Given that the weather is so damp and cold I am seeing very few insects these days other than bumblebees. At least I have plenty of time to tidy up my ever growing photo library! While going through my ground beetle photos, I thought I would share this shot of Harpalus rufipes, a common species that I have even found inside the house. The species is quite distinctive with its orange legs and its wings covered on very fine hairs - giving the elythra a matt feel when compared with head and front of the thorax. This is an omnivorous beetle: it will predate small invertebrates but also feeds on seeds, and gets its English name from the damage it inflicts on strawberries. The species is biennial. It breeds in August and the adults overwinter and overlap with the larvae. The larvae dig deep vertical where they cache seeds, which I thought it is pretty cool behaviour for a beetle. As other common European invertebrates, it was introduced in North America before 1937.
Loughridge, A., & Luff, M. (1983). Aphid Predation by Harpalus rufipes (Degeer) (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in the Laboratory and Field. The Journal of Applied Ecology, 20 (2) DOI: 10.2307/2403519
Hartke, A., Drummond, F., & Liebman, M. (1998). Seed Feeding, Seed Caching, and Burrowing Behaviors of Harpalus rufipes De Geer Larvae (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in the Maine Potato Agroecosystem. Biological Control, 13 (2), 91-100 DOI: 10.1006/bcon.1998.0645