Dark Figworts Scraper (Cionus scrophulariae)

The Dark Figworts Scraper (Cionus scrophulariae) is a type of true weevil (family Curculionidae), known for its association with figwort plants. Here are some key features and characteristics of this beetle:

Appearance

  • Size: The Dark Figworts Scraper is relatively small, measuring about 3.5 to 4.5 millimeters in length.
  • Color: This weevil has a predominantly dark, almost black, body with a mottled appearance due to patches of white scales. The body is covered with tiny, dense scales, giving it a rough texture.
  • Morphology: It has the characteristic weevil snout (rostrum) which is used for feeding and oviposition (egg-laying).

Habitat

  • Preferred Habitats: As its name suggests, the Dark Figworts Scraper is commonly associated with figwort plants (genus Scrophularia). It can be found in various habitats where these plants grow, including woodlands, meadows, and along streams.
  • Geographic Range: This weevil is primarily found in Europe, but its range may extend into parts of Asia.

Behavior

  • Feeding: Both adult and larval stages feed on figwort plants. Adults feed on the leaves, while larvae typically feed internally within the stems and leaf petioles.
  • Life Cycle: The life cycle of Cionus scrophulariae includes egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages:
  1. Eggs: Laid on or near figwort plants.
  2. Larvae: The larvae are legless grubs that feed within the plant tissues, causing galls or swollen areas.
  3. Pupae: Pupation occurs within the plant tissue or sometimes in the soil.
  4. Adults: Emerge to continue the cycle, often seen on figwort plants during the summer months.

Conservation Status

  • The Dark Figworts Scraper is not considered endangered and is relatively common within its range. It is an integral part of its ecosystem, contributing to the regulation of figwort plant populations.

Interesting Facts

  • Plant Association: The close association with figwort plants makes Cionus scrophulariae an interesting subject for studies on plant-insect interactions.
  • Weevil Characteristics: Like other weevils, Cionus scrophulariae has a rostrum used for boring into plant tissues, which is a defining feature of this group of beetles.

Identifying Cionus scrophulariae

  • Comparison with Similar Species: Identification of this species can be challenging due to its small size and similarity to other weevils. Key identification features include its dark color with white scales and the specific plants it is found on (figworts).

In summary, the Dark Figworts Scraper (Cionus scrophulariae) is a small, dark-colored weevil closely associated with figwort plants. It plays a role in the ecosystem by feeding on these plants, and its life cycle is closely tied to its host plants. It is a common species in Europe and contributes to the biodiversity of its habitats.

Subscribe to the newsletter: