Devil's Coach Horse Beetle

Ocypus olens

Devil's Coach Horse Beetle

profile iconOcypus olens qtl1
by Quartl (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 4
A close up of a Ocypus olens devils coach horse beetle on a leaf
profile iconOcypus olens qtl1
by Quartl (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 4
The Devil's Coach Horse Beetle has been linked to the devil since the middle ages, which is where it gets its name. It's Latin name; however, olens can be translated to the word 'smelling'; and this is due to its stink glands located on the abdomen. These beetles are ferocious predators in the garden, hunting things like fly larvae, slugs and even spiders. When threatened, this beetle will flex the abdomen, causing it to curl upwards like a scorpion tail. They then squirt their foe with a foul-smelling liquid. If this isn't enough to deter an enemy, these beetles are equipt with powerful jaws with a nasty bite to match!
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Traits

Rove beetles perform many ecosystem services. Some species are excellent predators, contributing to pest control.
If threatened, a Devil's Coach Horse can bite as well as emitting a foul smelling odour!

Appearance

Adults: Mature beetles can grow as long as 2.5cm. They're matt black with reduced wingcases, revealing the highly segmented abdomen. If you get too close, they might curl the abdomen like a scorpion. At this point, be careful! They can't sting but may squirt an unpleasant fluid towards you. They're also capable of biting. Larvae: Larvae are relatively mobile and spend most its time below ground. As the adult, it is highly predatory, hence an excellent addition to the soil media! They are a yellow-brown, long and slender in length. They possess 3 pairs of legs at the front of the body, with large, specialised mouthparts for hunting prey. Larvae will moult 3 times before pupating (developing) into the adult form. Eggs: Description unavailable. Eggs are laid in damp areas including moss and leaf litter.

Symptoms

Provides garden pest control. Larvae help churn the soil, increasing its natural formation.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Staphylindae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Native to the UK, most recordings are taken from the South of the country.

Biological treatment

It's not suggested to treat gardens for these insects due to the wealth of benefits they can provide.

Attracts

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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