Agriotes lineatus (Linnaeus, 1767)
Common in southern England with most records around s. Hants. and the Thames and Severn estuaries, coastal in the west country. Scattered records north of the Wash and in north east Scotland. One of several Agriotes species (cf.A.sputator L., A.obscurus L.) whose larvae are, or at least have been notoriously so in the past, pests of agricultural crops, popularly referred to as wireworms. Adults overwinter, commonly at ground level, we have found them in grass tussocks and fungi or under logs in parkland around Watford. They are active from March onward, depending on season and may be swept from low vegetation in open habitats throughout the Watford area, occasionally observed on flowerheads of various umbels during bright sunshine. Eggs are laid in the soil during May and June. Larvae inhabit the open soils of farmland but will also tolerate land with high water tables that are subject to occasional flooding, they grow slowly feeding on roots although sometimes e.g. in potatoes, they ascend within the stems. They burrow from one plant to another and are long lived, up to five years. Some plants e.g. Linseed and Flax seem immune. Pupation takes place deep in the soil towards the end of summer and is rapid, lasting about three weeks.

7-10mm. Easily recognised by the elytral interstices which are alternately light and dark. Antennae filiform, light brown to orange, distance between insertions greater than the length of joint 1, joint 2 as long as 4. Head characteristically broad against pronotum, black. Pronotum black or obscurely red laterally, elongate and broadest in front of middle. Elytra with strongly punctured striae, interstices 2 and 4 dark, usually to apex, 6 dark at least basally but this varies and in some specimens the whole elytra is banded to apex. Head and thorax punctate. Entire upper surface somewhat dull, with fine pale pubescence. Elytral interstices finely cross strigose (X20, illuminate from front). Legs brown, with fine pubescence, claws simple and distinct.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X20


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