Kugelann's Ground Beetle

The Kugelann’s Ground Beetle Poecilus kugelanni is a medium sized (12 – 14 mm long) ground beetle which inhabits heathlands in England, with historic records from south Wales. The beetle favours warm south-facing heath land slopes. It is diurnal, winged and breeds in the spring with the larvae developing over the summer and emerging as adults in August and September. The beetle has been found between March and October with a peak from April to June.

Poecilus kugelanni
Poecilus kugelanni
Poecilus kugelanni
Poecilus kugelanni
Poecilus kugelanni
Poecilus kugelanni

The beetle is currently a Red Data Book 1 (Endangered) species in Britain known from 18 sites, 1 in Cornwall, 7 in Devon, 2 in Dorset, 7 in Hampshire and 1 in Norfolk. It is likely to become a Red Data Book 3 (Rare) when the Red Data Book list is reviewed.

I have been studying this beetle since 1999 and have visited all but one of its British sites. The most interesting discovery during this time has been the longevity of the adult beetles. Between 2000 and 2007 I conducted a mark-recapture study at a site on Dartmoor. I marked the beetles by scratching marks on their elytra using a scalpel blade. Initially I expected the beetle to have an annual life cycle and at first the observations suggested this was true. In the first year adults were marked in the spring and early summer then disappeared during July and August with a few teneral individuals seen in September. I was surprised to find large numbers of marked adults in my pitfall traps the following spring. After several years of study during which I caught over 3000 individuals I found that most of the beetles live for 2 -3 years as adults with one individual living for 4 years. A few larvae were found during the study – the larva is currently undescribed but was identified by rearing the adult beetle. More details of this work can be found in the Amateur Entomologist Bulletin June 2010 see below.

References
Walters, J.M. 2002 The ecology of the Kugelann’s Ground Beetle Pterostichus kugelanni (Panzer 1797). Report for the Scarce Ground Beetle Project, English Nature.

Walters, J. 2010 The ecology of the Kugelann’s Ground Beetle Poecilus kugelanni. Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists Society, Vol 69, Number 490 June 2010 pages 111-122.