Phytoecia (Musaria) argus (Frölich, 1793)

Subfamilia: LAMIINAE  /  Tribus: SAPERDINI

Phytoecia argus
[Photo © David Navrátil]

Phytoecia (Musaria) argus is broadly distributed European species, but in most areas of its occurence belongs among rare species typical for karstic landscapes of a steppe/pastures character. P. (Musaria) argus has been described as Saperda argus from Austria by Josef Aloys Frölich in 1793 [❖]. The P. argus females lay eggs on the lower part of the host plant (Seseli, Trinia) stems, the larvae create the corridor into the root part, where they also pupate. However, neither the larva nor the imago die after the dry host plant above-ground part is broken off. The beetle overwinters in the adult stage.

Body length:9 - 21 mm
Life cycle:1 year
Adults in:April - June
Host plant:Apiaceae - Seseli / Trinia glauca
Distribution:Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia: Central and South European Territory, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Moldavia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine

The depicted mounted specimens marked by letter S were collected on Seseli in Karlobag environs (804 m a.s.l., Velebit Mts., Licko-senjska župa, Croatia) on May 24, 2014. Beetles marked by letter T were collected on Trinia glauca in karst plateau in Buzet environs (Istria, Croatia) on May 22-23, 2010. The difference in the coloration of adults is probably due to another host plant. In the case of T-specimens here is also possibility of crossbreeding with sister species, Phytoecia (Musaria) cephalotes Küster, 1846, which was collected together with P. argus on the same locality. The living beetles were photographed on the host plant (Seseli varium) in Hungary in spring 2014 and 2021.

Collected by David Navrátil, Tamás Németh and Nikola Rahmé

Frölich J.A.:
Kritisches Verzeichniß der Oesterreichischen Schneckenkäfer, Saperda Fabr.
Der Naturforscher 27: 128-157, 1793. [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 331-333], 1998 [ISBN: 80-238-2627-1]. [download pdf icon]

Phytoecia argus
[Photo © David Navrátil]

Phytoecia argus
[Photo © Tamás Németh]

Phytoecia argus
Phytoecia argus
[Photo © Nikola Rahmé]
Phytoecia argus
[Photo © Nikola Rahmé]

SubfamiliaLamiinae Latreille, 1825
TribusSaperdini Mulsant, 1839
GenusPhytoecia Dejean, 1835
SubgenusMusaria J. Thomson, 1864
SpeciesPhytoecia (Musaria) argus (Frölich, 1793)