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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

That Green Beetle Again

Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis

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


Swollen- thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis, June 2018, local field, 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.

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.

Coccinella septempunctata

7-spot Ladybird

7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata


Local field, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.

The Hidden World beneath Our Feet

Spotted Wolf Spider Pardosa amentata spiderling
Spotted Wolf Spider (Pardosa amentata) spiderling. For scale compare the distorted S-shape just below it, which is slug poop

Beaneath our feet is a hidden world of wonder which many of us do not get to see. Yet it is there all the time. Earlier I lifted up a plant leaf that was trailing across a flagstone, a simple act, and peered beneath it. I entered ‘their’ world.

Tomocerus minor
Tomocerus minor, a springtail

Common Chrysalis Snail Lauria cylindracea
Common Chrysalis Snail (Lauria cylindracea) a snail I did not even know existed until today


Please click on an image for a larger more detailed view. Clicking a second time may get you a little closer.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

A Ladybird Finally Gets Its Spots

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f.succinea

Let’s have a quick recap and start from the beginning shall we? We have a pair of the adult Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) mating.

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae

From the eggs the female laid after the union above we have the larva.

Harlequin Ladybird pupa

Then on the side of my green wheely bin I discovered what the larva changed into. This fresh pupa which then hardend and turned into …

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis pupa

… one of these, a later stage pupa. This is a different one I found on a Hawthorn leaf. And then back to the really green wheely bin and …

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

… after keeping an eye on it for days I was lucky enough to just catch the adult emerging from the pupa case,

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

Eventually the ladybird or ladybug gets its spots. This is a variety of Harlequin called succinea. The cycle will begin anew.

And all this going on within our midst as we go about our daily routines. Such is the wonder of nature.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May and June 2017.

Ptinus sexpunctatus

Ptinus sexpunctatus

This one was a new one on me, and it was a wonder I saw it in the first place. It is only about 3 to 4mm (0.2in) long. It is one of the spider beetles for it has quite long legs. It has distinctive white patches on its wing casings. In the image below it is in a defensive posture with its long antennae tucked in at its sides.

Ptinus sexpunctatus

Apparently this little beetle does the cleaning up, and it feeds on decaying insects. It has been found inside bees nests where it feeds on detritus, and possibly pollen stores for the bee larvae, which may then cause problems for the developing bees.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Certainly A Bright One

Orange Ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata

Very rare I get to see this one during the day, but it certianly likes my shed light at night. It is called the Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata). But I guess you might have guessed that 😉

Orange Ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

 

Before The Ladybird We Have …

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae

… the larvae stage first. This is the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). It readily consumes aphids just like the adult beetle does, so is a good friend to have in your garden. I try to resist the urge to use sprays on my roses, as usually, in the end, these little critters come to their rescue.

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Harlequin Ladybirds

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f.succinea


Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis f. succinea) mating, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Two Soldier Beetles

Cantharis decipiens
Cantharis decipiens

During the spring and summer months you may come across a range of soldier beetles as they feed in meadows and hedgerows. Both these species are fairly common and widespread. The adult beetle and the larvae are both hunters of soft-bodied insects, but the adults are often seen feeding on pollen.

Cantharis rufa
Cantharis rufa

 


Top image May 2012, bottom image May 2010, local field and woodland margins, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2010 and 2012.

Greater Thorn-tipped Longhorn Beetle

Pogonocherus hispidulus

Greater Thorn-tipped Longhorn Beetle Pogonocherus hispidulus

This beetle with an extraordinary long name literally fell out of the sky and landed on my glasses as I walked through a forest – a nature lovers dream! With only a body length of up to 8mm, the colouration is such it makes for perfect camouflage amongst the foliage and forest floor debris. Note the chalky-white band across the scutellum and white bands on the antennae.

Greater Thorn-tipped Longhorn Beetle Pogonocherus hispidulus

The larvae feed in dead twigs of broadleaved trees and shrubs, especially oak.

Greater Thorn-tipped Longhorn Beetle Pogonocherus hispidulus

The adults are seen April to June, sometimes autumn. Found in deciduous woodland. Widely scattered over England and Wales, absent in Scotland.


May 2013, Wyre Forest, Worcestershire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

Pyrochroa coccinea

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea

This is a fairly large beetle with fiery red wing-cases and thorax, a small black head with feathery antennae, and black legs. Similar to Pyrochroa serraticornis, which has a red head. Length 15 to 20mm.

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea

The larvae predate on other insects under tree bark.

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea

Seen May to July, and usually found resting on vegetation in hedgerows and woodland margins. Common and widespread in the south of England and in Wales, becoming scarce further north and absent in Scotland.


May 2012, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012.

Vine Weevil

Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Vine Weevil – Otiorhynchus sulcatus

A brownish weevil with patches of yellowish scales on the elytra from which  bear shiny raised nodules. The pronotum (thoracic plate) is pebbly, and it has long antennae. Similar to the Nut Weevil (Curculio nacum). Length 8 to 12mm.

Vine Weevil – Otiorhynchus sulcatus

The Vine Weevil can be a troublesome insect in both adult and larvae form. The adults eat the leaves and shoots of many plants, and the larvae chew through the roots doing the most damage.

Vine Weevil – Otiorhynchus sulcatus

Seen summer and autumn months. Found in various habitats, including gardens. Common and widespread throughout.


May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014.

Elaphrus riparius

Elaphrus riparius

Please click image for better resolution and you may spot his very small friend.

Quite an unusual coloured and patterned beetle. It has shiny, mirror-like, purplish eye spots on green elytra. Length 6 to 8mm.

It feeds on other small invertebrates, and is seen all year round, but it is more active during the summer months. Found near ponds and streams , marshes, in wet muddy areas in general. Because of its size and colouration it can be quite hard to spot. Common and widespread throughout England and Wales, scarcer further north.


June 2013, local pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Common Malachite Beetle

Malachius bipustulatus

Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

The large red spot at the rear of each shiny green elytron is characteristic of this species. Length 5 to 8mm.

Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

The larvae hunt other invertebrates under loose bark, whilst the adults feed on pollen.

Seen April to July, and mainly found in grassy areas near woodland. Common and widespread throughout Britain.


May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014.

Cantharis rustica

Cantharis rustica

This soldier beetle has a blackish elytra, a bright red pronotum with a dark central marking. The femora are also red. Length 12 to 16mm.

It feeds on other invertebrates. Seen May to June, and found in flowery habitats, including hedgerows, scrub, woodland margins and various grass places. Common and widespread, except for the far north.


May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014.

 

Garden Chafer

Phyllopertha horticola

Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola

Also called the ‘Bracken Chafer’, it has a shiny green or black head and thorax, and the elytra is light brown or deep chestnut in colour. Length 7 to 12mm.

Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola

The larvae feed on the roots of grasses, including cereals, whilst the adults can cause damage to apple and pear trees by chewing their buds.

Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola

Seen May to June, and found in gardens, and many other habitats like hedgerows and woodland rides. Common and widespread throughout.


May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014.

 

White-spotted Rose Beetle

Oxythyrea funesta

White-spotted Rose Beetle Oxythyrea funesta

A shiny metallic black/bronze (also greenish)  beetle which is covered in white spots and long white hairs. The hairs disappear as the beetle matures. The pronotum has 6 white spots arranged in two rows of 3 spots each. Length 8 to 12mm.

The larvae feed on plant roots, and the adults feed on pollen of various plants, and may become serious pests in fruit orchards.

Seen May to July, and found in deciduous woods, hedgerows and orchards. Found mainly in the south and the Midlands.


June 2013, local hedgerow, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Large Striped Flea Beetle

Phyllotreta nemorum

Large Striped Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta nemorum)

The name of this species of beetle appears contradictory as it is quite small, growing up to no longer than 3.5mm long. Also called the ‘Turnip Flea Beetle’, it has distinctive yellow bands on the elytra. Similar to Phyllotreta undulata.

It feeds on various wild and cultivated Brassicaceae, where it can become quite a pest. The adults feed on the leaves, and the larvae are leaf-miners.

Seen April to September, and found in various habitats, but especially cultivated land. Found mainly in England, widespread but local.


May 2015,  rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cereal Leaf Beetle

Oulema rufocyanea

Cereal Leaf Beetle (Oulema rufocyanea)

This is quite an attractive beetle with bright metallic bluish-green elytra (wing cases) which are strongly punctured with tiny holes. The head is dark metallic blue to black, and the thorax and legs are toffee coloured. It is very similar to Oulema melanopus, and separation via genitalia dissection is usually necessary to distinguish the species. Length 4 to 6mm.

Cereal Leaf Beetle (Oulema rufocyanea)

The adults and larvae feed on grasses and may cause damage to cereal crops, and may be considered a pest species.

Seen April to September, and found in grassy places. Common and widespread in the southern half of Britain.


March 2014,  rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Swollen- thighed Beetle

Oedemera nobilis

Swollen- thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

These beetles are bright metallic green with long antennae. The males have large swollen hind femora and open elytra. Length 8 to 10mm.

The adults visit many flowers, particularly yellow ones, to feed on their pollen. The larvae develop in the old stems of plants such a ragwort.

Seen April to September, in open flowery habitats such as meadows and gardens. Common and widespread throughout Britain, declining further north of Wales.

Photograph of Swollen- thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) taken June 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cantharis pellucida

Cantharis pellucida

This soldier beetle has dark greyish elytra, a black shiny head and a bright orange-red  pronotum. The legs are entirely reddish-orange or with some black. Length 9 to 12mm.

It feeds on other invertebrates.

Seen May to July, in flowery habitats, including hedgerows, scrub, woodland margins and various grassy places. Common and widespread throughout Britain.

Photograph of Cantharis pellucida taken May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cantharis nigricans

Cantharis nigricans

I see quite a number of these brightly coloured soldier beetles on my walks in spring and summer, but although they all may initially look the same, there are several species which can lead to some confusion in identification.

This soldier beetle has dark greyish elytra, a bright orange-red or orange-yellow pronotum which has a dark central marking which varies in size, and may also be absent. The antennae and legs are reddish-orange, except for the hind legs which are mainly black extending beyond the knee. Length 9 to 11mm.

It feeds on other invertebrates.

Seen May to July in flowery habitats, including hedgerows, scrub, woodland margins and various grassy places. Common and widespread throughout Britain.

Photograph of Cantharis nigricans taken May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cardinal Beetle

Pyrochroa serraticornis

Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis)

This is quite a distinctive red beetle with red wing-cases, thorax and head, and black legs. Similar to Pyrochroa coccinea which is larger and has a black head. Length 10 to 18mm.

The larvae predate on other insects.

They are seen May to July, in woodland and hedgerows. Common and widespread in the south of England and in Wales, becoming scarce further north and absent in Scotland.

Photograph of Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis) taken May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Orange Ladybird

Halyzia sedecimguttata

Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata)

This is an attractive ladybird with an orange ground colour and 12-16 white spots. It has orange legs. Length up to 6mm.

This ladybird breeds later in the year than most other species as it has to wait for sufficient mildew to grow on trees to feed their developing larvae. They overwinter in crevices in bark or leaf litter. Both the adults and larvae feed on powdery white mildews which grow on deciduous trees.

Seen April to October. Mainly found in woodland, but also urban settings like parks and gardens. Previously an indicator of ancient woodland, its recent move to sycamore and ash trees has caused its numbers to increase and it is common and widespread.

Photograph of Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata), taken June and October 2013, local wood and nature reserve. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

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.

7-spot Ladybird

Coccinella septempunctata

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

One of Britain’s commonest ladybirds. Brightly coloured red with seven spots on the elytra (wing cases) warns predators that they taste nasty. They can also play dead and secrete a toxin when threatened. Length up to 9mm.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

After mating eggs are laid, and the larva or grub emerges after about a week. After around three to four weeks pupation takes place in a hard casing. Another week on and the adult beetle finally emerges. It takes a few days before the wing cases harden and the bright colouration and markings express themselves. Both the larva and the adult insect hunt and consume large numbers of  aphids and scale insects. They are a true farmer’s and gardener’s friend. One ladybird can devour up to 50 aphids a day.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

They hibernate over winter in close clusters in sheds or cellars, or under tree bark, and are active March to October. They live in a wide range of habitats including gardens, hedgerows and meadows. Widespread and the most common of all the UK’s ladybirds.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) larva

Photograph taken of 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) May 2014 and June 2016, local woodland margin and rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014 & 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cream-spot Ladybird

Calvia quattuordecimguttata

Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quattuordecimguttata)

A maroon-coloured beetle with 14 cream coloured spots. The pronotum is maroon with cream markings, and the legs are brown. Length 4 to 5mm.

They feed on aphids and psyllids (plant lice, and are seen April to October.

Found in deciduous woods and hedgerows. Common and widespread throughout Britain, but scarcer further north into Scotland.

Photograph taken of Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quattuordecimguttata) May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. 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.

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.