Species: Violet click beetle (Limoniscus violaceus)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The violet click beetle is named for its ability to right itself by leaping into the air with an audible clicking sound.
The violet click beetle is a rare insect found only in a few locations across Europe, including just three sites in the UK. The adult violet click beetle is black with a faint blue sheen, and grows to just 1.2 centimetres in length. Like other click beetles, the violet click beetle possesses a ‘groove’ and ‘peg’ system on its underside which allows it to right itself or to leap into the air if threatened. By slamming the peg into the groove, the beetle is thrown into the air with a clicking sound. Adult violet click beetles are thought to be nocturnal and to feed on plant nectar, while their larvae live only in wood mould inside old, decaying trees, usually in large cavities in the trunks.
Although quite widespread across Europe, the violet click beetle is rare throughout its range, and has become extinct in some areas, such as in Denmark. The particular conditions it prefers are not common, and are becoming rarer as old trees are felled and removed by unfavourable forest management methods. This rare beetle is legally protected in the UK and in Hungary, and the sites where it occurs are also protected. Various conservation measures are underway to protect the violet click beetle, including preserving old-growth trees and providing artificial breeding sites by creating suitable cavities in trees.
Find out more about insect conservation in the UK on the Buglife website.
Liz Shaw, ARKive Text Author