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Violet click beetle

Fast facts

  • Latin name: Limoniscus violaceus
  • Notable feature: A long, thin black beetle with a blue sheen.
  • Rarity in UK: Rare / Common
  • Where in the UK: Only known from 3 sites in England.

This enigmatic and elusive deadwood denizen is both beautiful and globally endangered. It is European red listed and so rare in the UK that all of its known homes are protected. The slender 12mm adult beetle is black with a metallic blue sheen. Their glossy, orange larvae, known as wireworms, resemble the mealworms fed to garden birds.

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From the heartwood

 Like many other rare beetles, the violet click beetle breeds in decaying wood, but it has particular tastes. They only breed in the hollows of Ash and Beech where the heartwood is undisturbed and has decayed into a black mulch, like damp soot .This only occurs in large,ancient trees that are hundreds of years old, which are few and far between. Because of this, the Violet click beetle has only ever been found in three locations in the UK; Windsor Great Park, Bredon Hill (Worcestershire) and Dixton Wood (Gloucestershire).

Violet click beetles are thought to breed repeatedly in the same tree until it rots away and the adults fly off to find new breeding sites. We must plan into the future to ensure there are always suitable ancient trees available for these rare beetles.

Taste tests

We still have much to learn about the Violet click beetle, but it is so rare that we can’t risk disturbing their existing habitat. Trials are being carried out using compost bins and wooden boxes filled with materials found in tree holes, including wood mulch, leaf mould, pigeon droppings and carrion to see whether violet click beetles will breed in them.

Friends in high places

Fortunately, dedicated conservation efforts are underway to ensure the Violet click beetle has a future in Britain. It is a focus of the Back from the Brink Ancients of the Future Project led by Buglife, aiming to conserve species reliant on ancient and veteran trees. Harriett Baldwin MP (West Worcester) is also lending her political support as an MP Species Champion of the violet click beetle. Bredon Hill is part of her constituency, and she will be helping to protect and promote this threatened species.

Fun Fact

Like other click beetles (family Elateridae) the violet click beetle has a peg and groove on its thorax, which can be snapped together with a ‘click’ to propel the beetle away from danger.

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Join the Hunt for the Northern February red stonefly


Members of the public are being asked to help with a Scotland-wide survey to map the location of the Northern February red stonefly (Brachyptera putata).


The Northern February red stonefly was first found in the River Clyde in 1838, but now it mainly occurs in northern Scotland, particularly the north-east and the Highlands. Outside of Scotland, it has only been found in two other rivers, the Usk in Wales and the Wye near Hereford.


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Stonefly Survey

25 Year Environment Plan promises meadows for bees

Buglife welcomes the great intentions of the Government’s new 25 Year Environment Plan, particularly in relation to restoring pollinator populations, and urges the Government to bring forward the enabling legislation before BREXIT.
The 25-Year Environment Plan, launched today by the Prime Minister, is a broad and considered agenda to address many of the key issues that are currently causing environmental harm.  

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Over 900 objections speak out against Coul Links golf course plans

The conservation alliance campaigning to save Coul Links is appealing to members of the public to submit objections to the golf course proposals ahead of this Friday’s deadline. Efforts to save the outstanding place for nature have already seen 954 objections submitted and the alliance is pushing for this to top the 1000 mark before submissions to Highland Council close on 22nd December.

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