Saphanus piceus (Laicharting, 1784)
ssp. piceus (Laicharting, 1784)
[= Callidium spinosum Fabricius, 1793]
[= Prionus Sudeticus Richter, 1821]


Saphanus piceus piceus
[Photo © Denis G. Kasatkin]

Saphanus piceus, a relatively widespread European species with a hidden way of life, has been described from Tyrol (Austria) as Callidium piceum by Johann Nepomuk Laicharting in 1784 [✧]. Larval development in dead (often decaying) wood of stumps, roots, or in the lower and underground parts of dead trees. It overwinters in the larval stage, pupating in the wood at the site of development at a depth of several centimeters. Life cycle 3 years. Adults, active from May to August, are crepuscular or nocturnal. During the day, beetles are usually hidden in the soil near tree stumps, under bark, wood, stones, etc. They are often found in ground traps and are also attracted to light. S. piceus lives unnoticed and most finds are accidental. In fact, this species is much more common than the frequency of adults found suggests [❖].

Body length:13 - 19 mm
Life cycle:3 years
Adults in:May - July
Host plant:broadly polyphagous in deciduous and occasionally also in coniferous trees (Carpinus, Fagus, Alnus, Corylus, Betula, Quercus, Malus, Salix, Picea, Abies etc.)
Distribution:France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia

The depicted beetle was reared from larva found a dead hazel in Austria.

Laicharting J.N.:
Nouveautés diverses.
Johann Caspar Füessly, Zürich 2 (1): 176pp, 1784. [download pdf icon]

Sláma M.E.F.:
Tesaříkovití – Cerambycidae České republiky a Slovenské republiky / Cerambycidae of the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.
Milan Sláma private printing, Krhanice, 383pp [pages 131-132], 1998 [ISBN: 80-238-2627-1]. [download pdf icon]

SubfamiliaSpondylidinae Audinet-Serville, 1832
TribusSaphanini Gistel, 1856
GenusSaphanus Audinet-Serville, 1834
SpeciesSaphanus piceus (Laicharting, 1784)
SubspeciesSaphanus piceus piceus (Laicharting, 1784)