Great Silver Water Beetle Found in Cambridgeshire
Great Silver Water Beetle Found in Cambridgeshire

Great Silver Water Beetle Found in Cambridgeshire: A Rediscovery After 86 Years Sparks Conservation Hope

A species of beetle, the great silver water beetle, has been rediscovered in Cambridgeshire after 86 years. It was found in a trap at the Great Fen by Henry Stanier, a monitoring and research officer, who was initially surveying for newts.

The last known sighting of this beetle in the area was in 1938 at Wicken Fen. Stanier described the moment of discovery, noting the beetle’s distinctive size and jet-black color compared to other beetles.

The great silver water beetle, although aquatic, is classified as a scavenger water beetle rather than a true diving beetle. Its return to the Great Fen is seen as a significant and positive development for the nature reserve, especially given its previous decline.

Stanier recognized the beetle immediately by the silver film of air on its underside and emphasized the beetle’s importance in maintaining the ecological balance of the reserve. The discovery provides a rare piece of positive news amid ongoing environmental challenges.

Great Silver Water Beetle Found in Cambridgeshire
Great Silver Water Beetle Found in Cambridgeshire

The appearance of the beetle at the Great Fen is notable because of the environmental threats faced by freshwater invertebrates. These threats make the beetle’s return particularly significant. The species’ rediscovery is viewed as an encouraging sign for the wetland restoration efforts in the region.

Stanier expressed hope that the beetle’s reappearance might indicate a broader pattern of recolonization, potentially aided by climate change and warmer temperatures which might encourage these beetles to fly more and move inland.

Conservationists are actively working on restoration projects at the Great Fen to create new habitats that can support species like the great silverwater beetle. This beetle has also been found in moth traps in other parts of Cambridgeshire, such as Sutton Gault and near the River Great Ouse.

Dr. Craig Macadam, Buglife’s Conservation Director in Peterborough, highlighted the broader benefits of the restoration work, which aims to support a wide range of freshwater invertebrates, emphasizing the importance of these efforts in combating threats like pollution and habitat fragmentation.

Following its identification, the great silver water beetle was released back into its habitat. This rediscovery underscores the critical role of ongoing conservation efforts and habitat restoration in supporting biodiversity. The work being done at the Great Fen provides a hopeful outlook for the continued presence and spread of the great silver water beetle and other invertebrates in the region.

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