Ash’s Book of Beetles Chapter 1- Devil’s Coach Horses, Divers and more…

This is the first of a series showcasing beetles. Though some identification features and tips will be given it’s not a comprehensive or systematic series on beetle ID etc. It’s simply to showcase the wonderful complexity, shapes, sizes and colours of these wonderful insects with a little natural history thrown in. Here’s chapter 1! Hope you enjoy!

Great diving beetle

Great Diving Beetle 2

This large and robust beetle is the aquatic Great Diving Beetle (Dysticus marginalis). It is distinguised from other similar species as the yellow/orange border around the pronotum is complete and there is a lack of yelllow around the eyes. The insect in the photo is a female, told by the striation on the elytra (wing cases). The male has smooth shiny green elytra. It is a ferocious predator that eats virtually anything it can catch including frogs and fish! The larvae are just as fierce

The next two species are Soldier Beetles;

Cantharis rustica

This is Cantharis rustica, one of several similar looking Soldier beetles. The black spot in the middle of the red pronotum and the reddish femora help distinguish it.

Rhagonycha fulva on Wild Carrot

This slighty smaller species is Rhagonycha fulva. A common beetle that is often found in large numbers on various Umbellifers such as Wild Carrot etc. Red in colour with the tip of the elytra gradually darkening to black.

Mating R. fulva on Wild Carrot

They are the most common of the Soldier beetles here and also in central Europe. The reason why we so many mating couples all the time is because copulation takes a long time!

Mating R. fulva

Mating Rhagonycha fulva beetles.

Male Oedema nobilis

A little similar looking to Soldier beetles this beetle is Oedemera nobilis. Metallic green in colour with distinctive gaping elytra. The male has swollen hind-legs. Commonly found on flowers feeding on pollen.

Female Oedema nobilis

Female Oedemera nobilis.

The next 3 beetle are Weevils;

Vine Weevil 1

Vine Weevil 2

This is a Vine Weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus). Black with yellowish scales this is a common garden pest. The adult beetles feed on the leaves and shoots of plants but it’s the larvae that really do the damage feeding on the roots of plants.

Figwort Weevil

This smaller weevil is a one of several similar species. This is Cionus scrophulariae and is abundant on Figwort sp. I found this very beetle on Water Figwort (Scrophularia auriculata).

Probable Nut Weevil

Again there are several species of weevil that have this appearance – light brown in colour, swollen tibia and a long rostrum. This particular beetle is most likely to be a Nut Weevil (Curculio nucum) or an Acorn Weevil (C.glandium). The larvae of the Nut Weevil are laid in young hazelnuts which then eat the kernel from the inside. The Acorn Weevils’ larvae are laid the Oak acorns.

Devil's Coach Horse

This Rove beetle is the Devil’s Coach Horse (Ocypus olens). A familiar looking beetle with the characteristic upturning of the tail when alarmed. A predatory beetle feeding on many invertebrates including slugs.

Keep an eye out for the next chapter!

All photos – Ashley Watson.

This entry was posted in Beetles. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s