Pachytychius haematocephalus is a weevil whose hostplant is bird's-foot trefoil. Larvae feed in the pods on unripe seeds in summer and the species overwinters as an adult.
This species was discovered in Britain in 1872 at Gosport, Hampshire, where it has persisted to the present day. The site is a very small area of the lower part of an earth bank raised against the seaward walls of Gilkicker Fort, which is scheduled as an ancient monument. It has also been recorded from Browndown Ranges, just along the coast, in September 1973, but has not been found subsequently, a single specimen was found at Charmouth, Dorset, in October 1947. There are no other Dorset records, despite recent searching. A record from Wiltshire in 1872 is regarded as dubious. It is one of only two species of a southern European genus which reach central Europe. It does not extend into Denmark and Fennoscandia and is much commoner in southern France than in the north, where it is absent from Brittany but does occur in the Channel Islands.
In Great Britain this species is classified as Endangered.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Encroachment by scrub, especially turkey oak.
Disturbance to the host plant from trampling by visitors to the fort may be a threat.
Unsympathetic coastal defence works.
A survey of Gilkicker Point, commissioned by Hampshire County Council, has been completed.
Proposals for conserving the weevil at Gilkicker Point have been formulated by Hampshire County Council.
Action plan objectives and targets
Enhance the population at Gilkicker Point by 2010.
Introduce a population to a suitable south coast site by 2010, if not refound in any of its former localities.
Proposed actions with lead agencies
Policy and legislation
Consider extending the existing Gilkicker Lagoon SSSI to include the fort bank. (ACTION: NE)
Incorporate the requirements of this species in relevant Shoreline Management Plans. (ACTION: LAs, MAFF)
Site safeguard and management
Ensure appropriate management of Gilkicker Point for the species by 2000. (ACTION: NE, EH, Hampshire CC)
Increase the available habitat at the known site and adjacent areas by 2004. (ACTION: NE, English Heritage, Hampshire CC)
Species management and protection
Consider introducing Pachytychius haematocephalus to a suitable south coast site by 2010. (ACTION: NE)
Establish a captive breeding programme to provide material for possible introductions and ecological research. (ACTION: NE)
Advise landowners and managers of the presence of this species and the importance of beneficial management for its conservation. (ACTION: NE)
Future Research and Monitoring
Undertake further surveys to determine the status of this species. (ACTION: NE, MoD)
Undertake targeted autecological research to inform habitat management. (ACTION: NE)
Establish a regular monitoring programme for this species. (ACTION: NE)
Pass information gathered during survey and monitoring of this species to a central database for incorporation into national and international databases. (ACTION: NE, MoD)
Communications and Publicity
Promote opportunities for the appreciation of the species and the conservation issues associated with its habitat. This should be achieved through articles within appropriate journals as well as by a publicity leaflet. (ACTION: NE, EH, Hampshire CC)
Links with other action plans
The following LBAPs are working on Pachytychius haematocephalus:
Originally published in: UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans - Volume IV: Invertebrates (March 1999, Tranche 2, Vol IV, p111)
Visit the ARKive website to view images and further information relating to this species