Oil beetle

Oil beetle

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Credit: DAVID AUBREY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Oil beetle (Meloe sp.). Once common throughout Britain, the oil beetle's numbers have dwindled and the three remaining native species now reside mainly in the west. The larvae of this beetle are parasitic on certain species of solitary bee. The female lays up to 1000 eggs in burrows. These emerge and wait by flowers for bees, attaching themselves to any that stop to feed on pollen. They then hitch a lift to the bee's nest and metamorphose into a different larval form which then feeds on the bee's egg and pollen store, emerging after winter as an adult. The adults feed on the leaves of herbs.

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Keywords: animal, beetle, biological, biology, entomology, fauna, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, meloe sp., nature, oil beetle, one, parasite, parasitic, single, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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