A Bit of a Surprise

Rose chafer (Cetonia aurata)

Dear Readers, every so often something happens in the garden that reminds me exactly why I have a lot of scruffy hemp agrimony plants hanging around for months, and today was one of them. When this amazing insect flew over at first all I got was a burst of iridescent green, and I was convinced that it was a dragonfly. When it landed and the sun glinted off the carapace, I realised that a rose chafer beetle had landed, the first one I’d seen since I was last in Austria. What a pretty creature it is, as big as my thumb to the first joint and as bumbling and cuddly an insect as you’d wish to find.

Rose chafers have a bad reputation because they are rather partial to dog roses (hence the name). This one seemed to be mainly stocking up on pollen, and the grubs are handy detritivores, munching on rotting vegetation. And really, it looks like a jewel. Who could resist it?

One rather endearing thing is the way that it flies around with its elytra (the wingcases) closed and the wings out.

Rose chafer in flight – A great photo series by Bernie (Public Domain)

I can’t begin to tell you how seeing something like this cheers me up – the world seems so full of wonders just waiting for us to notice them. It has been so wet this last week that I’ve barely been able to get outside the front door, so there was a special joy in sitting in the sunshine and drinking my tea this morning, even without this beautiful creature turning up.

And then, it launched itself into the air, did a quick celebratory circle of the garden to see if it was missing anything and headed off at great speed in an easterly direction. They fly surprisingly quickly for such big critters, and I can imagine if one flew into you it would leave quite a bruise.

And finally, if you want to see a really amazing video showing all sorts of insects that don’t look as if they should be able to fly at all taking off in slow motion, have a look at the link below. I suspect you’ll have to belong to evil Facebook to see it, but it’s worth it. Have fun!


12 thoughts on “A Bit of a Surprise

  1. Anne

    What a pretty beetle! I am not scrupulous about either deadheading or weeding for the apparent neglect is often far more rewarding in the long run in terms of birds and insect visitors. This beautiful beetle would have brightened my day too – I also like to think of you enjoying tea in your garden: I breakfast / have tea outside most mornings (weather permitting) so that I can watch the birds and the many geckos – the latter come out to bask in the early morning sunshine.

    1. Bug Woman

      I love geckos! I’ve seen them on mainland Europe (particularly Greece) but never in the UK (though as it gets hotter, who knows who will turn up?)

  2. FEARN

    This is reminding me of yesterday when a frog jumped out at me when I was cutting back the wildflower meadow (which I am doing bit by bit over weeks). Nice video!

  3. sllgatsby

    What a beautiful creature! I’m delighted by iridescent beetles. Flying jewels. I also loved the video you linked to. I went to his FB page and was amused to see the group name. Now in addition to London Bug Woman, I am following Tokyo Bug Boys. Perhaps I need to have my own…Seattle Bug Gal? šŸ˜€

  4. sllgatsby

    Oh, and I forgot to add, for those without a Facebook account, that amazing video is by Fumihiko Hirai, who is also on Instagram and YouTube. With another photographer, he is part of Tokyo Bug Boys and their content is AMAZING. They have this gorgeous web site: http://tokyobugboys.com/

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