Ground Beetles of Ireland

Bembidion lunatum

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Bembidion lunatum
© Roy Anderson
Bembidion lunatum
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(Maps updated 30th November 2009)

Bembidion lunatum (Duftschmid, 1812)

Description: 5.5-6.2mm black ground beetle with two large, obscure yellow-red spots near the elytral apices. Found on mud at the side of rivers, usually in estuaries. North coast only and rare.

World Distribution: A Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate species (54) distributed from north and west Europe across northern Russia to central Siberia and Mongolia.

Irish Status: A great rarity in Ireland and only recorded from localities on or close to the north coast. Johnson & Halbert (1902) cited records for Magilligan, Londonderry (coll. Buckle) and Rathlin Island, Antrim (Hardy 1897). The lakeshore in the Rathlin record has been visited recently, but seems an unlikely habitat, and the species was not re-found. Anderson (in Speight et al., 1983) found a substantial colony on the banks of the River Roe, Londonderry which constitutes the only modern Irish record. Very local in England and Wales, and mainly in the Severn and Humber estuaries (Luff, 1998).

Ecology: On the River Roe the species occupied a sparsely vegetated sandy/silt riverbank subject to some tidal action. On a recent visit to this locality (July 1998) the colony could not be re-found and the habitat had been submerged in 6-10 cm of anoxic clay similar in properties to sewage sludge. A large section of the river had suffered in a similar way, and it is assumed that the species is now extinct there.