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Beetling about





One of the UK's rarest oil beetle species - the Short-necked oil beetle (Meloe brevicollis), has been rediscovered in Wales. Having once been widespread in Britain, it suffered a severe decline in the 20th century with no sightings at all in the UK between 1948 and 2006.

In Wales it hadn't been since 1944 until it's recent rediscovery in Pembrokeshire. Elsewhere the Short-necked oil beetle has only been recorded in a few other locations including the island of Coll in the Inner Hebrides, on Salisbury Plain and in south Devon.


There are 5 species of Oil beetle in the uk - the Black oil beetle, the Violet oil beetle, the Rugged oil beetle, the Mediterranean oil beetle and the Short-necked oil beetle. The latter have a rectangular-shaped thorax, short, straight antennae (which are slightly thickened at the tips) and are a shiny blue-black colour whereas the Black oil beetle and Violet oil beetle have a thorax that is squarer in shape. Although they measure only 24mm, Oil beetles are often seen on footpaths in the countryside between March and June, where they seek out bare, compacted earth in which to dig nest burrows.


As nest parasites of solitary bees, Oil beetles have highly specialised life-cycles, making them vulnerable to environmental change.

Buglife have produced an Oil beetle identification guide Here.



If you think you have seen any type of Oil beetle you can take part in Buglife's Oil Beetle survey by sending details of your sightings, along with a photograph(s) to