Violet Click Beetle

Limoniscus violaceus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Beetles
  4. Violet Click Beetle


The violet click beetle is an extremely rare, elusive beetle which only occurs on three sites in the whole of the UK, one being Bredon Hill in Worcestershire.  Very little is known about the beetle except that it breeds in the hollow trunks of ancient trees.  The beetle depends on the continued production of humid wood mould in the heart of decaying trees, seeming to favour trees where the decaying wood has attained a consistency like damp soot.  The violet click beetle breeds in dead wood and leaf litter.  In Britain, this is usually in beech and ash trees.  The larvae live off the nutrients from the mixture of leaves, decaying wood and bird droppings in the tree that they live in.  We think that the adults remain in the same trees all their lives, only leaving when the tree rots away and no longer provides the conditions they need for breeding. We also think that the adults fly to hawthorn blossom, and there is some suggestion that they could be nocturnal.

How to identify

The adult is a long (12mm) thin black beetle, with an elytra that has a blue reflection. The larvae, called ‘wire-worms’ are long thin whitish coloured grubs, resembling meal worms.

Where to find it

In Britain, the forest remnants where the beetle has been found have been described as pasture woodland.


When to find it

Pupal chambers found usually in Febuary. Adults are usually recorded in April and May.

  • April
  • May

How can people help

Considerable efforts are being made to conserve the species in the UK. This includes creating artificial breeding sites made out of hollow tree trunks or concrete pipes. Loss of a continuing generation of hollow ash trees in which the beetle lives could become a problem, so efforts should be made to conserve these. By joining The Wildlife Trusts you'll be helping to conserve these beetles and other rare wildlife across the UK.

Species information

Common name
Violet Click Beetle
Latin name
Limoniscus violaceus
The beetle is 12mm long
Conservation status
European Red List endangered species with protection under the EU Habitats and Species Directive 1992. It is also completely protected under the Wildlife and Countryside act 1981 and is a Biodiversity Action Plan species.