Tatianaerhynchites aequatus (Linnaeus, 1767)
This is a generally common species throughout Europe extending to the U.K., the Middle East and through the Caucasus, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and western Russia. In the U.K. it appears to be absent from the West Country and the islands but otherwise common throughout England and Wales north to South Yorkshire, and there are a few records further north though it does not occur in Scotland. Adults become active from the middle of April and are generally common by the beginning of May, they feed on the buds, flowers and emerging leaves of a range of trees but especially hawthorne, from which they may be beaten as the blossom develops. The females bore small holes into the developing fruit a week or two after the flowers open and insert a single egg just under the epidermis, and each will lay about 20 eggs over a period of a month or so, after which they generally die off. After inserting an egg the female will often chew the supporting stem so causing the fruit to dry or develop only slowly. Larvae emerge after about 2 weeks and develop slowly through the summer within the fruit, and when the fruit falls in the autumn the fully grown larvae emerge and burrow a few centimetres into the soil where they will pupate. This stage is brief and adults eclose within a week or two but remain in the pupal cell to overwinter. This species has formerly been a minor pest of a range of fruits including plum, cherry, apricot and apple though rarely of pears. The feeding holes made by the adult cause deformation and desiccation of the fruit as it develops, and young fruit which contain larvae and have had the peduncle damaged may fall prematurely or remain on the tree for a long time growing only slowly before turning brown and drying out. In the U.K. it has been recorded from a range of rosaceous species including blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, crab-apple, Malus sylvestris, rowan, Sorbus aucuparia and medlar, Mespilus germanica.
Rhynchites aequatus 1
Rhynchites aequatus 2
Rhynchites aequatus 3
Rhynchites aequatus 4
Among the U.K. Rhynchitids this is a very distinctive species’ bicoloured with the head, pronotum and elytral suture dark metallic, and the elytra red. 2.6-4.5mm. Head and pronotum black, usually with a purple or bronze reflection, coarsely punctured and with long, erect and pale pubescence. The eyes are convex and prominent, the temples parallel or broadened slightly towards the base, and the rostrum long and distinctly dilated at the apex. The antennae are black with segments 4-8 pitchy, and inserted about the middle of the rostrum. In the female the rostrum is longer than the head and pronotum combined, in the male it is about the same length. Elytra red with the suture and sometimes the base variously darkened, with dark, semi-erect pubescence throughout and strongly punctured striae which are about half the width of the interstices, entire surface finely punctured. Scutellary striole present and well-developed. The legs are dark with the tibiae pale, at least towards the base. Tarsi black with toothed claws.