A giant beetle thought to have been extinct in the UK since the early 18th Century has been rediscovered alive and well on a pavement.
The capricorn beetle, measuring 3.5cm long was found by a passer-by on an industrial estate in Ashchurch, nr Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.
The insect was handed over to environmental health officers and re-homed at the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm in Warwickshire.
Experts say the beetle, whose jaws are capable of biting through wood, could have hitched a ride to Britain on timber pallets imported from abroad.
The Gloucestershire find, thought to be a male, has antennae reaching just over 6cm.
A spokesman for the butterfly farm said: “Experts are still baffled as to how an extinct British beetle came to be found on a pavement in the neighbouring county. It is thought that the beetle was probably brought into the country in imported oak timber.
The species makes an eerie screeching noise by rubbing its legs together to warn off predators and can give a nasty nip.
The capricorn beetle will remain at Stratford Butterfly Farm where visitors can marvel at his size and many other strange and fascinating insects.”
The capricorn is one of Europe’s largest kinds of beetle and comes from the Cerambycidae (long horn) family of beetles. Capricorns are still found in France and parts of Western Europe, but are classed as extremely rare.
The adults feed only on fruit and tree sap, but are now endangered because dead trees and rotting timber are generally “tidied up” from forest floors, leaving no food source for their larvae.
Article found on Telegraph.co.uk here.