Dorset Wildlife Trust is reporting an increased number of sightings of the elusive and bizarre creature, the stag beetle. An unusually hot spring seems to have called them out nearly a month earlier than usual.
Why is the stag beetle so rare?
The stag beetle is a globally threatened species, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, so to catch a glimpse of this stunning beetle is a rare treat. Numbers have been in a worrying decline since the 1940s due to destruction of their dead wood habitats, and many conservation projects are in place across the UK to help bring them back. Bournemouth is one of the UK’s hotspots for stag beetles, and this has also been a bumper year for ladybirds and butterflies in the area, as the extra warm spring has brought wildlife sightings forward.
Steve Halliwell, project co-ordinator for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife On Your Doorstep Project, said: “An unusual number of sightings of stag beetles have been reported this year. Early this June, as I was relaxing in the garden one warm evening I saw at least a dozen male stag beetles fly over, a phenomenon I have never witnessed before.”
The stag beetle Lucanus cervus is Britain’s largest beetle, the male of the species growing to 7.5 cms in length while the female rarely exceeds 4.5 cms. Emerging from late May through to September they may be seen in flight predominantly on wind-free, warm summer evenings. The fierce looking male beetle is harmless while the female, which has much shorter pincers, can impose a painful bite.
How can I get involved?
Dorset Wildlife Trust is encouraging everyone to be less tidy in their gardens, and leave out old logs in a bid to help create more habitats for these magnificent beetles.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Nicky Hoar at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.