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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

Red-tipped Flower Beetle (Malachius bipustulatus)

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This is an exceptionally beautiful beetle. It belongs to the family of Soft-winged Flower Beetles (Malachiidae), of which some 16 species can be found in Britain. Each species has its own combination of metallic colours, usually green and red or blue and red. Malachids have soft wings as well and their shape reminds one of the soldier beetles as well. But usually their shields are quite short, leaving the rear end of the actually body exposed. The species here is called Red-tipped Flower Beetle for obvious reasons and it is a frequently seen species in many gardens. It hunts for other small insects, but eats pollen as well. The species can be seen from early spring till late autumn, although it is abundant only in June and July. It used to live in wildflower fields and meadows, but later invaded parks and gardens as well. It shows little variation in length and reaches about 6 mm. The male uses its antennae for transfer of sex-pheromones to the female prior to mating. When alarmed, both sexes discharge red pouches from the sides of the body which give off a smell that discourages predators. The larvae are hunters. They are found in cow dung and moulded wood.

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