Shining pot beetle (Cryptocephalus nitidulus)

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Shining pot beetle
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Shining pot beetle fact file

Shining pot beetle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyChrysomelidae
GenusCryptocephalus

This beetle, as its name suggests, has a shining metallic blue, bronze or purplish-green sheen over its body. The legs and antennae are reddish.

Size
Body length: 3.5 - 5 mm
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Shining pot beetle biology

The adults are found between May and July, and it is thought that their larvae feed in leaf litter on warm, sparsely vegetated ground under the young trees that the adults feed on. The larvae take a year to develop to the adult stage.

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Shining pot beetle range

The beetle seems to have had a widely scattered distribution over much of southern England as far north as Nottinghamshire. Today, it has only been found in a very small area of Surrey. Elsewhere, the shining pot beetle is found across northern and central Europe, although it is rare in most areas where it occurs.

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

This beetle prefers young birch growing on the margin of chalk downland on very sheltered, south-facing slopes. It has also been found on hazel, privet and hawthorn. It was formerly found in coppice woodland.

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Shining pot beetle status

Classified as Endangered in the UK.

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Shining pot beetle threats

The main threats to this species are from removal of scrub from chalk downland.

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Shining pot beetle conservation

The shining pot beetle is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. It is possible that other populations still exist within the beetles' historical range. A number of surveys have been carried out to assess the true status of the species, but no other colonies have been found. A PhD studentship at Leeds University has been studying this species, and other members of the Cryptocephalus group of beetles, for the last 3 years, and a further studentship began in 2002. As with the hazel pot beetle, it may prove possible to establish ex situ breeding colonies and re-introduce the beetle back into some of its former sites.

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

Information supplied by English Nature.
http://www.english-nature.org.uk

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Glossary

Antennae
Pair of sensory structures on the head of invertebrates.
Coppice
Coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management in which trees are cut close to the base of the trunk. Re-growth occurs in the form of many thin poles. Coppiced woodlands are cut in this way on rotation, producing a mosaic of different stages of re-growth.
Ex situ
Measures to conserve a species or habitat that occur outside of the natural range of the species. E.g. in zoos or botanical gardens.
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.
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References

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Image credit

Shining pot beetle  
Shining pot beetle

© Roger Key

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

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