Buglife’s Autumn Oil Beetle Hunt 

Meloe rugosus by John Walters

Meloe rugosus by John Walters

We want to help our friends at Buglife Cymru with their Welsh Oil Beetle survey as they hope to generate more records for Rugged Oil Beetles in Wales. At the moment there's only a handful of records known for south east Wales, but John Walters; Oil Beetle expert, thinks there's a good chance they're present on the Gower!

Clare Dinham, Wales Manager for Buglife is promoting the following:

Last spring we asked for help in recording oil beetles in Wales and due to this we now have a much better idea of where these threatened beetles are. We can now use this information to help to protect and enhance the wildflower-rich habitats upon which the beetles rely.

You may have now caught the oil beetle recording ‘bug’ and can’t wait til next spring to get out and look for more beetles. Well, fear not though as this is the time of year that our third and most elusive species of oil beetle in Wales – the Rugged oil beetle - emerges.

Rugged oil beetles (Meloe rugosus) are primarily nocturnal and the adults can be active between September to April, in grasslands on chalk, limestone and sandy soils. In Wales, the Rugged oil beetle is only known from a small area in South East Wales.  However, given that the beetle is most active at night and during the winter months it is likely that its presence has been overlooked in Wales – it may be more widespread.

This Autumn we need your help!  Please let us know if you spot a Rugged oil beetle in Wales, there is every chance that your sighting could be a new discovery!

Already, the project has led to the discovery of many new sites for oil beetles in Wales, and in England we rediscovered the Mediterranean oil beetle after we thought it was extinct in the UK! Like its Rugged counterpart, Mediterranean oil beetle (Meloe mediterranaeus) is also nocturnal and active during the Autumn and Winter months This species may be present in South Wales and your sightings can really make a difference.

If you see any large, conspicuous black beetles on your travels please submit your sightings and a photo to our Oil beetle survey page. Our Oil beetle Identification guide will help you identify your beetles, but even if you’re unsure please send in your record anyway as we have experts at hand to identify them from your photographs.

Diolch!

Buglife Cymru