Spanish Wasp Beetle (Neoplagionotus marcae) (1/2)
A jewel of the Southeast Regional Park of Madrid, the Spanish wasp beetle was discovered in the 90's in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, the city where I live in. This is a rare Iberian endemism, very localized and scarce, whose only known populations in the Madrid region are located at the south and southeast, and outside the region, in some areas of Toledo, Badajoz and Andalusia.
Despite its impressive appearance, it is a beetle, otherwise harmless. It uses its resemblance to a wasp or bee to scare off potential predators, and spends its life exclusively in its food plant, the mallow Lavatera triloba (in the photo, in which the wasp beetle is enjoying a feast of pollen).
The fact of being specialized in this plant, together with their low number and very localized distribution of their populations, make the conservation status of Neoplagionotus marcae to be seriously threatened due to relentless urban advance.
This picture is dedicated to the great naturalist in the PRSE and good friend Jose Maria Sendarrubia. Without his invaluable help and enthusiasm I would not have been able to obtain this picture.