Elateridae of the British Isles

Denticollis linearis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Size – 9-13mm.

Description – A variable species, always with a orange/red pronotum, sometimes with yellow patches at each posterior corner. The elytra can be yellow/orange or grey and the head is grey, often with an orange colouration at the front. The elytra show strong rows of pits down their length. There is no obvious covering of hairs. The femora are generally dark grey, lightening to orange/yellow on the tibia and tarsi.  The antennae are very long, extending long beyong the posterior edge of the pronotum.

This species closely resembles some species of Cantharidae (Soldier Beetles), but can be distinguished by the posterior angles on the pronotum and the deeply pitted elytra.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Denticollis linearis across Britain and Ireland.

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

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Dorset Environmental Records Centre
  • National Trust
  • Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Highland Biological Recording Group
  • Greenspace Information for Greater London
  • Devon Biodiversity Records Centre
  • North East Scotland Biological Records Centre
  • Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Balfour-Browne Club
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire Environmental Resources Centre
  • National Trust for Scotland (staff)
  • Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre
  • Staffordshire Ecological Record

Distribution – One of the commonest Elaterids in Britain, this species is widespread and common throughout England and Wales, scarcer in Scotland.

Biology – The larvae are omnivorous and are associated with a wide range of host tree species including many broadleaved species and Pines (Pinus spp.). They occur in decaying heartwood and underneath bark, feeding on other invertebrate larvae, but also on plant tissues. Pupation is in the spring.

Habitat – Fairly ubiquitous ranging from broadleaved, mixed and coniferous woodland, woodland/grassland edge habitats, coastal areas with suitable host plants in the vicinity to heathland and upland moorlands, where the species utilises peat and moss for larval development.

Photo by K.V. Makarov courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera

Photo by K.V. Makarov courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera

Photo by A.S. Ilyin courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera

Photo by A.S. Ilyin courtesy of www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera