Moccas beetle (Hypebaeus flavipes)

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Moccas beetle male and female on leaf.
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Moccas beetle fact file

Moccas beetle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyMelyridae
GenusHypebaeus (1)

The very rare Moccas beetle is a false soldier beetle, or malachite. They are black in colour, with a soft cuticle, and males have a band of pale brown at the rear of the abdomen(2).

Size
Adult length: 1.5 mm (2)
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Moccas beetle biology

The larvae of this species have been reported to feed on aphids, which they lie in wait for. They are also thought to feed upon wood-boring insects, living inside the galleries they make in the wood (4). The adults are present from June to July and have been found on flowers and foliage. They are very active on sunny days, flying readily (4).

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Moccas beetle range

This beetle takes its common name from Moccas Park in Herefordshire, which is the only known site to support this species in Britain (3). It is also rare in mainland Europe, where it has a scattered distribution (4).

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

Moccas Deer Park, now a National Nature Reserve, is an outstanding example of wood pasture dating back to the 17th Century. This beetle is closely associated with hollow, red-rotten oaks, and is only found on a handful of ancient oak pollards in Moccas Park (4).

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Moccas beetle status

Classified as Endangered in Great Britain and afforded special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (3).

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Moccas beetle threats

The main threat facing this species is the lack of suitable host trees (5). In the past, dead and rotting wood has not been appreciated as an important habitat, and was often removed from sites. More recently, however, attitudes have started to change. This species is also vulnerable to being over-collected by entomologists as well as tree damage and severe weather (5).

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Moccas beetle conservation

A group Species Action Plan has been produced under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for 10 beetles that depend on dead wood habitats. This plan aims to maintain all current populations (3). Moccas Park was designated as a National Nature Reserve because of its importance for dead wood invertebrates. Current management plans aim to retain the veteran trees on the site for as long as possible, and to encourage the growth of new generations of trees to eventually replace them. Dead wood is retained on the site and deer grazing is being controlled (6). Conservation efforts aimed at invertebrates dependent on dead wood habitats are often hindered by the lack of knowledge of the ecology of these species. CABI Biosciences is currently coordinating research into the ecology of 12 species of rare dead wood beetles. A study on dead wood invertebrates and their conservation in the UK commissioned by English Nature and carried out by CABI Biosciences has highlighted the need for further research into the ecology and life-history of these species (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Abdomen
In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but not visibly in most spiders). In crustacea (e.g. crabs) some of the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen. In vertebrates the abdomen is the part of the body that contains the internal organs (except the heart and lungs).
Larvae
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Pollard
Pollarding is the process of ‘beheading’ a tree at around 2 m above the ground. The re-growth takes the form of small poles that can be used in many ways, including fencing. The regrowth occurs out of the reach of deer and other browsers.
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References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2003): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn
  2. Harde, K. W. (2000) A field guide in colour to beetles. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
  3. UK BAP Species Action Plan (September 2003): http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  4. Cheeseman, O.D. (2003) (Unpublished) Research on saproxylic invertebrates and their conservation in the UK. (Contract FST-20-37-02). Final Report. CABI Report XB1992. CABI Bioscience, Egham Surrey.
  5. Shirt, D. B (1987) British Red Data Books: 2 Insects. Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough.
  6. Moccas Park information- English Nature (September 2003): http://www.english-nature.org.uk
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Image credit

Moccas beetle male and female on leaf.  
Moccas beetle male and female on leaf.

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292
key_r_s@yahoo.co.uk

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