Shining pot beetle (Cryptocephalus nitidulus)
|Size||Body length: 3.5 - 5 mm|
Classified as Endangered in the UK.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The main threats to this species are from removal of scrub from chalk downland.
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
Information supplied by English Nature.
- 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.