Thursday, 1 June 2017
Green nettle weevils
Not many butterflies on my transect today, but there were a few other mini-beasts. Like these green nettle weevils - Phyllobius pomaceus.
Apparently they're only ever found on nettles - according to one website - but those I saw today were mostly on meadowsweet (though there were nettles nearby). But I've just noticed the same website says they are not much more than 1/8 inch long - which isn't what I was seeing. And indeed the insect book shows them as being at least 3/8 inch.
So, some more googling was required. It seems there are ten Phyllobius species in Britain, of which P pomaceus is the largest at about 9mm - 1/2 inch. There is another important feature - a spur or tooth on the on the femur of each leg - which can be seen on the original full-sized pictures.
The author of the first website I looked at must have seen the small green nettle weevil, P. roboretanus which is only 3.5mm.
Incidentally, the name pomaceus refers to the colour, which can be apple-green. The colour is in the scales, which wear off to reveal the black cuticle beneath.
The moral of the story is to check a number of websites, and come to your own conclusions when identifying mini-beasts.