Sausage Ground Beetle
Latin name: Carabus granulatus
Notable feature: A large and striking metallic bronze coloured beetle with patterning on the wing cases that resemble strings of sausages, hence the common name.
Conservation Status: Not Evaluated
Where in the UK: Widespread and locally common throughout mainland UK
Sausage Ground Beetle (Carabus granulatus) © Roger Key
The Sausage Ground Beetle (Carabus granulatus) is a large, native beetle with a metallic bronze sheen over its entire body (occasionally blueish or greenish colour variations can occur). The adults appear to be narrow and elongated in appearance with a long narrow head, and prominent eyes – the thin head and mouth parts (the beetles mandibles) are used to reach into snail shells where the mandibles go on to butcher the snail before pulling it out from the shell.
The wing cases of this beetle are highly patterned and look like strings of sausages with a single ridge between them.
Widespread and locally common throughout mainland UK, the Sausage Ground Beetle can be found in wetland margins, marshes and bogs but can also present in permanently damp shaded woodlands.
The Sausage Ground Beetle can be confused with the very similar Moorland Ground Beetle (Carabus arvensis), the latter of which is predominantly found in heath and moorland habitats- however, they have different patterns on their wing cases.
- Size: 16-23mm in length
- Life span: Overwintered adults may reproduce in the spring but some, and perhaps a majority, do not and will overwinter a second time before doing so.
- Diet: Adult Sausage Ground Beetles feed on a variety of insects and worms but predominantly snails – hence the narrow appearing head that fits into snail shells. Most adult beetles have a left mandible that over lays the right which is thought to be an adaptation to feed on the most common form of European snails that coil to the right (dextral snail). Instead of attacking snails with digestive juices, as some ground beetles do, the Sausage Ground Beetle reaches its mandibles inside the snail shell and cuts up the flesh before pulling the snail out to ingest.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs from April with single eggs laid within burrows a few cm deep and then infilled with soil. Larvae hatch within a few weeks and develop through the summer to become fully grown within 40-60 days. In late summer, the larvae pupate and adults emerge in the autumn. The majority overwinter as adults over two winters before reproducing.
- When to see: These nocturnal beetles can be seen throughout the year, although they will over winter under bark or in leaf litter. They become active from March/April time.
- Population Trend: Widespread and locally common in UK.
- Threats: Reduction and loss of habitat; woodland, marshland and wetlands. As a flightless beetle they are significantly affected by habitat destruction and fragmentation.
- Fun Fact: In the UK, this species has reduced wings and is flightless. However, in central Europe winged specimens have been observed to fly.
How you can help:
Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Sausage 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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