Endangered Oil Beetle from the UK

Subject: looks like devils coach horse
Location: ta248pq
May 19, 2015 6:42 am
a friend found this bug in west somerset England. we think it looks like a devils coach horse but bigger about 30mm long. can you help
Signature: Barry

Oil Beetle
Oil Beetle

Dear Barry,
At first we thought this was going to be a routine identification of an Oil Beetle in the genus
Meloe, and the only item of significance is that all of our many reports are from North America and we did not realize that the genus was represented in Europe.  As we commenced research, we were led to BugLife where we learned:  “Oil beetles are incredible insects, but they are also under threat. Three of UK’s native oil beetles are now extinct, and the remaining five species have suffered drastic declines in their distributions due to changes in the way our countryside is managed. …  Oil beetles have been identified as priorities for conservation action through the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) – meaning work needs to be done to conserve them and their habitats. To help landowners and managers our oil beetle management sheet is now available. ”   Another page on BugLife provides this information:  “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 oil beetles is March to June.
Please keep a look out for these beetles when walking 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.”
  We would urge you to be a citizen scientist and submit your sighting.  Since neither BugLife page included images of Oil Beetles, we are also linking to this BBC Earth News page where it states:  “Conservationists are asking the public to take part in the first survey of the UK’s threatened oil beetles.  These large, lustrous insects thrive in wildflower-rich grasslands and heaths – areas of habitat that are being lost.  In the last hundred years, half of the country’s eight native species of oil beetle have disappeared.”  We are featuring your submission.

5 thoughts on “Endangered Oil Beetle from the UK”

    • Oil Beetles in the genus Meloe are found in many locations, including Maine. To the best of our knowledge, the Oil Beetles in Maine are not endangered, unless one takes the position that all life on our planet is endangered because of global warming and other effects caused by the billions of people living on the planet that must compete for food, shelter and water as resources become more and more scarce.


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