Another stunning, rare beetle with an unusual but little understood life history is the Scarlet malachite malachius aeneus.
Sadly, these sun loving beetles have only been recorded at a few sites in Britain since 2000, one of the strongholds being villages in the New Forest: North and South Gorley, and also a major site only discovered in 2011, Furzey Gardens, near Minstead.
They have been recorded in the Forest mainly in June, in grassy areas such as flower rich meadows, near thatched cottages. They eat pollen from grasses, plantain or flowers, including buttercups, but sometimes devour slow moving invertebrates.
The larvae are predators. It is believed that this species prefers old agricultural practices, such as the ecosystem that develops in old straw and hay, similar to changes in thatch.
Please look out for these beetles on flowers in meadows, particularly with thatched cottages in the vicinity and contact Buglife if you find one; don’t forget to photograph it if possible.
Conservation status: RDB3 – Red list, rare.
Photo: Paul D. Brock