01 April 2010

Violet Oil-beetle at The Sands

Whist sorting out my March photos I noticed the Oil Beetle I saw at The Sands on the 27th appeared to show characters of the Nationally Notable Violet Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus) and not Black Oil Beetle (M. proscarabaeus) as I reported earlier. Steve Bolchover confirmed my suspicions and informed me that this is only the second record for West Glamorgan, the previous occurrence being in April 1993 at nearby Horton, recorded by Mark Pavett.
Both species are rare nationally though Black Oil Beetle appears to occur more frequently along the coast of south Gower. If you come across the species try and obtain a macro photograph of the pronotum (the segment between the head and the wing cases and from which the front pair of legs are attached); a reasonably well defined groove occurs along the rear margin of this segment (not obvious in the above photo) in Violet, but is absent in Black.
The image below shows a Black Oil Beetle photographed at Overton last spring. Note that only the males have the strangely kinked antennae.


St Madoc CYC said...

Seen in Llanmadoc ..

St Madoc CYC said...
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Barry Stewart said...

Do you know which species - Black or Violet?

Djak said...

We have just returned from sealands farm,oxwich and having googled beetles,discovered that what we have seen on the coast path was a black oil beetle! Nearly 30mm in size we saw this beetle twice, the second time starting to burrow. The area where we spotted the beetle was abundant in celendines. What an amazing creature!