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Black and brown beetle - Magdalis barbicornis - male

Black and brown beetle - Magdalis barbicornis - Male
Alameda County, California, USA
April 13, 2010
Size: ~3.2 mm
On house siding, noon.

Host Plants
Despite the record in Henry Fall's 1913 Revision of Magdalis paper of the eastern North American specimens being collected on elm, Hoffman, A. 1954. Faune de France. 59. Coleopteres Curculionides, page 703 states that in France the species is on woody Rosaceae such as Crataegus, Prunus, Malus, etc.

from Andrew R. Cline
[Supervisor, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center / California Dept of Food & Agriculture / 3294 Meadowview Rd., Sacramento, CA 95832. Tel.: 916-262-1100]
"V, Could you let the photographer know to submit this specimen or any others to their county agricultural commissioner's office? The ag. Commissioner will then make sure the specimens get sent here to our lab and then entered into the system, etc. Thanks for the help, and what an interesting beetle"

(which i hereby do. =v=)

The specimen flew away
I'll watch for recurrences. I don't suppose Mr. Cline knows I'm an amateur with only 70% isopropyl alcohol in the house and no knowledge of how entomologists submit specimens. With the date found and the location, I know that much, but not how to package one.

Dr Cline's followup:
[...] collect the beetle in a small container and put a little isopropyl alcohol in it as a preservative [...], then take the sample to:
Agricultural Commissioner's Office
Alameda County Agricultural Department
224 W. Winton Avenue, Room 184
Hayward, CA 94544-1215
510/670-5232 ph 510/783-3928 fx

The submitter will have to fill out a little paperwork (address, date collected, etc.), but the commissioner's office will help with that and then they will package and send the specimens to the lab. That's pretty much it.

70% isopropyl alcohol will do for short-term preservation
you can deliver a live specimen by hand to your local station in any kind of clean pill bottle, small jar/vial or other escape-proof container -- i'm sure they'll take care of preserving the specimen; to mail, put the beast into a small plastic tube/vial with the preserving fluid.
btw, EtOH is available in liquor stores here in NJ (in Cali?); it's cheap [unfortunately, in no less than 1L bottles]
they must have instructions online anyway, i'll ask Andy for the link.

Magdalis barbicornis (Latreille) As usual Bob is correct. This is a rare species and the CA record is most interesting.In our 1982 checklist we had it only from the East coastal states. I have a single female from New Haven CT, collected in 1942.

from R.S. Anderson:
"seems to be Magdalis barbicornis. We don't have any specimens but the antenna is distinctive in all keys I have checked (including European). See male image including the antenna. M. barbicornis is stated as introduced into eastern NA but as far as I can tell not very common or widespread. I can only find it based on old NY and MA records from elm but I know of no recent records. O'Brien and Wibmer list a CT record but I do not know the basis. It's possible it is not established? This is the first specimen I have seen from California and certainly merits attention. I am going to cc this to Andy Cline from Sacramento who looks after weevils for the Cal Dept Food and Agric. It should be on elm trees so if the photographer can check local elms there might be more?"

Moved from Mesoptiliinae.

IHost Plants
Fall's 1913 revision of Magdalis mentions it being collected from elm BUT Hoffamnn's 1954 Faune de France states the species is found on woody, arborescent Rosaceae and gives a list of plants including Crataegus, Prunus, Malus, etc. on which the species has been recorded in Europe.

We have a ~30-foot loquat tree (Rosaceae). That ought to be woody enough. Prunus and Malus are also scattered in the neighborhood.

So . . .
I don't know whether we have elms around here. If I find another specimen, should I try to catch it and freeze it, or leave it to breed and become less rare? What do females look like--same fancy antennae or different?

females look like...
...THIS -- no fancy antennae.
Suggest collecting into EtOH whatever you can find -- state quarantine/agric authorities & acad. collections will definitely appreciate specimens. you see, neither of the top two NA's weevil experts has a specimen handy, and those guys are in control of enormous holdings

It is an intruder
No, you don't want it to reproduce! It doesn't belong in this continent; the rarer the better. It was probably introduced accidentally and it is lucky that it hasn't spread much yet but it could become a pest.

a very special male Magdalis akin to the European M. exarata
i failed to fit him into any of the ~15 spp listed in(1)
antennae to die for -- a really nice find and 100% new-to-BG; thanks a lot, G!

Moved from Beetles.

You never know
Another item for my brag list, then. Those antennae did look odd, but I can't tell whether something sitting on the wall is rare or common. I'll keep an eye out for similar ones, maybe find a female.

By the way, when a digit follows a decimal in "Size," it means I measured the image on a photo that included a ruler or an object that was measured, even if the digit is 0. So "~5.0 mm" is a closer estimate than "~5 mm."

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