Semanotus russicus (Fabricius, 1777)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CERAMBYCIDAE Latreille, 1802

CERAMBYCINAE Latreille, 1802

CALLIDIINI Kirby, 1837

Semanotus Mulsant, 1839

Although not native to the UK Semanotus russicus is a widespread Palaearctic species with a rather patchy distribution; it occurs in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine and Crimea and there are also populations in central Asia. Two subspecies are recognized: S. russicus algiricus Pic. from North Africa, and S. russicus persicus Solsky from Iran. The North American species S. ligneus (Fab.) is closely similar and may be conspecific although the allopatric nature of the distribution - neither occurs in eastern Russia or Siberia - would suggest otherwise. Semanotus russicus has occurred on several occasions in the UK and it may now be established in Berkshire where it was found developing among damaged wood in a mature conifer hedge in 2007. This discovery is the basis of the species’ inclusion in the British list. A previous record from a Warwickshire nursery was also from a hedging conifer, Cupressus x leylandii,  that was known to have been imported from Italy. Known host plants include Cedrus spp. (Pinaceae), Cupressus and, the main host, Juniperus (both Cupressaceae). In Europe the adults occur very early in the year; February, March or April and seek out moribund or drought stressed trees. Larvae feed under bark on branches or trunks and enter the xylem during the summer to pupate after one or two years of development. Damage inflicted by the larvae causes swelling to the local area and the death of the branch above the attack. Pupation occurs in the xylem where the emerged adult will spend the winter before emerging early in the year.

Semanotus russicus 1

Semanotus russicus 1

Of a characteristic appearance and not likely to be confused with any other species. Body and appendages black but for the tarsi and the distal antennal segments brown or red. Antennae entirely pubescent. Longer in male, last four segments especially so. Head shiny and densely punctured, with a variable raised, shiny area towards base. Mandibles pointing forward and prominent. Eyes crescent shaped around the posterior margin of the antennal insertions. Pronotum not bordered laterally, broadest in front of middle and evenly rounded to front margin, contracted and sinuate to rear. Basal margin bordered and with a comb of very fine grey pubescence. Surface strongly and deeply punctured, with a symmetrical pattern of raised shiny areas that are almost impunctate, on disc.  Head, pronotum and first antennal segment with dense , long and erect pubescence. Scutellum black. Elytral puncturation random; moderately strong and close.  Entire surface with fine recumbent pubescence and with long erect pubescence across the base and along the suture almost to apex. Sutural margins divergent from apical third to apex, apices separately rounded. Femora weakly clavate. Tibial margins smooth, each with a weakly incurved fine spine on inner side at apex.