Wednesday 2 May 2012

Sparkling diamonds and hairy monsters

Cicindela campestris larva
 Anyone remember this beastie from last year? With its oddly-shaped head and powerful jaws, this larva is a menacing killing machine, lying in wait for hours until an unsuspecting ant or caterpillar walks by, only to be snapped up and dragged down into the burrow of the young tiger beetle to be eaten alive.


Cicindela campestris

Eight months later and those scary grubs are now adults! Racing about hunting things twice their size. I started seeing them around mid April but this is the first photo I've managed to get. (Near Foreland)           

Carabus nitens

Thank you to Malcolm for taking me out and showing me this wonderful jewel of a beetle, Carabus nitens. It is the smallest Carabus species in central Europe, coloured gleaming green-gold, with rows of prominent black ridges down its elytra. They are generally rare and only found locally in Britain, in sandy regions, moors and boggy country. (that's Islay then!) But what strikes you about the beetle is how extremely sparkly it is, like it's made from diamonds! You almost have to wear sunglasses looking at it through a hand lens. I know it's been posted up recently, but I just had to put another one up. Sorry...

Creophilus maxillosus by A. Opitz

Other beetle delights I saw yesterday on Machir bay were this hairy rove beetle, a specialist of carrion and decomposing matter, yum yum. And hundreds of heather beetles Lochmaea suturalis (unfortunately my photo refused to upload) scattered all over the beach. These beetles feed exclusively on heather and can cause quite a problem if they occur in large numbers. For more info visit

My next post will be on smart school crofting connections, and finding gigantic ray eggcases, (when I finally get my computer working properly).

Bye, Crystal

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