Taeniapion urticarium (Herbst, 1784)

Female
Our only British species of Taeniapion , T.urticarium is almost completely confined to southern England below a line from the Wash to the Severn estuary and is absent from the west country. Further north there are single records from the west midlands and the north coast of Wales (NBN). The species is of local or very local occurence but may be common where found, the host plant is nettles and larvae live within the stems, generally around leaf nodes. Adults are readily observed by sweeping. Included on our Watford list from specimens swept from nettles growing alongside the river Gade at Cassio bridge during September 2008. Following this discovery a good deal of nettles seeping was undertaken throughout our area (and in any case this goes on throughout the year in all sorts of local places) but without further records so suggesting the species to be very local indeed.

Unmistakable even in the field. 1.9-2.3mm Narrow and elongate with dark body and testaceous appendages; head and pronotum black, elytra black with obscurely reddish areas which in our specimens are mostle towards the lateral margins. Head densely punctured and with sparse elongate pale scales which extend along the rostrum in the male, in the female the rostrum is glabrous beyond the antennal insertions. Antennae inserted near base of rostrum. Pronotum quadrate, surface obscurely punctate and densely granulate with a depression in front of base, scaling sparse as on head. Hind angles acute and produced laterally, hind margin strongly sinuate. Eltra elongate (25:16) and somewhat parallel sided, striae deeply impressed and punctate, about as wide as interstices which are strongly granulate. With a distinct pattern of two transverse bands and apical region with elongate pale scales which are mostly a mixture of two types; longer, broader and almost white, and a little shorter, narrower and pale brown. Legs long and slender, femora, tibiae a basal tarsal segments with pale scaling.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X40

Male

Female

Male

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