A. dorsalis Pontopp. breeds in Spring. Adults can be observed from Spring to Fall.

Nocturnal species: less than 15 % of individuals are active during daytime.

Predator species, that occasionnaly consumes vegetal matter.

Slugs are the majority of A. dorsalis Pontopp. preys, but it regularly eats acari and other insects such as:

There seems to exist an upper limit to the number of aphids, a beetle can consume. Laboratory experiment showed that an A. dorsalis Pontopp. individual stopped eating aphids long before satiation state was reached. Taste seems to be the cause of that limitation[38].

Analyses of intestinal content showed that 20 % individuals had eaten vegetal matters. In contradiction to P. cupreus L. results, this proportion did not seems to vary in the course of the vegetation season[242].

A mixed diet seems required for optimal egg production. A pure diet reduces eggs production in the following order (from the smallest fecundity reduction to the largest): Drosophila melanogaster Meig. (fruit fly) >Rhopalosiphum padi L. >earthworms[38].

Relationships with conspecific

A. dorsalis Pontopp. distribution is aggregative. This species forms colonies, that drill tunnels networks in the ground or under stones.


Overwintering adults can be infected by fungi Beauveria bassiana (Bals.-Criv.) Vuill. and Paecilomyces farinosus (Holmsk.) A.H.S. Br. & G. Sm. But these fungi appear to be a marginal cause of mortality[188].

Habitats from which the species was recorded

One of the most abundant Carabidae species in any kind of crops. In northeastern France, pitfall trapping yields abundances as high as 25% of the total amount of Carabidae and 38.4% in UK[485]. It is also in all types of grasslands. For example, it is recorded it in wet grasslands of Basel (CH) region[126] in vegetations composed of Dactylis glomerata L., Trifolium pratense L. (red clover), Holcus lanatus L. (Yorkshire fog) and Festuca pratensis Huds. (Meadow fescue).

Figure 064E1
A. dorsalis Pontopp. abundance in crops.
Example of Vosges lowlands countryside in grasslands in and wheat crops. Result of a pitfall trapping (dry pitfall traps) carried out from April to July 2001.
A. dorsalis activity in croplands

As with other openland species, such as the ground beetle Pterostichus cupreus L. or the leaf-beetle Ulema gallaeciana Heyden, an annual migratory movement is observed between croplands and forested areas. In Spring and Fall, A. dorsalis is observed in crop margins, in the nearby hedgerows or forest edges. It overwinters in the soil at 30-35 cm depth. By the time of crop maturity, the beetles migrate into the crop field. Walk speed is 8.1 cm / s, which is rather low for a ground beetle.

A curious observation is reported by from Basel (CH) region, where A. dorsalis Pontopp. was found in Whilow tree stands flooded 10 days each month[126], in a vegetation of Salix alba L. (white willow), Fraxinus excelsior L. (Ash), Prunus padus L. (European Bird Cherry), Cornus sanguinea L. (Bloodtwig dogwood), Rubus fruticosus L. (Common Drewberry), Rubus caesius L. (European Drewberry), Potentilla anserina L. (silverweed cinquefoil), Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br. (Bearbind), Carex hirta L., Agropyron repens (L.) Nevski (Quackgrass), Urtica dioica L. (Slender Nettle).

Table 019E2
A. dorsalis Pontopp. ecological classification established for Rhône-Alpes by Coulon et al. (2001)
Criterion Value
Altitude Lowlands
Hygro-thermic optimum Thermophilous
Habitat Grasslands, crops

Ecological factors controlling the species distribution

It is a lapidicole species that looks for the wet microclimate that can be found under stones.

Unsurprisingly, this cropland-adapted species features an affinity for perturbated soils[122]. In Lorraine (France), an attraction towards dry calcareous soils was noticed[522]. Observation from flooded whillow tree stands seem then even more curious. As, this stand was dry 20 days each month, these may have been the consequence of short-time movements between crops and nearby woody areas.


Northeastern France data agree with bibliographical results. The species absence from all the habitats, that are not crops, suggest that migratory movements between hedgerows and woodlands overwintering refuges were not observed.

Altitudinal distribution

We have few observations for this species in the forest-oriented MALACHIUS database: 100 % catches were realized at elevations under 400 m.