Threatened oil beetle spotted in March area

A THREATENED beetle has been spotted in Fenland thanks to volunteers Tony and Julie Hopkin.

The couple, of TD Hopkin Ltd, allowed their land, off Flaggrass Hill Road in March, to be surveyed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environment Records Centre after spotting an article in the Citizen.

They were delighted when the survey revealed a black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus), one of the four species of oil beetles that remain in the UK.

This was a great find, especially as Buglife have only recently reported how oil beetle numbers are in decline, particularly in eastern England, and this is only the third record of its kind in Fenland since 1950.

Jane Andrews-Gauvain, CPERC’s Biodiversity Outreach Officer said: “CPERC knew it was likely that within Fenland there would be a wide range of wildlife to be found, due to the number of sites designated as County Wildlife sites in the area. However, until now, little has been reported about it out of these designated areas.

“Now it’s great to report that due to both landowners, like Tony and Julie allowing access to land and a number of volunteers who have offered their time to record, we are starting to build a bigger and better picture of the variety of species located within Fenland.

“It’s only early days within the project, but thanks to those involved we have already made new records of UK Biodiversity Action plan species, some of which are also protected under EU law such as Great Crested Newts, Water Vole and now the Black Oil Beetle, just within the March area.”

However, the work does not stop there and Jane is looking for more volunteers. If you are interested, email Jane.Andrews-Gauvain@cperc.org.uk or call 01954 713572 or visit www.cperc.org.uk