Oil beetle

Name: Oil beetle

Scientific name: Meloe proscarabaeus

Category: Minibeasts

Nature Stars: 80

What are nature stars?


Chunky, flightless beetles, the larger females of which can be up to 30mm in length. Four species can be found in the UK - the black, violet, rugged and short-necked oil beetles. Four other native species are now thought to be extinct in the UK. The black oil beetle is found in meadows and coastal grasslands across the UK but becoming rarer in the north. Look for them between March and June feeding on grasses.


BugLife want you to report any oil beetles you spot to help them find out more about them, their numbers and where they live. Visit the Oil Beetle Survey to take part!  

How to identify: Bulky beetles with bulbous abdomens, large flat heads and a metalic sheen. They get their name from the oily liquid they produce when threatened.

Where: Widespread but declining

Natural Superpowers

  • Predator: 10
  • Agility: 20
  • Rarity: 80
  • Cute factor: 60
  • Traveller: 20

Fantastic fact: Oil beetle larvae live in bee colonies, feeding on the young, nectar and pollen stored there. To find one, the larvae wait on flowers and hitch a ride on a passing bee.

Photograph credit: Ian A Kirk

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