Sphaeridium bipustulatum-Stourbridge Common

A member of the Histeridae family and one slightly better marked, although this group is very difficult to identifiy. It is a common species found in cattle dung, regularly in Longhorn Cattle dung , as this one was.

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Elater ferrugineus – River Cam

Elater ferrugineus Linnaeus, 1758
Size – 17-24mm.

Description – Larger specimens are among the largest Elaterids in Britain. A rather variable species – males can be uniformly bright orange/red over the pronotum and elytra, with a darker brown head or dark brown on the head and pronotum, with dark red elytra. Females are coniderably smaller and uniform dark brown. Shallow rows of pits run the length of the elytra. The legs are black, with slightly lighter brown towards the apicies of the tarsi. The antennae are mid-brown to black and extend just beyond the posterior edge of the pronotum in males and are shorter in females.

National Biodiversity Network map showing the distribution of Elater ferrugineus across Britain and Ireland.
British and Irish distribution of Elater ferrugineus Linnaeus, 1758 based on records held by the National Biodiversity Network.

NBNSYS0000010968

Distribution – Few British records, mostly from Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and London, many of these historic. An isolated record from the Swansea area.

Chrysolina polita – Bury Ditches Hill fort Clun

Description
Length 6.5 to 8.5 mm. Conspicuous with its shiny red-chestnut elytra and dark metallic green pronotum.
Habitat
Amongst the foliage of trees and bushes.
When to see it
March to October.
Life History
They generally overwinter as adults.
UK Status
Fairly common and widespread in England and Wales, fewer records from Scotland.
VC55 Status
Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. There were a total of 109 VC55 records for this species up to March 2015.

Cassida viridis-Bury Ditches hill Fort- Clun

Description
Length 7.5 to 10 mm. This is an all green Tortoise Beetle that lacks the markings of other Cassida species.
Similar Species
Cassida viridis is similar to C. rubiginosa but can be distinguished by the rounded rear corners of the pronotum(sharp in C. rubiginosa). It is also usually more apple green in colour.
Photo ID? Identifiable from a photo with care
Habitat
Low vegetation, particularly White Dead-nettle and Mint.
When to see it
April to October.
Life History
The very spiny larva holds a bundle of cast skins and droppings over its back which it uses to fend off predators and parasites, the adults grip on to a leaf and pull themselves down, thus presenting no grip to predators.
UK Status
Fairly frequent and widespread in England and Wales, but fewer records from Scotland…Naturespot

Rhagium mordax -Bury Ditches hill Fort- Clun

Description
This is a yellow beetle with brown and black mottling and two eye-like spots on its wing-cases. For a ‘long-horn’ beetle, it has relatively short antennae.
Habitat
The adult favours open-structured flowers, particularly Hawthorn and umbellifers where it feeds on nectar and pollen. Can be found in woods and hedgerows in most parts of Britain and is most often seen around flowers or in hedgerows in country areas.
When to see it
Adults are seen between May and July.
Life History
The larvae are found in the very rotten wood of most species of broad-leaved trees, especially just under the bark.
UK Status
Widespread and quite common in Britain….Naturesopt

Sexton Beetle – Nicrophorus vespilloides-Bury Ditches hill Fort- Clun

This beetle had just landed and was folding its wings away , until it saw me then was back airborne. You can see it is carrying Mites these are harmless to the beetle and are merely hitchhiking .

Description
This is a very distinctive and brightly coloured beetle, with black and orange patterning on the elytra. The wing cases are squarish and shorter than the abomen.

Habitat
Under dead birds and mammals.
When to see it
This beetle is commonly seen at light in gardens, often in company with a related, all black species, the Black Sexton Beetle.
Life History
These beetles perform an important service in getting rid of carrion (dead small animals and birds). Males and females cooperate to bury this matter, by digging beneath the bodies to provide a food supply for their larvae.
UK Status
Fairly common and widespread in Britain… Nature Spot