Hesperophanes melonii Fancello et Cillo, 2012

Hesperophanes melonii
[Photo © David Navrátil]

Hesperophanes melonii, an endemic species to Sardinia, has been described from Cagliari environs by Luca Fancello and Davide Cillo in 2012 [❖] Unlike the sister species Hesperophanes sericeus (Fabricius, 1787), which attacks mainly dead wood of various tree species, larva of H. melonii creates its gallery inside the wood of living host plant (Arthrocnemum fructicosum). Larvae feed mostly in the root system, but sometimes development takes place above-ground parts of the host plant (approx. to a height ca 10 cm above the ground level). Within the extensive formations of A. fructicosum present in the type locality, the beetle attacks a low percentage of plants, which are very difficult to identify as they looks perfectly intact and without obvious signs of suffering. The environment colonized by H. melonii is a complex of relatively small localities along the western bank of the Stagno di Cagliari, characterized by salty soil. The species is distributed in area with presence of brackish water and is dependent on halophilic plant population (Arthrocnemum fructicosum) [❖].

Body length:♂♂ 12 - 19 mm / ♀♀ 15-20 mm
Life cycle:2 - 3 years [?]
Adults in:July - September
Host plant:Arthrocnemum fructicosum (Chenopodiacea)
Distribution:endemic species to Sardinia (Italy)

The depicted beetle was collected in Saline di Cagliari environs (Cagliari province, Sardinia, Italy) on June 24, 2015.

Collected by R. Rattu

Fancello L. and Cillo D.:
Descrizione di una nuova specie di Hesperophanes della Sardegna (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Cerambycinae).
Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria, Genova 104: 253-264, 2012. [download pdf icon]

Subfamilia: Cerambycinae Latreille, 1802
Tribus: Hesperophanini Mulsant, 1839
Genus: Hesperophanes Mulsant, 1839
Species: Hesperophanes melonii Fancello et Cillo, 2012