Elateridae of the British Isles

Melanotus villosus (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785)

Size – 14-19mm.

Description – Unicolourous black. Deep longitudinal ridge are visible running down the elytra, along with shallower densely scattered pits over the elytra and pronotum. A dense covering of short brown hairs is obvious. The legs are predominantly black, with brown tarsi. The antennae are brown/black and are very long, extending a way beyond the posterior edge of the pronotum, especially in the male.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Melanotus villosus across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Melanotus villosus (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785) 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
  • Merseyside BioBank
  • Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre
  • Tullie House Museum
  • Merseyside BioBank
  • 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
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire Environmental Resources Centre
  • National Trust for Scotland (staff)
  • Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre
  • Staffordshire Ecological Record

Distribution – Common and widespread throughout England and Wales. More local in Scotland, with most records from the central Highlands and scattered others from the Loch Lomond area, Dumfries and Galloway and the far north-west.

Biology – Larvae develop in decaying wood. Imagos are nocturnal and are attracted to light.