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┬ácentre 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