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Beetles colonize almost all habitats and usually in masses. Among them are black beetles with pincers. We present 10 native species here.

In a nutshell

  • Black pincer beetles come from the long-horned beetle, rove beetle, ground beetle, schroeter, and clip beetle family
  • can grow up to five centimeters long
  • have a rounded-oval, elongated or flat to spherical body shape
  • these species are predominantly herbivores and omnivores

Longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae)

Big oak beetle (Cerambyx cerdo)

Source: Katya from Moscow, Russia, Усач большой дубовый Cerambyx cerdo Great capricorn beetle Голям сечко Großer Eichenbock (29939326708), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • also known as Heldbock, Riesenbock or Gemsbok
  • one of the largest beetles in Central Europe
  • reaches a body length of up to 5.5 cm
  • Antennae sometimes longer than the body
  • 10 cm long in males and 5 cm in females
  • Elytra black, reddish brown behind
  • settles mainly old pedunculate and sessile oaks
  • only oak stands without undergrowth are suitable as breeding trees

Tip: As a wood pest, the large oak beetle was intensively combated for decades. Today it is one of the endangered species and is now strictly protected.

Lesser beetle (Cerambyx scopolii)

Source: xulescu_g, Cerambyx scopolii (16114817808), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • little brother of the large oak goat
  • also known as beech gemsbok
  • Body length of 17-28 mm
  • Elytra black, wrinkled, finely hairy
  • Males have long antennae
  • about body length in the female
  • last antennal segment longest
  • occurs from May to July in deciduous forests, meadow orchards and gardens
  • Larvae develop in the wood

Tip: In the home garden you can discover them, for example, on elderberries, hawthorns, dogwoods, roses and umbellifers.

Forest Buck (Spondylis buprestoides)

Source: Francisco Welter-Schultes, Spondylis-buprestoides-01-fws, Adapted from Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • typical inhabitant of pine forests
  • rarely found in spruce forests
  • nocturnal black beetle
  • develops in stumps and trunks of coniferous trees
  • between 12 and 24 mm long
  • black, cylindrical, squat body
  • short antennae, very strong upper jaws, strong pincers
  • yellow fringes of hair on the front and back of the chest part

Tip: The tallow beetle is a black beetle with a lifespan of around three weeks, while the pupa and larvae stages last two to three years.

rove beetle (Staphylinidae)

Imperial rove beetles (Staphylinus caesareus)

Source: Francisco Welter-Schultes, Staphylinus-caesareus-10-fws, Edited by Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • grows up to 25 mm long, able to fly, native
  • Head, thorax and abdomen colored black
  • Elytra reddish brown, not rigid
  • cover only a third of the abdomen
  • give the beetle unusual mobility
  • antennae and legs are also reddish brown
  • On the neckline, hem with yellow hair
  • in case of danger similar behavior as the black mold beetle
  • occurs from May to August
  • feeds on slugs, insect larvae and worms

Tip: When threatened, the imperial rove beetle shows behavior similar to that of the black mold beetle. He also assumes a defensive position and uses his defense glands on his abdomen.

Black mold beetle (Ocypus olens)

Source: Rupes, Devil's Coach Horse Beetle, Edited by Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • the largest short-winged aircraft in Central Europe
  • Body length from 22 to 23 mm
  • jet black, matt, dense, dotted structure, black hairs
  • Abdomen less clearly punctured, shiny rather than dull
  • Elytra and pronotum about the same length
  • black beetle with oversized head, very well developed pincers
  • very defensive, raises the end of its abdomen when threatened
  • opens his pliers in a threatening gesture
  • white defense glands on abdomen
  • can throw out a foul-smelling, caustic secretion
  • also not entirely harmless for humans
  • Bite non-venomous but very painful

Tip: This beetle not only resembles a scorpion visually, but also in its behavior in the event of imminent danger. Incidentally, the name 'mold beetle' refers to its preferred food, which consists of carrion and small invertebrates such as worms and isopods.

ground beetles (Carabidae)

Common shoveled runner (Cychrus caraboides)

Source: AJC1 from UK, The Snail Hunter (25671963043), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • nocturnal all-black beetle, native
  • with a body length of 12 to 20 mm
  • less lustrous than the narrow blade runner
  • the most striking feature is the elongated head
  • toothed mouthparts stretched far forward
  • lives in alder quarries and moist coniferous forests
  • found under stones, moss, bark and dead wood
  • overwinters as larva and adult

Tip: This ground beetle feeds on snails, especially snails, and its saliva has a paralyzing effect on the snails. Broken snail shells are often found where ground beetles hunt.

Leather ground beetle (Carabus coriaceus)

Source: Katya from Moscow, Russia, Жужелица шагреневая (Жужелица черная)- Carabus coriaceus - Черен бегач - Leather Ground Beetle (22702957014), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • largest domestic ground beetle
  • crepuscular and nocturnal
  • about 30 to 40 mm in size, unable to fly
  • Upper body black, matt to slightly shiny
  • Underside, head and legs glossy black
  • Elytra arched to strongly rounded, wrinkled
  • Head and pronotum finely wrinkled
  • Middle leg splints rust-red hairs on the outside
  • requires a certain soil moisture
  • therefore avoid dry places
  • appears from April to October
  • eats snails, worms, insects and carrion

Schroeder (Lucanidae)

Bark Schroeder (Dorcus parallelipipedus)

Source: Jacek Proszyk, Ciołek matowy, Edited by Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • diurnal and nocturnal black beetle
  • flat, matt black, 20 to 30 mm long
  • Head of males slightly punctured
  • wider than that of the female
  • also pronotum and wrinkled elytra slightly punctured, shiny
  • strong upper jaws (pincers)
  • Tenfold antennae
  • belongs to the species that occur from May to August
  • in biotopes rich in deadwood such as deciduous forests and old meadow orchards

Stag beetle (Lucanus cervus)

  • largest Central European beetle species
  • distinctive black beetle, easy to spot
  • Males 3.5 to 8 mm in size, females 3.0 to 4.5 mm
  • black-brown basic coloration, elytra brown-red
  • Males have conspicuous 'antlers'
  • Upper jaw (mandibles) massively enlarged
  • can make up almost half the body length
  • Mouthparts shimmer reddish brown to reddish
  • Females have narrower heads and normally developed upper jaws

Stump beetle (Histeridae)

Flattened clip beetle (Hololepta plana)

Source: AfroBrazilian, Hololepta plana 03, Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • shiny black, strongly flattened body
  • about eight to nine millimeters long
  • Head tucked in, cannot be retracted
  • Throat plate protecting the mouthparts is missing
  • long sickle-shaped upper jaw
  • Stump beetle lives predatory
  • under loose bark of deciduous trees, especially poplars
  • feeds on fly, mosquito and beetle larvae
  • occurs from April to October

frequently asked Questions

What causes these bugs to turn black?

Both the beetles and their larvae are equipped with a stable chitinous shell. In adult animals, the chitin is reinforced by what is known as embedded sclerotin (structural proteins), which is said to cause the dark colouration. Freshly hatched beetles are usually not fully colored. However, their final coloring forms after several hours.

Do the strong upper jaws only serve to acquire food?

In general, the diet of black beetles can be recognized by their mouthparts (mandibles). They are the most important tool for obtaining food. Herbivores among these beetles use them to cut parts out of plants. The robbers among them need them to pack their prey. But there are also exceptions, e.g. B. the male stag beetle, his mandibles are unsuitable as eating tools and serve much more as weapons to carry out fights with rivals.

What do the larvae of black beetles look like?

The larvae can be recognized by their long, chitinous body with a round cross-section. They are yellowish-brown in color and, like the adult animals, have powerful mouthparts.

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