Three of our eight native oil beetles are now extinct in the UK, the five remaining species are: Black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus), Violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus), Rugged oil beetle (Meloe rugosus), Short-necked oil beetle (Meloe brevicollis) and Mediterranean oil beetle (Meloe mediterraneus).
The Short-necked oil beetle was thought extinct until it was recently rediscovered at a site in South Devon, and on the Isle of Coll in Scotland.
The Mediterranean oil beetle was also though extinct until rediscovered by this project in 2012.
|Black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus) © Ben Lee|
These beetles have been identified as priorities for conservation action through the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) - meaning work needs to be done to conserve them and their habitats. To help landowners and managers our oil beetle management sheet is now available.
Oil beetles are relient on solitary bees to compete their life-cycles. The health of oil beetle populations is therefore dependent on the health and diversity of wild bees. The ideal habitat for oil beetles species is wildflower-rich grassland – a habitat that has declined in quantity and quality due to intensive management of the countryside. Oil beetles are sensitive to changes in land management and are a good indicator of the health of our countryside.
More information on the distribution of oil beetles is needed to allow us take effective conservation action. By sending us your oil beetle records you are playing an important part in the conservation of these magnificent insects.
How to take part
Taking part in the oil beetle survey is easy. Follow our three simple steps which show you how to look for oil beetles, how to record them and how to send us your sightings. Find out how to take part.