Buglife celebrates our first Species Champion in the Welsh Assembly

Thursday 16th June 2016

Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is championing the Black Oil Beetle – a native to Gower – which is sadly declining across the UK.

At an event organised by Buglife Cymru at the Assembly today Mrs Evans learnt just how critical Black Oil Beetles are to local life cycles and how they are a good indicator of the health of our countryside. The beetle relies on solitary bees and other pollinators as part of its life-cycle and is therefore dependent on the health and diversity of wild bees. South and West Wales remain national strongholds for the Black Oil Beetle, Violet Oil Beetle and Rugged Oil Beetle, which are all known for secreting oil from their joints to deter predators and can often be encountered on one of Gower’s coastal paths.

Speaking about the plight of the Black Oil Beetle, Mrs Evans said:

“We are lucky in Gower not only because we have spectacular scenery but also because we have an abundance of wild flowers and grassland. We all know how important pollinators are for the environment and the Black Oil Beetle relies on them to survive.

“I am happy to become a champion for the Black Oil Beetle in Gower and will continue to support measures that protect and enhance our environment and support biodiversity and thriving habitats."

According to Buglife Cymru there are several steps we can take to ensure the continued existence of species such as the Black Oil Beetle such as:

• Increasing the abundance of wildflowers in the countryside to benefit the solitary bee hosts of oil beetles, as well as other pollinators.
• Extending and reconnecting areas of wildflower-rich grassland which can allow the beetles populations to expand, and could help to reconnect fragmented populations.
• Providing information on the distribution of oil beetles in Wales to help target conservation work.

Clare Dinham, Conservation Officer, Buglife said:

“Buglife is very pleased to welcome Rebecca Evans AM as Wales Species Champion for the Black oil beetle. We look forward to working with Rebecca to raise awareness about this unique species and the important issues that it highlights such as the loss of wildflower rich habitats and the need to connect habitats at a landscape scale.”