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Ant Beetle

Latin name: Thanasimus formicarius

Size: Up to 10mm in length.

Lifespan: Up to 2 years in the larvae state, and then adults live for 4-10 months.

Diet: These beetles predate (catch and eat) bark beetles. This is both in larvae form where they eat bark beetle larvae, and then as adults where they eat the adult bark beetles.

Habitat: As larvae they live beneath the bark of coniferous trees in the tunnels, known as galleries, created by their prey.

Adult ant beetles can then be found in and amongst the surface of the bark hunting, usually on the lower part of the tree.

They are particularly common amongst damaged and fallen trees, as both ant beetles, and their prey the bark beetle, are attracted to the pine resin secreted by the tree.

Common in the southern parts of the UK and Wales, the ant beetle is only sporadically found further north, with the exception of the Scottish Highlands. 

Did you know? The ant beetle is also known as the European red-bellied clerid.

As larvae the ant beetle is incredibly quick and agile, even able to run backwards through the tunnels in which it lives.

They often pupate in the autumn and then overwinter in the base of conifer trees, emerging as adults in the spring.

Where to find them

A UK map showing the range of the ant beetle

discover more British Wildlife in the Go Ape nature zone

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