Elateridae of the British Isles

Actenicerus sjaelandicus (Muller, O.F., 1764)

Size – 10-16mm

Description – A large species, predominantly brown in colour although varying in shade from rather grey-brown to chestnut-brown. A fairy dense covering of lighter grey coloured hairs gives the pronotum and elytra a patterned appearence and strong ridges running down the length of the elytra are visible. The legs and antennae are unicolourous with the rest of the insect. The antennae are around the length of the head and pronotum or slightly longer.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Actenicerus sjaelandicus across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Actenicerus sjaelandicus (MÁller, O.F., 1764) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • National Trust
  • Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre
  • Tullie House Museum
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Highland Biological Recording Group
  • North East Scotland Biological Records Centre
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire and Rutland Environmental Records Centre
  • Suffolk Biological Records Centre
  • National Trust for Scotland (staff)
  • Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre
  • Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre

Distribution – Most common in west Wales, becoming scarcer into the Midlands, Norfolk/Suffolk, the south-east and south coast. Isolated populations occur in the north-west of England and north and west Scotland.

Biology – Larvae develop underground in soil and feed on the roots of a variety of plants. In central Europe, they are reported as a pest of a number of crop plant species. Imagos are crepuscular, emerging in May and can be found on the leaves and flowers of various herbaceous plants, trees particularly Willow (Salix) species and on Sedges, for example Carex spp.

Habitat – Wetland habitats including marshes, fens, bogs and wet woodlands in both lowland and upland areas.

Photo by V.I. Gumenyuk courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera

Photo by V.I. Gumenyuk courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera