Elateridae of the British Isles

Paraphotistus nigricornis (Panzer, 1799)

Size – 10-13mm.

Description – Very similar in appearence to P. impressus, but with a slightly wider pronotum. Brown or black in colour with a dense covering of slightly lighter, greyer or browner hairs. The legs are a lighter brown colour to the rest of the insect with the antennae as long as the head and pronotum.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Paraphotistus nigricornis across Britain and Ireland.

British and Irish distribution of Paraphotistus nigricornis (Panzer, 1799) based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire Environmental Resources Centre

Distribution РFormerly widespread but local. In recent years only very scattered records from North Yorkshire down to Kent and the south coast, across to south-east Wales.

Biology РLarvae develop in the roots of grass species in waterlogged soil. Imago insects have one of the longest emergence period of any of the Elateridae and can be found from May-August, with peak emergence in June and July. Association with a wide range of plant species is reported, especially from the continent, with imagos found resting on the leaves, flowers and young shoots of trees including Oak (Quercus spp.), Birch (Betula spp.), Hazel (Corylus avellana), Poplar (Populus spp.), Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) and Willow (Salix spp.). Also frequents grass stems in meadows and at the edge of waterbodies or marshes.

Habitat – Lowland meadows, wet woodland, marshes and fens.