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Home is where the heart rot is: violet click beetle, Limoniscus violaceus (Müller, 1821), habitat attributes and volatiles

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jordan CuffORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The decreasing number of veteran trees in Europe threatens old-growth habitats and the fauna they support. This includes rare taxa, such as the violet click beetle, Limoniscus violaceus (Müller, 1821).Samples of wood mould were taken from all beech trees in Windsor Forest previously confirmed to have contained L. violaceus larvae, and from trees where L. violaceus had not previously been detected, the latter categorised as having high, medium or low likelihood of containing the beetle during recent surveys. Habitat characteristics were measured, and volatile profiles determined using gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry.Water content significantly differed between tree hollows of different violet click beetle status, high-potential habitats having higher and relatively stable water content compared with habitats with medium or low potential of beetle occupancy. Several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were significantly associated with L. violaceus habitats. No differences in other characteristics were detected.The distinction in water regime between habitats highlights that recording this quantitatively could improve habitat surveys. Several potential L. violaceus attractant VOCs were identified. These could potentially be integrated into existing monitoring strategies, such as through volatile-baited emergence traps or volatile-based surveying of habitats, for more efficient population monitoring of the beetle.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cuff JP, Müller CT, Gilmartin EC, Boddy L, Jones TH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Insect Conservation and Diversity

Year: 2021

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 155-162

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 10/09/2020

Acceptance date: 04/08/2020

Date deposited: 29/10/2021

ISSN (print): 1752-458X

ISSN (electronic): 1752-4598

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/icad.12441


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Funder referenceFunder name
Buglife. Grant Number: N/A