Synapion ebeninum (Kirby, 1808)

Although widespread this is a very local insect; there are single modern (post 1990) records from the north Norfolk coast, Dorset and Cheshire (the only modern inland records). All other modern records are west coastal; Wales (many records) including Anglesey and Cumbria. A few older records exist from Kent, Essex and Gloucestershire and Morris (1990) quotes 'Dumfries only' from Scotland (NBN). In Britain the main host plant is Marsh Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus uliginosus), a species of wet meadows and bogs, while on the continent the beetle occurs on a variety of papilioninae. Joy, who quotes the beetle simply as 'local, England,' also lists Orobus (Bitter Vetch), which is a predominantly western UK species of woods and thickets (Keble Martin). Larvae develop within stems. Included on our Watford list from a single specimen swept from Lotus on Common moor during April 2006.

2-2.7mm (Joy) Entirely dull black, head and thorax with fine microsculpture which is obvious at X40. Head finely punctured and with a fine longitudinal furrow between eyes. Rostrum finely punctured throughout, cylindrical and widened at antennal insertions. Longer in female; almost as long as head and pronotum, in the male as long as the pronotum (Morris). Antennae inserted almost midway. Pronotum slightly elongate, side margins strongly sinuate; bulging before middle. Surface finely and diffusely punctured. Scutellum not, or barely, visible. Elytra broadest about middle, strongly convex and with the shoulders barely suggested. Striae wide and shallow, strongly punctured. Interstices with two rows of very fine punctures. Legs robust and relatively long. Claws appendiculate.

Description taken from 1 Watford specimen (female) at X40