Bombardier Beetle

By Harry Green

(click image for enlargement)

The Bombardier Beetle Brachinus crepitans (Linnaeus, 1758). Photo Roger Key

Serendipity strikes again! I was browsing through some old entomological journals and noticed the following article:
C A Collingwood 1958 Notes on Coleoptera in the Midlands. The Entomologist's Record 70, 4-6. A glance showed a few records for Worcestershire and, amazingly, the following: "Brachinus crepitans L at Eldersfield in October 1954 is a new county record according to B P Moore 1957 The British Carabidae (Coleoptera) part 2, Ent Gaz 8 171-181". So following our discovery in 2001 (see Worcestershire Record no 11) we now have one modern and two historical sites - near Honeybourne, at Brotheridge Green, and now Eldersfield. Bearing in mind Bombardier Beetle's habitat is open, usually chalky ground with scattered stones and plants, it is difficult to imagine where it might have occurred at Eldersfield in 1954. No old railway there, although I have seen occasional patches of gravely soil (glacio-fluvial deposits probably) with old anthills and I suppose low-input arable cultivation on such sites might have created sites for the beetle in the past.

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