Bunty found this beetle whilst geocaching, and we were both so enamoured by its Cadbury-purple trimming that I picked it up and tried to pose it for a photo. Damn thing wouldn’t keep still. It crawled round and round my hand, up and down my sleeve, and tried to hide in my armpit. Still, we managed in the end, although the colour here isn’t as rich and iridescent as in real life.
According to my field guide, this is the most common type of ground beetle on the British Isles. I’m sure I would remember if I had seen one like this before. How have I managed to go so long without spotting one?
My field guide also says that the violet ground beetle has many subspecies. The two most important are Carabus violaceus, with a stout body and smooth wing cases, and Carabus purpurascens, with a narrow body and furrowed wing cases. They tend to be found in woodland.
This one has a narrow body and smooth wing cases. It was hiding in an ants’ nest under a rock on the Sherrifmuir moorland. Wouldn’t it be fun if it turned out Bunty had uncovered a new subspecies?