Brush-horned Sand Beetle
Latin name: Orthocerus clavicornis
Notable feature: A small fuzzy black beetle with beautiful thick, brush-like antennae and pitting across its wing cases.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Where in the UK: Widespread but highly localised around the coast of the UK on coastal dunes and occasional sand pits. In England it has a largely coastal distribution with records on the east and north-west coasts, but a cluster of inland Breckland records. It is found on a number of coastal sites in Wales, but is known in Scotland only from the Dornoch Firth.
Brush-horned Sand Beetle (Orthocerus clavicornis) © Roger Key
The Brush-horned Sand Beetle (Orthocerus clavicornis) is a native, small fuzzy black beetle belonging to the ironclad beetle family.
It has beautiful brush-like antennae and is found amongst the lichen, roots and mosses of sandpits, and sand dunes within heathland. It is widespread but highly localised around the coast of the UK on coastal dunes and occasional sand pits.
In England it has a largely coastal distribution with records on the east and north-west coasts, but a cluster of inland Breckland records. It is found on a number of coastal sites in Wales, but is known in Scotland only from the Dornoch Firth.
Relatively little is currently known about the Brush-horned Sand Beetle, as evidenced by the gaps in our knowledge below.
- Size: 3.5-5mm in length
- Life span: Unknown
- Diet: Unknown
- Reproduction: Unknown
- When to see: Adult Brush-horned Sand Beetles can be found from April to June with a resurgence from August to September.
- Population Trend: Although the Brush-horned Sand Beetle has clearly declined through the 20th century, probably at least partly through development, there is little evidence that this decline is continuing.
- Threats: Loss of dune and heathland to afforestation, developments (urban and recreational) and conversion to agriculture. Recreational disturbance can degrade its habitat, with loss of vegetation though activities such as horse riding, motorbiking and heavy foot traffic.
- Fun Fact: The Brush-horned Sand Beetle is strongly associated with dog lichens (Peltigera spp.), with a particular preference for P. canina.
How you can help:
Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Brush-horned Sand Beetle through specific projects and campaigns, such as Save Coul Links, but we need your help!
Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the UK Beetle Recording Scheme or download the iRecord app and get recording!
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