Holcaspis brevicula

Key Features

  • Holcaspis brevicula is a 10-11 mm long, black ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae).
  • It is flightless and only a moderate runner, and therefore probably a poor disperser.
  • H. brevicula is thought to be a forest or shrubland species which previously inhabitated the kanuka shrublands which were once widespread on the Canterbury Plains.
  • Likely to be a predator, based on mouthpart morphology, and other observations.

Interesting Facts

  • H. brevicula has survived the last 80 years of habitat disturbance associated with plantation forestry, which has involved at least three rotations of tree planting and felling.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Restricted to plantation forest on the Canterbury Plains between the Waimakariri River and Ashley River.


  • Conversion of plantation forest to pasture for dairy farming.

Management Opportunities

  • Set aside adequate areas of suitable habitat (i.e.plantation forest or restored kānuka forest).

Monitoring Options

  • Undertake regular monitoring to determine persistence.

Further Information and Support

  • Brockerhoff E.G., Berndt L.A., and Jactel H. 2005. Role of exotic pine forests in the conservation of the critically endangered ground beetle Holcaspis brevicula (Coleoptera: Carabidae). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 29: 37-43. http://newzealandecology.org/nzje/2245.pdf
  • Butcher M.R. 1984. A revision of the Genus Holcaspis (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 14: 47-99.
  • Larochelle A.. and Larivière M.-C. 2001. Carabidae (Insecta: Coleoptera): Catalogue. Fauna of New Zealand No. 43. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, Canterbury, N. Z. 285 pp.
  • Pawson S.M., Ecroyd C.E., Seaton R., Shaw W.B. and Brockerhoff E.G. 2010. New Zealand’s exotic plantation forests as habitats for threatened indigenous species. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34(3): 342-355.