The critters say hello!
From the kingdom of Animalia, the phylum of Arthropoda, the class Insecta, the order Coleoptera, the family Oedemeridae and the genus Oedemera, may I present my first beetle sighting of 2017 – and a new beetle for me to boot – a stunning example of the species Oedemera (Oncomera) femoralis. There are only 4 species of Oedemera in Britain (here’s another) and only 1 – this one – in the subgenera Oncomera. In layman’s words, she is one of the thick-legged (some people say swollen-thighed) flower beetles and I know it’s a female precisely because she does not have those swollen thighs.
I was lucky to find her as her species is nocturnal, feeding at night on the pollen and nectar of ivy and willow. During the day, they lurk under twigs and branches, which is how I found her, by picking up twigs and branches looking at lichen and searching for slime moulds. These insects grow to between 13 and 20mm long, and can be found in the more southerly counties of England and Wales, though they are not often recorded – there are just 278 recorded sightings in the NBN database (see map above), of which 65 are in Wales. I count myself amongst those fortunate to have seen such a beautiful little creature!
If you’re an insect geek (and I do not use that word disparagingly), you can see the full details of this species on the website of the Watford Coleoptera Group.
If you thought rugby players had well-developed thighs, take a look at this guy. He must work out at the gym every day of his life. Meet Oedemera nobilis, otherwise known as the Swollen-thighed beetle or, sometimes, the Thick-legged or Fat-legged flower beetle. Once seen, never forgotten … unless you see the female, whose shapely pins are nothing like the male’s.
They’re a wonderfully vibrant green, often with a tinge of blue or gold in their metallic sheen, and they’re particularly abundant at this time of year. Though they feed on the nectar and pollen of a wide range of flower species, I’ve often found them immersing themselves in dandelion flowers, to emerge sprinkled in yellow pollen.