Invertebrates Technical Factsheets from FWAG

Invertebrates of Dead Wood


Whether standing or fallen, dead wood is a rich habitat supporting a wide range of species including invertebrates, plants, lichens, fungi, micro-organisms. Many of the invertebrates of dead wood can only survive in these highly specialised conditions.

Fauna: e.g. ant beetle

A large, colourful beetle, predator of woodboring insects found under bark of decaying deciduous and coniferous timber. Widespread and common in the south; very uncommon in the north.


Ant beetle (Thanasimus formicarius)


Many of the larvae of invertebrates of dead wood perform vital tasks such as recycling dead material. The adults of most of these species feed on nectar and pollen of flowers such as hawthorn and hogweed. They also have an important place in the food chain, supporting local populations of small mammals, birds, etc.

Beneficial management

  • Avoid over-tidiness of dead wood around the farm and woodlands. Untreated wood is of particular benefit.
  • Stag headed trees usually are not dying, it is a natural part of their aging process. Leave dead wood in-situ unless it poses a direct safety concern e.g. adjacent to roads and footpaths. Dead wood on living trees is an important habitat for many rare invertebrates.
  • Different species benefit from dead wood at different stages of decomposition. Leave log piles and fallen trees fully to decompose.

Photo gallery 

Click <here> to view photographs of some important invertebrates of dead wood.

Further information

For further information including possible grant aid contact your local FWAG Adviser and visit the FWAG website at

See also FWAG Technical Factsheet 6.

Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in the information sheet. However, FWAG cannot accept liability for any errors or omission.
Photographs Roger Key, English Nature
Author: Roger Key, English Nature
40.1 Jan 2004

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