six-year project to prevent a rare beetle from extinction
has had a major success with its first generation of adults
born in the wild. Researchers from the school of biology
have been working with English Nature and the Lincolnshire
Wildlife Trust to learn more about the behaviour of the
hazel pot beetle and identify the exact habitat which
it needs to survive.
beetle is unusual in that it covers its eggs with droppings
to protect them, and feeds its larvae with leaves. Once
common all over England, only three natural colonies of
the black and orange beetle remain.
researchers have found that the hazel pot beetle, despite
its name, needs areas populated with young birch saplings
in hot, sunny and sheltered conditions, with very little
grass but plenty of moss and bare ground with hollows
full of leaf litter.
bred beetles introduced two years ago to former sand and
gravel workings in Lincolnshire's Whisby Nature Park (see
have produced the first generation of adults born in the
student Nicky Hewson said: "Part of the problem is
that the sort of habitat they like doesn’t look
very pretty and nature reserves have tended not to create
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust will now manage the site at
Whisby to keep the habitat right for beetles in the future.
The University is planning further introductions in other
parts of the country in collaboration with English Nature.