Devil's Coach Horse Beetle

Ocypus olens (also known as Staphylinus olens)

Also known as Cocktail Beetle

Devil's coach horse beetle
Devil's coach horse beetle
Devil's coach horse beetle
Devil's coach horse beetle

Host Plants:

Where Found:

Europe and some areas of America and Australasia


The Devil's coach horse is a long black rove beetle around 30mm long with a flattened head and sharp pincer mouthparts. This beetle is capable of inflicting a painful bite if handled. When it feels threatened it will raise up its abdomen so that it looks like a small scorpion, and it will spray a foul-smelling liquid from its abdomen. Devil's coach horse beetles mate during the autumn and lay eggs into a damp spots, such as in moss or leaf litter. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed eagerly on other soil-dwelling invertebrates.

Beneficial Because:

Devil's coach horse beetles are voracious predators who consume significant numbers of small slugs and other pests such as vine weevil larvae and cutworm.

Food and Habitat:

Devil's coach horse beetles are active at night, when they consume small slugs and snails, and a wide range of other invertebrates. This beetle is commonly found in damp areas in a garden, woodland or hedgerow.

Attracting More:

Provide suitable damp refuges for these beetles such as compost heaps, log piles and moss-covered rocks.

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