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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.]

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Hogweed Bonking Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)

Taxonomy
Kingdom:Phylum:Class:Order:Family:Genus:Species:
AnimaliaArthropodaInsectaColeopteraCantharidaeCantharisRhagonycha fulva


The most common of all soldier beetles is probably the Hogweed Bonking Beetle. In summer they often appear in great numbers, basking in sunshine or copulating on flowers. Especially umbellifers seem to be their favourite place. As the flowers of many umbellifers are white the colourful soldier beetles sitting on the light background are very striking and easily visible for predators. Fortunately, thanks to beetles' reddish colours, birds will leave them alone.

Reaching some 7 to 10 mm in length it is a typical representative of its family. As the species also loves verges and banks it may be considered to be a real opportunist, explaining its abundancy all over Europe and the British Isles. You can tell them apart from most family members by looking at the colouring: the entire head shield as well as the full neck shield are red, the shields are dark red, except for the ends where they get darker and the legs are red, except for the feet.



It is an excellent species to predict a thunderstorm, for when all the animals are retreating to the backside of leaves a thunderstorm is advancing. Do not hurry though: they take shelter many hours before the thunderstorm arrives!
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