Violet click beetle

Violet click beetle

Violet click beetle © Udo Schmidt

Violet click beetle

Scientific name: Limoniscus violaceus
The violet click beetle is a very rare beetle that lives in decaying wood, particularly common beech and ash. It gets its name from its habit of springing upwards with an audible click if it falls on its back. It is found at just three sites in the UK.

Species information


Length: 1.2cm

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Listed as Endangered on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

When to see

February to May


The violet click beetle is an extremely rare, elusive beetle that only occurs in pasture woodland on three sites in the UK, including Bredon Hill National Nature Reserve in Worcestershire and Windsor Great Park on the Berkshire/Surrey border. Very little is known about the beetle, except that it is found in the heart of decaying trees, particularly common beech and ash, and breeds in hollow trunks. The larvae live off the nutrients from the mixture of leaves, decaying wood and bird droppings in the tree that they live in. It is likely that the adults are nocturnal and feed on nectar. They probably 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.

How to identify

The adult violet click beetle is a thin, black beetle, with a blue sheen. The larvae, called 'wire-worms' are long, thin, whitish grubs, resembling meal worms.


Found at three sites in the UK: one in Worcestershire, one on the Berkshire/Surrey border, and one in Gloucestershire.

Did you know?

The violet click beetle belongs to the Elateridae family of click beetles. They are so-named because, when placed on their backs, they are able to spring into the air and right themselves with an audible click.