Elateridae of the British Isles

Ampedus cardinalis (Schiodte, 1865)

Size – 12-16mm.

Description – A large Elaterid with black head and pronotum and red elytra with slightly darker red pattering. Longitudinal rows of pits are visible on the elytra. There is no obvious covering of hairs. The legs are black with a slight lightening towards the tips of the tarsi. The antennae are black and are fairly short, only just extending┬áto the posterior edge of the pronotum.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Ampedus cardinalis across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Ampedus cardinalis (SchiÁdte, 1865) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Natural England

Distribution – Rare in Britain with a most records from the London area and scattered others from the south Wales/Herefordshire area and from Nottinghamshire.

Biology – Larvae to be found in the rotten heartwood of Oak (Quercus rober), in trunks and branches. The larval stage can last several years, with pupation occurring in the autumn. The insect then ecloses and the imago overwinters in the pupal case. On emergence the adult is found underneath loose bark of the host tree.

Habitat – Ancient broadleaved woodland.