BRITISH BEETLE ON THE DECLINE.
Bid to save rare British beetle
By Helen Briggs - BBC News science reporter.
The noble chafer likes to live in old orchards. People are being asked to report sightings of a rare British beetle that emerges from old fruit trees in summer.
So little is known about the noble chafer, a green beetle with a metallic sheen, that conservationists are unsure exactly how many are left. The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to join its latest survey. With orchards being destroyed to make way for more productive crops, numbers are thought to be dwindling rapidly.
Consultant ecologist for the PTES, Matt Smith, has been surveying woodland for the beetles every summer for the past few years. He spoke to the BBC News website from an orchard in Oxfordshire where he was conducting a search. "I've been digging around in some old dead cherry trees in the wood and I've found the remains of a beetle and some eggs," he said. "They're very shy and retiring. It is very unusual to spot an adult beetle or the remains of a beetle."