Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Onthophagus fracticornis - A scarab beetle

Range & Status

A rare scarab with an ancient history in Britain, with fossils found dating to the Bronze

Age. Reliable modern records are known only from Somerset, with older records only from Merioneth, Glamorgan and Cornwall. It ought to occur more widely in the south-west.

Regional Distribution

Known from just one reliable record, a specimen collected near Perranporth in 1911 by P. Harwood but misidentified by him as O. similis (Scriba). The specimen is in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and has been re-determined by D.J. Mann.

Habitat & Ecology

Develops in large herbivore dung but ecology not understood; it has been suggested that it needs enough moist dung in the spring for several brood chambers, but only sufficient dung in the autumn to satisfy the adults' feeding requirements. Sites tend to be on reasonably well-drained soils and in areas with long-established grazing of livestock.


Abandonment of rough grazing.


Maintenance and restoration of livestock grazing on native grasslands and heaths is essential, so the current coastal grazing projects are vital.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.