South West Blue Ground Beetle Project

Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) © Laura Larkin

The Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) is Britain’s largest ground beetle, and is also one of the rarest. Our South West Blue Ground Beetle Project is looking to find new sites for this beautiful beetle in South Devon and Cornwall.

 Submit a Blue Ground Beetle sighting

Update November 2022: We are thrilled to announce that two new populations of the rare Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) have been found on Dartmoor; a third site in Cornwall is also much larger than we originally thought.  Find out more  

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  • Name of Project:  South West Blue Ground Beetle Project
  • Duration of Project: Spring 2022 – March 2026
  • Location of Project:  South Devon and Cornwall, England
  • Species benefiting from Project:  Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus)
  • Project supported by:  Natural England and Papillon Gin

The Blue Ground Beetle makes its home in damp, deciduous, often ancient, woodlands of oak and beech, usually living on south-facing slopes in areas with sparse ground vegetation and abundant veteran trees and dead wood. This beetle was thought to be extinct in the UK, until in 1994, when a population was discovered on a site on Dartmoor.

More populations were found around Dartmoor and mid Cornwall, but the beetle remained restricted to South West England until the discovery in 2012 of a population in South Wales. Please see our Welsh Blue Ground Beetle project page for more information on this incredible discovery.

Adult Blue Ground Beetles are mainly nocturnal and occur year-round, although they are most active and easiest to see from March until June. Both the adults and their larvae feed on slugs – most notably the Tree Slug (Limax marginatus) and the Ash-black Slug (Limax cinereoniger). Adults can be found during these months climbing on mossy tree trunks within the woodlands.

Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) © John Walters Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) © John Walters

What will the project do?

There’s still a lot we need to learn about the ecology of the Blue Ground Beetle, and its habitat requirements. Our South West Blue Ground Beetle project will improve our understanding of the extent and health of populations of the beetle by undertaking surveys within ancient woodland fragments across South Devon and Cornwall.  By better understanding the ecology and locations of the Blue Ground Beetle, we can help conserve these populations for the future.

We are working in partnership with Dartmoor National Park Authority, The University of Exeter and local naturalist John Walters.

How can you support the project?

Have you ever seen what you think might be a Blue Ground Beetle whilst out walking?

If you have a photo of it, no matter how long ago it was taken, we’d love it if you could share it with us through our Blue Ground Beetle Hunt

Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) hibernation cell © Laura Larkin Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) hibernation cell © Laura Larkin

The South West Blue Ground Beetle Project (Species Recovery Project) is generously funded by Natural England and has been made possible because of the ongoing support from Papillon Gin, who kindly donate £2 from every bottle of their award-winning Carabus Gin towards helping the Blue Ground Beetle on Dartmoor.