Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Mini Beast

While taking a picture of the flowers of a Cow Parsley plant, I inadvertently snapped a small beetle, busying itself on the flower head.
This attractive little beetle had metallic, dark green elytra (wing cases) and a very noticeable red 'bottom' (actually bright red spots on the ends of the elytra.) My initial thoughts were that this was a flower, or pollen beetle, but further research when we returned home, proved it to be a Common Malachite Beetle (Malachius bipustulatus). The adult beetle is a predator of other small insects, but will also eat the pollen of the flowers on which it hunts. The large, flat flower heads of the carrot family - of which the Cow Parsley is a common member - are a particular favourite of the Malachite Beetle.
If alarmed, the beetle is capable of extruding two red pouches from its sides, which give off a smell to deter any predator wanting to make a meal of it.
Another new 'tick' for the life list!
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