Category Archives: Beetles

A Dungtastic Day

After a few days of lousy weather Fizz and I woke up this morning to blue skies. We quickly decided it was a good day to visit the woods and it was.

We were heading into the forest but we wanted to just rush past the first plantation and get to the native woodland today. So heads down off we went until we saw a Beech tree, then we took our blinkers off and slowed the pace.

Beech TreeI had intended to go much deeper into the wood but just at this point a beautiful Fallow stag stepped out onto the path in front of us.

There was no chance of a photograph it happened very quickly but he was close and we had a good look at him. He took off along a track that led into the forest so we followed him, slowly and quietly.

Woodland Path

Woodland PathUnfortunately we never saw him again and this is not going to be a post about a majestic stag it is very quickly going to turn into a post about a dung beetle.

Woodland PathWe  hadn’t gone very far along this path when I noticed a little beetle and stopped to photograph him.

Dor BeetleThis is a Dor Beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius. It is a dung beetle and it is a Scarab.

Being a Scarab means that it has worshippers which makes it slightly more important than a WordPress Blogger because they only have followers.

I am fond of this beetle I used to see lots of them in my wood where they would collect Rabbit pellets. It is supposed to favour cow pats but I didn’t used to have any cows.

Just a few steps down the path I found another one.

Dor Beetle


Dor BeetleGood aren’t they? A pretty little beetle with a penchant for pooh.

FizzI started to realise they were everywhere on this track, dozens of them.

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor BeetleSome had even been trodden on, someone had walked this path before me. There were so many of them and I have never seen anything like this. I am guessing that the sudden nice weather had something to do with it.

Blue Skies

Bored FizzYou would say if I was boring you, wouldn’t you?

Bored FizzLet’s get off this path so that we don’t tread on any beetles. Lets play a game. I will show you photographs of a tree and you see how many pictures it takes before you recognise it.


I haven’t started yet. Okay , bark first.

Beech Tree

Beech Tree


Beech Tree

Beech Tree

Beech TreeBud and leaf.

Beech Tree

Beech Tree

Beech TreeHave you got it yet? Well don’t worry you are only a Dog. It is a Beech tree. Isn’t it beautiful?

“I eat chicken and play ball. Have you got it yet?”

Fizz100% Right on. I am with you there. Eat chicken, play ball and explore nature, yeah? Come on, we might find some more beetles.

Wow! We got out on the track and there were beetles everywhere.

Dor Bettle

Beech TreeDon’t eat them, Stupid! You don’t know where they have been.

Beech Tree

Dor BeetleIt was around about now that we found out exactly where they had been. There are no Cows but we do get quite a lot of Horse traffic in the Forest. Fizz regretted scoffing so many.

They eat their own weight in dung every day and help to clean up after us. It sounds impressive but they don’t weigh very much.

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor BeetleThat was a wonderful thing. Photographs of a stag would have been okay but to witness Beetlemania first hand, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to see what happened today happen again.

So we walked out of the forest. There is a joke that Fizz and I like to do. It is an old joke but it’s a good one. There is this place where we rest on the way back. she climbs on the stacks and I take the pictures.

Timber Stacks

Timber Stacks

Timber StacksWe are rebels and there is just no controlling us.

This is the weird thing, as soon as we entered the plantation, no beetles. Turn around and walk twenty steps, hundreds of beetles, a plague of beetles. Back into the plantation, nothing, no life.

These beetles eat dung. The larvae feed on dung and the adults feed on dung.

I am not having a dig at plantations here, I just can’t understand why the type of tree makes a difference.

Playing ball and Eating ChichenI know, you like playing ball and eating chicken, I like bugs. It is like we were made for each other.

Inside a Ladybird

Today I had the opportunity to take a look inside a Ladybird.

LadybirdWell under it’s elytra. I am not sure if this animal was in distress or just in disarray but it gave me the opportunity to have a look inside and I have a curious mind.

It may seem unfair to take advantage of the situation but I want to understand the anatomy.

LadybirdUnfortunately far from satisfying my curiosity the process of peeking into the interior raised more questions than answers and one in particular….

LadybirdThis wing is much too big to fit back inside the wing case. How does it do that?

LadybirdWhilst I was wrestling with this entomological dilemma and unbeknownst to me, I was being done over by a professional pickpocket.

Deft little noses were going through my valuables.



LadybirdI did actually beknownst what she was doing but I didn’t notice that my Zippo was missing until much later.

It must somehow fold that wing up to put it away.

LadybirdIn this next picture it appears to be rolling it’s wing but it is rolling it the wrong way, it is the length that it has to reduce.

LadybirdWe are just going to have to watch ladybirds really closely until we can find out the answer. I couldn’t find anything on the internet.

So  if anybody knows where I can see pictures of a Ladybird folding it’s wings then do please tell me. Otherwise we are going to have to take the pictures ourselves.

Being robbed in broad daylight makes me look really stupid.

It’s my camera. Just remember that.


The day I fell in love with Miss PIggy

Love Happens. It happens when you are not looking for it and it happens when you least expect it and so it was with Miss Piggy.

The Common Red Soldier Beetle, Rhagonycha fulva.

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier BeetleThere is nothing unusual here. They are nice pictures of an interesting animal. That is just what I do.

It is the flower that they are on. It keeps cropping up in all of my pictures. Insects love it and although I hadn’t expected to say this… It is beautiful.

Common Red Soldier BeetleIt is Hogweed and it comes in shades of pink and white. It creates big saucers of flowers that just crawl with insects.

I have been taking it for granted, just kicking it around, it’s nothing special, it is always there.

Recently I have photographed the Variable Longhorn, Spotted Longhorn, Crab Spider, this thing and a host of other animals that I haven’t shown you, all on the same plant.

Common Red Soldier BeetleSo Miss Piggy it is then. My new love. Who would have thought it?

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier BeetleAnd the bug? It was some sort of beetle thing……

My apologies to the Common Red Soldier Beetle for my little joke. It has already appeared in the post

There’s nothing you can do….

A much more raunchy piece 🙂

Stenocorus meridianus Monster Bug!

This animal is ginormous. Okay it is about an inch long not counting the legs and antennae but it is still the biggest beetle that I am going to see today. (An inch is pretty big for a beetle, you wouldn’t get this in a matchbox) It’s a monster.

Variable Longhorn BeetleThis is an animal called the Variable Longhorn Beetle. It is called Variable because there is a lot of colour variation mostly from brown to black in different degrees. This one is a female. There is a colour difference between the sexes, the prothorax is black in the female and brown in the male.

Prothorax – The first segment of the thorax (the first bit behind the head)

Anyway don’t ask me to get you a male. They are supposed to be quite common but this is only the second one that I have ever seen. Flight time is May/June and just about over so this was a lucky spot. Variable Longhorn Beetle

Variable Longhorn Beetle

Variable Longhorn Beetle

Variable Longhorn Beetle

Variable Longhorn BeetleIt would make a very nice snack for a Blackbird. You could feed your family with one of these. 🙂


The Swollen-thighed Beetle

Oedemera nobilis. I don’t know how it came by the ridiculous name of “Swollen-thighed Beetle” I would have called it the “Swept-elytra Beetle” or something more descriptive. The female hasn’t got swollen thighs.

Male Swollen-thighed Beetle

Male Swollen-thighed Beetle

Male Swollen-thighed Beetle

Male Swollen-thighed Beetle

Male Swollen-thighed BeetleSo that is the male Swollen-thighed Beetle. That was nearly two weeks ago and since then I have been searching for a female. In the end I had to invent Spear Thistles just to get her attention.

And it is the elytra and not the thighs that identify this animal, the open and pointed wing cases. Technically she should be green but this one is getting on a bit (Just like me, she used to be green)

Female Swollen-thighed Beetle

Female Swollen-thighed Beetle

Female Swollen-thighed Beetle

Female Swollen-thighed Beetle

Female Swollen-thighed BeetleSo these are about now. Keep your eyes open for a little green beetle and if it has got open and pointed elytra then you will know that it is a Swollen-thighed Beetle.

Rutpela maculata

This is a post about the Spotted Longhorn Beetle just because there are a lot of them about at the moment plus…

I was looking for a female specimen to show you the difference and I just found one. So lets start with what is the difference?

Spotted LonghornWell that picture just about covers it. The male Spotted Longhorn has a sort of spur on his hind tibia and the female doesn’t. Click on it to enlarge it if you are not sure.

It is wonderful to understand these differences and to know about the animal that you are looking at it will make you feel great when you see a Spotted Longhorn and know whether it is Sally or Sam and it took me ages to find a female. (You need sharp eyes)

So here are a few pictures of a male Spotted Longhorn that I took a couple of days ago.

Male Spotted Longhorn

Male Spotted LonghornI thought that this next one was female until I got the pictures home, the first two clearly show that it is a male.

Male Spotted Longhorn

Male Spotted LonghornSorry, back you go. You are not what I am looking for.

Male Spotted Longhorn

Male Spotted Longhorn

Male Spotted Longhorn

Male Spotted LonghornThen finally after a long days searching I found what I wanted. This next one is a beautiful female Rutpela maculata with immaculate slender tibia to match.

Female Spotted Longhorn

Female Spotted Longhorn

Female Spotted Longhorn

Female Spotted Longhorn

Female Spotted LonghornIt is silly really but when there is an obvious difference between the sexes I like to get both of them and these little things are important.

Woodpecker Fledglings?

Hi, I am just going to take Fizz out then I will do some posts. There has been quite a lot going on but I became obsessed again and this is why.

Great Spotted Woodpecker FledglingIn case you don’t have Great spotted Woodpeckers where you come from, it’s a fledgling. (Black and white head is female, Red patch on the back of the neck is male and red cap like this is a juvenile)

I am so pleased that she has got chicks and this was the first one that we saw.

Unfortunately this one was on the grass when Fizz and I came back two nights ago. She didn’t touch it but she chased it across the lawn and my picture are so rubbish because I was chasing her and shouting at her to “leave it!” Which she did really, it escaped.Great Spotted Woodpecker FledglingPoor little thing but I have good reason to believe it will be okay, being temporarily grounded is part and parcel of leaving the nest and nothing to worry about, the parents are around.

Great Spotted Woodpecker FledglingSo for the last two days  I have been watching for it and or any of it’s siblings. GSW’s have four to seven in a brood and when they are ready to venture out mum usually takes them around and shows them where to get a meal. Wouldn’t it be great to have half a dozen Woodpeckers at the bird table?

I have seen nothing yet but the parents are making very frequent trips to the feeder and flying off with beaks full of food.

Meanwhile the Swallows are still hanging about the nest days after they fledged and the garden is full of little “Yellow Cheeks”, they have done all right, at least here they have.

Fizz and I have been having a tough time, working on our tans.

TanningThe sheep have been for a haircut and they look lovely.

HaircutAnd we have taken lots of photographs that I will show you soon.

Swollen Thighed Beetle

Green Orb Spider

White lipped Snail


Speckled Wood



There is an unused field behind the farm that is poorly drained and quite marshy. I thought that it would be a good place to survey for reptiles.

1So I have got the permission from the field’s owner and I have borrowed some corrugated iron from my landlord and off we go.

2First I had a good look around the field trying to decide the best place to put my tins. I don’t really know what I am doing, I just think that it’s worth a try. I didn’t find any reptiles today but it was a miserable overcast morning and it would be very difficult to find anything in the long grass.

I found lots of food.

3 4 5 6 7I also found a spectacular Marsh Thistle, it is not every day you find one of those.

Marsh Thistle Marsh Thistle Marsh Thistle Marsh ThistleI hauled my first sheet of iron up from the farm. (surprisingly awkward to carry)

8Then I walked all around the field again trying to guess where a good spot would be.


17 18 19Then I decided to just slap it down anywhere. I chose a fairly damp spot close to the stream that would get the morning sun.

10 11Will it work? I don’t know. My landlord tells me that he used to see Adders here but that he hasn’t seen any for a long time and lots of what he calls Blind Worms, he described them to me as little snakes and I think he is talking about what I know as a Slow worm.

So now I have more tin to go and get.

12And that is the start of my Reptile Survey Project.