Phytoecia (Phytoecia) virgula (Charpentier, 1825)
ssp. centaureae Sama, Rapuzzi & Rejzek, 2007

Subfamilia: LAMIINAE  /  Tribus: SAPERDINI
Phytoecia virgula centaureae
[Photo © Petr Jelínek]

Phytoecia (Phytoecia) virgula centaureae, an endemic subspecies to Iran, has been described as Phytoecia (Phytoecia) centaureae by Gianfranco Sama, Pierpaolo Rapuzzi and Martin Rejzek in 2007 [❖]. To the subspecies rank it was downgraded by Mikhail Danilevsky in 2021 [▽]. The nominotypical subspecies, Phytoecia (Phytoecia) virgula virgula (Charpentier, 1825), can be easily distinguished by the body entirely clothed with dense grey pubescence. P. virgula centaureae has intergument shining black with slightly metallic blue lustre, nearly glabrous. Both vetral ans dorsal body parts are without appressed pubescence, head with log erect black hairs on the frons. Pronotum is black except a pronounced trapezoidal or round red spot on an elevation in the middle of the disc.

Body length:8 - 10 mm
Life cycle:1 year
Adults in:May - June
Host plant:Centaurea behen
Distribution:an endemic subspecies to Iran

The depicted beetle was collected on Centaurea behen in Līkbīn (لكبن‎‎) village environs (1630-2125 m a.s.l., Lajan district, Piranshahr county, Āzarbāyjān-e Gharbī province, NW Iran) on May 24, 2019.

Collected by Petr Jelínek

Sama G., Rapuzzi P. and Rejzek M.:
New or interesting Phytoeciini from the Middle East, especially from Iran (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).
Folia Heyrovskyana) (Series A), 14 (4): 163-179, 2007. [download pdf icon]

Ambrus R. & Grosser W.:
Results of the Czech entomological expedition to Iran (2009-2010) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).
Humanity space - International almanac 2 (3): 461-482, 2013. [download pdf icon]

Phytoecia (s. str.) centaureae Sama, Rapuzzi & Rejzek, 2007 is downgraded to subspecies rank Ph. (s. str.) virgula centaureae Sama, Rapuzzi & Rejzek, 2007, stat. nov. on the basis of series from South Iran and many series from different localities of a very wide area of the species. Ph. virgula (Charpentier, 1825) is characterised by great degree of geographical variability. Specimens from Russia steppe are strongly pubescent with pale recumbent setae. Specimens from Kyrgyzstan are almost glabrous, black and shining, very similar to Ph. (s. str.) v. centaureae, but with densely punctured red pronotal spot. Specimens from Transcaucasia are also similar to Ph. (s. str.) v. centaureae, but the elytral pubescence is a little denser and paler. In fact many local populations of Ph. virgula eastwards to Krasnoyarsk (East Siberia) are individually distinct.

Danilevsky M.L.:
Chrysomeloidea I (Vesperidae, Disteniidae, Cerambycidae), Updated and Revised 2nd Edition
Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera Vol. 6/1, Brill, Leiden-Boston, 712pp, 2021.

Phytoecia virgula centaureae
Phytoecia virgula centaureae
[Photo © Petr Jelínek]

SubfamiliaLamiinae Latreille, 1825
TribusSaperdini Mulsant, 1839
GenusPhytoecia Dejean, 1835
SubgenusPhytoecia Dejean, 1835
SpeciesPhytoecia (Phytoecia) virgula (Charpentier, 1825)
SubspeciesPhytoecia (Phytoecia) virgula centaureae Sama, Rapuzzi & Rejzek, 2007