Ground Beetle (Ophonus laticollis) - Species Action Plan

Ref 2/S24 Species Action Plan 24
Plan Author: Norfolk County Council (H. Thompson)
Plan Co-ordinator: Heathland BAP Topic Group
Plan Leader: NCC
Final Draft February 2007

Action Plan Summary

Current Status

National Status

  • Ophonus laticollis is found in grassland and amongst open scrub on chalk or sandy soils, often under stones. It is an annual species that breeds mostly in the spring. The adults and the larvae are mainly seed-feeding. The beetle is winged and able to fly.
  • Ophonus laticollis has recently been found only in east Suffolk and at Roydon Common in west Norfolk, but its earlier range included most of southern England as far north as Nottinghamshire as well as the south Wales coast. It is found throughout most of Europe, except the north.
  • In Great Britain, this species is classified as Nationally Scarce.

Norfolk Status

  • In Norfolk, this species has been recorded from Cranwich Camp, Gallows Hill (Thetford) and Roydon Common (although the most recent record from Roydon is 1985). The Gallows Hill site is the best site in Britain for this species, where it is associated with flower rich ESA margins and mature hedges (Telfer pers comm).

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Current factors causing loss or decline in Norfolk

  • This species has been found on chalk soils in arable margins adjacent to thick, ancient hedgerows. In fact, it can be more abundant under the hedge than in the field. It also occurs under scrub on disturbed lowland calcareous grassland, reinforcing the impression that the shelter of shrubs is a habitat requirement for this species. Thus the loss, or poor management of mature hedgerows from the arable landscape of Norfolk, may be a factor in the species' decline.

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Current Action in Norfolk

  • Roydon Common and Cranwich Camp are SSSIs.

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Action Plan Objectives and Targets


  • Maintain the range of Ophonus laticollis.


  • Maintain current populations of Ophonus laticollis in Norfolk, with Gallows Hill as a priority.

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