Friday, 15 February 2013

Stenopterapion (Cobosiotherium) scutellare (Kirby, 1811)

On the 1st February 2013 I was searching the Gorse (Ulex euripaeus) on Baildon Moor for moth larvae. I was particularly looking for the caterpillars of the Scotopteryx geometrids as a very rarely collected parasitoid (Aleiodes) uses July Belle (S. luridata) as a host. It is quite likely that Lead Belle (S. mucronata) is an alternative host and Baildon Moor is where the only known Yorkshire specimen of this moth was captured in 1897.

I noticed that one of the gorse stems was swollen and, suspecting this to be a gall, I cut the stem in two to reveal an insect larva. I took photographs of the gall and larva and posted these onto the British Galls Yahoogroup website which is an internet forum run by the British Plant Gall Society. Within an hour, a reply was posted suggesting that the galls were likely to be caused by the coleopterous species Stenopterapion scutellare (Kirby, 1811).

I have now sent the record to the BPGS and to the Plant Galls Recorder for the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union). It seems to be a first record for VC64.

There are still a few galls visible on the gorse bush and I hope to harvest these later in the year in order to see the adult beetle.