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Rose chafer Cetonia aurata

The Rose Chafer is a beautiful beetle. It has quite a number of metallic colours: red, green, violet, bronze and gold. The animal in the photograph on this page is quite dark, though. The small white marks on the shields are made out of small white hairs. The underside of this beetle is extremely hairy. The Rose Chafer measures around 20 mm. It has a unique way of flying: the shields remain in place. The wings are turned out from under the shields. The Rose Chafer feeds on nectar and pollen, but also on flower leaves of various plants, but only when the weather is good. During cold or wet days the beetles remain in their hiding place.

In Britain and neighbouring countries there are two very similar species: the Rose Chafer and Protaetia metallica. There are small differences between the species. When you look from above, Protaetia metallica shows indents in the shields running paralell to the seam of the shields. To see them you need good eyes or an excellent picture. Turn the beetle around and you may see the difference in the prosternum. In Protaetia metallica it runs straight, in the Rose Chafer it is convex. The problem is that you need to know where to look exactly.

The larva of the Rose Chafer is almost identical to that of the May Chafer. They live in old, decaying wood and may overwinter two or even three times. Adult beetles show themselves from May to August.

The distribution of this species is quite weird. In the Netherlands Protaetia metallica is common all over the place and the Rose Chafer is quite rare. In the Province of Zeeland though all animals are Rose Chafers. In the UK distribution is weird as well. In the Southern half the Rose Chafer is common, Protaetia metallica is extremely rare. In Scotland neither of the two species is present, except for the Spey Valley, where Protaetia metallica is a common species. In southern Europe both species are common, and there are some more very similar species.