Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sex mad beetles

This horrifying picture shows two Lilioceris lilii beetles trying to make babies, so that they can cause further destruction to my cherished Lily plants.

I took this picture on the 22nd April at 17:33 and believe it or not they were still locked together when I released them the next day in the afternoon.

The Lily Beetle is considered a real pest, but as it is one of natures most colourful of critters, it is so hard for me to cause them any harm. I therefore released this pair back into the wild where they have probably found some even more delicious lilies than mine to lay their eggs on.

It is possible to confuse this species with the lovely Cardinal beetle but as you can see from my photograph the Lily beetle has dimples on the wing casing and also has a much rounded body. The antennae of the Cardinal beetle appear to be saw toothed, which is another diagnostic separating feature.

The real interesting feature of this beetle is that it squeaks when it is distressed. Therefore the next time you find one, and before you relocate it safely to another site, listen out for the squeak. Isn't nature wonderful?

The larvae have a delightful habit of disguising themselves as a pile of bird droppings by covering themselves with their slimy black poo. This picture illustrates the phenomenon perfectly.