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Isle of Wight (VC 10)

The Isle of Wight is comparatively seldom visited by coleopterists, but because of the number of rare species known from the island it would definitely repay more attention. Sadly, a number of the rarities recorded from here have not been seen for many years and some are probably already extinct in the British Isles.

Two species are found nowhere else in the British Isles. Harpalus cupreus [RDB1] (Carabidae) was only ever known from the Isle of Wight in this country but was last recorded in 1914 from Sandown. The species is found under stones on field margins and may be found at any time between spring and late autumn. The parthenogenetic flightless weevil Cathormiocerus socius [RDB2] (Curculionidae) is fortunately still to be found at plant roots on coastal cliffs near Ventnor and near Sandown, mainly in the spring.

Two of the last sites for Apion laevigatum [RDB I] (Apionidae) in the British Isles were at Freshwater and Headon Hill, where it was found in 1948. The species is associated with chamomiles Anthemis and mayweeds Matricaria and Tripleurospermum on disturbed soils, and should be looked for in August and September.

The Eype's Mouth (Dorset) trio of Cicindela germanica [RDB3], Drypta dentata [RDB1] (both Carabidae) and the weevil Baris analis [RDB2] (Curculionidae) may be found in the summer on sandy undercliffs on the south of the island. The spectacular Spanish Fly Lytta vesicatoria (Meloidae) has recently occurred on south-facing cliffs on the island and may be established. It is associated with Andrena bees and should be looked for in July.

South Hampshire (VC 11)

The ancient heaths and woods of the New Forest are home to many nationally rare beetles, including some species found nowhere else in the British Isles. However, even here many species are very localised and the coleopterist must be prepared to be patient and to explore diligently over a number of seasons.

Three ground beetles are found in the New Forest and nowhere else in the British Isles. In a very few Sphagnum bogs, the tiny carabid Tachys edmondsi [RDB1] (Carabidae) may with great luck be found in the early summer. This species was formerly considered to be endemic to Britain, but is now believed to occur elsewhere in Western Europe and North Africa. Also in the New Forest, another very rare ground beetle, Pterostichus aterrimus [RDB1] (Carabidae) was found in a marshy area south of Denny Wood from 1969 to 1973, but has not been seen anywhere in the British Isles since then. Its congener, Pterostichus kugelanni [RDB1] (Carabidae), is also now apparently confined in the British Isles to one site, in a sand pit near the New Forest; this species is best looked for in the spring and early summer. The subcortical histerid Paromalus parallelepipedus [RDB1] (Histeridae) was formerly known from woods in the New Forest, but has not been found there since 1910. The rove beetle Velleius dilatatus [RDB1] (Staphylinidae) is probably now confined to South Hampshire where it is occasionally found (sometimes as larvae) in or near nests of the Hornet Vespa crabro. During the summer months Aphodius niger [RDB1] (Scarabaeidae) is reliably found in herbivore dung at the margins of a pond on Balmer Lawn in the New Forest, here at its only known site in the British Isles. In the British Isles the jewel beetle Anthaxia nitidula [RDB1] (Buprestidae) was confined to the Brockenhurst-Lyndhurst area of the New Forest, but sadly it has not been recorded since 1954 and may now be extinct in this country; it should be looked for on flowers, especially rosaceous trees and shrubs, in woodland clearings between mid May and the end of July. The colydiid Endophloeus markovichianus [RDB1] (Colydiidae) is only known from the New Forest in the British Isles, but has not been found since 1927. It should be sought under beech Fagus bark, probably only with wood-boring beetles, in the spring and summer. The melandryid Melandrya barbata [RDB1] (Melandryidae) also has its British stronghold in the New Forest but appears to be very seldom found. The species is found in rotting deciduous wood and adults have been found in May and June. The rare tenebrionid Platydema violaceum [RDB1] (Tenebrionidae) was found in the New Forest in 1901, but apparently not since and the species may not have been established in the British Isles for more than a century. The beautiful longhorn Leptura sexguttata [RDB3] (Cerambycidae) may with luck be found on blossom in woodland clearings in the New Forest, in June and July. The species is probably now confined to this area in the British Isles. The leaf beetle Agelastica alni [RDBK] (Chrysomelidae) may have only ever been a rare immigrant species and has not been seen anywhere in the British Isles since 1946, but searching alders Alnus in the New Forest in May and June is perhaps more likely to turn up the species than anywhere else. A single specimen of Apion armatum [RDBK] (Apionidae) was found in a New Forest ride in 1941(?), but there are no more recent records of the species from anywhere in the British Isles. In Europe the weevil is associated with Centaurea species. The New Forest is a well-known hunting ground for those extremely elusive Bagous weevils (Curculionidae), two of which are now found nowhere else in the British Isles. Bagous czwalinai [RDB1], has only ever been found in the New Forest, where it occurs extremely locally in Sphagnum bogs, in the summer. Bagous frit [RDB3] is also to be found locally in Sphagnum bogs from April to August. Bagous brevis [RDB1] used to occur in Surrey and perhaps Kent but is now known only from a pond at Balmer Lawn, and possibly one or two other ponds in the New Forest, where it is associated with Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula. It should be sought by very carefully examining submerged waterside vegetation in the spring and summer.

The melyrid Sphinginus lobatus [RDBK] (Melyridae) was added to the British List from examples found at Titchfield Common in 1982, but it has since been found at other sites in the vicinity. This very small species is found on or near dead twigs of oak Quercus and should be looked for in June and July.

The flea beetle Longitarsus nigerrimus [RDB1] (Chrysomelidae) is associated with the water plant Lesser Bladderwort Utricularia minor in acidic bog pools. It was recently rediscovered as a British species at bogs on Week Common near Hurn (in the modern county of Dorset but vice-county South Hampshire), and at several sites in the New Forest: Common Moor near Burley Street, Hatchet Pond, and Withycombe Shade north of Black Down by the Beaulieu River. The species may be found by gently submerging moss and tussocks in very wet places where the host-plant grows, in September-November and again from March to May. The very rare colydiid, Myrmechixenus subterraneus [RDB I] (Colydiidae) was found at Hurn in 1920 and 1930 and might still occur in the area. The brave coleopterist should seek this species in nests of the wood ants Formica rufa and F. lugubris, any time from May to October. The Hurn area is also the last place in the British Isles where the histerid Hetaerius ferrugineus [RDB I] (Histeridae) was recorded, in 1954. The species is also found in nests of the ants Formica fusca and F. sanguinea.

Another weevil, Pachytychius haematocephalus [RDB1] (Curculionidae) is currently known in Britain from just one stretch of the South Hampshire coast, although there are old records for Devon and Dorset. Its rarity can hardly be due to the choice of host-plant as this species is associated with Common Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, on which adults are probably to be found at any time from spring to autumn. However, it needs Lotus growing in very hot micro-climates, among shingle, bare sand or even along concrete paths, and should be looked for in such conditions (it is much easier to find by vacuum-sampling than by hand-searching). Hampshire Wildlife Trust is coordinating conservation work on this species and would welcome details of any records.

North Hampshire (VC 12)

The rare jewel beetle, Aphanisticus emarginatus [RDB1] (Buprestidae), was last recorded in the British Isles at Longmoor Camp, Liphook. This species has been found on flowerheads of Jointed Rush Juncus articulatus and may be sought at any time between late May and the end of September.

Three species of weevil are especially associated with North Hampshire. Formerly more widespread in central and southern England, the last known site for the aquatic weevil Bagous lutosus [RDB1] (Curculionidae) in the British Isles is at Fleet Pond, where it was last recorded in 1964. The species is associated with Branched Bur-reed Sparganium erectum and should be looked for by examining the host-plant very carefully in May and June. A riverbank near Stockbridge was the last known site in the British Isles for the weevil Rhynchaenus decoratus [RDB I] (Curculionidae), where the species was recorded sparingly in the early 1970s. It should be sought on Purple Willow Salix ??? in the spring and summer. In chalk downland in North Hampshire, such as Porton Down and Old Winchester Hill NNR, pitfall trapping or searching under stones from May to July, especially near low-growing Compositae, may with considerable luck reveal the weevil Glocianus moelleri [RDBK] (Curculionidae). In the British Isles this species has otherwise recently only been recorded from Oxfordshire, but older records exist for Berkshire, Surrey and Kent.

County recorder: (North Hampshire) , Kingsmead, Wield Road, Medstead, Alton, Hampshire GU34 5NJ. (South Hampshire) vacant.

Entomologists in the county can be contacted via Hampshire Network for Invertebrate Conservation, c/o , Hampshire Wildlife Trust.

Further reading
ALEXANDER, K.N.A. 2001 An important wood decay fauna from the Mottisfont Abbey Estate, south Hampshire Coleopterist 10(3):85.