This photograph shows a cream and black patterned Strandline Beetle, Nebria complanata, on sand beneath a piece of driftwood at Whiteford Sands, Gower. This unusual beetle (also known as a Maritime Ground Beetle or Beachcomber Beetle) is a nationally scarce species that lives on the strandline along the shores of the Bristol Channel in the UK amongst seaweed and other rubbish. The beetles are between 17 and 24 mm long and hide under driftwood during the daytime and come out at nightime to feed upon small amphipods – such as the sandhoppers which are abundant on seashores.
This is part of the strandline at Whiteford Sands, close to the location of the driftwood under which the Strandline Beetles are living.
This is the very ordinary piece of driftwood under which the Strandline Beetles were hiding. A close look reveals that the timber also has very interesting black and cream patterns like the beetles’ elytra – with the markings representing the grain of the wood. The designs are superimposed upon an undulating surface of shallow ridges and furrows that have a satiny or silky texture. The overall effect very much resembles long tresses of wavy hair.
The black and cream striped patterns in the wood grain of the piece of driftwood.
The photograph below shows in detail the black and cream colour, the striped pattern, and the satin-like wavy texture of the wood grain in the piece of driftwood. I do not know what type of wood this is but it is often found, sometimes as quite large pieces, in this area.
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