Beetles are a popular group to study and make up the largest insect order (Coleoptera) in the UK with over 4,000 species. Approximately 2,000 of these can be found in Leicestershire and Rutland making beetles far and away the largest group.
Leicestershire and Rutland (VC55) has a long and distinguished history of beetle recording (see the Leicestershire Coleopterists above). The late Derek Lott continued this excellent work and was recognised as an international expert, particularly for the Staphylinidae family.
Today the County Coordinator for beetles is Graham Finch.
As with all records, any submissions you make to NatureSpot will be automatically forwarded to both local and national recording schemes.
As with most invertebrate groups, identification isn't always straightforward. There are so many beetle species that inevitably there are lots of similar ones so it is often necessary to use a key whilst examining the specimen. Use the Red/Amber/Green ratings as a guide and where provided follow the 'recording advice' text.
Leicestershire and Rutland resources
Scarce VC55 Beetles part 1 - Graham Finch
Scarce VC55 Beetles part 2 - Graham Finch
VC55 Cerambycidae Atlas - Graham Finch
VC55 Coccinellidae Atlas - Graham Finch
Mike's insect keys - an excellent resource listing free online keys to many beetle families.
Weevil keys - photographic guide to UK weevils
Larger water beetles - a Dutch key but with very useful photos
The Royal Entomological Society has produced keys to many insect groups including numerous families of beetles. The more modern publications tend to have a mixture of photographs and line drawings, older versions line drawings alone. Electronic versions of out-of-print volumes can be downloaded for free from the link on the page.
Other useful websites and publications
Watford Coleopterist Group - a very useful gallery with quality photos (of mounted specimens) and some good ID guides.
Beetles of Germany - wonderful site with top class images. Many of the species are the same as those found in the UK.
The Ground Beetles of Ireland - great photos of live beetles. Has a photographic key.
Mark Telfer's Beetles - very useful guide to studying beetles with test keys for carabids and staphylinids.
The Coleopterist - a comprehensive site about UK beetles. Has over 700 beetle photos though layout is not easy to use for finding a look-alike.
UK beetle checklist - free download
John Walters illustrated ID guides - a series of excellent downloadable leaflets - most free.
European Carabidae - excellent site with comprehensive gallery of high quality images. Has a great function to allow comparison of selected species.
Woodland Trust Ladybird Guide - download this 5 page photo guide to British ladybirds.
Ladybird larvae - photo id pdf from the Ladybird Survey.
Beetle News - free, downloadable newsletter, most issues include excellent guides to a beetle group.
Beetles and Beetle Recording in Great Britain - run by CEH, this website has lots of photos and ID resources.
Longhorn Beetles - an excellent 2 part identification guide published in British Wildlife Part 1:18:406-14, Aug 2007, Part 2: 19:35-43, Oct 07.
The Leicestershire Coleopterists, Derek Lott. A fascinating account of 200 years of beetle hunting in the County.
Beetles of the Czech and Slovak Republics, Karel Hurka - very good general overview with quality colour plates. Many beetles overlap with British the fauna
Beetles of Britain and Ireland by Andrew G. Duff. A new series planned to cover the British and Irish Coleoptera in four volumes. Intended to be the first comprehensive account since Joy (1932). Two volumes have been published so far:
- Volume 1: Sphaeriusidae to Silphidae
- Volume 4: Cerambycidae to Curculionidae