Endangered tansy beetle re-discovered

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A critically endangered beetle thought to have only one remaining stronghold in the UK in York has been found in another part of the country where it was presumed extinct.

The iridescent green tansy beetle can still be found on a 30-kilometre stretch of the banks of the River Ouse in York but experts have discovered another population in the East Anglian fens.

It was discovered at Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve, all that remains of a great wetland around Whittlesey Mere which was drained in 1851, leading to the loss of many species of wildlife.

While the tansy beetle initially survived, its isolation was thought to have led to its ultimate extinction in Woodwalton in 1973, the date of its last recorded sighting, but a small population was found this summer by entomologist, Dr Peter Kirby.

Alan Bowley, a senior reserve manager at Natural England, said: “Woodwalton Fen is an isolated fragment of a once much larger wetland and so rare animals are always at risk of extinction, but this demonstrates how important these sites are for providing a refuge for these species to survive against the odds.

“There is only one other site in Britain where this beautiful creature is found and we will be working hard to try and ensure that it can flourish here.”