Cliff-climbing beetle at Lulworth Cove

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Beetle climbing cliff

This spendid large purple-black beetle is climbing the Greensand cliff rocks at Lulworth Cove, Dorset. I don’t know much about beetles. I thought at first that it was a common oil beetle but the wing covers seem too long judging by the illustrations I have managed to find.

Beetle climbing cliff

The overall size, shape, the pattern on the hard exoskeleton, the design of the antennae all seem so distinctive. What is intriguing is that the right wing cover or elytra overlaps the left. There is a group of flightless beetles in which the elytra are fused – the nocturnal ground beetles and darkling beetles – Tenebrionidae. When this particular insect lost its footing on the rock, it fell to the ground rather than flying off – so perhaps it is one of those. However, the cliff seems an odd location in which to find one as they are often associated with stored food materials.

Beetle climbing cliff

I would be delighted if anyone could tell me what it is.

For more information about Lulworth Cove itself look at the Lulworth Websites.

For a good general guide to British insects including beetles see:

Chinery M (1973) A field Guide to the Insects of Britain and Northern Europe, Collins, London, ISBN 0 00 212036 4.

A Blog from the Past [2009]

4 Replies to “Cliff-climbing beetle at Lulworth Cove”

  1. Hi Jessica,
    A member of my literacy class is researching the infamous “Cliff-climbing beetle at Lulworth Cove” and we wondered if you had any more information – particularly habitats, feeding patterns etc etc.
    Any help will be greatly received.
    MAny thanks
    Mr Lumber and Conor

  2. Hello, Mr Lumber. I have sent you a little more information and some extra photographs seperately by e-mail. I hope it will be useful for Conor’s project.

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