Ground Beetles of Ireland

Nebria nivalis

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Nebria nivalis
© Roy Anderson
Nebria nivalis
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(Maps updated 30th November 2009)

Nebria nivalis (Paykull, 1790)

Description: Fairly large (9-11mm) black ground beetle living among frost shattered boulders at the tops of the highest mountains, often in the company of N. gyllenhali which it strongly resembles. Distinguished from that species by the reddish femora contrasting (normally) with darker tibiae. The body is narrower and more slender than that of N. rufescens.

World Distribution: A circumboreal Arctic-montane species (16) ranging from Canada to northern Europe and east to Siberia and Japan. In Britain recorded only from Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in Cumbria, and a small number of very high mountains in Scotland.

Irish Status: There is a single Irish record. That of Stephen McCormack for the summit of Ben Bury, Mweelrea, West Mayo where a single male was pitfall-tapped, 23 April to 21 May 2004. Searched for unsuccessfully on other Irish mountains including the Mournes of Co. Down and Macgillycuddy's Reeks in Co. Kerry.

Ecology: Associated, although not exclusively, with permanent snowfields, being adapted to hunt over the snow for insects immobilised by the cold.