Well, it’s not too often you stumble across an extinct species, but that’s exactly what happened to one lucky naturalist whilst carrying out a study on National Trust land. John Walters came across the ‘oil beetle’, last seen in Kent in 1906, whilst recording for the charity Buglife between Bolt Head and Bolt Tail on the South Devon coast.
This area of coast land is cared for by the National Trust and has becomes something of a ‘beetle hotspot’ over the years. Darren Mann, a beetle expert from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, confirmed that the finding was the first of it’s kind in over a century of a species thought long to have been extinct. Here’s hoping that dinosaurs are next on the agenda of extinct species to be found!
John was over the moon with his discovery whilst carrying out his tasks for the Invertebrate Conservation Trust ‘Buglife’, who work in partnership with the National Trust and are funded through the Natural England’s Species Recovery programme.
John said –
The 2 to 3 centimetre long matt-black beetle resembles the rare Rugged oil beetle, but the beetles I found were much larger and their larvae were a different colour. I investigated further and was amazed to find that they were a ‘long lost’ species.
It just goes to show you how important the work of the National Trust and their partners is to not only caring for the UK’s countryside, but also the different plants, insects and animals that call it home. Here’s hoping there are further discoveries such as this to ensure that our amazing wildlife stays as diverse and unique as possible.
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Photograph by John Walters