Elateridae of the British Isles

Megapenthes lugens (Redtenbacher, 1842)

Size – 7-10mm.

Description – An elongated species, with a wide pronotum and elytra tapering towards the tips. Uniform black with obvious longitudinal rows of pits running down the length of the elytra. The legs and antennae are black and the antennae extend just beyond the posterior margin of the pronotum.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Megapenthes lugens across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Megapenthes lugens (Redtenbacher, 1842) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Natural England

Distribution – An endangered species. Most records are from Hertfordshire, Surrey and London, with many being historical only. Isolated records from Gloucestershire and Hampshire.

Biology – The larvae are associated with the hollow decaying trunks of Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Elm (Ulmus spp.). It is thought that they are likely to feed on larvae of the subfamily Cossoninae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Pupation occurs in the autumn and the insect subsequently ecloses and overwinters as an imago inside the pupal case. Upon emergence the imagos are nocturnal and can be found feeding on flowers of various species.