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Andrew Whitehouse

Adult Bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) © Andrew Whitehouse

Bloody-nosed beetle

Andrew Whitehouse

Fast facts

  • Latin name: Timarcha tenebricosa
  • Notable feature: Exuding bright red fluid from its mouth when threatened
  • Rarity in UK: Rare / Common

This handsome black beetle is out and about in April, and easy to spot on paths in coastal areas and on grasslands and hedgerows in the south of the UK.  

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The beetle’s common name comes from its unusual defense strategy of exuding bright red fluid from its mouth when threatened.

As well as providing a visual deterrent, the fluid is foul-tasting thus puting birds and other would-be predators off the beetle as a lunch option.

Adult Bloody-nosed beetles are flightless and can be seen walking along the ground or on low vegetation.

The larvae are also black but with a shiney metallic blue colour, they feed on plants called bedstraws (Galium).

Rob Moates

Bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) © Rob Moates

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