Stictoleptura scutellata (Fabricius, 1781)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CHRYSOMELOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CERAMBYCIDAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINAE Latreille, 1802

LEPTURINI Latreille, 1802

Stictoleptura Casey, 1924

This is a widespread but generally very local and sporadic species occurring throughout Europe from the Mediterranean north to the southern provinces of Fennoscandia and the UK, it is also widespread across North Africa and Asia Minor. In the UK it is very local and generally scarce in the southeast of England, mostly around London but also from Hampshire and Kent and there are scattered records north to south Yorkshire and west to Somerset and South Wales. Here the adults are active during June and July while in more southern continental areas they have a longer season, extending into September, the typical habitat is open and undisturbed primary deciduous woodland, in the UK in lowland areas but otherwise in upland and low mountain regions, they usually inhabit clearings and margins and hardly ever occur on isolated trees or in disturbed areas, although we have recorded it from our local wooded parkland in Watford. Hosts include a range of trees, in our experience horse chestnut and hornbeam but also oak, alder, poplar, elm, beech, birch and hazel. Males are likely to be encountered either in flight around trees or on flowers, generally on umbels, elder or hawthorne blossom, females also occur on flowers but seem to fly much less than the males, and mating occurs low down on trunks. Females oviposit in crevices on dry areas of wood on trunks or fallen branches, often on areas of dead wood on otherwise healthy trees, and larvae develop deep within dry xylem, producing long galleries parallel to the grain which become packed tightly with cream-coloured frass. Larval development proceeds over two or three summers and pupation occurs in a chamber near the surface during the spring, adults may eclose early in the year but do not appear until late spring, leaving the wood through circular emergence holes.

Stictoleptura scutellata 1

Stictoleptura scutellata 1

Stictoleptura scutellata 2

Stictoleptura scutellata 2

Stictoleptura scutellata 3

Stictoleptura scutellata 3

Stictoleptura scutellata larva

Stictoleptura scutellata larva

Among our UK fauna this species is distinguished by its size, 12-20mm, and entirely black colouration although the elytra may, rarely, be dark brown or the entire body may have a have a slight bluish tinge. Entire dorsal surface with dense and strong punctures which are confluent in places, and short yellow or golden pubescence. Head transverse with (relatively) weakly incised eyes and converging, obtusely-angled temples and robust antennae that reach back onto the basal third of the elytra. Pronotum convex; parallel-sided in the basal half and strongly narrowed to a curved anterior margin, with well-developed transverse depressions in front of the base and behind the apex, lateral margins unbordered and without teeth or spines. Scutellum clothed with creamy or golden pubescence.  Elytra with well-developed and rounded shoulders; strongly tapering in the male, much less so in the female, to a truncate and incurved apical margin which is sharply angled externally and toothed at the sutural angle, and with a variable depression inside the shoulders. Legs long and robust; entirely dark but for patches of pale pubescence towards the apex of the front and middle tibiae, the basal meta-tarsomere is notably long and slender in both sexes. Males are more slender, have longer and slightly serrate antennae and have the fifth sternite strongly notched.

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