Bloody-nosed beetle

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Bloody-nosed Beetle ©Bruce Shortland

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Bloody-nosed Beetle ©Philip Precey

Bloody-nosed beetle

Scientific name: Timarcha tenebricosa
The common name of the Bloody-nosed beetle derives from its unusual defence mechanism: when threatened, it secretes a distasteful blood-red liquid from its mouth. This flightless beetle can be found on grassland and heathland, and along hedgerows.

Species information


Length: 2.0-2.3cm

Conservation status


When to see

April to September


The Bloody-nosed beetle is a large, round, flightless beetle with long legs that can often be seen plodding across paths or through grass. It can be found during the spring and summer in grassland, heathland and along hedgerows. One of our largest 'leaf beetles', adults feed on the leaves of Lady's Bedstraw and related plants, and the larvae can be seen hanging from these species. Adults are mostly active at night.

How to identify

The Bloody-nosed beetle is a domed, black beetle with a bluish sheen. The line running down its back gives the impression of separate wing cases, but they are actually fused together and this beetle does not fly; it is quite slow moving, in fact.


Found in South and Central England, and Wales.

Did you know?

The Bloody-nosed beetle is so-named because, when threatened, it oozes a red liquid from its face. This 'blood' is distasteful and scares-off would-be predators.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.