Oil Beetle Hunt - The Famous Five
There are five species of oil beetle found in Britain. The Violet and Black oil beetles are widespread and can be locally common. The Rugged oil beetle is rare. Short-necked and Mediterranean oil beetles are very rare.
Before you go oil beetle hunting you might want to famliarise yourself with our fabulous four oil beetles by looking at the photographs below. More detailed information can be found in the oil beetle identification guide. Then move onto 'Step 2: Join in'
Black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus)
Black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus) © D Nesbitt
Found from March to June in meadows and costal grassland throughout Britain but becoming less common in the north.
Violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus)
|Violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus) © John Walters|
Found in March to June in meadows and woodlands in western and northern Britain.
Short-necked oil beetle (Meloe brevicollis)
|Short-necked oil beetle (Meloe brevicollis) © John Walters|
Very rare, found from March to June. Prefers heaths and dunes with sandy soils. Most recently recorded in South West England, South East Ireland and western Scotland.
Rugged oil beetle (Meloe rugosus)
|Rugged oil beetle (Meloe rugosus) © John Walters|
Rare, found from September to April on chalk, limestone and sandy soils in central and southern England and Wales.
Mediterranean oil beetle (Meloe mediterraneus)
|Mediterranean oil beetle (Meloe mediterraneus) © John Walters|
Very are, found from September to April on coastal grasslands. Previously thought extinct in the UK, rediscovered by this project in 2012 and currently only known from southern England.