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I found this insect crawling outside near my house, and I have never seen anything quite like it!

It was found in the summer in Denmark.

Length is approx 4 cm (1.5 inc) with the antennae.

What species is this insect from and what is the insect called? Is it rare? What caused it to have such a large abdomen?

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What species is this insect from and what is the insect called?

This is a Meloe proscarabaeus, most commonly known as a black oil beetle. Looking at the antenna of the insect in your provided image, it's clearly a female.

M. proscarabaeus
enter image description here

Males have a "kink" in their antennas, females don't.
enter image description here

What caused it to have such a large abdomen?

The primary reason/cause for the large abdomen is eating. Initially, the abdomen is much smaller, but after eating it will rapidly swell. Another cause for such an abdomen is pregnancy.

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    $\begingroup$ @Bert If one of the answers helped you, consider clicking the "accept" button next to it. :-) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Dec 29 '17 at 16:40
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Meloidae is a family of insects belonging to the order Coleoptera. In the world, this family has about 2,500 species divided into 120 genera. Adults use flowers and feed on pollen.

Scientific name: Meloidae

The females of the meloes have their abdomens filled with so many eggs that this organ acquires a considerable size, but the male's is small.

Meloes

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  • $\begingroup$ Please be sure to ALWAYS provide evidence/citations for answers on this site, especially for species ID questions. I advise that you update this answer with some sources. You should preferably only refer to reputable sources given the amount of misidentification and misinformation floating around the internet. The point here is for other people to learn to teach themselves, and showing them the sources/process is really a good start. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jan 17 '18 at 5:19

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