The Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) is also know as the Blood-spewer or Blood-spewing Beetle. This species is one of the UK’s largest leaf beetles and is in the family Chrysomelidae. The bloody-nosed beetle is named for the way it exudes a foul-tasting liquid (hemolymph) when threatened. The orange-red liquid is made by breaking the thin membranes within the mouth. It is one of 4 beetles within the Timarcha genus. The specimen above was photographed on Exmoor in the UK.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
The bloody-nosed beetle is found throughout southern and central Europe, including south and central England and Wales, where it’s range is mainly southern areas. It is rarer in the north of it’s range. This species prefers areas with good cover such as heathland, grassland, farmland, coastal areas, forest edges and clearings and along hedgerows, feeding on grasses and herbaceous plants. The larvae feed exclusively on bedstraw plants (Galium sp.).
The bloody-nosed beetle averages a length of 15-20mm. Bulbous in shape, its elytra (wing-cases) are fused together rendering the beetle incapable of flight. The overall colour is black with a glossy metallic blue sheen. The antennae are long and beaded, and the feet are heavily padded.
DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION
The bloody-nosed beetle has 2 broods a year. The first is around April, when the adults awaken from their hibernation and begin to mate. The second brood is towards the end of July, these eggs over winter, emerging the following April. Slow moving, this species is more active at night but can be found wandering across pathways. Usually it spends it’s days hidden under mosses or stones. The average lifespan for the adult bloody-nosed beetle is 9-12 months.