Ground Beetles - Carabidae

There are several hundred species of Ground Beetle in Europe and most of them are black. A few species are metallic. They are nocturnal, although the metallic species tend to be active by day also. Many of them have fused wing cases and cannot fly. They eat a wide range of invertebrates, carrion and plant material. They tend to be long lived and hibernate through the winter.

A typical Ground Beetle, Harpalus sp, photographed in March
and identified by C├ędric Alonso of Le Monde des Insectes.

Golden Ground Beetle Carabus auratus:
A large greeny gold species found in fields and gardens. Very fast moving and active, they prey on earthworms, insects and snails. They will eat garden pests such as Colorado Potato Beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata. This one was photographed in a garden near le Grand Pressigny.

Harpalus spp: Harpalus is a genus of ground beetle with a large number of species, many of them difficult to tell apart, especially from photographs. They are smallish in size and generally associated with dry agricultural land.

A pair of Harpalus sp mating on the seed head of a Wild Carrot Daucus carota plant.
Violet Ground Beetle Carabus violaceus:
Smooth wing cases with irridescent violet around the edges. Large, common, especially in gardens and hedges. Nocturnal, hunting slugs. 

Violet Ground Beetle larva in our orchard.
Adult Violet Ground Beetle, possibly the same individual as the larva above.

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