Ant Beetle - Thanasimus formicarius


Although the pattern varies, the elytra always has two pale cross bars. The thorax is red. It reaches a length of up to 10mm.

Identification difficulty

Feeds on bark beetles and their grubs in various trees, it is therefore often seen on the trunks of trees.

When to see it

Mostly May to August.

Life History

This beetle spends two years in the larval stage. The adults overwinter and disperse in spring to fallen trees to await the arrival of their bark beetle prey. They first bite off the legs of those they catch to stop them running away.

UK Status

The species is fairly widespread in England, but less so in Scotland or Wales.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. There were a total of 14 VC55 records for this species up to March 2015.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map