Beautiful Beetle

x3 images. Double click to enlarge.

This is the Rosemary Beetle (Chrysolina americana) which I found on my Lavender. It looks like it has been crafted from soft metals and has been purposefully engraved with rows of tiny circular indents.

As beautiful as it may look, it is considered a pest of Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Thyme and similar plants, both the adult and the larva feeding on the foliage … although it hasn’t caused me any bother.

The beetle is a native of southern Europe that has become established in Britain since the 1990s especially in the south east of England. It is continuing to extend its range.

Life In A Dying Tomato Plant

x6 images. Double click to enlarge.

It is end of season for the tomato plant my neighbour had kindly given me in a hanging basket. It had been bountiful in fruit, but it was it now in its last days as autumn approaches, and I had the thought to look more closely at it before dropping it in the recyling bin.

Cartodere bifasciata

I have never seen a member of this family of beetles before. Latridiidae are known as ‘scavanger’ or ‘mould beetles’. This one is very small at 2 mm (5/64 in) long, and is called Cartodere bifasciata. It feeds on spores and moulds found on rotting plant materials.

Empoasca decipiens
Possible Empoasca decipiens nymph

There were several of these green leafhoppers, adults and possible larvae. Called Empoasca decipiens, one of 3 very similar UK species, they extract sap from the plant on which they feed.

Parasitised Aphid – possibly Aphelinus mummy

Like a scene from the film Alien, I discovered the dead remains of this wingless aphid. You can’t miss the obvious hole in the abdomen where something … probably a braconid wasp … burst out.

Peach-potato Aphid Myzus (Nectarosiphon) persicae

We have a live aphid here … most likely the Peach-potato Aphid (Myzus (Nectarosiphon) persicae). The apterae (lacking wings) are generally yellowish-green but vary from whitish or pale yellowish green to mid-green, rose-pink or red. They are often darker in cold conditions.

Parasitised Aphid

Another parasitised aphid all tethered … which goes to show that nature has a way of keeping the equilibrium.

I also spotted several running-crab spiders and money spiders … but all too quick and unwilling to hang around for a photo shoot. So even within its death throws a plant can still support so much life … and just focusing the mind and the eyes on a different plane can open up so much.

999 Species


I have now recorded 999 species on this website, from plants to animals, fungi and even a cyanobacterium. I have stopped short of making this post ‘1000’ as the 999th species convinced me to use it as a marker milestone. Not surprising it happens to be an invertebrate, an arthropod, and an insect at that.


Attactagenus plumbeus is a member of the Curculionidae family which make up the weevils. What is so special about this species apart from its own uniqueness is is scarcity. Data gleamed from the NBN Atlas shows only 96 records between 1990 and 2020, and 151 records in total from 1890. The British nature conservation status is Nationally Notable B (species found in between 31 and 100 hectads – 10 km x 10 km square), making it nationally scarce. There are only 4 records for 2020, and 1 of these is mine. Native to Britain, not surprisingly it is very localised with a few scattered records across England and Wales, except the south-east of England, and is absent from Scotland and Ireland. It feeds on plants from the Fabaceae family, including species of vetch and broom, and is found in fields and meadows where the host plants can be found.


Attactagenus plumbeus
Attactagenus plumbeus is quite an attractive beetle. The length is between 5-9 mm (around 5/16 in).

Attactagenus plumbeus
Discovered in a local field back in May 2020.

Rosemary Beetle


Chrysolina americana

This attractive beetle is from a family called Chrysomelidae the leaf beetles. It is a fairly recent newomer to Britain, introduced in the 1990s and now established in most of England and Wales, and still expanding its range. It is considered a pest of Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Thyme and similar plants, both the adult and the larva feeding on the foliage. It is the first time I have seen it here, and will have to see if it is a ‘pest’ as such. It is 6.7-8 mm long. The adults can be seen throughout the year, even during winter.


Rosemary Beetle Chrysolina americana
It kind of doesn’t look real, but looks manufactured from copper or the like.

Rosemary Beetle Chrysolina americana
Note the deeply ‘punched’ markings forming rows on the elytra and the sides of the protonum.

Round-keeled Ladybird


Rhyzobius chrysomeloides – Yes, believe it or not, not al ladybirds are brightly coloured and have spots, some can be quite inconspicuous like this one. It is small, very small, at 2.5-3.5 mm (about 1/8 in) long. It is a fairly recent discovery, first found in Britain as recently as 1996, on a pine tree on a motorway embankment in Surrey. It has been steadily spreading northwards ever since.


Round-keeled Ladybird Rhyzobius chrysomeloides

Golden-bloomed Longhorn

Agapanthia villosoviridescens – This rather attractive beetle has a long vernacular and scientific name, but they both describe the beetle well. Walking along a favoured local field margin, I always pause every now and then and just focus on an area to see what may be around. I spied some Creeping Buttercup and bent for a closer look to see the golden cups teeming with small busy beetles feasting on the pollen and nectar. Then this big one was there, then it was not. It had disappeared under the leaves of a thistle. I gently pulled them back for a look-see and it flew out, directly onto my t-shirt. I gently coaxed it onto my finger and placed it on a leaf where it kindly remained still so I could get a few shots in. Double-click on images for a closer look-see yourself.


Golden-bloomed Longhorn Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Golden-bloomed Longhorn Agapanthia villosoviridescens

© Peter Hillman ♦ 28th May 2020 ♦ Local field margin, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


To learn more about the Golden-bloomed Longhorn please visit the page by clicking on the link ‘here’.


Common Cockchafer


Melolontha melolontha – Another beetle visitor, a large one, found resting on my garage wall, attracted to the light. These can be quite docile when they are not whizzing around the tree canopies, and they love to grip your finger or thumb like a big superglue hug. You have to be gentle with them when handling them. Double-click images to enlarge.


Common Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha

Common Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha

Common Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha

© Peter Hillman ♦ 10th May 2020 ♦ rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Swollen- thighed Beetle


Oedemera nobilis – I don’t know what it is about my shed door today, but the beetles are making it into a chillout zone. If I get another two visits I might start a band 🙂 Double-click image to … you know … get closer.


Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 8th May 2020 ♦ rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Wasp Beetle


Clytus arietis – Well, here was go again. It looks like a wasp, but does not sting … for it is really a beetle! Usually seen in hedgerows and well wooded areas. The larva feeds on decaying wood. I found this one on my shed door. Double-click image to zoooooooom in closer.


Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 8th May 2020 ♦ rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Like A Kid Again


Carabus problematicus – These photos are from my archives of 2006 and taken with my very first digital camera purchase, a Sony Cybershot DSC-W1, so some finesse is lacking. Yet seeing them after all this time, in fact forgetting I even had them, made me feel like a little kid again, filled with awe and excitement at this extraordinary ground beetle. These are fairly uncommon, but if you get one in your garden they are good at keeping pests down as well as looking rather stunning. They are fairly big, too, at around 30 mm (1 3/16″). Double-click on images to enlarge.

Carabus problematicus

Carabus problematicus

© Peter Hillman ♦ 4th June 2006 ♦ Rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Sony Cybershot DSC-W1


On The Run


Xantholinus sp. – This is another case of ‘nature sometimes comes to you’. I found this tiny rove beetle … yes it is a beetle … in my bathroom sink just seconds from going down the plughole. I found a nice piece of moss for it outside, and as it was doing a run for it I managed this shot. Double click image if you wanna get closer …


Xantholinus

© Peter Hillman ♦ 5th April 2020 ♦ In bathroom, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Nature Sometimes Comes To You


Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) – I found this little beetle on my bedroom windowsill. They are around 2-3mm (1/8in) long. Double-click image for a closer look.


Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci

© Peter Hillman ♦ 16th March 2020 ♦ Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Spring Has Sprung


7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) – I have seen quite a few of these around the garden, and no doubt the sunshine and elevated temperatures have enticed them out of hibernation. Good news for the garden. This one was in the hollow of a curved leaf. Double-click image to enlarge.


7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata

© Peter Hillman ♦ 24th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Common Malachite Beetle


Malachius bipustulatus – I occasionally spot these on my local summer walks. They are only a small beetle at around 5-8mm (3/16-5/16in) long, but the bright red spots give them away. Kind of reminds me of that final scene in Jurassic Park. Double-click to enter the staring contest.


Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Malthinus flaveolus


This is one small and pretty beetle at 4.5-5.5mm (1/8-1/4in) long and is difficult to find in the field. This one was attracted to my moth trap. Double-click for a closer look.


Malthinus flaveolus

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

x3 images. I found this little critter lounging on the edge of a plant pot.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

Rear garden. October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

A Little Red On Black

Pine Ladybird Exochomus quadripustulatus

This is a new species for me in the garden. It is the Pine Ladybird (Exochomus quadripustulatus). It is quite small between 3 to 4mm long. It has a distinct rim around the base of the wingcases. Although it is mainly found where Pine grows, it also likes Hawthorn which I happen to have in the garden.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

 

Burying The Dead

Common Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides

I initially found this gloriously decorated beetle called the Common Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides) on my kitchen windowcill. You may notice it has a couple of passengers hitching a ride on its pronotum. These are Poecilochirus mites which don’t actually harm the beetle, but grab a ride to the next burial site. These beetles have an important role of getting rid of carrion by burying beneath them for their larvae to feed. The cheeky hitchhiking mites hop off when the beetle has found a new carcass, and the mites then breed themselves, their timing so perfect that when the adult beetles are ready to fly the new generation of mites hitch a ride with them in search of another dead animal.

Feel free to click on the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Playing At Soldiers

Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)
Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)

There were lots of these out in the fields. It is also called the ‘bloodsucker’ because of its distinct appearance. Note the dark tips on the wing cases. They feed on aphids and other insects, also pollen and nectar, and can be quite beneficial when they pay a visit to your garden. The adults live for the summer only, which they spend feeding and mating.

Of note, there are around 40 species of soldier beetle in the UK, and why are they called soldier beetles, you may wonder? Because many of them display red and black markings resembling a soldier’s uniform.

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer.


July 2019, local field margin, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Another Yellow Ladybird

14-spotLadybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata
14-spotLadybird (Propylea quattuordecimpunctata)

This one has quite a long name. Don’t try saying it backwards … you might bump into something.

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer.


July 2019, local field margin, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Yellow On Yellow

22-Spot Ladybird - Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
22-Spot Ladybird – Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata

I discovered this little brightly coloured ladybird on my garden hose pipe. It is about 3–4mm long. This is one of three species of yellow ladybird in the UK, and it has the brightest yellow of the three. It feeds on mildews as opposed to greenfly.

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer.


June 2019, front garden, South Staffordshire, England © Pete Hillman.

Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f succinea
Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis f succinea)

Click and click again on the image to get that little bit closer …


There appears to be quite a few of these around this year in the garden.

June 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

 

Yellow & Green

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

Click and click again on the image to get that little bit closer …


Swollen- thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis), June 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Harlequin Ladybird Larva

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larva

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larva, June 2019, local woodland margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Standing Out From The Crowd

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f succinea

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f succinea

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f succinea

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f succinea

Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis f succinea) June 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

 

Polished Green

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

I always enjoy coming across these flower beetles either in the garden or out on my walks. It is called the Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis, and you can definately see why. It is the male who has the large bulging thighs. It is those metallic shiny greens I really like.

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

Click and click again on the image to get that little bit closer …


June 2019, woodland margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

New Generation

Early Instar Ladybird Larvae

I found a number of these by their egg cases not long having hatched on my crabapple tree at the bottom of the garden. They are ladybird larvae, first instar. They will go through four stages of moulting before pupating to become the brightly coloured adult beetle we all know.


June 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Black And Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

That title is quite a mouthful, I know! Try saying it backwards, but watch you don’t bump into anything as you do 😉

Stopping along a field margin where grassland meets woodland, pausing and just looking, I saw this brightly coloured individual basking in the sunshine. It was quite spectacular when a pair of wings appeared from behind those distinctive black and yellow wing casings (or yellow and black, depending on which way you are walking), and it lifted off into the humid air, turned and hovered off towards the cooling shade of the woods.

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, local field margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola

Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola

For a small beetle it is quite rather beautiful with its shiny green head, pronotum and scutellum, and polished chestnut elytra.

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

A Colourful Visitor To My Kitchen

Oxyporus rufus

This little rove beetle called Oxyporus rufus was on my kitchen windowsill this afternoon. It is only very small, but rather colourful, and it can fly pretty well. If you zoom in on the third and final image you can see how well packed and neatly folded its wings are behind their casings, and how fine they are out in the open in the second image.

Oxyporus rufus

Oxyporus rufus

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit close


June 2018, in house, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 105mm macro lens with Raynox 250 converter

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

There were quite a few of these around in the fields last Monday.


Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

 

Donacia semicuprea

Donacia semicuprea

This is a Leaf Beetle that just loves Reed Sweet-grass. The beetle really shines bronze when the sun catches it just right. I couldn’t get any closer to take photos or I would have fell in the pond!

Donacia semicuprea

May 2018, pond edge, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

Eye To Eye With The Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f conspicua

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f conspicua


Double click on images to enlarge.


Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f. conspicua, September 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus #2

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Double click on images to enlarge.


August 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Click on images to enlarge, click once more to get a little closer.


August 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.