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beetle about Rare insect drops in.

Byline: Pamela Owen

A RARE beetle thrilled a couple of insect experts - when it flew in and sat beside them.

Ecologists Dave Boyce and Adrian Fowles were discussing a management scheme to attract the inquisitor beetle when one suddenly landed.

It was the first time an inquisitor had been spotted at Cwm Llyfnant, which is part of the RSPB's Ynys-hir reserve near Aberystwyth.

Dave said: "We were discussing management specifically for these special insects when out of the sky it came and landed in a clearing."

The inquisitor is one of Britain's rarest beetles. It typically lives in oak woodland but its numbers have halved since 1990 partly because of the effects of poor forest management which has reduced grazing space.

They are active at night and adults are often found climbing the trunks of oak trees to eat the caterpillars of woodland moths such the carpet and pug species among the leaves.

They are now found in only a few pockets of woodland in England, plus a few sites in mid and north Wales. About 40% of the UK's upland oak forest is found in Wales.

Dave Anning, Ynys-hir's manager, said: "This is a wonderful first for the reserve. We knew the woodland here was important for lots of wildlife and to have this discovery prove that is wonderful news."

Two rare beetles have also been found at Scottish RSPB reserves for the first time in decades.

A water scavenger beetle called Cryptopleurum subtile was collected during a survey of woody debris along the River Nethy near Aviemore.

Whirligig It was the most northerly sighting of this species and is only the second sighting for Scotland - the first being made in a pile of grass cuttings in Melrose, in the Borders, in 1969.

The second beetle, found at Loch of Strathbeg near Aberdeen, was a whirligig called Gyrinus paykulli which is found mainly in lochs. It spends its life in reeds on the edges of water.

Gyrinus paykulli live on the surface of water and have two pairs of eyes, one looking up, one facing down.

FLYING VISIT: Inquisitor

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 4, 2015
Words:350
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