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A Spectacular Cockchafer Beetle!

When this beauty appeared in my hall this morning, I just had to get my mini macro studio out!

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Cockchafer Beetles, also known as May Bugs, usually appear late April, early May. With a late Spring, this guy has appeared in June instead. They are large beetles and fly in a rather ungainly way and often crash into windows. There seems to be a design fault in their bodies as well, as they frequently land upside-down and find it hard to upturn themselves.

Life for a Cockchafer beetle begins as an egg laid around June – July, hatching into a white grub which lives underground. Grubs can spend 3 years underground (up to 5 years in colder climates) until they pupate. As grubs they eat roots and tubers until they reach around 4cm. This is the point when they pupate, emerging as an adult beetle (or imago) in the spring. They live as adults for a mere six weeks during which time the female can lay as many as 80 eggs. ( See more at:

As I read the information on the BugLife website, I discovered something new…… this is a male and we can tell that by the sections on his antennae. The females have 6 sections and the males have 7 sections. These ‘leafy’ antennae are used to detect pheromones. They can lay flat, or be raised and spread to create a rather comical and appealing face (well I think so!!)

This guy was pretty active and very hard to photograph as he would not stay still…

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I wanted to capture the moment that he unfurled his wings from inside his wing cases and launched into the air…. these wings are a wonderful example of nature’s engineering…. but it was very difficult to capture that moment in one shot, as I needed the flash to fire to illuminate the subject.

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I am thrilled with these shots as I really wanted to demonstrate the beauty of these beetles that would cause many people to cringe… take another look if you are lucky enough to see one…


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