New populations of rare beetle discovered on Dartmoor - Buglife

Blue ground beetle climbing over moss
Blue ground beetle Carabus intricarius ©John Walters

Invertebrate conservation charity Buglife is thrilled to announce that two new populations of one of Britian’s rarest beetles have been discovered in Devon. The rare Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) has been found at two new sites on Dartmoor – thanks to the efforts of Buglife staff, volunteers, and local naturalists.

Laura Larkin, Buglife Conservation Officer shared “Previously, the Blue Ground Beetle was only known from 13 sites in Devon, Cornwall and South Wales, so these new sightings are really significant, and they show how much we still have to learn about this magnificent beetle!”

Up to 38mm in length, the Blue Ground Beetle is the UK’s largest ground beetle. Given its name as a result of the beautifully marked and strikingly blue-coloured wing cases, the Blue Ground Beetle makes its home in damp, deciduous, often ancient, woodlands of Oak and Beech. Both the adults and their larvae feed on slugs; upon finding their prey, the beetle will bite with its large jaws and inject digestive juices into the slug, eating it by sucking out its insides.

Blue Ground Beetles are mainly nocturnal and can be found all through the year, although they are most active and easiest to see from March to June, when adult beetles can be found clambering up mossy tree trunks under cover of darkness, in search of prey. Blue Ground Beetles can be easily confused with some of their smaller, more commonly seen relatives including the Violet Ground Beetle (Carabus violaceus); these beetles can be found throughout the UK, are smaller in size and more purple in their colouring. It would be highly unlikely to find a Blue Ground Beetle outside of its known range.

Buglife’s Dartmoor Blue Ground Beetle project was established to survey Dartmoor woods; seeking undiscovered populations of the Blue Ground Beetle. Working with local volunteers and naturalist John Walters, the project team have spent many damp torchlit nights searching for the beetle. The hard work and late nights have been rewarded with the addition of two new Blue Ground Beetle sites on Dartmoor during 2022.

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Posted On: 22/11/2022

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