vendredi 29 janvier 2016

Bloody beetle

When having a walk in the forest, the favourite hobby of the dogs is digging holes. Doing that, they opened the tunnel of an amazing beetle which is going out mainly at night: a bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa), also called blood spewer or blood spewing beetle.

As defensive behavior, to deter potential bird predators from eating them, they exude droplets of their bright red-orange hemolymph by breaking thin membranes in their mouth which is foul-tasting to predators. This phenomenon of "bleeding" exists in some other insects, such as ladybugs.

After a while, it went on slowly, as this beetle never flies.

Timarcha tenebricosa is monophagous, the larva feed exclusively on bedstraws, especially species with tender leaves (Galium verum, Galium mollugo). Eggs are laid in spring on bedstraws. Larvae are quite large, blue-black in color.

The beetle can be found in southern and central Europe, and is common in Ireland and in Britain, but becomes rare in the north.

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