Malvapion malvae (Fabricius, 1775)

Female
Locally common throughout southern England and the midlands, in Wales only from Glamorgan. Found on Mallows, especially Malva sylvestris, where the larvae develop in the fruits (Morris). Around Watford the adults first appear in mid or late March, always on the host and usually in small numbers. They increase in abundance through April and by mid May beating single plants over a sheet will produce dozens of specimens. The vast majority of mallow plants examined across our area were found to be hosting the species (June 2007), with large populations along the canal margins (on one plant more than 40 specimens, 22/06/07) and around the town centre. They are seldom found in local parks or woodland, the host appearing to prefer wasteland, especially around disturbed or built up areas.

1.8-2.4mm. The only european member of the genus and unlikely to be mistaken for any other species even in the field. In the beating tray they tend to move slowly and are easily examined with a X10 lens, the mostly orange elytra, yellow legs and dense pubescence gives them a unique appearance. Head, thorax and base of elytra shining black with dense light yellow pubescence. Rostrum cylindrical, pubescent almost to apex in male, to around antennal insertions in female. Female rostrum longer. Antennae orange, darker apically and inserted near base of rostrum. Elytral striae well impressed, interstices flat and finely rugose. Dark basal colour often extending along suture and lateral edge. Mid and hind tibiae with weak terminal spurs in male. Claws strongly toothed at base.

Description from 5 Watford specimens at X40

Male


Female

Male

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