Have you seen an oil beetle?

Exmoor Magazine

Wildlife charity Buglife needs help to find some of Exmoor National Park’s strangest inhabitants. Oil beetles are large, charismatic and somewhat strange-looking insects – they have been described as looking like someone whose waistcoat doesn’t quite fit, or like a half-sucked piece of liquorice. The ‘waistcoat’ is the short wing cases that do not fully cover the beetle’s abdomen.

Oil beetles can be locally quite common on sites in South West England, however they are under threat. These beetles have declined due to the loss of flower-rich habitats in our countryside and the declines in populations of wild bees – upon which the beetles depend to complete their life cycles.

There are five species in the UK: the black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus), violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus), rugged oil beetle (Meloe rugosus), short-necked oil beetle (Meloe brevicollis), and Mediterranean oil beetle…

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