Click beetles are so called because of the way they right themselves when they are tipped onto their backs; the thorax is arched, and a projection underneath their bodies is flicked outwards, they then flip into the air with an audible 'click', and usually land on their feet. Adult hairy click beetles are active in May and June (3). It is thought that larvae may develop in dead wood (4).
All recent records in Britain are from the River Parrett between Burrow Bridge and Oath, in Somerset (3). Old records are from the Severn catchment between Bristol and Tewkesbury, and on islands in the Thames (3). It is also found in central and southern Europe (3).
This species is associated with riverbanks and canal margins (4). The larvae inhabit waterlogged soil, and can survive even if the area is flooded with salt or freshwater. Adults are found on vegetation at the waterside, and are particularly associated with reed canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea(3).
The hairy click beetle is threatened by engineering works carried out on rivers, drainage of riverside wetlands, pollution, and unsuitable management, particularly overgrazing of river banks or neglect, which results in scrub growth (3). Furthermore, changes in the availability of dead wood may have an impact on this species (4).
This beetle is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), and a Species Action Plan has been produced in order to guide its conservation. This plan aims to maintain a good population along the River Parrett, with enhancement of this population by 2010. If the species is indeed absent from the River Thames area, it has been proposed that three populations should be established there (3). The Environment Agency is responsible for managing the conservation of this species (3).
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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