Sunday 18 May 2014

Two common ground beetles

We came across two Ground Beetles, and they happen to be two of the commonest species in the UK. The top shot is the Strawberry Seed Beetle, Harpalus rufipes, a female. The elytra of this species look duller than the thorax, as they are covered with fine hairs, which you can see glowing in the photo below of the same individual, as they glistened with the flash light. They eat many vegetable matter, and appear to be partial to ripe strawberries.
The next species, larger (15-20 mm), is the Black Clock beetle, Pterostichus madidus, a very shiny, large headed species with impressive jaws and eyes. They are mainly predatory, and feed on ground invertebrates. This individual is a male, recognised by the enlarged tarsi of the forelegs.

There are many species of ground beetles (about 370) and many are hard to identify. These are some websites that might help you ID them:

Watford Coleoptera Group

Let me know if you know any others!


RayHolden said...

"appear to be partial to ripe strawberries" - I've recently discovered that Grey Squirrels are also very partial to them.

The sites you list are excellent, but I tend to start with these two generalist sites - just to give me somewhere begin to begin before I dig deeper.

...and, just a bit off topic:
this is just brilliant work by Steven Falk:

Tammie Lee said...

I always enjoy your bug posts.
Tonight i found a spider in the grass eating a caterpillar. My friend says it is unusual as usually a spider would be on a smaller caterpillar. I can not find an email address for you and am wondering if i can send you a photograph to see if you know anything about it? I believe you can click on my name and respond to this as an email or it will take you to my blog where my email is. Pretty please ;-)

Unknown said...


I love the violet ground beetle for its beauty, the devils coach horse for its savage predatory behaviour and of course lady birds! Great blog as ever! Cheers, George Pilkington

Africa Gomez said...

Hi Tammie, you can contact me at: a.gomez at I'll be great to have a look at your photo.

Africa Gomez said...

Hi Ray,
Thank you for those links, I actually use the first two quite a bit too. I'll check Steven Falk site too.

Africa Gomez said...

George, thank you for your comment. I am preparing a post on your bee house, it has kept busy, with 2 cells completed by Osmia rufa.