• Wildlife Friendly Otley

COCKCHAFER


This beetle is in a league of its own when it comes to unusual names. It’s also known as a Doodlebug, Humbuz, Chovy, Dumbledarey, Kittywitch, Snartlegog and Bummler – names Roald Dahl himself would have been proud to create. It was nearly eradicated in the 20th century, but pesticide regulation in the 1980’s led to a revival, and the one in the first picture was spotted in an Otley garden. They have had a complex relationship with mankind down the centuries: serious agricultural and forestry pest, but also food source (eg sugar-coated in 1920’s Germany), children’s toy (eg Victorian England), and put on trial in 14th century France. If you get close enough, you can see distinctive leaf shapes on the antennae.

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Masthead photography courtesy of Mark Denton

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