Ground Beetles of Ireland

Calathus melanocephalus agg.

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Calathus melanocephalus agg.
© Roy Anderson
Calathus melanocephalus agg.
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(Maps updated 30th November 2009)

Calathus melanocephalus agg. (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: A 6-9mm long ground beetle with two colour forms - black with a bright red pronotum (type form), or all black. The type form is widespread in fairly dry conditions and the dark form occurs in high mountains on morainic substrates.

World Distribution: A species with an exceptionally wide latitudinal range, best described as Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate (54), but as it also occurs in the Arctic biome of northern Fennoscandia and on northern mountains, Eurosiberian Wide-Boreal could also be applied. Widely distributed across Europe, except the extreme south and south-west, to the Caucasus and east to Trans-Baikal in Siberia.

Irish Status: Widespread and common in dryish open habitats, including coastal sites and mountains.

Ecology: Primarily a grassland species, preferring coarse textured, well-drained soils. In coastal sites there is little overlap, however, with the very similar C. cinctus. The latter prefers sparsely vegetated loose sand fore dune habitats whereas C. melanocephalus occupies dune grassland or dune heath habitats.