Ground Beetles of Ireland

Leistus montanus

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Leistus montanus
© Roy Anderson
Leistus montanus
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(Maps updated 30th November 2009)

Leistus montanus Stephens, 1827

Description: Small (7-9.5mm) dark ground beetle with blue metallic reflections, living under stones and in tussocks at high altitudes on mountains. Very rare in Ireland and not seen since 1924.

World Distribution: Within Preston & Hill's floristic elements this species would be categorised as European Boreal-montane (43), but with a restriction for montane habitats rather than Boreal in the geographic sense. Found in mountains of the temperate zone of southern and central Europe from north Spain and the Pyrenees to the Swiss Alps and the Carpathians. There are two named forms of which subsp. rhaeticus Heer occurs in the British Isles. British localities in north Wales, northern England and Scotland are at the extreme northern end of its range.

Irish Status: Rare in Ireland, and mainly recorded in the south-west. A single dark green specimen was taken by Nevin Foster in 1902 (Johnson & Halbert, 1912) on Slieve-na-Glogh, Mourne Mountains, Down, but the species usually has a steel-blue reflection. Other sites are: Slieve Glah, Cavan; Slievemore, Achill and Croagh Patrick, West Mayo; Ben Lettery, West Galway; Mangerton, Carrantuohill and Caher, Kerry. There are no records later than 1924, but its habitat is seldom visited.

Ecology: Reported mainly from scree or breccia at high altitude in Europe; according to Marggi (1992), under stones in dry places within the alpine zone.