Bruchidius varius (Olivier, 1795)

Added to the British list in 1997 (Hodge, 1997) from a single specimen found in East Sussex in 1994 this species is now widespread although local in the southeast with records west to Wiltshire, including the Isle of Wight, and north to Rutland although so far East Anglia is almost devoid of records (NBN). Included in our Watford list from a pair (male and female) swept from dense, mixed herbage alongside a drainage ditch below cassiobury park during May 2008. Host plants include various species of Trifolium (Clover) (Lausnitzer, 1992), in England recorded mostly from T.prateuse (red clover) and T.medium (zigzag clover) but also recorded from Ulex europoeus and Bolboschaenus maritinus (sea club rush) (Cox, 2007). On the continent they have been recorded on a wide range of hosts(Cox, 2001) and have in the past been a serious pest of red clover in France. Adults are most easily found by sweeping among grass or vegetation containing the hosts in a wide range of habitats; woodland, parkland, wasteland, road verges, marshland and coastal cliffs, when netted they are very active and fly readily. There is a single generation each year with adults appearing after hibernation in April, new generation adults begin to appear in July and August and remain in the dry flower heads until they leave to find cover for hibernation. Eggs are laid at the bases of flowers from early May to June or July and hatch within a few days, larvae probably develop within clover seeds (Hodge, 1997) and growth is completed within 30-35 days.

2.5-3.0mm. Body black with characteristic pattern of pale grey or golden brown scales. Head densely punctured and sparsely scaled, with a shiny raised longitudinal ridge between eyes. Eyes prominent, with a deep narrow incision which is visible from above. Antennae black with 2 to 3 apical segments red in male, only 1 or 2 in female, segments 1-4 variously red in both sexes. Segments 4-10 strongly serrate in the male, much less so in the female. Pronotum conical, sides without borders or tubercles. Convex, surface densely punctured and microsculptured, this is plainly visible through the pale scaling which forms a distinct pattern, hind margin strongly sinuate. Scutellum densly scaled. Elytra strongly convex with sides almost parallel, apices separately rounded. Striae narrow and well impressed to before apex. interstices flat and finely rugose, with patches of pale scale-like pubescence thst form two or three - the subapical patches are not so well developed - distinct trsnsverse bands. Pygidium with dense, pale scale-lik pubescence. Legs variously red; base of femora, inside edge of metatibiae and tarsi black in our specimens. Ventral surface of metafemora without a tooch(or with only a very small spine, cox, 2001). Apex of metatibiae with two short, stout spines on inner edge. Basal segment of metatarsi shorter, or about as long as, than other segments combined. Third segment of all tarsi strongly bilobed. Claws appendiculate

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X40

Cox M.L. 2001 Notes on the natural History, distribution and identification of seed beetles (Bruchidae) of Britain and Ireland. Coleopterist 9(3):113-147
Hodge P.J. 1997 Bruchidius varians new to the Bristish isles. Coleopterist 5(3):65-68
Klausnitzer, B.1992 In Lohse, G.A and Lucht, W.H. Die Kafer Mitteleuropas Vol 13 :5864. Goecke and Evers Krefeld.