Some highly isolated oceanic islands harbour endemic ground beetles that have lost the ability to fly. Here, we investigated the origin of the possibly extinct flightless giant ground beetle Aplothorax burchelli on St Helena Island in the South Atlantic. Aplothorax burchelli was initially considered to be a member of the subtribe Calosomina (=genus Calosoma) of the subfamily Carabinae (Coleoptera: Carabidae) closely related to the genus Ctenosta (=Calosoma subgenus Ctenosta), but this proposition was questioned due to its unique external and genital morphology. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis of mitogenome sequences using historical specimens of A. burchelli and samples of representative species of Carabinae. Our analysis of 13 protein-coding gene sequences revealed that A. burchelli is definitely a member of Calosomina, most closely related to a species of Ctenosta. Further analysis using NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 gene sequences from most groups in Calosomina showed that A. burchelli formed a monophyletic group with Ctenosta species from Africa and Madagascar. Our results suggest that the ancestor of A. burchelli, which had the ability to fly, colonized St Helena from Africa after the emergence of the island 14 Mya, and has since undergone evolutionary changes in conjunction with loss of flight.