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Shropshire builders merchant finds extinct beetle

A huge beetle, extinct in the UK, turned up at the Leebotwood branch of independent builders merchant Shropshire Building Supplies.

Shropshire builders merchant finds extinct beetle

Measuring about 2.5in in the body and with antennae about 4in long it has been identified by Stratford Butterfly Farm as a Capricorn Beetle. Extinct in the UK they, although rare, are found in large oak forests of central Europe.

It is thought the beetle arrived in the UK on an imported oak beam from Germany. Capricorn Beetles are believed to have disappeared in the UK in the early 18th century; however they are still found in central Europe, but are classified as extremely rare.

These beetles are now increasingly rare because dead trees and rotting timber are generally ‘tidied up’ from woods and forests leaving no food source for the beetles’ larvae. In timber the grubs can wreak tremendous havoc as they munch through the wood, leaving large hollow chambers.

They spend over two years as a larva, tunnelling through the wood before pupating and finally emerging as an adult for a brief life in which to mate and lay eggs.

Emma Bartholomew, marketing manager at the Stratford Butterfly Farm said: “We are delighted to have re-homed this beautiful Capricorn Beetle and very grateful to Shropshire Building Supplies for bringing it to us and adding to our fantastic range of insects!”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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