group in buttercup flowers among closely mown grass in a park in West London-and they are worth seeing.
Pseudovadonia livida 1
Pseudovadonia livida 2
Pseudovadonia livida 3
A small, 5-9mm, and robust species which might be mistaken for Alosterna, especially as they may occur together in the field, but it is broader and has extensively dark legs. Forebody shiny black; moderately strongly and densely punctured, elytra pale and less densely punctured, dorsal pubescence pale. Antennae black or dark brown, legs black with the anterior and middle tibiae at least to some extent, and usually extensively, pale. Head broad, obliquely inclined and strongly produced forward, eyes large, convex and notched anteriorly, temples short and strongly constricted. Pronotum shiny-black, quadrate and without lateral borders or sculpture, punctation a little sparser than that on the head, and with dense outstanding pubescence. Anterior margin distinctly bordered, posterior margin sinuate to rounded external angles. Scutellum shiny black, impunctate and emarginate apically. Elytra orange or red, often with the suture darker, shoulders much wider than the base of the pronotum, laterally narrowed to separately rounded apices. Punctation random but with a tendency to form rows, finer than that on the pronotum, pubescence semi-erect and directed backwards.