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Devil's Coach Horse Staphylinus olens

Would there ever be a competition for having the best common English name, I would certainly nominate this big, black beetle. It is called the Devil's Coach Horse. It is a very big beetle and an exception within his family of Rove Beetles, comprised of hundreds of small species, many not even reaching 5 mm. In Britain there are hundreds of Rove Beetle species. Actually this is the biggest group of beetles in Western Europe. All species have very short shields (elytrae), covering only up to one third of the abdomen. The wings are folded under the small shields, much the way earwigs do. Only a few species have lost the ability to fly alltogether. Most species are small, but a few are quite big and behave baldly when they feel threatened. Best known is the Devil's Coach Horse. A very common species, often found in gardens. Especially in autumn it is regularly found indoors, usually causing panic, fear and amazement. When approached it will lift its head and curl up its abdomen. This makes it look like a very small scorpion. It's his defense position: he's ready to attack. It has big, powerful jaws, easily capable of penetrating the human skin to deliver a painful bite and it won't let go quickly. And on the curled abdomen are two glands producing a very nasty smelling stuff it sprays into your direction. This is a very welcome guest in your garden though, for it eats a lot of snails. Measuring up to 33 mm this is the biggest of all European Rove Beetles. The Devil's Coach Horse is a very common species all over the British Isles, including the Shetlands.