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Wales Oil Beetle Survey

There are three species of oil beetle found in Wales. Violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus),and Black oil beetles (Meloe proscarabaeus) are widespread and can be locally common whereas the Rugged oil beetle (Meloe rugosus)  is rare and known only from a small number of sites in south-east  Wales.   In other parts of Britain Mediterranean (Meloe mediterraneus) and Short-necked oil beetles (Meloe brevicollis),  can be found, but are rare. It is possible that these species are present in Wales but we need your help to find them! 

Oil beetles are conspicuous, charismatic insects which are often encountered when out walking and enjoying the countryside. Their habit of seeking out bare compacted earth in which to dig nest burrows means that they are frequently seen on footpaths. The best time of year to look for Violet and Black oil beetles is March to June.

female Black oil beetle (c) Steven Falk
male Violet oil beetle (c) Steven Falk

Please keep a look out for these beetles when walking on the Wales Coast Path, in meadows, grasslands and open woodlands and let us know if you find them by submitting your sighting records and uploading your photos. Your records can make a real difference to our oil beetle conservation work in Wales.


If you need help to identify the oil beetles you find, you can download the Welsh oil beetle identification guide. As well as taking part in our oil beetle hunt please explore our webpages for more information on oil beetle conservation.