14-spot Ladybird

Propylea 14-punctata

14-spot Ladybird – Prop14-spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata)ylea 14-punctata

Also referred to as ‘Propylea quatuordecimpunctata’, which is quite a mouthful, this is a small bright yellow ladybird with seven or more or less black rectangular or roundish spots on each elytron. There is a broad black line running along the suture, and in the centre maybe a rectangular spot. It is common to find individuals with fused spots.The legs are brown. Length up to 6mm.

Both the adults and larvae feed on aphids. Most active from May to September. Found in various habitats, but especially where there are trees and shrubs, including hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread throughout.

Photograph taken of 14-spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata)  June 2016, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Timarcha tenebricos

Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricos)

The Bloody-nosed Beetle is Britain’s largest leaf beetle. It is black with a bluish iridescence, flightless and is fairly slow-moving. It gets its name from releasing a drop of red fluid from its mouth when disturbed. It grows up to 23mm long.

Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricos)

It feeds on bedstraws. It is seen April to September. Found on coastland, farmland, grassland and heathland. Common and widespread in the south of England and Wales.

Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricos)

Photographs of the Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricos), taken August 2013, Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth, Dorset. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Common Cockchafer

Melolontha melolontha

On warm spring evenings I often hear these large beetles whirling above the trees and shrubs at the bottom of my back garden before I actually see them. Also called the ‘May Bug’ or ‘May Beetle’, it is a large beetle which has a black head and pronotum, which are covered in short pale hairs.  It has a pointed abdomen which looks like it may contain a sting, but it doesn’t and it is completely harmless. The wing cases are reddish-brown in colour and are ribbed, and are covered in fine grey hairs which make them appear dustied. They have large fan-like antennae which are longer in the males. They can grow up to 30mm long

The C-shaped larvae feed on the roots of a wide range of plants, including cereal crops, living in the ground for up to 5 years. Often called ‘Rook Worms’, they are fat and white grubs which are 40 to 50mm long. The adults feed on the leaves and flowers of many deciduous trees and shrubs, and other plants, but rarely do much harm.

After mating the females lay between 20 to 30 eggs 20cm deep in soft soil. The eggs hatch after around 21 days where the larvae will remain up to 5 years feeding on roots. They pupate in autumn and overwinter in this state until the following May or June when the adults emerge. The adults live up to 8 weeks.

Seen May to June, and found in woodland, farmland, hedgerows and gardens.Cockchafers  are often attracted to light at night, and are often heard making a loud buzzing noise, which is the sound their wings make during flight. They are fairly clumsy fliers, and often bump into things, especially lighted windows. They are commonly seen at dusk circling trees, sometimes swarming in large numbers. Common and widespread in southern Britain, rarer further north.

Photograph of Common Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) taken May 2014, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

More of The Great Diving Beetle Larva

Today whilst checking the garden pond I noticed how these Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus Marginalis) larvae are growing bigger, and one was feeding off another. I managed to scoop one out to get some photos before releasing back into the pond. These are helping to keep the gnat larvae numbers down.

Photographs  taken of Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus Marginalis) larva in August 2016, rear garden pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

2-spot Ladybird

Adalia bipunctata

This can be quite a variable ladybird, with the typical form having 2 black spots on bright red elytra, as in the above photograph. Other forms have black elytra with 2, 4 or 6 red spots. They are fairly small, growing up to 6mm long.

It is a very fierce predator of aphids.

Found all year round, and in the winter months it maybe found hibernating in sheltered crevices of bark or in outbuildings like garden sheds. It is most active March to November. Seen in most habitats, including hedgerows and gardens. An abundant and widespread species throughout Great Britain.

Photograph taken May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.

Black & Yellow Longhorn Beetle

Rutpela maculata

This is certainly one of those standout beetles which is fairly hard to miss on ones travels. This is not only because of it bright banana yellow and black colouration, but because of its extraordinary long antennae, hence the name ‘longhorn’. I often see it feeding on pollen or nectar on flowers on the edge of my local wood. It is from a family of beetles delightfully called Cerambycidae, the Longhorn Beetles.

Also called the ‘Harlequin Longhorn’, or the ‘Spotted Longhorn’. The black spots or banding can be variable. They can grow up to 20mm long.

The larvae live in decaying wood of all kinds on which it feeds. They can live up to 3 years in this larval stage, and a further 1 year as an adult beetle.

The adult is seen May to September, and is found on flowers in hedgerows or on woodland margins. Widespread and common throughout.

Photographs taken June 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire.

Acorn Weevil

Curculio glandium

This is an extraordinary odd-looking weevil with its very long rostrum (snout-like appendage), which is longer in the females. It is golden-brown in colour like the rest of the insect. Similar to the Nut Weevil (Curculio nacum). Length 4 to 8mm.

The larvae feed on the inside of acorns until they burrow out to pupate in the soil.

Seen April to July, and found in oak woods where the weevil bores holes in acorns with its long rostrum and lays eggs inside it. Common and widespread in the south of Britain.

Photographs taken May 2015, local wood, Staffordshire. I found  it rather curious to watch this weevil do a strange balancing act with its legs outstretched as can be seen in one of the images above.