A.P. Fowles (version: 8 May 2003, updated 23 April 2004)

Although the beetle assemblages occurring on exposed banks of sand, mud, shingle, etc., alongside our rivers are generally composed of a characteristic suite of species, most of the individual species are not confined to these habitats. The juxtaposition of wet and dry open habitats on a range of sediment types means that generalist wetland or open ground species, for example, occur together with more fastidious riverine specialists. In Britain this latter group consists of just sixty-one species (depending on the definitions used to classify ERS and our current state of knowledge on habitat associations) whereas the total beetle fauna regularly occurring in such habitats is more likely to be in the region of a thousand species. For some of the latter ERS contribute a significant proportion of their known GB sites but they may also occur on sand dunes or coastal cliffs, for instance. Invariably the important habitat elements are bare sediments in wet or dry conditions and for the species concerned it doesn’t matter if these are alongside a river or in a dune slack.

The stenotopic ERS specialists are the most important group of beetles occurring along our rivers but we also need to take account of the contribution exposed riverine sediments make to the conservation of other bare ground species in Britain. The list which follows recognises this and incorporates species that do occur on ERS but which are also characteristically found in other habitat types, such as sand dunes, soft rock cliffs, gravel pits, pond and lake margins, etc., where the presence of bare sediment is of fundamental importance for some stage of their life cycle. Of course, in many cases we do not have the ecological information to be certain about the life cycle of such species and an assessment has been made on the basis of recorded habitat associations. There are many grey areas but the following provisional list, produced in consultation with Jon Sadler and Peter Hammond, represents those 130 species whose occurrence on riverine sites is strongly influenced by the continued deposition of bare sediment along the river channel, either in the form of shoals or as eroding banks.

Once final agreement has been reached, this list will be used for the purpose of evaluating the relative value of different river systems in Britain for the conservation of their characteristic beetle faunas (see http://khepri.uk/main/ for information on the Saproxylic Quality Index as background to the general approach). At that stage scores will be assigned to each species in line with improved knowledge of their distribution and status in GB (for proposed changes to status see: http://yrefail.net/Coleoptera/ersqi_status_changes.htm . Comments are welcomed (e-mail: a.fowles@btinternet.com) on any aspect of this attempt to define the ERS beetle assemblage.


Species are graded as follows -


Species dependent for at least some stage in their life cycle on bare or sparsely vegetated sediments on the banks of rivers. Some of these species may also inhabit exposed lacustrine sediments, particularly where wave action forms banks of sediment on lake shores, as these features are in many ways ecologically similar to riverine shoals.


Species strongly associated with exposed riverine sediments for at least some stage of their life cycle, but also occurring in a wider range of habitat types, such as flushes, seepages, pond margins, etc., where the presence of bare sediment is of fundamental importance for some stage of their life cycle.

In each case, there may be rare instances where the listed species have been recorded in atypical habitats, but the over-riding perception of their ecological requirements is such that the species in general is considered to exhibit the fidelity indicated.

Taxa Proposed Fidelity
Acupalpus flavicollis (Sturm) 2
Agonum micans Nicolai 2
Amara fulva (Mueller) 2
Amara quenseli (Schoenherr) 2
Asaphidion flavipes (L.) 2
Asaphidion pallipes (Duft.) 2
Bembidion andreae (F.) 2
Bembidion articulatum (Panz.) 2
Bembidion atrocoeruleum Stephens 1
Bembidion bipunctatum (L.) 2
Bembidion decorum (Zenk.) 1
Bembidion dentellum (Thun.) 2
Bembidion femoratum Sturm 2
Bembidion fluviatile Dejean 2
Bembidion geniculatum Heer 1
Bembidion gilvipes Sturm 2
Bembidion litorale (Ol.) 1
Bembidion lunatum (Duft.) 2
Bembidion monticola Sturm 1
Bembidion prasinum (Duft.) 1
Bembidion punctulatum Drap. 1
Bembidion quadripustulatum Serville 2
Bembidion saxatile Gyll. 2
Bembidion schueppeli Dejean 1
Bembidion semipunctatum Donovan 1
Bembidion stomoides Dej. 1
Bembidion testaceum (Duft.) 1
Bembidion tibiale (Duft.) 1
Bembidion virens Gyll. 1
Chlaenius vestitus (Payk.) 2
Clivina collaris (Hbst.) 2
Dyschirius aeneus (Dejean) 2
Dyschirius angustatus (Ahrens) 2
Lionychus quadrillum (Duft.) 2
Pelophila borealis (Payk.) 2
Perileptus areolatus (Creutz.) 1
Tachys bistriatus (Duft.) 2
Tachys parvulus Dej. 2
Thalassophilus longicornis (Sturm) 1
Trechus discus (F.) 2
Bidessus minutissimus (Germar) 1
Georissus crenulatus (Rossi) 2
Hydrochus nitidicollis Mulsant 1
Helophorus arvernicus Mulsant 1
Hydraena gracilis Germar 1
Hydraena nigrita Germar 1
Hydraena rufipes Curt. 2
Ochthebius bicolon Germar 2
Actidium aterrimum (Motschulsky) 1
Ptenidium brenskei Flach 1
Ptenidium longicorne Fuss 1
Acrotona (Atheta) exigua (Erichson) 2
Aloconota cambrica (Wollaston) 1
Aloconota currax (Kraatz) 1
Aloconota eichhoffi (Scriba) 1
Aloconota insecta (Thomson) 2
Aloconota planifrons Waterhouse 2
Aloconota sulcifrons (Stephens) 2
Bibloplectus minutissimus (Aube) 2
Bledius pallipes (Gravenhorst) (= annae Sharp) 1
Bledius arcticus Sahlberg 1
Bledius defensus Fauvel 1
Bledius erraticus Erichson 2
Bledius longulus Erichson 2
Bledius subterraneus Erichson 2
Bledius terebrans (Schiodte) 2
Brachygluta pandellei (Saulcy) 1
Carpelimus obesus (Kiesenwetter) 2
Carpelimus similis (Smetana) 2
Carpelimus subtilicornis (Erichson) 2
Carpelimus subtilis (Erichson) 2
Dasygnypeta (=Gnypeta) velata (Erichson) 2
Deleaster dichrous (Gravenhorst) 2
Erichsonius signaticornis Muls. & Rey 2
Gabrius astutoides Strand 2
Gnypeta carbonaria (Mann.) 2
Hydrosmecta (=Hydrosmectina) delicatissima ( Bernhauer) 2
Hydrosmecta delicatula (Sharp) 1
Hydrosmecta eximia (Sharp) 1
Hydrosmecta fragilis (Kraatz) 1
Hydrosmecta longula (Heer) (=thinobioides (Kraatz)) 1
Hydrosmecta (=Hydrosmectina) septentrionum (Benick) 1
Ilyobates bennetti Donisthorpe 2
Ilyobates proprinquus (Aube) 2
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) atra (Gravenhorst) 2
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) coarctata ( Erichson) 1
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) constricta ( Erichson) 1
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) leucopus (Marsham) 1
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) scitula ( Erichson) 2
Ischnopoda (=Tachyusa) umbratica ( Erichson) 1
Lathrobium angusticolle Bois. 1
Lathrobium dilutum Erichson 1
Lathrobium pallidipenne Hochhuth (=ripicola Czwal.) 2
Medon ripicola (Kraatz) 2
Meotica anglica Benick 1
Neobisnius prolixus Erichson 2
Ocalea latipennis Sharp 1
Ochthephilus andalusiacus (Fagel) 2
Ochthephilus angustior  (Bernhauer) (= venustulus (Rosenhauer)) 1
Ochthephilus aureus (Fauvel) 2
Ochthephilus omalinus (Erichson) 2
Oxypoda exoleta Erichson 2
Parocyusa (=Chiloporata) longitarsis (Erichson) 2
Parocyusa (=Chiloporata) rubicunda (Erichson) 1
Philhygra (Atheta) debilis (Erichson) 2
Philhygra (Atheta) scotica (Elliman) 1
Philonthus rubripennis Stephens (= varipes Mulsant & Rey) 1
Quedius plancus Erichson 2
Scopaeus gracilis (Sperk) 1
Stenus asphaltinus Erichson 2
Stenus biguttatus (Linnaeus, 1758) 2
Stenus comma LeConte 2
Stenus guttula Mueller 2
Stenus incanus Erichson 1
Stenus nigritulus Gyllenhal 2
Thinobius ciliatus Keisenwetter (=praetor Smetana) 1
Thinobius crinifer Smetana (=strandi  Smetana) 1
Thinobius linearis Kraatz (= bicolor Joy) 1
Thinobius longipennis (Heer) 1
Thinobius major Kraatz 1
Thinobius newberyi Scheerpeltz 1
Thinodromus arcuatus (Stephens) 1
Aegialia sabuleti (Panzer) 2
Heterocerus marginatus (F.) 2
Dryops nitidulus (Heer) 2
Fleutiauxellus maritimus (Curtis) 1
Negastrius pulchellus (L.) 1
Negastrius sabulicola (Boh.) 1
Zorochros minimus (Bois.& Lac.) 1
Coccinella quinquepunctata L. 1
Baris lepidii Germar 2