Smaragdina affinis (Illiger, 1794)
This western Palaearctic species occurs throughout Europe from Portugal to Italy and Greece in the south and extending north into the UK, Germany and Poland; although there are a few scattered records from e.g. Latvia and Finland, and further east it is recorded from Russia as far as the Black Sea. With the general exception of France and Central and Southern Germany, where it is locally common, the species is generally very local and rare and known in many countries e.g. Portugal and Spain from only a few records. In the UK it is very rare; it was recorded from several sites in Oxfordshire during the 20th century, but the most recent record is from Gloucestershire in 1965 and it is now considered to be endangered. Typical habitats are dry scrub and grassland, open woodland and wooded margins, especially on south-facing slopes exposed to the sun, and hedgerows and copses near rivers. Adults occur on various broadleaf trees and shrubs; especially Hazel (Corylus L.) and Birch (Betula L.) but also Oak (Quercus L.), willows (Salix L.), Hawthorn Crataegus Tourn.), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) and Bird Cherry (P. padus L.), where they feed on foliage. Little is known of the biology but adults occur between May (earlier on the continent) and July, peaking in June, and the species is thought to be univoltine. Nothing is known of the larvae but they have been said to develop among leaf-litter or in ant nests, and adults have been recorded from Europe in January, suggesting the pupal stage may overwinter. Adults usually occur in small numbers, they fly well in sunny weather and often visit flowers, especially various Asteraceae.
Smaragdina affinis 1
Smaragdina affinis 2
3.5-4.0mm. Elongate, broad and discontinuous in outline, head and elytra dark blue, pronotum yellow with a broad dark blue or black median longitudinal stripe, antennae yellow with most segments darkened apically, the distal segments often wholly dark, legs yellow, claws dark. Head hypognathous, only narrowly visible from above, finely punctured and pubescent between large and convex eyes and with fine longitudinal lines across the base. Antennae inserted laterally in front of the eyes, 11-segmented with segments 5-10 serrate. Pronotum transverse, widest across widely-rounded posterior angles and smoothly narrowed to rounded anterior angles and a straight apical margin, basal margin produced backwards medially, surface smoothly convex, sparsely and finely punctured, more strongly so towards the centre of the base. Scutellum large, triangular and rounded apically, surface smooth and impunctate. Elytra only slightly dilated from rounded shoulders to a continuous apical margin, basal margin very finely bordered, surface uneven, especially in the basal half, moderately strongly and randomly punctured throughout. Legs long and robust, tibiae smooth and without obvious apical spurs, tarsi pseudotetramerous. Claws smooth, without a basal tooth.