close x

Flame-shouldered blister beetle

Flame-shouldered blister beetle

The flame-shouldered blister beetle sitaris muralis is an endangered species only known from one site in the New Forest (Brockenhurst village).

It was rediscovered in 2010 – the previous British sighting was in 1969.

These beetles are parasites in the nest of the fairly common Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes which nests in old brick walls. In spring these bees (females all black) can be seen hovering over garden flowers and are sometimes mistaken for bumblebees. Nests are often entered via what resembles ‘bullet holes’ drilled in the brick, often above head height

[see link for information on the bees].

What we know about the life-cycle of these beetles is mainly gleaned from Fabre (1857):

“The eggs are laid near the ground nests of the bees during late summer and hatch in the fall. The larvae hibernate and become active the following spring, climb the plants to the flowers, and await the visits of the female host bees to which they attach themselves to be carried to the nests being constructed by the bees in the soil. Upon arrival there the triungulins leave the adult bees to seek out their eggs, which are consumed and which enable the predators to transform into apodous eruciform larvae. These latter consume the stored honey, which enables them to develop fully and to transform into prepupae which hibernate the second winter. The following spring pupation takes place and the adult beetles emerge in the summer of the second year preparatory to mating and laying their eggs as indicated above”

Look for the beetles resting on any old brick walls in late July or throughout August, or they might be on the pavement nearby; they are poor fliers and clumsy when walking. In defense, they curl up in a ball and play dead; it is likely that the bright orange on the wing cases is a warning colour.

If you find one, please photograph it, if possible, and report it to Buglife.

Conservation status: RDB1 – Red list, endangered.

Photos: Paul D. Brock


ID Tip

ID Tip

The orange 'shoulders' of this 8-14 mm long species, are unmistakable.

Gillie
Molland
Lead Ranger

profile

'To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.'

Newsletter Image

Email

Newsletter

6

Free

Six free walking routes when you sign up for New Forest Newsletter


Key To Map

Choose the categories you would like to display on the map.

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

By entering your email below you are consenting to us sending you newsletters. To unsubscribe, email communications@newforestnpa.gov.uk. More info: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/privacy-cookies


I think you mistyped your email
Your interests (tick at least one)








Please select one

By signing up to this form you are consenting to receive emails from us. Each email will contain a link to your personal reference settings where you can opt-out or change which emails you receive from us. Please read our Privacy Policyfor more information about how we use data.

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

Thanks, your subscription has been confirmed. You've been added to our list and your New Forest walking pack is on its way to you, including a link to download our free app.