Cionus alauda (Herbst, 1784)
A locally common species across England north to Durham, less common further north to southern Scotland (Morris, 2002) and with scattered records from Wales. They occur on various Scropulariaceae; Scrophularia nodosa (Figwort) and S.auriculata (Water Figwort) are the predominant foodplants of both adults and larvae although Verbascum spp. (Mulleins) are also hosts and Buddleia davidii (Williams, 1974) and Scrophularia cannina (Scherf, 1964) have been quoted. Key (1992) records interspecific copulation between C.alauda and C.scrophulariae (L.) on Buddleia globosa in Lincolnshire during 1992. Adults overwinter in the soil around the host plant and on emerging in the spring make their way up the plant to feed on the underside of lower leaves causing characterisric small holes. Eggs are laid during the spring in cavities between the leaf surfaces eaten out by the female from the underside, these are 'plugged' after oviposition and May be found around the leaf edges. Larvae feed from the underside of the leaves, removing the top layer of cells and producing characteristic large patches. There are three larval instars and the larger, later stages are sluglike and obvious on the leaves. When ready the larvae make their way down the stem to pupate in silken cocoons in the soil. There is a single generation each year. For detailed observations of the life history see Read (1977)

The species occurs in spring and summer along woodland borders between Cassiobury park and Whippendell wood where the foodplant is common. Other local areas were sampled during 2007 without success but the season was very wet and opportunities were limited. Further local work is planned for 2008.

The quadrate and distinctly marked elytra make this species readily identifiable, even in the field. The only possible confusion is with other Cionus spp.

2.8-3.5mm. Distance between eyes about the same as the width of an eye when viewed from above. This separation, along with the elytal pattern, will distinguish alauda from other Cionus spp. Antennae inserted beyond middle of rostrum, red with a five segmented funiculus. Club black, 3 segmented and pubescent. Rostrum slightly widened from antennal insertions, scrobes not visible from above. Pronotum much narrower than elytra, narrowed anteriorly, without lateral borders and with strongly sinuate hind margin. Elytra with well developed humeral prominence, sutural stria black from behind scutellum to dark macula. Interstice three raised at base and with dense black scaling (cf. other Cionus spp.). All dark markings, including a large oblong or round subapical, with raised black scales. Interstice five with raised tubercle before middle. Legs red with elongate gray scaling.Pro tibiae toothed beneath. Claws connate, unequal in length in Male.

Description from 1 Watford specimen at X30

Key, R.S. 1992. Two further cases of interspecific copulation. Coleopterist 1(3):13
Read, R.W.J. 1977. Notes on the biology of Cionus scrophulariae together with preliminary observations on C.tuberculosus and C.alauda. Ent. Gazette 28:183-202
Scerf, H. 1964. Die entwicklungesstadien der mitteleurop- Alschen curculioniden (Morphologie,Bionomie,Okologie) Abh. senckenb naturforsch. Ges 1964:506
Williams, S.A. 1974. Two species of Cionus on Buddleia davidii. EntMon.Mag. 110:63.