Paul Leyland – Rutpela maculata
Paul writes: I start to see these photogenic beetles around the middle of June and they stay around until the end of August. Rutpela maculata is probably the commonest of the Longhorn (Cerambicidae) beetle family, it is certainly the one I see most often. They are easy to see in the right habitat, their bright yellow and black markings, together with the amazing antennae, stand out as they feed on the top of Umbellifers, especially Hogweed. The larvae feed on old timber, so a good woodland area with plenty of open rides is the best place to find them. Their life cycle takes two to three years but most of this is spent in the larval stage, the adults only live for a few weeks. They occur through England & Wales, in the right habitat, but are only common in Scotland in the south west. I was expecting to find this one when I went to Wykeham Forest in North Yorkshire at the end of July. I was right and it was one of several feeding along a good stretch of open woodland.