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Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, encounter

Yesterday I went on a lovely walk around the countryside of Beddgelert, North Wales. Whilst the beauty of landscape is certainly stunning, it was a beetle that was the highlight of my walk, the Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa).

After climbing a hill and wanting a little break, I noticed a large beetle crossing the path in front of me, it was a Bloody-nosed Beetle. I quickly got the camera out, laid on the ground and began taking pictures of this stunning insect.

Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, a large beetle with irridescent blue/purple shell and legs walking on a walk. The beetle is side on looking to the left.
Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa

The Bloody-nosed Beetle, gets its name from the fact that as a defensive mechanism it can produce a bubble of red liquid from its mouth designed to repel a predator; apparently it tastes very foul. On this occasion though it must not have thought I was a threat and did not produce any liquid, though when editing the images I did notice what may be dried liquid at the back of its head.

Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, a large leaf beetle which is blue/purple irridescent walking over a rock towards the camera.
Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa

They are harmless to us, but if you are a member of the bedstraw family (like the Heath Bedstraw which is common here) then that is what the beetle is looking for. It is the largest of the leaf beetles in the UK.

Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, a large blue/purple irridescent beetle walking towards the camera over a
Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa

The day was rather cool and with white overcast clouds, giving lovely 'flat' light, this is perfect for capturing detail on subjects, the light also showing off the beetles vibrant colours. From a distance they look almost black and it is not until you see them up close and with good light on them do they really stand out.

In total I encountered five of these delightful beetles, all of them crossing the rocky sandy path I was using. I must have been in a bit of a stronghold for them as in the nearby areas I have never come across them before, usually when I have it has been in more coastal environments, not in the mountain areas.

At the start of the day I had no intention of photographing any insects, but as always with nature, what you are looking for to photograph and what nature gives you may not be the same. I loved spending time with these beetles, a great way to start spring off!



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