Hartlebury Common is home to a vast array of beetles with some species being specialists of its heathland habitats. This iridescent Green Tiger Beetle is an aggressive hunter and can often be encountered running along the sandy paths during the spring and summer as it looks for its prey. Another of the Common’s specialty species is the Minotaur Beetle which has 3 horns on its thorax. They can sometimes be encountered as they roll rabbit droppings to their burrows which they stock up as food in their larvae. The third notable species of beetle to look out for on the Common and at the neighbouring Hillditch Pool is the Bloody- nosed Beetle. It’s a large black long- legged beetle that when threatened exudes a bright red fluid from its mouth. Not only does this serve as a visual deterrent, the fluid is foul- tasting and puts off birds & other would be predators.
Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)
The Bloody- nosed Beetle is a large, flightless beetle that can be found in grassland and heathland during the Spring and Summer months. The beetle gets its name from its defensive behavior of exuding a bright red fluid from its mouth. As well as providing a visual deterrent, the fluid is foul- tasting and puts of birds and other would- be predators from potentially feeding on the beetle.
Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris)
Green tiger beetles are iridescent green coloured ground beetles with yellowish spots on their back. These stunning looking beetles are specialists of heathland, moorland, sandy grasslands and coastal dunes. The lowland heath habitats of Hartlebury Common are ideal for them. They are fast, agile, voracious predators that feed on a variety of other insects such as ants, spiders and caterpillars. If disturbed they will fly off a short distance making a buzzing sound in flight. Adult Green tiger beetles can be seen from April to September but numbers tend to peak during late Spring.
Minotaur Beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus)
The Minotaur Beetle is a large dung beetle whose preferred habitat is short, grazed turf on dry, sandy soils. It is so named due to the 3 horns (two long and one short) it has on its thorax. The males of the species use these horns in combat to defend their territories and compete for females. Minotaur Beetles may be encountered as they roll rabbit droppings to their burrows which they stock up to feed their larvae. These burrows can be as much as 1.5 metres deep and are used by adult pairs to overwinter. The best time to look for the adult beetles is on mild/sunny days between September and April.