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Cornwall

Cornwall is most famous for its weevils (Curculionidae). It is a home to several species of flightless parthenogenetic Cathormiocerus, which are found at plant roots on dry clifftop slopes, particularly associated with plantains, and most readily found in the spring and autumn. The Lizard peninsula has many species, notably one which has been regarded for many years as an endemic, C. brittanicus [RDB1], but which has recently been shown to be just an extreme variation of C. maritimus [RDB3]. Also present is the rarest of the genus C. attaphilus [RDB1] and C. myrmecophilus [RDB3]. Some species have also been found away from the Lizard, notably in the Tintagel area C. maritimus and C. myrmecophilus but also at Rame Head and on the Isles of Scilly.

Anchonidium unguiculare [RDB2] occurs amongst leaf litter in the oakwoods of the Helford River and is most readily found at Gweek; records have been made from March to September.

The west of the county also has an abundance of two further rare weevils. Anthonomus rufus [RDB3] can be beaten just about anywhere from flowering blackthorn in April and Miarus micros [RDB3] may be found widely in flowers of sheep's-bit scabious later in the year, from June into August. Barypeithes pyrenaeus [RDBI] has been rediscovered in coastal grassland in 1989 in E.Cornwall, Coniocleonus nebulosus [RDB3] on the Lizard heaths in 1980, Rhynchaenus testaceus [RDB2] on fresh alder foliage in late spring in the flooded river valley (ria) of the Fal, and Ceutorhynchus parvulus [RDB3] on Smith's pepperwort Lepidium heterophyllum at Rame Head and Kingsand in 1988.

Heath pools on the Lizard and West Penwith, and pools and riversides elsewhere are important for water beetles, although the Lizard area has been the most intensively studied in recent years: Graptodytes flavipes [RDB2], Agabus brunneus [RDB2], Hydrochus nitidicollis [RDB3], Hydraena pygmaea [RDB3], and Dryops striatellus [RDB3].

The third important group are the Carabidae. Coastal sand dune systems used to have Harpalus melancholicus [RDB1] and may still do the last British record was in 1964 at Sennen Cove. Lionychus quadrillum [RDB3] has recently been found along sand and gravel at the base of cliffs at Seaton in August and has been found elsewhere in the past. Dromius vectensis [RDB3] has been found on stony cliff-tops along the north coast: at Trerathick Point, north of Newquay, in July, and at Tregardock in April. The Blue Ground Beetle Carabus intricatus [RDB1] has been found in a few woodlands and wood pastures in the east of the county, but is perhaps more likely to be found around the wooded fringes of Dartmoor in Devon.

In other families there are: Brindalus porcicollis [RDB Extinct] (Scarabaeidae), recently rediscovered at Whitesand Bay, E Cornwall;  Cardiophorus vestigialis [RDB2] (Elateridae) on the Lizard cliffs in May and June; and Macroplea appendiculata [RDB3] at Marazion Marsh in 1981 now an RSPB Reserve.


County recorder: A.P. Foster, 23 The Dawneys, Crudwell, Malmsbury, Wiltshire SN16 9HE

Further Reading

ALEXANDER K.N.A. & FOSTER A.P., 1997, Coleoptera. pp. 241-272. In: Spalding, A., (ed) Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Croceago Press.