Rare beetle seen in Sussex for the first time in 100 years

The Sycophant beetle SUS-160630-145313001
The Sycophant beetle SUS-160630-145313001

A rare predatory beetle which hadn’t been seen in Sussex for more than 100 years has been found at a farm near Bishopstone.

The colourful beetle, know as the Sycophant due to its Latin name Sycophant Calosoma Sycophanta, was found by Sussex Wildlife Trust’s ecologist Graeme Lyons earlier this month.

Mr Lyons, who wrote in 2013 that he ‘would literally trade in family members to see this beetle’, made the unexpected discovery while conducting a routine farm survey.

Writing for the wildlife trust’s nature blog, Mr Lyon said he started researching the county records to see how many times the rare beetle has been seen in the county.

He said: “There were only two other records in the 19th Century but it is stated that it was much more frequent as a vagrant in the 18th Century where it was recorded from East Sussex.

“So it’s not a county first but it is the first in Sussex since the 18th Century. Pretty damn cool indeed. Especially as it featured in a blog I wrote about three years ago which makes for interesting reading in the context of how few people have actually seen this alive in the last 100 years or more.

“I mean, how many people have written a blog about seeing this and then actually seen it three years later? Kind of freaks me out thinking about it. And also asks the question, ‘which family member DID I trade in?’”.

More about Mr Lyon’s work can be found at www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

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