The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Restricted to a small area of south-western England, but locally abundant at many known sites.
Discovered on the cliffs above Whitsand Bay in 1856, then ' near Millook' in 1905, and Carthamartha is also mentioned in the Victoria County History (Clark, 1906). It was subsequently found in Boconnoc Deer Park in 1972 and a substantial population is now known there. C.A. Brind found it at Red Moor in 1978 but no further records have been forthcoming. It was discovered in the Fowey valley woods in 1997 and is now known to be widespread there. One was also found on open moorland near Altarnun in 2007. Other sites are very likely.
Habitat & Ecology
Most of the research on this species has been carried out in the damp ancient wood pastures of the river valleys draining the moors, where it forages in and over moss covered rotting stumps and trunks, and also over living tree trunks for its invertebrate prey, particularly slugs. Grazing appears to be important in suppressing ground vegetation and maintaining the open mossy conditions the beetle prefers. It is active under relatively warm moist conditions and usually nocturnal. Open moorland and sea-cliff sites have not been studied but presumably grazing is important there too.
Commercial woodland management, removing over-mature trees; tidiness, removing dead and decaying timber; lack of recruitment of new generations of trees, due to high grazing levels or lack of planting; increase in density of field layer due to lack of grazing.
Cabilla Woods is a Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) Nature Reserve; Boconnoc Park and Red Moor have sympathetic owners/managers and are both SSSI; much of the Millook Valley is now owned and managed by the Woodland Trust; Carthamartha is the only unprotected area, being part of a large complex of woodlands currently under commercial management for timber. This species is listed on the UK BAP Priority Species list (2007).
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.