...And the next species in our top-10 Dove Stone wildlife countdown to nex Saturday's BioBlitz is Violet Ground Beetle (Carabus violaceus).
There's about 350 ground beetle ( Carabidae family ) species in Britain and the Violet Ground Beetle is a widespread, common beetle found throughout the UK but none-the-less spectacular for that because it's just a great looking beetle !
Violet Ground Beetles are about 30mm, black with a metallic purple sheen around the edges of their fused together wing cases (elytra). The fusion of their wing cases acts as a protective armour. Violet Ground Beetles are carnivorous, actively hunting slugs, worms and other insects, including aphids; makes them popular with gardeners ! The larvae, which are also carniverous, take ten months to mature and then they pupate in the soil. They then emerge as adult beetles in the autumn, but don't become active until the following spring, hibernating during the coldest winter months. As adults, they'll live for about nine months.
Many ground beetles are nocturnal and find shade and shelter during the day from log piles, leaf litter or just some large stones. At next Saturday's BioBlitz we'll be looking for ground beetles particularly around our 'Bug Zone', where we've lots of log piles that have purposefully been left from our woodland restoration work to create habitat for insects. We’ll also have specialists with us here from the British Arachnological Society helping to identify any spiders we find. How great is that !