Friday, February 8, 2013

Insect winter collecting ? Go for Carabidae !

In Europe and North Africa, winter is a long sad period for insect collectors. No butterflies, no bees, no cetonidae, the world has lost its beauty, its magics.

We all spend time spreading our last summer treasures, arranging our collection, studying books ... but we miss the thrill of insect collecting. So we dream of exotic collecting trips, of colourful butterflies while it is rainy and cold outside.

But even in those depressing times, there are some fantastic bugs to be found even near big cities like Paris and London : Carabidae (Ground beetles) !

Here are the tips to find them :
- go to a beautiful forest where dead trees are not removed (those "natural" forests are harder and harder to find... ), can be a small wood too.
- bring a small axe tool that we call "piochon" in French. The perfect Carabidae tool is like those : : it must be very solid but not too heavy

Then simply go to the forest and break dead tree barks with your axe. Also try under mosses.
--> you will find plenty of wonderful Carabidae some as beautiful as jewels.

Some examples I found near Paris this winter :
Carabus auronitens, light copper form, Rambouillet, January 2013

Carabus auronitens, green form, Rambouillet, January 2013

Carabus problematicus, Rambouillet, January 2013

Carabidae are very interesting to collect. As they have no wings, they cannot move on large distance. With fragmentation of forests due to human activities, evolution has created hundreds of wonderful local forms. It means that each forest has some local forms, below are variations from Carabus auronitens in NW France for example. Some forms are extremely rare and worth a lot on the insect market.

Picture found on Google, if someone know the author, I would be happy to quote him. 

Thanks to Carabidae, our long winter is not a nightmare anymore !
And you, do you collect Ground Beetles ?

You can find Carabidae for sale here :


  1. that` s what we do every winter, " O " . Like this you can collect almost all families - Cerambycidae, Buprestidae, Scarabaeidae, Curculionidae, Elateridae, Staphylinidae, Silphidae, Nitidulidae, Bostrychidae, Cleridae, Tenebrionidae and sooooo many others to mention. Some species overwinter as an imago, some in larval stage, some in dead wood, some under the bark, some in life trees, some in nests of birds, some in the ground, some in the plants, some in hollows of trees etc...for example I have brought full rucksack of wood from Tenerife and now every day something new hatches.

    1. Great, must be fun to see what is hatching everyday from this Tenerife wood ! Thanks for your message

  2. I'm so happy to see that I am not the only one who collects carabidae! I just started doing this and I find them absolutely fascinating to observe! I'm still learning how to care for them though.