Moorland Ground Beetle

Fast Facts

Latin name: Carabus arvensis

Notable feature: Notable features: A large and copper coloured beetle with sculptured wing cases (called elytra), found in moorland and heathland habitats across the UK.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Where in the UK: This species is found in moor and heathland habitats across the UK although it is scarce in East Anglia and the Midlands of England.

Moorland Ground Beetle (Carabus arvensis) © Roger Key

The Moorland Ground Beetle (Carabus arvensis) is typically a shiny metallic copper or bronze in colour, but specimens with a blue, green, brown or black colour variation have been observed.  The elytral wing cases have linear patterns resembling strings of sausages which are separated by two or three broken ridges, this is unlike the Sausage Ground Beetle (Carabus granulatus) which has a single ridge separating the sausage string patterning.

The adults of this beetle are incapable of flight and instead use their long thin legs to catch prey and disperse. This makes them vulnerable to the loss and fragmentation of habitat.

This native species is found in moor and heathland habitats across the UK although it is scarce in East Anglia and the Midlands of England.

  • Size: 16-20mm in length
  • Life span: Around 2 years
  • Diet: Hunts other insects on the ground.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in May/June with eggs laid in the soil which develop through the summer as larvae. New adults hatch in August/September and will overwinter amongst moss and on tree stumps.
  • When to see: This beetle can be seen from early spring until late in the year, both day and night although most active during the mating period in May/June.
  • Population Trend: There has been recent widespread decline in the population and it is now absent from former sites, particularly in the south.
  • Threats: Reduction and loss of heathland habitat.  As a flightless beetle they are significantly affected by habitat destruction and fragmentation.
  • Fun Fact:  The Moorland Ground Beetle belongs to the large caribidae family group (362 species on the 2012 edition of the British list).  With such a large group – there are more carabids on the British list than there are breeding bird species!

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Moorland Ground Beetle through specific projects and campaigns, but we need your help!

Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the Ground Beetle Recording Scheme or download the iRecord app and get recording!

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