Tuesday, 26 May 2015

May 26th Norwich

Mark Harvey's beetle collection
Yesterday, I was occupied with a non-wildlife event I just had to go to. How can you say no when your team has to play in a play off final at Wembley? It was a once in a lifetime experience and Norwich won! Maybe it was due to seeing a red kite swooping low between the two lanes of the motorway along the way there or hearing ring-necked parakeets when we arrived that gave to our good fortunes? Good omens to a great day out in the capital.

Anyway, today was a different day. My dad is, by coincidence, my neighbourhood's postman and he came round with a special delivery. It seems I have a few fans with this blog on his rounds and one of them has seen my latest How To Draw on beetles and gave my dad his collection to show me. Thank you Mark Harvey for loaning this to me. Inside the case he gave me is a nice collection of beetles that he had caught throughout Norfolk for a biology degree in 2000 (I think. Let me know if I got the details right Mark).

Violet Ground Beetle
There were a few goodies inside this case. This violet ground beetle is perhaps the most stricking in the collection. You can see what gives the name away along the sides of it's body. At first glance, you may believe it is an exotic beetle, but in actual fact, you can find them in your own garden.

Minotaur Beetles

Another beetle that caught my attention is this one with the horns. It is a male minotaur beetle and the one below is a female. This fierce looking beetle is a type of dung beetle. Yep, similar to those that roll dung balls around in Africa. I'm not sure if the males actually use those horns to fight rivals for mates or if they are just decorations, but it just goes to show that even heaps of dung can attract something spectacular as a minotaur beetle.

Lesser Stag Beetle
One of the largest in the collection is this one. If I said this was a stag beetle, you will probably think of Britain's largest beetle with those impressive antlers. Well, your not far off, except this is it's cousin, the lesser stag beetle. This one is a female. The males have antlers, but they are much shorter. I have seen a male a couple of years ago at Narborough. He was just as impressive as his larger cousin.
The male I found in 2013

You might have seen these elongated beetles in your garden or crossing your path from time to time. I have certainly seen the top one a few times. They are both Devil's coach-horses, a beetle that despite being small, has a fearful reputation. It is a fearsome predator and will bite if you try to handle one. It also has a habit of raising it's abdomen if it thinks it is in danger. When that happens, it is best to just look and not touch.

There are many other beetles in the collection that  I haven't mentioned, including a few ladybirds and a few ground beetles of various sizes. What this collection demonstrates is that you don't have to go far to find an exciting array of wildlife. Some of it is just beneath your feet. You don't have to kill them and pin them to a case in a Victorian naturalist-style like this to appreciate insects. All you need is a pot, a magnifying glass and an ID book and then, when you are finished looking at them, let them go to live another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment