Thorncombe Woods, Dorchester
Sunday March 31st 2019
I was up at Thorncombe Woods this morning looking for Adders. I found a lovely Grass Snake but no Adders. The Grass Snake wouldn't pose for a photo but I did find this Minotaur Beetle nearby.
Minotaur Beetles are in the Dung Beetle family (Scarabidae), feeding on the droppings left by herbivores. We have several such beetles in the UK, the most common being the Dor Beetle. This one was filmed in the New Forest a couple of years ago.
Both these videos were made using a very simple but effective technique.
The camera is placed on the ground near the beetle and the image focussed and framed using the camera's main display, preferably angled upwards. The beetle is then followed at a set distance so that it stays in focus, with the camera just being slid along the ground behind the beetle. In effect the ground is being used as a tripod.
The same method was used earlier this morning, near the River Frome on my way to Thorncombe Woods. This time the subject was a Black Oil Beetle.
Oil Beetles have a very unusual life history. The adults lay their eggs underground near a colony of Solitary Bees. The eggs hatch into tiny orange larvae, known as triungulins. These swarm up the stems of flowers and attach themselves to passing bees. Once in the bee's underground nest the triungulins feed on the bee's eggs and pollen stores.
Two months after the above observations I found a swarm of triungulins on a grassy bank at Powerstock Common.