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The Crucifix Ground Beetle, Panagaeus cruxmajor, is a rare European ground beetle. In Englandmarker it occurs in a few places only. Panagaeus bipustulatus is a commoner relative, looking very much alike except for being smaller. The Crucifix Ground Beetle is sometimes included in the related species, but most modern authors consider it distinct.

The largely black and rather bristly beetle is 8-10mm in length, with large red spots on its wing cases which give the appearance of a red background behind a black cross. It shelters under pieces of wood during the day, and is a nocturnal predatory species thought to mainly feed on semi-aquatic snails.

It was greatly treasured by 19th century collectors, and Charles Darwin recounted an incident when he was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridgemarker around 1828. He had already collected two ground beetles when he "saw a sacred Panagæus crux major". He tried putting one of the other beetles in his mouth to free his hand, and was forced by the beetle ejecting acrid fluid to spit it out and lost all three.


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