Ground Beetles of Ireland

Cychrus caraboides

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Cychrus caraboides
© Roy Anderson
Cychrus caraboides
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(Maps updated 30th November 2009)

Cychrus caraboides (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: A large (15-19mm) dull black ground beetle with very narrow fore parts, specially adapted to feeding on snails in their shells. Adults live under rotten logs in woodland but common also in upland heather moor.

World Distribution: A European Boreo-temperate species (53), found widely from the North Cape to the Pyrenees and eastwards to the western part of Russia.

Irish Status: Widely distributed and common in Ireland but perhaps particularly so in the north. The map shows strong clustering around pitfall sites on upland peat.

Ecology: In Ireland primarily a forest species but also found in heather moors up to moderate altitudes. A ready coloniser of spruce plantations on deep peat (Day & Carthy, 1988). In Europe, this species is northern and montane, particularly in the east, and has been recorded from the Finnish and Russian Taiga. The mouth-parts are adapted to predate snails and slugs, and it is common in shaded places wherever there is an abundance of prey.