Devil's Coach-horse and friends

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 18 September 2010 18:12

This is the Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens. A massive (2-3 cm) rove beetle with a serious attitude problem. You can see clearly the 'smelling glands' at the end of the abdomen that produce a foul smell but I didn't notice it. Those jaws look formidable. I love the colloquial name, I read  a myth that said reapers would embed one of these in their scythes to improve their technique! I went to Malling Down today and saw so little that I resorted to turning logs over. Under the same log as the Devil's Coach-horse was this carabid which is the common Abax parallelepipedus. It has a fairly broad pronotum with characteristic pairs of grooves.
I also saw this odd looking larvae that at first glance I thought was going to be an ermine moth or something in that family. I realised it was not Lepidoptera as I bent down to take the photo. However, I have so far not been able to identify this beast, I am pretty sure it is a beetle though. Watch this space. UPDATE: Mark Telfer identified this as the larvae of Drilus flavescens, a Na species and a south-eastern chalk-grassland specialist!
Finally, it's always a good day when you find one of your favourites. I will never get tired of Platystomos albinus. Look how cute it is! I told it a joke and it cracked up laughing!

1 Response to "Devil's Coach-horse and friends"

bugs west Says:

Does a devils coach horse ever have wings? they are pretty common here in the west of ireland and they often get nto the house via the bags of turf we use for the fire. Today my husband picked one up in a cup to throw outside but he kindly gave me a very close look first- i am usually not a bug scaredy cat but i did get a bit freaked when two wings started to appear from its back ( I don't know the correct body parts!) kind of out from under its thorax- he was thrown out quickly before we could see if they were actual wings- is this another defense devise or can they fly??

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