Beetle species rediscovered in Britain

March 19, 2007

The endangered short-necked oil beetle, long thought gone from Britain, was rediscovered recently by an entomologist at a site in southern county of Devon.

Marking the first time the beetle species has been found alive in Britain since 1948, amateur entomologist Bob Heckford recently found the insects on the remote grasslands site owned by the National Trust, The Independent reported.

Experts said that the steep slope of the site likely helped the beetle species, Meloe brevicollis, survive the massive agricultural movement that had nearly wiped it out since World War II.

"It's likely that this population of the short-necked oil beetle has survived because they inhabit an area of land that has avoided the intensive farming methods of surrounding arable land," said David Bullock, a nature conservationist with the National Trust.

"It's great that this oil beetle, with its fascinating lifestyle, has survived against all the odds and is back in business on the south Devon coast," he added.

In response to the discovery, the National Trust is working with the tenant farmer to ensure the beetles' safety.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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