Friday, 15 May 2015

Day 193 Gloriously Glossy Green Dock Beetles!

Hey everyone day 193 and I've got a treat for any beetle lovers out there!  She was spotted at our allotment on a dock leaf, so we made a guess that she's a Green Dock Leaf Beetle - if we`re wrong and she`s something else please let us know!  We`re saying "she" because my dad found out that if their wings look like they don't quite fit, like this one, it's because it`s a pregnant female and her big tummy means that her wings can't cover her up properly!

So here goes:
Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula)
  • They have an amazing metallic sheen to their shells which can look golden, blue, green or purple depending on the light.
  • They are between 4 and 7 mm in length - males tend to be at the smaller end of the scale and females tend to be at the bigger end.
  • Generally spotted anywhere near to Dock leaves, by verges, ponds, woods etc, so widely spread throughout the UK and generally seen throughout May and June
  • They were originally only found in Alpine areas of Europe but from the 20th Century they became more widespread.
  • They have babies generally 2 to 4 times a year.
You can see the wing cases don't fit as she's pregnant!
  • The female lays 100-600 tiny yellow eggs on the underneath of leaves which develop into larvae.  These then feed until they are big enough to dig down into the soil and pupate.  After 6-9 days a new beetle emerges and the cycle starts again.
  • They are diurnal which means active during the day, 
  • In late autumn they start eating a lot more than usual so that they are stocked up over the winter, and bury down again into the soil where they will stay until the spring.
  • Their natural predators are frogs and birds.
  • There are about 20,000 species of leaf beetle throughout the world!  And there may be as many as 3 million species of beetle in the world...
  • Beetles are in fact the largest species on earth!  One in four of every living thing (including plants!) is a beetle! Wow I did not know that!
Hope the photo's are ok, they're off an iphone today
  • Beetles vary in size dramatically, from just 0.25mm for the Fringed Ant Beetle, to a colossal 20 cm for the Titanus Giganteus ..... :-/
  • They are easily recognisable because they look as though they are wearing body armour - and they are - because their hard shells protect their soft underbellies :)
So that`s a quick summary of the Green Dock Leaf Beetle, with a few other beetley facts thrown in! If you want to find out more look at:
And for a great little (bit random!) video featuring "Constable Beetle" my mum found on youtube check out (the bit you want is about 2 minutes in to this clip) :    

She says there was TV programme years ago called Squawkie Talkie that was a sort of spoof nature programme, it had the song "beetle beetle beetle of the yard, beetle beetle his shell is very hard" about a policeman beetle (?!) that mum and dad used to love but could never find to show me - until now!! Does anybody else remember this or are my parents completely mad?!

Hope you enjoyed.



  1. Amazing photos here Zach, these beetles are beautiful! - Tasha

    1. Love them too Tasha - they are really eyecatching - wonder how they survive being so bright!