Rare British beetle spotted

CAMBRIDGE, England, May 19 (UPI) -- A British naturalist recently spotted a crucifix ground beetle, an insect so rare the last known sighting was 10 years ago.

Stuart Warrnington said he was "surprised and delighted" to see the beetle during a regular survey of Wicken Fen, a nature reserve in Cambridgeshire owned by the Natural Trust, The Daily Telegraph reported. The beetle had not been recorded there since 1951.


Panagaeus crux major is listed as an endangered species in Britain.

Tony Drane, an expert on beetles who visits Wicken Fen regularly, said the crucifix probably has survived there continuously but was not seen because of its small size and nocturnal habits. The beetle, less than half an inch long, is black with red on its wing casings. Its name comes from the appearance of a black cross against a red background.

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