Giving a Beetle a Hand

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Our first ground beetle of 2017, out in the daytime around the clearing in early April. And what a fine shiny character to start with.

Ground beetles are members of the Carabidae family, which – according to the Royal Entomological Society – contains around 350 species in Britain. Most ground beetles are voracious predators. Many ground beetles eat by vomiting on their prey and waiting for their digestive enzymes to make their food more fluid and easier to eat. Yuckier than they look.

But which of the 350 is it? I found these pictures of Poecilus cupreus on the Watford Coleoptera Group website which look identical and the detailed description matches as far as I can tell but its impossible to be certain since we didn’t bring our new friend home with us. Nature Spot says P. cupreus is distinguished from the almost identical Poecilis versicolor by having fine punctuations on its head between its eyes. Nope, me neither, though I do prefer my beetles to be spelled properly.


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