Red Striped Oil Beetles from Portugal

Subject: Beetles in Portugal
Location: Serra da Mamede, Portugal
June 29, 2014 12:39 am
We came across these very striking beetles in dry grassland in eastern Portugal. There were several pairs, apparently biting each other’s tails. They are about two inches long with big black and red abdomens. Please can you tell me what they are?
Signature: Peter Burrows

Red Striped Oil Beetles
Red Striped Oil Beetles

Dear Peter,
You are astute to recognize these Red Striped Oil Beetles,
Berberomeloe majalis, as beetles, as they are not characteristically beetle-like in appearance.  We have several images of this species of Blister Beetle in our archives from Spain as well as Portugal.  We are curious about the behavior they are exhibiting, which you liken to “tail biting” and we can’t help but to wonder if this is some type of courtship behavior.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for the identification.
Peter Burrows

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