Buprestidae - the Jewel Beetles of Nottinghamshire
....
Generally elusive and difficult to find, to the coleopterist, Jewel Beetles are the equivalent of extracting a diamond from a coal face, or a gold nugget from the banks of the River Trent! They are that elusive and no matter how long you try, finding one can sometimes take far too long and it becomes a personal quest.

But while the adults are difficult to come by, their larvae leave us some clues to their being present and these are much easier to find. Exit holes made by the larva prior to pupation after a living under bark, are particularly distinctive among all other exit holes being characteristically 'D' shaped.

Jewel Beetles are known and named for their bright colours and in many instances are indeed, very aptly named. However the UK's Buprestidae are considerably more drab and dressed down and the more colourful species are found across Europe and in warmer countries.

It has to be said that both the UK and Nottinghamshire aren't ideally placed to see the better examples the Buprestidae Family has to offer.
 
....
There are 17 species on the UK list, compared to over 200 across Europe, although the majority of these are found in southern European countries. So if you want to see some of the more colourful Buprestids, then perhaps consider moving south.

Buprestidae in Nottinghamshire 

For those coleopterists and naturalists loyal to Robin Hood county, then the 17 UK species can be narrowed down to three or four which have occurred, or been known to have occurred in Nottinghamshire. So its probably not such an exciting prospect now is it? But the overall elusiveness of the adult beetles alone, is enough of a challenge and there should be a few more species to add to the Nottinghamshire list over coming years. One of these newcomers (Agrilus cyanescens Ratzeburg, 1837) has already been recorded from Leicestershire and is breeding in neighbouring Lincolnshire. It makes realistic sense to suggest that it is already established on Honeysuckle growing in a Nottinghamshire woodland somewhere.
....
The lack of Buprestid records and their general rarity in Nottinghamshire, was all too evident to Victorian and Edwardian naturalists a century or more ago and they would certainly have took pride of place in any collection.

J.W. Carr provides records of just three species in his publication 'The Invertebrate Fauna of Nottinghamshire. Nottingham: J.& H. Bell Ltd (1916)' listing Agrilus biguttatus  (Fabricius, 1777), Agrilus laticornis (Illiger, 1803) and Agrilus angustulus (Illiger, 1803). Since then, only Agrilus sinuatus (Olivier, 1790) found at Burton Joyce in 1998, has been added to the list and continues to be found on Hawthorn at an increasing number of sites across the county.

Winter surveying and mapping


The easiest way of finding any Jewel Beetle, is by looking for the characteristic 'D' shaped exit holes in the bark of trees. Searching on dead or dying trees can be done during the Winter months and is a straight forward process, as the holes are unmistakable. It also provides a quicker and easier way to map the distribution of each species across Nottinghamshire and for the coleopterist ... helps fill the days between Summers spent looking for the adults.
 
....
Species accounts 

The following species accounts are based on the information and records currently available.
 
Agrilus angustulus (Illiger, 1803)  
......
......
Historical records: Occasional vagueness within some species accounts in Carr's book, is certainly attributable with his account for Agrilus angustulus. From a researcher's viewpoint, this is one of the least useful records Carr ever lists, simply giving 'Sherwood Forest (Tomlin)'. There's no accompanying date, but it was likely to be the late 1800's.

It was obviously rare even then and although there are modern records, it is very much regarded as being quite a find and it can go years without being recorded.

Current status and modern records: There are just four modern records, dating from 2010 and 2011. The NBN Atlas does list an undated, no recorder or determiner record from SK66 (Sherwood Forest) in 2000.
......

The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Adrian Dutton. Trevor and Dilys Pendleton.

 
....
Those recent records we can list are from Sherwood Forest CP in 2010 (Dutton, A.), Sherwood Forest CP on 05/06/10 and another on 07/06/10 and an astonishing 23 adults recorded from Wellow Park on 21/05/11 (Pendleton, T.A. & Pendleton, D.T.).

Smaller and less colourful than Agrilus biguttatus, Agrilus angustulus has been less recorded of the Agrilus species found at Sherwood Forest NNR, but was recorded most recently in 2010 (Dutton, A.) Length of the ones we photographed were 6mm and 5mm. This beetle was present in good numbers (over 15 in a casual count) on Ash and Hazel regrowth in a clearing at Wellow Park at SK686672 in May 2011. There appear to have been no county records since.

Hostplants:  Oak Quercus robur, Beech Fagus sylvatica, Hornbeam Carpinus betulinus, Ash Fraxinus excelsior and Hazel Corylus avellana have all been recorded.
 
Oak Jewel Beetle Agrilus biguttatus (Fabricius, 1777)
......
......
Historical records: Historically much rarer in Nottinghamshire than it is today. Carr's account of the beetle includes the following record. 'Sherwood Forest July 1908, over 60 specimens taken from borings in large Oak tree, on trunk, low branches and Bracken later in the day. Not taken in Britain for about 80 years, this being the first record for the Midland' (H. St. J. K. Donisthorpe, E.M.M., Nov. 1908, p 259 and Ent. Record, 1908, p 237)'.

Current status and modern records: A large Jewel Beetle measuring around 11mm in length, Agrilus biguttatus is found on Oak, where the larvae bore into the bark of trees in suitable stages of distress and decay. It is the most regularly recorded Agrilus throughout the Sherwood Forest area, thanks to the abundance of suitable host material, but the adult generally remains a difficult find.
......

The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. K N A Alexander (Invertebrate assemblage condition at Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI and Birklands West and Ollerton Corner SSSI survey reports 2009-10). Allan and Annette Binding (Clumber Park invertebrate records). Adrian Dutton.

 
......
Sherwood Forest remains the best place to find this beetle, but evidence from recent records suggests that it is becoming increasingly more widespread. The exit holes have only been recorded on a handful of Oaks within the country park area and it is certainly under recorded, although obviously increasing there. Away from Sherwood there is a 2021 record from Eakring, where numerous exit holes were found on a recently dead Oak. Exit holes (the easiest method of recording) were also found on Strawberry Hill Heath near Mansfield in 2013.

Hostplants:  Various Oaks have been reported as hostplants, but Quercus robur is the tree usually affected at Sherwood Forest. There have also been claims of a possible link between Agrilus biguttatus and a number of very serious Oak diseases. If this was to ever prove to be the case, it would make the current practice of artificial distressing and forced creation of standing dead wood habitat occurring in Sherwood Forest, to be rather like playing with fire.
 
Agrilus laticornis (Illiger, 1803)
......
......
Historical records: Carr lists a couple of records, citing 'Treswell Wood, two specimens swept July 15th 1899 (Pegler and Thornley). Sherwood Forest, several beaten from Oaks, Aug 1903 (Taylor)'.

Current status and modern records: There have been no modern records of this beetle away from the Sherwood Forest area and it remains confined  to Sherwood Forest. Typically found on Oak, it has been recorded from various parts of the Sherwood Forest Country Park, during survey work undertaken by Derek Lott in 1998 and then Tony Drane in 2000.

We recorded it back in June 2011 and again more recently, when a specimen was beaten from Oak in July 2021.
......

The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. Tony Drane. Derek Lott Coleoptera Dataset.

 
......
Hostplants:  Oak Quercus robur and Hazel Corylus avellana have been recorded.
 
Hawthorn Jewel Beetle Agrilus sinuatus (Olivier, 1790)
......
......
Historical records: Not recorded historically, Nottinghamshire's first record was from Burton Joyce in 1998 (Dutton, A.) which is listed on the NBN Atlas, but which for some reason fails to give the recorder or determiner.

Current status and modern records: This is easily Nottinghamshire's most colourful and widespread Jewel Beetle and immediately obvious when seen for the first time. Found on Hawthorn, including along hedgerows, on bushes, or on small trees, the exit holes are easy to find during the Winter months. This ultimately helps any subsequent search for adults, for which hot days are known to be best and beating foliage the favoured method. But we have known records of this beetle sitting openly on foliage in overcast conditions.
......

The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. K N A Alexander (Invertebrate assemblage condition at Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI and Birklands West and Ollerton Corner SSSI survey reports 2009-10). Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Tim Sexton. Richard Rogers. Peter Smith. Adrian Dutton. Netherfield Wildlife Group.

 
......
The spread of Agrilus sinuatus across Nottinghamshire has been rapid and it is obviously a much under recorded species. It has been found in some 16 1km grid squares, which include sites along the River Trent at Burton Joyce, Stoke Bardolph, Hoveringham and Attenborough NR. It was recorded new to the Sherwood Forest area by Keith Alexander, as recently as 2009 and it is likely to be present anywhere there are examples of old and dying Hawthorns.
Other recorded sites are from Bath Lane at Mansfield, Oakmere Park at Oxton, Eakring Meadows NR and Hills and Holes SSSI at Market Warsop.

Hostplants:  
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna is the only reported hostplant. Exit holes are usually found on the lower branches, rather than the trunk.
 
 
Beetles
Insects
Homepage
Contents