Ground beetle (Perileptus areolatus)

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Perileptus areolatus specimen on white background
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Ground beetle fact file

Ground beetle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyCarabidae
GenusPerileptus (1)

This ground beetle is the only member of the genus Perileptus that occurs in central Europe (4). It is a small, flat beetle, and the legs, and central part of the wing cases (elytra) are paler than the rest of the dark brown body (2).

Size
Length: 2.4 - 2.5 mm (2)
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Ground beetle biology

Little is known of the ecology of this predatory species (3).

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Ground beetle range

Historical records indicate that this species once had a widespread but scattered distribution in Britain extending from Cornwall to southern Scotland, reaching east to the Isle of Wight in the south and Yorkshire in the north (3). Unfortunately the species has been lost from many of these areas, and most records since 1970 are from Wales and around the Welsh borders, with recent sightings in Scotland and south Devon (3). In Europe, this beetle has a wide distribution (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Ground beetle habitat

Inhabits exposed riverine sediments (either sand or shingle), typically close to the water (3). Beetles that share this habitat are known as 'river shingle beetles' (3).

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Ground beetle status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (3)

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Ground beetle threats

Threats facing the habitat of this beetle include river engineering works, such as dredging, and straightening of the banks, flow control resulting from flood defence or damming, pollution by agricultural run-off, trampling of riverbanks by livestock, and the spread of introduced invasive plants, such as Himalayan balsam (Impatiens gladulifera) (3).

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Ground beetle conservation

A grouped Species Action Plan has been produced for 6 species of river shingle beetles under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). This plan aims to maintain the range of all listed species, and enhance the populations by 2010 (3).

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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Find out more

For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/srp/default.asp

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Authentication

Information authenticated by Adrian Fowles of the Countryside Council for Wales:
http://www.ccw.gov.uk

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Glossary

Elytra
In beetles and earwigs, the hard fore wings. They are held aloft when the insect flies, and are often coloured or patterned.
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References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Lindroth, C. H. (1974) Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Volume IV. Part 2: Coleoptera, Carabidae. The Royal Entomological Society of London, London
  3. UK BAP (September 2002) http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  4. Harde, K. W. (2000) A field guide in colour to beetles. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
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Image credit

Perileptus areolatus specimen on white background  
Perileptus areolatus specimen on white background

© The Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum Picture Library
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207 942 5323
Fax: +44 (0) 207 942 5443
nhmpl@nhm.ac.uk
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/piclib

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