This morning, Sunday 24th November 2013, I was chopping up some wood, that I had brought back from Catbrook wood last week and I spotted a medium sized beetle walking slowly over a bit of Pine. This is what it looked like.
I popped him into a container and continued with my lumberjack activities. Last week we collected up some old wood that had been lying about for probably a couple of years. It was Silver Birch and some Corsican Pine, so it could have been living in or on either. I knew it was a longhorn beetle but was not sure which one.
I looked it up in an ancient book on Beetles it is ‘a Beetle Collectors Handbook’ by Dr E Hoffman, curator of the Royal Natural History Museum in Stuttgart, no less. The copy I have is the second edition published May 1902, its a fantastic book, it has colour plates with tissue paper in front of each one to protect it.
Anyway the book lists 4 species of Rhagium and the one that looks like my little specimen is R mordax, It says they are found on felled trees….. quite right.
It also says….’ This beetle is thickly covered with yellow pubescence, with broad dull yellow transverse bands on the wing cases. It is found on oak and alder and the larva under the bark. It is an inhabitant of various parts of the continent.’
Yellow pubescence? I am not sure about that.
Another possibility is R indagator and for this one it says ‘Brownish yellow, covered with white pubescence. The wing cases have two indistinct transverse bands. It is found on firs and pines, the larva living under the bark, It is rare in England.