|Carabus auratus with prey|
Carabus auratus, the golden ground beetle, is a member of the family Carabidae, or ground beetles, native to central and western parts of Europe.
The flightless beetle reaches a body length of between 1.7 and 2 cm. The elytra, each marked with three broad longitudinal grooves, are an iridescent gold-green colour, as are the head and thorax. The legs, antennae and mouth parts are orange.
Carabus auratus is to be found in fields and amongst bushes, particularly on loamy soil. On occasion it will climb into trees. Active during the day, it preys upon insects, snails and worms, which it seizes with its mandibles and sprays with a digestive secretion before consuming it. Carabus auratus can be welcome to farmers and gardeners, as it will feed upon pests such as the Colorado potato beetle.
The larvae hunt only at dawn. They moult three times before pupating in the soil and then emerging as adults in the autumn. The life expectancy is around two years; the beetle overwintering under the shelter of stones or moss.
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