Making the invisible visible: Determining an accurate national distribution of Elater ferrugineus in the United Kingdom using pheromones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To date, conservation-status saproxylic beetle species in the UK have been monitored by chance findings or by monitor-based observational studies. Here, using Elater ferrugineus as our target species, we present the first national distribution survey carried out in the UK or across mainland Europe on such a species using chemicals produced by the insect. Over 3 years, mark-release-recapture studies were performed across the UK, using 416 lured (pheromone) traps monitored by volunteer recorders; the first survey in Europe to do so. Traps were baited with 7-methyloctyl- (Z)-4-decenoate, a compound previously identified as a female sex pheromone. The results were used to plot a distribution map and investigate factors that may influence the distribution, including summer temperatures, possible habitat availability and larval food source. The survey revealed a south-eastern distribution of E. ferrugineus in the UK, which was suggested by previous casual studies. A correlative model was fitted to the data, indicating that 55% of the variation in the distribution of E. ferrugineus was explained by climatic variables (temperature and wind speed).


  • Deborah J. Harvey
  • Hannah Harvey
  • Mattias C. Larsson
  • Glenn P. Svensson
  • Erik Hedenström
  • Paul Finch
  • Alan C. Gange
External organisations
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Mid Sweden University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • Aerial traps, Elater ferrugineus, National distribution, Pheromone, Saproxylic, Veteran trees
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul
Publication categoryResearch

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