Tapinotus sellatus (Fabricius, 1794)

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CURCULIONOIDEA Latreille, 1802

CURCULIONIDAE Latreille, 1802

CEUTORHYNCHINAE Gistel, 1848

SCLEROPTERINI Schultze, 1902

Tapinotus Schönherr, 1826

With the exception of North Africa, this species is present across most of the Palaearctic region, from Europe and Asia Minor to the far east of Russia. It is generally common from the Pyrenees to the Balkan Peninsula and Ukraine in the south, and north to Denmark and southern Sweden and Finland where it tends to be more sporadic and local. In the UK it is widespread though generally very local and rare; there are recent records from Surrey, Hampshire, East Anglia and coastal South Wales, and unconfirmed records from the midlands, but it tends to occur in small numbers and is easily overlooked as adults spend much of their time beneath leaves or on stems. Adults are present year-round; they overwinter among tussocks, litter or moss and are active from April until September, peaking in abundance during May and June. The typical habitats are wetland margins, swamps, ditches, peat bogs and damp heathland etc.; in the UK in lowland situations but on the continent commonly in upland to middle mountain altitudes. In the UK the host is Yellow or Garden Loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris L.), but in Europe also Tufted Loosestrife (L. thyrsiflora L.), and across Asia on Dahurian Loosestrife (L. davurica Ledeb.) Mating occurs from early in the spring and females oviposit among higher foliage and stems over a few weeks from the beginning of May. Larvae appear from May, they initially feed in tender stems but work their way down into the roots where they will pupate from July. New generation adults appear from the middle of August; these emerge and feed on tender foliage before entering tussocks etc in late summer or autumn. Adults need to be searched for very carefully as they tend to occur in small numbers on only a few host plants, even where these are abundant, they have been recorded by vacuum sampling among host plants and they may occur in winter extraction samples and flood refuse.

Tapinotus sellatus 1

Tapinotus sellatus 1

© Lech Borowiec

Tapinotus sellatus 2

Tapinotus sellatus 2

© U.Schmidt

2.9-4.7mm. The very distinctive habitus should be sufficient to identify this species, even in the field. Elongate-oval and convex, body black with pale grey scales except for either side of the pronotal disc and in darker patterns on the elytra, rostrum dark with the apex pale reddish, antennae pale with darker clubs, legs reddish with the femora and often the tibial apices black. Head transverse with long and slightly diverging temples although these are usually partly withdrawn into the thorax, rather flat between convex and weakly protruding eyes and with a mixture of pale and dark oval scales, rostrum curved gently down in both sexes (in females about 1.2X longer than the pronotum). Antennae long and slender, the scrobe about as long as the apical width of the pronotum and only weakly thickened in the apical third, funiculus 6-segmented and the club narrow and pointed. Pronotum slightly transverse, broadest across the base and narrowed to distinct post-orbital lobes and an almost straight apical margin which is simple (not doubled when viewed from in front) and closely adjacent to the vertex, basal margin produced medially, surface more-or-less evenly convex. Prosternum with a deep rostral groove, meso- and metasternum simple. Ascending mesepimera visible from above in front of the elytral humeri. Elytra elongate (about 1.3X longer than wide) and smoothly curved from sloping shoulders to separately-rounded apical margins, humeral calli small but prominent and striae usually substantially visible among the dense scaling. Elytral pattern usually consists of extensive grey scales with a dark patch below each shoulder a broad dark transverse fascia slightly behind the middle which does not reach the lateral margins, a variable but much narrower transverse mark before the apex, and often with several short dark streaks in the basal half. Femora at most very weakly toothed. Males have an apical tooth on the middle femora, in females it is unarmed. Tarsi pseudotetramerous with the third segment strongly bilobed and the last segment long and curved. Claws toothed at the base.