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Let me introduce you to Rutpela maculata. It’s called a longhorn beetle, but really I would say it has long antennae rather than long horns, and its common name is the Spotted longhorn, but really it has spots and stripes, so its other common name of Black and Yellow longhorn seems more appropriate. Its colours and patterns roughly mimic those of wasps which, in theory, gives it protection from predators like birds.

160825 Longhorn beetle (1)

I was a little surprised, and somewhat saddened, to learn that the adult beetles have a very short life, of just two to four weeks, but this is actually quite common amongst insects. Most spend the majority of their lives as larvae.

The adult longhorn beetles grow to between 13 and 20mm long, and can be seen any time from May to August, frequenting hedgerows and the edges of woodland trails, often enjoying a feed of pollen or nectar on umbellifers. I’ve only seen two so far, both pictured here, and you can see that the markings and colouration vary from beetle to beetle.

160825 Longhorn beetle (5)

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