Saturday, September 09, 2006

Platycis minuta - a beetle revealed

In the last 24 hours Emthree suffered one of its rather rare catastrophic events. White Log, the decaying central divider of birch, was attacked by maybe a badger or woodpecker and shredded bits of wood were scattered about all over the place.

However, I noticed a small red and black beetle, Platycis minuta, liberally dusted with fragments of shredded wood, resting in an exposed crevice. This species, which I have found in our garden once or twice before has a 'Nationally Scarce' status (Notable/Nb) and is associated with ancient woodland rather than my dry, semi-improved grassland, though there is ancient woodland 50 metres or so away.

In general appearance the beetle is remarkably close to another ancient woodland saproxylic species, the black-headed cardinal beetle, Pyrochroa coccinea, but it is only about half the size and the thorax black instead of red.

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