With a name like blood spewer, you might expect this post to be about some gigantic ravaging beast, but no! This is a beetle, large for a beetle at 2cm long, but nevertheless slow and bumbling and flightless and harmless, and really rather delightful, with body parts of a very pretty, slightly metallic-looking blue-purple-black. We found it amongst the bracken during a walk through Brynna Woods, in East Glamorgan, earlier this week.
Timarcha tenebricosa, or the bloody-nosed beetle, as it is more commonly known, gets its gruesome name from a defence strategy it has developed in response to predators. When threatened, it discharges small globules of unsavoury red fluid from its mouth. It seems we weren’t perceived as threatening, as this little creature didn’t perform its party trick for us.
This is a leaf beetle, most often seen during the spring and summer months in grassy areas, in hedgerows and on heathland in Britain and in southern and central Europe. It is particularly partial to nibbling on the plant Lady’s bedstraw, and has the most amazing-looking segmented antennae and lower legs, as you can see in my photos. Ours was a charming and colourful encounter on a rather grey day.