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UK Nature  > Beetles  > Melolontha melolontha

Scientific Name:   Melolontha melolontha
Common Name:   Common Cockchafer, May Bug

Melolontha melolontha, or the Common Cockchafer, is 20-30mm in length, with a hairy black thorax and truncated rust-coloured elytra that leave the pointed tip of the abdomen exposed. The antennae, larger in the male (pictured here) than the female, can open out like a fan.

Chews the leaves of a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, often swarming around them at dusk and commonly crashing into lighted windows (the pictured specimen blundered into my son's bedroom late one May evening through the open window). Appearing usually in May (hence the other common name for this insect - May Bug) through to July.

The plump, white, C-shaped larva lives in the soil for 3 years and causes severe damage at times to cereals and other field crops. Inhabits woodland margins, hedgerows, parks and gardens, although the females usually lay their eggs in more open habitats. Fairly common throughout the UK.
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