In Germany there are many black beetles with pincers, but very few of them are considered pests. Read what types there are and how to recognize them.

Bockkäfer (Cerambycidae)

The species-rich longhorn beetle family includes around 200 different species in Central Europe alone. Typical of these beetles are their long, articulated antennae, which are often bent backwards and are therefore reminiscent of horns. The bodies are usually slender and, depending on the species, up to six centimeters long. Longhorn beetles usually feed on tree sap, pollen or parts of flowers, some species also eat leaves and plant shoots or tree bark. The larvae, on the other hand, mostly eat dead wood.

Big oak beetle (Cerambyx cerdo)

A conspicuous black beetle is the very rare large oak beetle or held beetle, which grows up to 53 millimeters long.

  • Size: 24 to 53 millimeters
  • Characteristics: antennae can be twice as long as the body in males
  • Colouring: black, wing covers are lighter to brown-red in the rear area
  • Special features: is one of the largest beetles in Central Europe

Lesser beetle (Cerambyx scopolii)

A somewhat more common black beetle is the small oak buck, also known as the beech buck. In contrast to its large relative, the larvae of this species can be found on various deciduous trees, in addition to oaks, these can be beech, walnut, plum and other fruit trees. The adult beetles, on the other hand, often sit on flowering bushes during the summer months, so that they are mainly found on elderberries, hawthorns, dogwoods and roses.

  • Size: 17 to 28 millimeters
  • Characteristics: wrinkled elytra, pronotum and elytra also granular, fine gray hairs
  • Colouring: solid black
  • Particularities: sometimes occurs as a pest in orchards


The rove family is also very diverse in Germany: 1554 known species occur in this country. Beetles have a rather unusual appearance for beetles, which makes them easy to spot. The body is often elongated, the wings greatly shortened. As a result, the abdomen is more or less exposed.

Black mold beetle (Ocypus olens)

The black mold beetle and its larvae live predatory lives under dead wood, stones and between fallen leaves. The species is widespread throughout Europe and is often found in damp forests, at the edges of forests, in heath areas and in gardens. The largest native rove beetle can secrete a foul-smelling secretion when threatened. If the beetle feels threatened, it assumes a typical defensive posture: the abdomen is bent forward and the large pincers are spread to bite.

  • Size: 22 to 32 millimeters
  • Characteristics: dense punctiform structure, black hair, thorns on the front legs
  • Colouring: solid matt black
  • Special features: can bite painfully, but are non-toxic
Note: The dark predatory beetle (Ocypus tenebricosus) is a black beetle that is very similar in terms of lifestyle and appearance, but unlike the latter it is not winged.

ground beetle

Contrary to what their name might suggest, most ground beetles can fly very well. However, many of the approximately 760 species native to Central Europe are now endangered or even severely endangered, which particularly affects the large beetles. For this reason, these fall under the German Federal Species Protection Ordinance and are therefore protected.

Common shoveled runner (Cychrus caraboides)

This is a black beetle that you’ll be happy to have in the garden: both the larva and the adult eat mainly slugs and slugs, making the species a welcome beneficial. The species is widespread in northern and central Europe and is mainly found in moist forests, parks and gardens. You can recognize the common bladed runner by its highly arched body, which makes it appear almost egg-shaped, and by its long head with long pincers stretched out.

  • Size: 12 to 20 millimeters
  • Characteristics: remarkably narrow head, with which the beetle can penetrate snail shells, finely wrinkled elytra
  • Colouring: solid black, glossy
  • Special features: mostly active at dusk and at night
Note: The Cychrus attenuatus, which is quite similar in terms of its habits and appearance, differs in its coloring with a slight bronze shimmer.

Leather ground beetle (Carabus coriaceus)

With a length of up to 41 millimeters, the leather ground beetle is the largest ground beetle in Central Europe. The species is widespread and occurs primarily in moist deciduous and mixed forests, in heath areas, on dry grassland and in gardens. The non-flying beetles are predatory and feed mainly on snails, carrion, insects and worms. To kill its prey and to defend itself against enemies, the leather ground beetle squirts a secretion containing butyric acid. In case of danger, it can spray it up to a meter away. The larvae that pupate in the soil are also predatory.

  • Size: 30 to 41 millimeters
  • Characteristics: Elytra wrinkled like leather, large pincers on the upper jaw
  • Colouring: solid black
  • Characteristics: nocturnal, hide under moss or stones during the day


This family is probably the best-known species with pincers. The stag beetle, the largest native beetle species, belongs to this group. As with this, other representatives also have the characteristic large and strongly toothed pincers, but only in the male specimens.

Bark Schroeder (Dorcus parallelipipedus)

This is a conspicuous black beetle that closely resembles female stag beetles in appearance and is therefore also known as the dwarf stag beetle. The diurnal and nocturnal Balkenschröter inhabits moist deciduous and mixed forests, alluvial forests and meadow orchards, parks and avenues with old trees. The species feeds mainly on escaping tree sap, which it licks up. The larvae develop within two to three years in rotten tree stumps, dead wood and dying oaks, beeches, elms, lindens and fruit trees. The adult beetles are between 20 and 32 millimeters long and can be found between May and August.

Note: Similar species are the shiny bark turtle and the head horn turtle, both of which are significantly smaller.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *