It’s been more than a few weeks, but I’ve been holding on to this to share with ye. I was sitting outside, as I do, and I heard the unmistakeable sound of a flying bug crashing into our sliding glass door. It sounded huge, so I immediately jumped out of my comfy chair to find it.
Not knowing what the hell I had to catch, and not wanting to get bitten or sprayed with noxious stink, I herded the Bug into the grass and ran inside for a glass to trap it under. It was fast on concrete, but didn’t seem to be able to manoeuvre in grass very well, so I had time. Once caught, I put it in a plastic container for observation and identification.
That’s a nice clear container, you can even see through it to all the knife marks on my crappy kitchen counter. But it’s not a great photo, too dark, and you have nothing to compare for size, sorry! You’ll have to trust me when I say this beetle was over 3 centimetres, or well over an inch in length.
I have a book, Complete Irish Wildlife, and of course when it comes to insects and spiders it is far from complete. We are finding new ones all the time, aren’t we? But I figured any bad boy this big should be listed. No luck, nothing even close!
I put a call out on Facebook, hoping that someone knew what I had found. After a lot of mistaken identification, backed up by my online research, one friend finally came through: I had a Great Diving Beetle! Most likely a female, they are smoother and less ridged than the male, and missing the big suction pads the boys need to hold onto the slicker girls when the time for making more beetles comes around.
These guys are big predators in water, and can even eat fish! They also can release a nasty smell when threatened, so I did the right thing by not trying to pick her up with my bare hands.
I still have no idea why this beastie was in my neighbourhood. There aren’t any streams, rivers, or ponds nearby. Poor thing must have been exhausted! I can only hope a night’s rest in safe quarters did her some good.
Of course, leaving the container on the floor overnight as kitty entertainment probably didn’t help…