Sunday, 13 June 2010

Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Last week I was on a canal boat holiday. The highlight of the whole trip (in my mind) was this beetle, Agapanthia villosoviridescens, which was photographed on Claire's finger. It wasn't so much that it is pretty (though it evidently is), it was that when handled it made a very audible squeak.

Closer observation showed that when it squeaked it also moved its pronotum relative to its elytra, suggesting that it produces the sound by flexing the hinge between pronotum and elytra.

I felt sure that this behaviour would have been observed and reported before, so was surprised when I got home yesterday and looked it up to find no reports. It could simply be that I haven't looked in the right places, but I've tried every possible web search that I can think of and have found nothing. In addition, Andrew Duff's articles on longhorn beetles in British Wildlife fail to make any mention. It seems worthy of a blog simply to report the behaviour.

According to the NBN Gateway, A. villosoviridescens has an odd distribution in the UK, deing restricted to the mid- and eastern-England, but absent from the extreme south or south east. Apparently it used to be considered very rare. It's larvae feed in the stem tissues of thistles and umbellifers.


Gloucestershire Student said...

Unrelated to attached post but.. I have just come across your blog while searching the internet for information on invasive species of ants in the UK. I wondered if you knew of any reliable colony sightings and species that have become established and in what areas? To date, I'm just coming across hearsay sightings.
It's a big ask.
(I'm a about to start PhD student looking for potential relevant research areas). Be greatful if you have any info.

Sifolinia said...

Well, Lasius neglectus was found in Gloucestershire in 2009, though I suspect the National Trust have tried to erradicate it by now:

The only other invasive ants that I'm aware of in the UK are in greenhouses (e.g. Technomyrmex albipes at the Eden Project) or have not become established. I heard one story about Linepithema humile that had travelled back to the UK in someones car engine and survived for a surprising length of time. Most invasive ants prefer warmer climates, so they've not been able to establish (yet)

deola said...

love this!

Brandon E Newman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


I also noticed this behaviour when I found the same species today and was also intrigued by it, but I too can't seem to find much information on the species at all, which is frustrating because I think it is an interesting behaviour stategy.


Island Master said...

This one of my new favorite blogs!!!

ClinicalEyes said...

really like your way of writing.

solarissky said...

Amazing shot! What a fascinating little guy!

Rita said...

amazing blog!
I'm wondering, have you read aunts by Bernard Verbier? He has written an amazing book about their life. I highly recomend it!