The Devil’s Coach Horse

When I was at Hembury Woods the other day I found a Devil’s Coach Horse beetle. I haven’t seen one for years but do remember them distinctly from my youth. The Devil’s Coach Horse is a type of rove beetle.

Devil's coachman1
It is quite a large all black beetle

Devil's coachman2
They are well known to offer up their large jaws in this threatening posture when disturbed

Devil's coachman3
They also flick up their tail and as a result are sometimes also known as the Cock-tail beetle.

Fortunately it didn’t happen to me but they can also exude a foul smelly substance when provoked. They tend to feed on other invertebrates such as woodlice and worms.

Devil's coach horse


Here is the national distribution of the Devil’s Coach Horse – according to this it has only been recorded in Devon in the Plym Valley area – new record for Hembury maybe?

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