Monday, 5 September 2011

Silpha atrata, snail-eating beetle

This is Silpha atrata, it doesn't have a common name.  It is in the burying beetle family, but it is a snail eater.  It has a long head and a poisonous bite.  Both adults and larvae eat snails.

I found it on a woodland path in late May.  Unfortunately my dog had stood on it and killed it.  I noticed it because it was so shiny.  I imagine it had got washed out of a tree as we went for a walk after a heavy shower.  Since then I've seen a few more in the moss around the base of tree trunks and on the trunks itself.  I haven't seen one eating a snail yet though.  Perhaps they bite them then bury them.

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