Stenurella melanura (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is generally one of the most common members of the family throughout much of Europe; it is widespread from the Mediterranean north to the middle of Fennoscandia and the UK and extends through the Caucasus and Russia east to Mongolia, here it is common across southern and central England becoming more local and generally rare in Wales and further north to the Scottish border. Adults are active from May to August or September, depending on the year, and occur in a wide range of habitats; typically open woodland or wooded parkland but also grassland, road verges, dunes and agricultural borders etc with plenty of flowers and where host trees or shrubs occur. They are active on warm days; they fly readily and visit a range of flowers including umbels and those of Compositae and Rosaceae, often occurring in numbers and mating early in the season on the flowerheads, otherwise they may be swept from foliage and grassland or found resting on trunks or fallen timber. Females oviposit among bark crevices and in cracks in exposed wood of dead or dying trees, stumps or fallen timber, usually where it is damp, and they may move between sites as they do so, a wide range of both broadleaf and coniferous trees have been recorded as hosts including Cytissus but among the most popular seem to be oak, beech, willow, maple, hawthorn, pine and juniper. Larvae develop within thin dead twigs, branches and surface roots, they generally feed on decaying or crumbly and slightly damp wood; smaller larvae feed under bark while larger larvae tend to penetrate the xylem, producing long galleries parallel to the axis, they grow relatively slowly and development may be extended over two summers if necessary. Fully grown larvae pupate in late spring or early summer in a cell near the surface of the xylem or under bark if this is present and adults eclose from April but generally remain in the pupal cell for a while and emerge in May or June. Adults tend to stay close to trees or fallen timber or to visit flowers early in the season but later on, especially after a spell of hot weather, they disperse and may be swept from grassland or scrub, sometimes remote from trees or shrubs.
POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886
CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802
LEPTURINAE Latreille, 1802
LEPTURINI Latreille, 1802
STENURELLA Villiers, 1974
This medium sized species, 6-10mm, will soon become familiar from the slender form and distinctive colour; entirely black but for extensively red or orange elytra. Dorsal pubescence pale, abdominal sternites, meso- and metanotum with paler grey pubescence. Head elongate and obliquely inclined forward, with dense and strong punctures which are confluent in places, generally with a smooth longitudinal line, labrum sparsely punctured. Eyes convex, oval and deeply incised, temples short and strongly constricted. Antennae long and slender; reaching back to the elytral apex in the male but to only the apical third in the female. Pronotum campanulate and slightly elongate, laterally without sculpture or borders, anterior and posterior margins bordered, posterior margin bisinuate between sharp and obliquely produced posterior angles. Surface strongly and densely punctured, weakly depressed in front of the posterior margin but without a distinct transverse furrow. Elytra with sloping shoulders and gradually tapering to an incurved apical margin, surface finely and evenly punctured, colour typically pale with dark margins and suture but this varies and extensively dark or pale specimens occur. Legs long and slender; femora weakly clavate, tibiae smooth and each with two strong apical spines, tarsi pseudotetramerous, the basal metatarsomere notably long and slender; longer than the other segments combined. Males can be distinguished by the more tapering and elongate elytra, about 2.5X longer than wide, in the female more parallel in the basal two thirds and about 2.2X longer than wide.