Berytinus hirticornis

Range & Status

A widespread bug in Europe, but in Britain it is confined to the coastal counties of the south and east. Extremely local in south west England.

Regional Distribution

Recorded in Cornwall from The Lizard in 1960, where described as being found in long grass growing under a thick hedge.

Habitat & Ecology

Typically a species of dry or sparse grassland, usually on neutral or base-rich soils. Chosen sites usually have fairly tall flowering grasses, but are sufficiently thinly or patchily vegetated for bare ground to be visible. It feeds on stems and leaves of various grasses and populations may be very large where habitat is favourable. It also feeds on aphids and dead individuals of larger insects.

Threats

Natural succession on unmanaged grassland, leading to dominance by dense coarse vegetation and to scrub invasion. Over-grazing can be a threat where it leads to the loss of taller grasses. Re-profiling of coastal banks can lead to the loss of suitable habitat.

Conservation

Maintenance of a varied vegetation structure, including both tall flowering grasses and thinly vegetated or bare ground. Moderate or rotational grazing, or a programme of cutting can be beneficial.