Rare Forest chafer beetle found at Bioblitz

Tuesday 7th July 2015

A rare beetle, not seen alive in Ireland since 1915, has been rediscovered in North Antrim during a Bioblitz organised by the National Trust, and supported by CeDAR, the local biological records centre and involving Buglife.

Adam Mantell, Buglife’s Northern Ireland Officer said “The Forest chafer (Melolontha hippocastani) is a large beetle very similar to the familiar Common chafer (Melolontha melolontha). This species has a very northerly distribution, with only 24 previous records from the UK and Ireland so it is incredibly rare. Amazingly a good number of beetles were attracted to the lights used on our moth traps which suggest a healthy local population.”

Cliff Henry, the National Trust’s Area Ranger for the North Coast said “It’s great to see this beetle is thriving on National Trust land. It also shows the value of Bioblitz events. Not only are they a great way for the public to engage with nature and talk directly to wildlife experts, but this shows just how much value that they can add to our knowledge of biodiversity. Our thanks go to beetle expert Dr Roy Anderson for identifying the specimen.”

Photo credit – Forest chafer (Melolontha hippocastani) © Roy Anderson