Elateridae of the British Isles

Ctenicera cuprea (Fabricius, 1775)

Size – 11-16mm.

Description – A large, very elongated species and variable species. Colour combinations include dark yellow elytra with green tips and a green pronotum, wholly green or wholly purple. There is a conspicuous dipped line down the centre of the pronotum and the elytra are ridged. Most specimens have a very metallic appearence. Males have very long and pectinate antennae, whilst females have shorter and plainer, but noticeably segmented antennae. The legs are black.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Ctenicera cuprea across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Ctenicera cuprea (Fabricius, 1775) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Merseyside BioBank
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Highland Biological Recording Group
  • North East Scotland Biological Records Centre
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Balfour-Browne Club
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire Environmental Resources Centre
  • National Trust for Scotland (staff)
  • Staffordshire Ecological Record
  • Staffordshire Ecological Record

Distribution – A fairly common species in the north and west of England and Wales and in much of Scotland. Range extends down to Northamptonshire, with scattered records in the south-west.

Biology – Larvae develop in soil and are considered pests in some areas of the continent of various species of grasses, young trees and food crops such as Oats and Barley. Imago insects appear from May to July and males are particularly conspicuous resting at the tops of grasses and on flowers of Umbellifers and Carduus spp. and flying on sunny, calm days, whilst females are more elusive being found resting on flowers and under stones.

Habitat – In Britain this species is associated with upland heath or moorland areas of the north and west, but can be found in heathy areas in the Midlands.

Photo by David Lampard

Species Accounts

Notes on species accounts

Distribution accounts are adapted from the National Biodiversity Network (maps provided from NBN) and from the Provisional Atlas of the Click Beetles (Coleoptera: Elateroidea) of the British Isles, H. Mendel (1988), Institute of Terrestrial Ecology.

Biology and habitat accounts are derived from-

Alexander, K.N.A. (2002). The invertebrates of living and decaying timber in Britain and Ireland. A provisional annotated checklist. English Nature Research Reports Number 467. English Nature. Peterborough, UK. 

Leseigneur, L. (1972). Coleopteres Elateridae de la Faune de France. Societe Linneenne de Lyon. Lyon, France.

Agroatlas – Interactive Agricultural Ecological Atlasof Russia and Neighbouring Countries. Economic Plants and their Diseases, Pests and Weeds. www.agroatlas.ru


I am currently looking for photographic images to use on the species account pages. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has good quality photographs of any of the British species who would grant permission for their work to be used on this site. Full credit will be given with each work, using wording of the owners choice. I am ideally looking for photographs of card mounted specimens, however any quality images would be gratefully accepted.

Please e-mail ctenicera@elateridae.co.uk

Species Accounts of the British Elateridae

Agrypnus murinus

Lacon querceus

Hypnoidus riparius

Actenicerus sjaelandicus

Anostirus castaneus

Ctenicera cuprea

Ctenicera pectinicornis

Calambus bipustulatus

Aplotarsus angustulus

Aplotarsus incanus

Paraphotistus impressus

Paraphotistus nigricornis

Prosternon tessellatum

Selatosomus aeneus

Selatosomus cruciatus

Selatosomus melancholicus

Cidnopus aeruginosus

Kibunea minuta

Limoniscus violaceus

Denticollis linearis

Athous haemorrhoidalis

Athous vittatus

Athous subfuscus

Athous bicolor

Athous campyloides

Diacanthous undulatus

Stenagostus rhombeus

Hemicrepidius hirtus

Adrastus pallens

Adrastus rachifer

Synaptus filiformis

Agriotes acuminatus

Agriotes lineatus

Agriotes obscurus

Agriotes pallidulus

Agriotes sordidus

Agriotes sputator

Dalopius marginatus

Ampedus balteatus

Ampedus cardinalis

Ampedus cinnabarinus

Ampedus elongantulus

Ampedus nigerrimus

Ampedus nigrinus

Ampedus pomonae

Ampedus pomorum

Ampedus quercicola

Ampedus rufipennis

Ampedus sanguineus

Ampedus sanguinolentus

Ampedus tristis

Brachygonus ruficeps

Ischnodes sanguinicollis

Megapenthes lugens

Procraerus tibialis

Elater ferrugineus

Sericus brunneus

Panspaeus guttatus

Melanotus castanipes

Melanotus punctolineatus

Melanotus villosus

Fleutiauxellus maritimus

Negastrius arenicola

Negastrius pulchellus

Negastrius sabulicola

Oedostethus quadripustulatus

Zorochros meridionalis

Zorochros minimus

Cardiophorus asellus

Cardiophorus gramineus

Cardiophorus ruficollis

Cardiophorus vestigialis

Dicronychus equisetioides


Species List

Taxonomy follows Duff, 2008.

Family ELATERIDAE Leach, 1815

Subfamily AGRYPNINAE Candèze, 1857
AGRYPNUS Eschscholtz, 1829
ADELOCERA sensu auctt. partim non Latreille, 1829

LACON sensu auctt. non Laporte, 1836
murinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

LACON Laporte, 1836
ADELOCERA sensu auctt. partim non Latreille, 1829
querceus (Herbst, 1784)
varius (Olivier, 1790)

Subfamily HYPNOIDINAE Schwarz, 1906
HYPNOIDUS Dillwyn, 1829
CRYPTOHYPNUS Eschscholtz, 1830
riparius (Fabricius, 1793)

Subfamily DENTICOLLINAE Stein & Weise, 1877
Tribe CTENICERINI Fleutiaux, 1936
ACTENICERUS Kiesenwetter, 1858
CORYMBITES sensu Fowler, 1889 partim non Latreille, 1834
sjaelandicus (Müller, O.F., 1764)
tessellatus sensu (Fabricius, 1775) non (Linnaeus, 1758)

ANOSTIRUS Thomson, C.G., 1859
CALOSTIRUS Thomson, C.G., 1864
CORYMBITES sensu Fowler, 1889 partim non Latreille, 1834
castaneus (Linnaeus, 1758)

CTENICERA Latreille, 1829
LUDIUS sensu Eschscholtz, 1829 non Berthold, 1827
CTENICERUS Stephens, 1830 (misspelling)
CORYMBITES Latreille, 1834
cuprea (Fabricius, 1775)
aeruginosa sensu (Fabricius, 1798) non (Olivier, 1790)
pectinicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)

CALAMBUS Thomson, C.G., 1859
SELATOSOMUS sensu auctt. partim non Stephens, 1830
bipustulatus (Linnaeus, 1767)

APLOTARSUS Stephens, 1830
SELATOSOMUS sensu auctt. partim non Stephens,
angustulus (Kiesenwetter, 1858)
incanus (Gyllenhal, 1827)
quercus sensu (Gyllenhal, 1808) non (Olivier, 1790)
ochropterus (Stephens, 1830)

SELATOSOMUS sensu auctt. partim non Stephens, 1830
impressus (Fabricius, 1793)
nigricornis (Panzer, 1799)
metallicus (Paykull, 1800)

PROSTERNON Latreille, 1834
CORYMBITES sensu Fowler, 1889 non Latreille, 1834
tessellatum (Linnaeus, 1758)
holosericeum (Olivier, 1790)

SELATOSOMUS Stephens, 1830
CORYMBITES sensu Fowler, 1889 partim non Latreille, 1834
aeneus (Linnaeus, 1758)
cruciatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
melancholicus (Fabricius, 1798) 492

Tribe DENTICOLLINI Stein & Weise, 1877
CIDNOPUS Thomson, C.G., 1859
LIMONIUS sensu auctt. partim non Eschscholtz, 1829
aeruginosus (Olivier, 1790)
cylindricus (Rossi, 1792)

KIBUNEA Kishii, 1966
CIDNOPUS sensu auctt. partim non Thomson, C.G., 1859
minuta (Linnaeus, 1758)

LIMONISCUS Reitter, 1905
violaceus (Müller, P.W.J., 1821)

DENTICOLLIS Piller & Mitterpacher, 1783
CAMPYLUS Fischer von Waldheim, 1823/4
linearis (Linnaeus, 1758)

ATHOUS Eschscholtz, 1829
Subgenus ATHOUS Eschscholtz, 1829
haemorrhoidalis (Fabricius, 1801)
obscurus sensu (Paykull, 1800) non (Linnaeus, 1758)
vittatus (Fabricius, 1793)
advena (Scopoli, 1763) 28

Subgenus EXANATHROTUS Méquignon, 1930
subfuscus (Müller, O.F., 1764)

Subgenus ORTHATHOUS Reitter, 1905
bicolor (Goeze, 1777)
longicollis (Olivier, 1790)
campyloides Newman, 1833
difformis Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835
cavus sensu Waterhouse, G.R., 1858 non (Germar, 1817)

DIACANTHOUS Reitter, 1905
HARMINIUS sensu auctt. non Fairmaire, 1852
undulatus (De Geer, 1774)

STENAGOSTUS Thomson, C.G., 1859
ATHOUS sensu auctt. Brit. partim non Eschscholtz, 1829
rhombeus (Olivier, 1790)
villosus sensu auctt. non (Fourcroy, 1785)

ATHOUS sensu auctt. Brit. partim non Eschscholtz, 1829
hirtus (Herbst, 1784)
niger sensu auctt. Brit. non (Linnaeus, 1758)

Subfamily ELATERINAE Leach, 1815
Tribe ADRASTINI Candèze, 1863
ADRASTUS Eschscholtz, 1829
pallens (Fabricius, 1793)
nitidulus (Marsham, 1802) non (Fabricius, 1787)
limbatus sensu (Stephens, 1830) non (Fabricius, 1777)
rachifer (Fourcroy, 1785)
minutus sensu (Olivier, 1790) non (Linnaeus, 1758)
pusillus (Fabricius, 1801)

SYNAPTUS Eschscholtz, 1829
filiformis (Fabricius, 1781)

Tribe AGRIOTINI Champion, 1894
AGRIOTES Eschscholtz, 1829
acuminatus (Stephens, 1830)
sobrinus Kiesenwetter, 1858
lineatus (Linnaeus, 1767)
obscurus (Linnaeus, 1758)
pallidulus (Illiger, 1807)
sordidus (Illiger, 1807)
sputator (Linnaeus, 1758)

DALOPIUS Eschscholtz, 1829
DOLOPIUS auctt. (misspelling)
marginatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tribe AMPEDINI Fleutiaux, 1947
AMPEDUS Dejean, 1833
ELATER sensu auctt. non Linnaeus, 1758
balteatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
cardinalis (Schiødte, 1865)
praeustus sensu auctt. non (Fabricius, 1793)
coccinatus (Rye, 1867)
cinnabarinus (Eschscholtz, 1829)
lythropterus Germar, 1844
elongantulus (Fabricius, 1787)
elongatulus auctt. (misspelling)
nigerrimus (Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835)
aethiops sensu auctt. Brit. non (Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835)
nigrinus (Herbst, 1784)
pomonae (Stephens, 1830)
pomorum (Herbst, 1784)
ferrugatus (Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835)
quercicola (du Buysson, 1887)
pomonae sensu auctt. non (Stephens, 1830)
miniatus (Gorham, 1892)
rufipennis (Stephens, 1830)
sanguineus (Linnaeus, 1758)
sanguinolentus (Schrank, 1776)
tristis (Linnaeus, 1758)

BRACHYGONUS du Buysson, 1912
AMPEDUS sensu auctt. partim non Dejean, 1833
ruficeps (Mulsant & Guillebeau, 1855)
pallidulus (Reitter, 1911)

ISCHNODES Germar, 1844
sanguinicollis (Panzer, 1793)

Tribe MEGAPENTHINI Gurjeva, 1973
MEGAPENTHES Kiesenwetter, 1858
lugens (Redtenbacher, 1842)

PROCRAERUS Reitter, 1905
MEGAPENTHES sensu Fowler, 1889 partim non Kiesenwetter, 1858
tibialis (Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835)

Tribe ELATERINI Leach, 1815
ELATER Linnaeus, 1758
LUDIUS Berthold, 1827
ferrugineus Linnaeus, 1758

SERICUS Eschscholtz, 1829
SERICOSOMUS Dejean, 1833
brunneus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tribe incertae sedis
PANSPAEUS Sharp, 1877
PANSPOEUS auctt. (misspelling)
guttatus Sharp, 1877

Subfamily MELANOTINAE Candèze, 1859

MELANOTUS Eschscholtz, 1829
castanipes (Paykull, 1800)villosus sensu auctt. partim non (Geoffory in Fourcroy, 1785)
punctolineatus (Pelerin, 1829)
niger sensu (Fabricius, 1793) non (Linnaeus, 1758)
aterrimus sensu (Stephens, 1830) non (Linnaeus, 1761)
villosus (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785)
rufipes (Herbst, 1784) non (De Geer, 1774)
erythropus (Gmelin in Linnaeus, 1790)
rugosus (Marsham, 1802)

Subfamily NEGASTRIINAE Nakane & Kishii, 1956
FLEUTIAUXELLUS Méquignon, 1930
HYPNOIDUS sensu auct. Brit. partim non Dillwyn, 1829
maritimus (Curtis, 1840)

NEGASTRIUS Thomson, C.G., 1859
HYPNOIDUS sensu auct. Brit. partim non Dillwyn, 1829
arenicola (Boheman, 1852) 496
pulchellus (Linnaeus, 1761)
sabulicola (Boheman, 1851)

FLEUTIAUXELLUS sensu auctt. partim non Méquignon, 1930
quadripustulatus (Fabricius, 1793)

ZOROCHROS Thomson, C.G., 1859
HYPNOIDUS sensu auct. Brit. partim non Dillwyn, 1829
meridionalis (Laporte, 1840)
minimus (Boisduval & Lacordaire, 1835)
dermestoides (Herbst, 1806) non (Linnaeus, 1767)
quadriguttatus sensu auctt. Brit. non (Laporte, 1840)
tetragraphus sensu auctt. Brit. non (Germar, 1844)
flavipes sensu auctt. Brit. non (Aubé, 1850)

Subfamily CARDIOPHORINAE Candèze, 1859
CARDIOPHORUS Eschscholtz, 1829
asellus Erichson, 1840
gramineus (Scopoli, 1763)
thoracicus (Fabricius, 1775)
ruficollis (Linnaeus, 1758)
vestigialis Erichson, 1840
erichsoni du Buysson, 1901

DICRONYCHUS Brullé, 1832
CARDIOPHORUS sensu auctt. partim non Eschscholtz, 1829
equisetioides Lohse, 1976
equiseti sensu auctt. Brit. non (Herbst, 1784)