Elateridae of the British Isles

Prosternon tessellatum (Linnaeus, 1758)

Size – 9-13mm.

Description – Rounded in appearence, uniformly dark brown in colour with a very obvious dense covering of lighter brown hairs. Strong ridges running down the elytra. The legs are unicolourous with the pronotum and elytra and the antennae are very short – less then the length of the pronotum.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Prosternon tessellatum across Britain and Ireland.

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

Distribution data supplied by:

  • Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Merseyside BioBank
  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Natural England
  • Leicestershire Environmental Resources Centre
  • Highland Biological Recording Group
  • National Trust for Scotland (staff)
  • North East Scotland Biological Records Centre
  • Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Distribution – Widespread and fairly common in England up to North Yorkshire and Cumbria and in Wales. Scattered records from south-west Scotland and further north from the Cairngorms and around the Moray Forth area.

Biology РThe larvae develop underground, feeding on decomposing plant material. Imago insects appear in May and can be found resting conspicuously on grass stems, fence posts and flowers of various herbaceous species such as Carduus spp. and members of the Umbelliferaceae. An association with Alder (Alnus glutinosa) has been suggested from the continent (Pawlega, 2006). Often found regularly at dusk as well as during the day.

Habitat – Lowland grasslands, often close to watercourses or wet grasslands.