“Thunder thighs” on Petersfield Heath
A European species of beetle has been found on Petersfield Heath, alerting local ecologists and Friends of Petersfield Heath to our warming climate.
The presence of the beetle, Oedemera nobilis, also known as the thick-legged flower beetle, is not so surprising since it is now well distributed in the UK. Its increase in numbers could herald warmer times, since it is a common European species. The beetle was first recorded on the Isle of Wight in 1985 and has spread its range since.
The beetle measures between 6 and 11mm and is characterised by a metallic green, blue or coppery colour, with fat thighs showing on the males. The thick-legged flower beetle is a pollinator of many open-structured flowers including ragwort, cow parsley, ox-eye daisy and bramble. The adults can be seen from April to September but the larvae are well concealed within the dry stems of plants where they feed and grow before emerging to become adults. These beetles are most frequently spotted in bright sunlight on flower heads on warm to hot days – something to look out for this summer.