Elateridae of the British Isles

Anostirus castaneus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Size – 7-14mm.

Description – A striking species with a almost wholly bright yellow pronotum, with a small black patch at the tips. The pronotum is brown in colour, densely covered with lighter yellow/gold hairs, often forming two distinct yellow spots. The legs and antennae are black. The antennae of the males are strongly pectinate, with females being plainer, but still distinctly segmented. In males the antennae extend beyond the length of the head and pronotum, whilst in females, they are shorter than the pronotum.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Anostirus castaneus across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Anostirus castaneus (Linnaeus, 1758) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Natural England
  • Countryside Council for Wales

Distribution – Extremely scattered distribution in Britain, with isolated records from Gloucestershire and south-east Wales, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight.

Biology – Larvae develop in soil and are thought to feed on the roots of Heather (Calluna, Erica spp.), Birch (Betula spp.) and Willow (Salix spp.). Pupation occurs in August and September, with the insect eclosing shortly after, by the end of September. The imago overwinters in the pupal case, emerging from mid-April the following year.

Habitat – Associated with loose sandy soils, cliffs, quarries and open woodlands.

Photo by D.I. Gavryushin courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera

Photo by D.I. Gavryushin courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera