Stictoleptura cordigera (Füssli, 1775)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CERAMBYCIDAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINI Latreille, 1802

Stictoleptura Casey, 1924

Only recently recorded in the UK from southeast England in 2007 (Richardson, 2014), and now known to be established here, this species is widespread and generally common across western and southern Europe from the Pyrenees to Greece, including many of the Mediterranean islands, north to Belgium, Germany and Ukraine and there are scattered records from Denmark, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon and northern Iran. The nominate sub species occurs throughout this range while two others are more restricted: S. c. anojaensis (Slama, 1982) is endemic to Crete and C. s. illyrica (Müller, 1948) is known from Italy, the Balkans and Greece.  Here it has become established in east London in a large area of grassland that once formed part of the Hackney Marshes wetland complex but its origin remains unknown.  Adults occur during July and August in the UK but have a longer season in warmer continental areas; they are diurnal and fly readily to a range of flowers, especially various Apiaceae, where they feed on pollen and nectar. Mating pairs are common on flowers throughout their short season and soon after females oviposit on a range of broadleaf trees, in the UK often on native oaks (Quercus L.) that are exposed to the sun, but on the continent also on Evergreen oak (Q. ilex L.), Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) and species of Pistacia L. Larvae develop over two or three years and pupate in a subcortical cell from late spring, producing the first adults in early July. Sampling adults involves inspecting flowers on warm sunny days when they fly in numbers and remain on flowers for long periods, often mating while the female continues to feed.

Stictoleptura cordigera 1

Stictoleptura cordigera 1

Stictoleptura cordigera 2

Stictoleptura cordigera 2

Stictoleptura cordigera 3

Stictoleptura cordigera 3

14-20 mm. Very distinctive and readily identified among our UK fauna by the heart-shaped (hence the specific name) black mark to the elytra. Very rare specimens occur with entirely red or black elytra. Forebody and appendages black, elytra red with a median heart-shaped black mark that continues narrowly along the suture to fuse with an extensively darkened apical area. Head with large emarginate eyes and short converging temples, densely punctured and uneven above and produced anteriorly. Antennae filiform with the basal segment expanded from the base and truncate apically, in the male reaching into the apical third of the elytra, in the female reaching at most half way. Pronotum almost quadrate in both sexes, evenly rounded laterally to a strong sub-basal constriction and projecting posterior angles, evenly convex to a transverse impression in front of the base and often with a shallow longitudinal impression, surface densely punctured and with outstanding black pubescence. Elytra narrowed from rounded shoulders to an obliquely-truncate apical margin which has a sharp tooth at the sutural angle, surface without striae although usually with various vague longitudinal impressions beneath the shoulders, densely punctured and with fine pale pubescence throughout. Legs long and slender, usually entirely black but the front tibiae are often lighter. Females may be distinguished by their much broader and less strongly narrowed elytra.