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Hogweed Bonking Beetle Rhagonycha fulva

The most common of all soldier beetles probably is the Hogweed Bonking Beetle. In summer they often appear in great numbers, basking in sunshine or copulating on flowers, especially umbellifers. As the flowers of many umbellifers are whitish the beetles are very striking. Due to their reddish colours birds will leave them alone. Reaching some 7 to 10 mm in length it is a typical representative of its family. As the species also loves verges and banks it may be considered to be a real opportunist, explaining its abundancy all over Europe and the British Isles. It is an excellent species to predict a thunderstorm, for when all the animals are retreating to the backside of leaves a thunderstorm is advancing. Do not hurry though: they take shelter many hours before the thunderstorm arrives! You can tell them apart from most family members by looking at the colouring: the entire head shield as well as the full neck shield are red, the shields are dark red, except for the ends where they get darker and the legs are red, except for the feet.