Wednesday 15 May
Pashford pot beetle (Cryptocephalus exiguus)
Pashford pot beetle fact file
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Pashford pot beetle description
This is the smallest of the British Cryptocephalus species. It is a shiny black in colour, with the legs and base of the antennae yellow. The male's head is also yellow but with a black line down the centre. The female's head is all black.
- Body length: 2 - 2.5 mm
Pashford pot beetle biology
Adult beetles have been found during the months of June and July. Their larvae live at the edge of damp hollows that dry out in summer. The larvae live in little pots that look like mouse droppings. Its head is a perfect fit to the opening, and when it feels threatened it scurries into its pot and closes itself in.Top
Pashford pot beetle range
This species was once much more widespread in England, having been recorded in the Norfolk Broads and north Lincolnshire. However, these might have been widely separated and extremely localised populations. The beetle was not found at any site after 1957 until 1980, when a single male was found at Pashford Poor's Fen near Lakenheath in Suffolk. Several more beetles have been found at the same site.Top
Pashford pot beetle habitat
The Pashford pot beetle appears to be associated with common sorrel growing at the edges of fens.Top
Pashford pot beetle status
Classified as Endangered in the UK.Top
Pashford pot beetle threats
Pashford Poor's Fen is threatened by drainage of nearby land and water abstraction, which is lowering the water table. It is also uncertain whether this species benefits or not from grazing.Top
Pashford pot beetle conservation
The Pashford pot beetle is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. Pashford Poor's Fen is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. In order to limit the loss of water to the fen, the SSSI boundary was extended in 1996 to improve control over the adjacent drainage ditches, and additional bunds have been installed to try and hold water levels higher during the summer months. Issues connected with the control of water resources on the site are to be addressed through the production of a Water Level Management Plan.
The management plan for the site is currently being rewritten with greater emphasis on the vegetation management of the wet fen areas where C. exiguus has been found. This will primarily concentrate on reducing the level of grazing in autumn and early winter. Future information will provide a better indication of the habitat management requirements of this species. Fencing has also been installed to control the grazing more effectively.Top
Find out more
For further information on conservation in Suffolk, see:
Suffolk Wildlife Trust:
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:
- Pair of sensory structures on the head of invertebrates.
- 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.
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