Saturday, 6 July 2013

Fun With Chafers!

Just the other day (July 2) my Dad and I discovered something unusual in our moth trap, which had been set up in our garden the previous night. It appeared to be a Cockchafer, though it was much smaller, only about 2cm long.
After some researching, we came to the conclusion that it was a Summer Chafer,  Amphimallon solstitialis. Of course, we got Barry down, and he confirmed the identification as correct.
I've never seen a Summer Chafer, so this was quite exciting for me! We also learnt that it was quite rare and declining in numbers, so our find was actually even more exciting - even Barry looked quite chuffed! Our find was only the second record for East Yorkshire!
Summer Chafers eat plants and tree foliage, and can be seen from June to August. They live in meadows, hedgerows, and gardens.
Like most beetles, Summer Chafers undergo metamorphosis (see my previous post, A Tank For Tadpoles) in which there are 4 definite stages. First is the egg, which hatches out into the larvae. These look rather like maggots, and grow quite large. While in this stage, they feast on plant roots, and are a pest to farmers. They then pupate and turn into a very alien looking creature, before finally developing into an adult. Once more the beauty of metamorphosis is being displayed!

Here's a Summer Chafer. They are much smaller than a Cockchafer, and lack the small white triangles on the lateral side of the abdomen.

After finding this amazing little thing, my Dad and I have both vowed to set up our moth trap more often!

1 comment:

  1. Snap! I also found my first ever Summer Chafer by the moth trap last week. I mis-identified it as a Cockchafer and was corrected by someone on Twitter to its true ID. I sometimes also get amazing looking ichneumon wasps in my moth trap, alien looking eyes, amazing things. :)