Phyllobius pomaceus Gyllenhal, 1834
Common throughout England and Wales and with a few scattered records from Scotland. Associated with nettles (Urticae dioica) and occasionally Meadow Sweet (Filipendula ulmaria (L.)) Morris although around Watford they tend to be adventitious late in their season and may be found on herbaceous vegetation generally; during June 2007 individuals were swept from Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis L.) in Whippendell wood. Sweeping nettles throughout our area from the beginning of April will usually produce them although never in the numbers seen only twenty years ago. Numbers increase into May when they might be decribed as abundant but our impression of this is tainted by memories of how they occurred during the 1980's when nettles on wasteland everywhere hosted large and very visible populations. They occur on nettles in all situations; parkland, our rapidly diminishing wasteland, gardens, riverbanks and woodland. Usually present until the end of June, the latest 2007 sighting being July 5th, Cassiobury park nature reserve. Larvae live within the soil feeding on roots.

7-9mm. Head distinctly punctured, with prominent eyes and long temples which are smooth behind the eyes i.e. without striations. Rostrum short and broad, dorsally flattened in front of eyes, with scrobes and antennal insertions clearly visible from above (Polydrusus). Antennae long and slender with segment 3 less than twice as long as broad (cf. P.glaucus (Scop.)) Morris. Pronotum slightly transverse and broadest at middle, cylindrical, without borders and punctate as head. Elytra long, from slender and parallel to widely broadened and rounded behind middle, typically females are broad while males are more or less parallel but this varies and it is not difficult to arrange a continuum. Upper surface with dense metallic and recumbent oval scales (X50) although in many specimens these will be partly or almost entirely missing, usually green with a golden lustre but colour varies from blue through green to coppery red. Usually with a few fine semi erect setae. Apical declivity steep. Legs long and robust, black but occasionally light brown which may cause confusion with P.glaucus so scales need to be examined in suspect specimens. All legs with metallic setae throughout. Femora strongly toothed, especially anterior pair. Tibia rounded (cf. P.pyri L.). Claws connate.

Among Phyllobius species the only possible confusion is with P.glaucus in which the legs, or at least the tibiae in part, are clear yellow or reddish yellow and the scales are elongate and pointed (X50).

Leg colour is the only character used in Joy.

Description from 6 Watford specimens at X30


Home