Giant European beetle in UK first

A giant beetle found only in mainland Europe has been discovered in the UK for the first time, experts said.

The rhinoceros beetle, which grows up to 2.4in (6cm) long, was found by Angie Hill in her organic garden in Martley, Worcestershire.

She sent a photograph of the insect to Buglife for identification, and the wildlife charity confirmed it was the European rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis).

Buglife chief executive Matt Shardlow said: "We couldn't believe it when we saw the photo - this is the first time one has ever been found in the wild in Britain."

He said that while the stag beetle, found in the UK, can be longer than the European rhinoceros beetle, the bug which has been found is a "robust beastie" and probably the heaviest beetle in Britain.

He said: "We need to find out whether it's an escaped pet, an accidental introduction, perhaps with wood chips, or whether they are actually breeding in the wild.

"Worcestershire is an area famous for the noble chafer (Gnorimus nobilis), and other rare beetles associated with dead wood.

"The rhino beetle feeds on decaying wood so it is possible they are breeding in an ancient wood in the Teme valley."

Ms Hill said: "I am delighted that this beetle has turned up in my garden and would love to know how it arrived in a small Worcestershire village."

Buglife is asking members of the public to keep a lookout in the Worcestershire area and, if they find a similar looking beetle, to send a photograph in to the charity.

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