There are two main sorts of beetles that you find on the surface of the soil
like this Carabid (blue ground beetle) or this Nebria brevicollis and Rhinocerus beetle
(European) Rhinocerus beetle at work
Sinodenron cylindricum roam over the soil surface (video to come). Having lots of ground beetles around is a good indicator of healthy soil.
There are another 350 species. most voracious predators. They tend to walk rather than fly. Both larvae and adults are carnivorous and often specialise in eating slugs and snails. As well as eating a range of carrion, they will also attack aphids and other pest insects. By encouraging them into your garden you can start on the road to a natural method of pest control.
What is this creature extracted from soil sample? While it looked massive, it is only about 1mm long. It just woofed a springtail in one gulp.
We know it is an insect because it has 6 legs (and 3 sections – head, thorax and abdomen) At first I thought it was an earwig ‘nymph’ because of the pincers at the rear. But if it has got wings, it must be an adult, as only adults have wings.
All classification of insects is based on the wings (called 'ptera'). Most have 4 wings. Flies have only 2. There is is one obvious pair here. Is it a fly? No. Because there is another pair but they don’t look like wings. but hard coverings. That means it is a beetle. Beetles are called Coleoptera which means ‘sheath-winged’. This refers to this characteristic of their forewings modified to form protective wing cases (elytra), covering the hind wings used for flight. Typical of this is when a ladybird takes off, you can see the marked wings stay static while the hind ones flap below.
'A beetle' narrows it down to about 4000 species in in the United Kingdom..
It is a Rove Beetle of some sort, I think of the genus Astenus More
But I want a picture with the wings out….probably they don’t usually use them as they occupy undergrowth. It maybe they been ‘squashed out’ here, as the miniscus of the water is quite strong for a creature like this to fight.
And I’s not quite this one..but close.
Staphylinids, to give them their proper name are found in the exactly the right place I found it. “They live in leaf litter of woodland and forest floors and grasslands. They concentrate in fallen decomposing fruits, the space under loose bark of fallen, decaying trees” These were in decomposing leaves under trees over the road.
And then I found this Rove beetle taking