Despite the excellent Bug Life identification guide designed to help recorders we haven’t found it as easy as we would have expected when trying to identify these large black beetles in the field. The Violet Oil Beetle (latin name Meloe violaceus, above left) and Black Oil Beetle (latin name Meloe proscarabaeus, above right) are almost identical, rarely seem to keep still, and, when seen in bright sunlight, have the key identifying features of their thoraxes often obscured in either deep shadow or glare.
As ever, when uncertain on species identification we have resorted to photographing and studying the images later on the computer.
Even so, despite using computer image enhancements, the sharp tooth like notch below the base line is still not obvious.
Related pages: Beetle posts | British beetles gallery
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