Phytoecia argus (G. F. Frölich, 1793)

Gradinarov, Denis & Gjonov, Ilia, 2020, New record of the steppe longhorn beetle species Phytoecia (Musaria) argus (G. F. Frölich, 1793) (Cerambycidae: Lamiinae) in Bulgaria, ZooNotes 155, pp. 1-4: 1-3

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Phytoecia argus (G. F. Frölich, 1793)


Phytoecia argus (G. F. Frölich, 1793)  

( Fig. 1C View Fig , Fig. 2A, B View Fig )

Material examined: Bulgaria: W Stara Planina range, Chepun Mts. , 2,5 km NW Golemo Malovo Vill ., 42°57’17.9’’N 22°59’06.6’’E, 1065 m., dry calcareous grassland, 11.05.2019, 1 ♂, net sweeping, I. Gjonov leg. ( BFUS) GoogleMaps   ; the same data, but 42°57’17.5’’N 22°59’12.6’’E, 1078 m., 17.05.2019, 3 ♂♂, 2 ♀♀, hand collection, D. Gradinarov & I. Gjonov leg. ( BFUS). GoogleMaps   All

specimens collected by hand collection were found individually around the stems of Trinia glauca   (L.) Dumort. ( Apiaceae   ), on the ground ( Fig. 1B, C View Fig ).

Species of the genus Seseli   L. ( Apiaceae   ) are most commonly cited as host plants of Ph. argus   ( Bense 1995, Rejzek et al. 2001, Sama 2002, Migliaccio et al. 2007, Hoskovec et al. 2019). Known host plants of Seseli   genus are summarized by Rejzek et al. (2001), including the following species – S. pallasii Besser   (syn. S. varium Trev.   ), S. annuum   L., S. montanum subsp. tommasinii   (Rchb. f.) (syn. S. tommasinii Rchb.   f.) and S. devenyense Simonk. Along   with this more accepted view, Zettel (2006) and Merkl & Szél (2012) reported a relationship of Ph. argus   also with T. glauca   from the same plant family for Austria and Hungary, respectively. According to Merkl & Szél (2012), beetles can be found as early as April at the base of both Trinia Hoffm.   and Seseli   host plants. Adult beetles are active from April to June and the larval development is at the roots of both T. glauca   and Seseli   spp. ( Merkl & Szél 2012). Our record seems to confirm the ability of Ph. argus   to use T. glauca   as a host plant as well.

The distribution of Ph. argus   seems to be restricted to the remnants of natural steppe habitats in the Western Palaearctic ( Schoppmann 1990, Pokorný 2005, Zettel 2006, Merkl 2008, Shapovalov 2012, Dedyukhin 2016). We conclude that the species may be useful as an indicator species for the assessment of the conservation status of natural steppe habitats in Europe.

The mountain petrophytic steppes are widespread in the low mountain regions of Western Bulgaria at an altitude of 500 to 1500 m ( Tzonev et al. 2011). The first report of Ph. argus   from Bulgaria ( Ganev 1984) lacks information on the habitat type and host plant, but petrophytic steppes are also present in the area of the Zemen Gorge. The species is likely to be more widespread in suitable habitats in Western Bulgaria. In faunistic studies, host plants of both Seseli   and Trinia   genera must be checked for the presence of beetles.