Lilioceris lilii (Scopoli, 1763)

This species has undoubtedly become more common and widespread over the last two or three decades; I recall being shown specimens of these at horticultural college in west London in the mid 1970's and being told this was for information only and it was highly unlikely we would ever see one in the wild. During six years of recording beetles in west London in the 1980's I saw only a single specimen, Uxbridge 1986. (DM)

Now (2008) widespread throughout the southeast, more scattered through the west country and midlands to south Yorkshire. There are a few records from Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Wales (coastal) (Cox)

Usually regarded as a pest by horticulturalists and gardeners, adults occur throughout the year, overwintering after emerging through the summer. They may be seen from the first warm days of march when they fly around gardens, a habit we have noticed several times around Watford. They soon increase in numbers and by april or may, depending on season, are common throughout Watford, mostly in domestic gardens but also along the western part of Cassiobury park on riparian vegetation (2007) and along the canal between Watford and Common moor. Adults and larvae feed on lilies (Lilium spp.) and Fritillaries (but not on Haemerocallis as is sometimes believed), adults make small holes in the leaves while larvae feed from the base of the plant working upwards until, in extreme cases, the later instar larvae consume even buds and seed cases. The mature orange larvae burrow several centimetres into the soil and pupate in silken cocoons, the adults emerging from may or june until late summer. There is a single generation each year although larvae at various stages of development may be found at the same time as egg laying begins around april and continues into the summer. Although they disperse through the summer when adults or larvae may suddenly appear in gardens, colonies may persist for several years.

6-8mm. By far our largest criocerine species and unlikely to be confused with any other. For the purpose of identification hardly needing a description but there are many interesting features. Completely black except for vivid red pronotum and elytra. Head very distinctive; antennae inserted in front of eyes which are deeply notched in front and widely protruding, temples strongly constricted behind eyes to a bulbous neck. Clypeus with forwardly converging shiny and strongly convex area through which runs a deep longitudinal furrow. Inner margin of eyes with two rows of punctures which run into a deeply striate area (X20) behind each eye to front margin of neck. Pronotum strongly constricted, without lateral borders and with large punctures along centreline, very finely and sparsely punctate throughout (X50). Scutellum black. Elytra with longitudinal rows of large punctures, ten across centreline, which may become confused towards base where a few large punctures lie between first and second row. Punctures stronger towards base and laterally. Sutural stria distinct from about middle, deepened apically. Shoulders very broad compared with pronotum, depressed at level of fifth stria. Underside and legs black with fine yellow pubescence. Dense pubescence beneath third tarsal segment generally visible from above. Claws simple. Description from 3 Watford specimens at X20.

Description from 3 Watford specimens at X20