FOR the first time in at least 28 years, an oil beetle has been seen in Lincolnshire.
Wildlife charity, Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust - received notification of the sighting as part of their National oil beetle hunt.
Historically, two species of oil beetle have been recorded in Lincolnshire; the Black oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus) and the Violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus), although the last time a Black oil beetle was recorded in Lincolnshire was in 1984 and the Violet oil beetle has not been seen in the county since 1900.
The records generated by Buglife’s 2011 national oil beetle survey and historic data, collated by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, showed that all of the four British species of oil beetle are in decline.
These declines were greatest in the east of England, making the new Lincolnshire record a significant discovery.
Buglife Oil Beetle Project Officer, Anne Halpin, said: “Oil beetles have suffered in recent years from the loss of wildflower rich habitats and the decline in wild bee populations, upon which these beetles depend.
“Every record is valuable but we are particularly excited that oil beetles have been found in Lincolnshire as we can remove the county from our list of places where oil beetles have gone extinct.”
Of the eight species of oil beetle recorded in the UK, half are already thought to have gone extinct.
Although the Black oil beetle is one of the more widespread species, its decline in recent years is significant and work still needs to be done to protect the flower rich habitats on which this species depends.
Visit the Buglife website www.buglife.org.uk for a free identification guide, more information about these beetles and to report sightings and photographs.