Beetle burrows on driftwood at Osmington Bay

Patterns in nature: Patterns made by beetle larvae on driftwood at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK (1)

I saw these curious patterns on a large piece of driftwood washed onto the beach at Osmington Bay. It was partly charred but most noticeable on it were these stripey markings. I thought they had a certain abstract and graphic quality – artistic even.

A closer examination revealed that they were the remains of tunnels created by beetle larvae eating their way along under the bark of the dead tree. Where some bark survived, there were neat bore-holes showing the place that the newly adult insects had emerged.

I am not sure what sort of beetle was responsible for these particular burrows but I’ve read that certain terrestrial Staphylinid Rove Beetles of the Bledus genus rely on sea-soaked timber on the seashore for laying their eggs.

Patterns of beetle larvae tunnels beneath the bark of some driftwood, and emergence holes in the bark, at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (2) 

Patterns of beetle larvae tunnels beneath the bark of driftwood at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK (3)

Pattern of beetle larvae tunnels beneath the bark of driftwood at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (4)
 
Pattern of beetle larvae tunnels beneath the bark of driftwood at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (5)
 
Driftwood with beetle burrows on the beach at Osmington Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (6) 

Revision of a post first published 19 June 2009

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

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Carved faces in the cliff at Studland

Faces carved on the naturally coloured cliff strata at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (1) 

Sad, serious and happy. Three faces carved in the multi-coloured cliff rocks at South Beach, Studland. The colours are natural. The faces amongst many graffiti on these cliffs. But, look again at the middle face…..

Studland Bay rock photograph: Face carved on the naturally coloured cliff strata at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (2) 

Take a closer look. Can you see anything unexpected here? Sheltering in the groove that represents the nose is a small Two-Spot Ladybird, Adelia bipunctata (L.). Isn’t that sweet? And no, I didn’t put it there.

Detail of a face carved in the cliff showing a Two-Spot Ladybird sheltering in the groove representing the nose, South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (3) 

Revision of a post first published 31 December 2009

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

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Beachcomber Beetle & Whiteford Driftwood

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.

 

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2012

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