Saproxylic weevil (Dryophthorus corticalis)

Saproxylic weevil on wood
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Saproxylic weevil fact file

Saproxylic weevil description

GenusDryophthorus (1)

This endangered wood-boring weevil has a robust, stocky appearance with an elongated snout, correctly known as a ‘rostrum’, a feature of the weevil family of beetles.


Saproxylic weevil biology

In common with many invertebrates that depend on dead wood habitats, very little is known of the biology and ecology of this rare and elusive species. It is thought that the larvae feed on wood (3), and adults have been recorded in Britain from June to August, October and December (1).


Saproxylic weevil range

In Great Britain, this species is currently found only in Windsor, where it was first discovered in 1925. Fossil remains have been discovered in South Yorkshire and on the Somerset Levels (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Saproxylic weevil habitat

This weevil is found in the red-rot of both fallen and standing old oak trees and other deciduous trees in parkland habitat. It is thought to be associated with the brown wood ant (Lasius brunneus) (2).


Saproxylic weevil status

Classified as Endangered in Great Britain (2).


Saproxylic weevil threats

Until fairly recently, dead and decaying wood was not widely recognised as an important habitat. Dead wood was often removed or ‘tidied’ from sites and veteran trees have frequently been destroyed. A further threat has been the widespread loss or destruction of parkland and old woodland as a result of conversion to agricultural land and other changes in land-use (2).


Saproxylic weevil conservation

A group Species Action Plan has been produced under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) for 10 species of beetle that depend on dead wood habitats (‘saproxylic’ beetles). This plan aims to maintain all current populations. Management measures at Windsor Forest and Windsor Great Park have been altered to retain dead wood (2).

Conservation efforts aimed at invertebrates that are dependent on dead wood habitats are often hindered by the lack of knowledge of the ecology of these species. CABI Biosciences is currently coordinating research into the ecology of 12 rare dead wood beetle species (3). A study on dead wood invertebrates and their conservation in the UK commissioned by English Nature and carried out by CABI Biosciences has highlighted the need for further research into the ecology and life-history of these species (3), which will aid in guiding conservation measures.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2003):
  2. UK BAP Grouped Action Plan for saproxylic beetles (September 2003):
  3. Cheeseman, O.D (2003) (unpublished) Research on saproxylic invertebrates and their conservation in the UK(contract FST 20-37-02). Final Report. CABI report XB1992. CABI Bioscience, Egham, Surrey.

Image credit

Saproxylic weevil on wood  
Saproxylic weevil on wood

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292


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