Ophonus melletii

Range & Status

Formerly widespread across southern and south-eastern Britain, but has become

increasingly scarce in recent years.

Regional Distribution

It was first reported in Cornwall from St. Merryn in 1925 (Blair, 1931), and subsequently found by R.T. Bannister at St. Buryan in 1927. Bannister found it again in 1933, by a stream at Poltesco on The Lizard, and it was re-discovered at Predannack and Lizard NNR by D.A. Sheppard in 1980-81. It was also found at Whitsand bay and Bude in 1940, and re-discovered at Tregantle by J. A. Owen in 1977.

Habitat & Ecology

A dry grassland species, especially where the soil is base-rich. It feeds mainly on seeds.

Threats

Agricultural improvement of the semi-natural grasslands of the Lizard peninsula and calcareous sand dune systems; abandonment of grazing, leading to coarsening and scrub development.

Conservation

Much of the remaining undisturbed base-rich grasslands in Cornwall are now protected by The National Trust, Natural England or the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. This species is listed on the UK BAP Priority Species list (2007).