Onthophagus fracticornis

Range & Status

A rare scarab with an ancient history in Britain, with fossils found dating to the Bronze Age. Reliable modern records are known only from Somerset, with older records only from Merioneth, Glamorgan and Cornwall. It ought to occur more widely in the south-west.

Regional Distribution

Known from just one reliable record, a specimen collected near Perranporth in 1911 by P. Harwood but misidentified by him as O. similis (Scriba). The specimen is in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and has been re-determined by D.J. Mann.

Habitat & Ecology

Develops in large herbivore dung but ecology not understood; it has been suggested that it needs enough moist dung in the spring for several brood chambers, but only sufficient dung in the autumn to satisfy the adults' feeding requirements. Sites tend to be on reasonably well-drained soils and in areas with long-established grazing of livestock.


Abandonment of rough grazing.


Maintenance and restoration of livestock grazing on native grasslands and heaths is essential, so the current coastal grazing projects are vital.