This has always been a rare carabid in Britain. It was mentioned in Stephens’ Manual (p. 45) “Near Deal [East Kent]: 6” (I guess the 6 refers to June). It was not included by Dawson (1854). Fowler (1887) reports a specimen taken by himself at Bridlington, Yorkshire, in 1879, and also notes that “a single specimen is said to have been taken in 1830 near Swansea by Rev. C. Kuper”. There is an undated specimen in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History from the collection of Philip Harwood (b. 1881/82, d. 17 August 1957) labelled “debris of Tilbury Docks” (TQ67, VC 18); it is not presented in Harwood’s meticulous style (see photo below) so was presumably collected by someone else and can only really be dated as pre-1957. Lindroth (1974) wrote “known in Britain only from single specimens taken in Sussex, Essex and Yorkshire, apparently stragglers”.
I do not know of any further records from Britain. I would summarise the records of this species as follows:
Harpalus calceatus has been recorded from near Swansea, Glamorgan in 1830 (Fowler, 1887), from near Deal, East Kent (Stephens, 1854), from Bridlington, SE Yorkshire in 1879 (Fowler, 1887), from Tilbury Docks, South Essex sometime before or during Philip Harwood’s lifetime (1881 – 1957), and also from Sussex according to Lindroth (1974). It is worth noting that later authors have not referred to the Deal or Swansea records: they may have been overlooked or they may have been omitted deliberately as incorrect or doubtful records.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason why this carabid should not still be turning up in Britain on rare occasions. In fact, we might expect it to be turning up more frequently. Is it being overlooked?
Thanks to Andrew Duff for prompting this review of records.
Dawson, J.F. (1854). Geodephaga Britannica. A monograph of the carnivorous ground-beetles indigenous to the British Isles. London: John van Voorst.
Fowler, W.W. (1887). The Coleoptera of the British Islands. Volume I: Adephaga – Hydrophilidae. London: L. Reeve.
Lindroth, C.H. (1974). Coleoptera, Carabidae. Handbooks for the identification of British insects, vol. 4, part 2. London: Royal Entomological Society.
Stephens, J.F. (1839). A manual of British Coleoptera or beetles. London: Longman, Orme Brown, Green and Longmans.