The Broads Authority is able to announce the exciting discovery of the Black Longhorn Beetle (Stictoleptura Scutellata) at How Hill. This impressive longhorn beetle is nationally scarce, however despite this fact, a new breeding site was discovered on a tall dead beech trunk at the entrance to the secret garden at How Hill.
This is a prime example of the importance of maintaining deadwood for the sake of the array of species that are dependent upon its existence. None more so than the Black Longhorn Beetle which particularly favours dead alder stumps and branches. This unusual beetle spends most of its time high in the canopy of large trees but can be found on occasion visiting flowers.
The discovery of the Black Longhorn Beetle is of particular significance as there were previously no records whatsoever of the beetle in Norfolk or Suffolk until one was photographed on fen vegetation at Sutton Fen on the 7th July 2016. It was then on the 27th June 2017 that one appeared when photographed feeding on meadowsweet blossom at How Hill by Red O’Hara and, after several unsuccessful visits by Martin Rejzek (a national longhorn expert), and Martin Collier (Norfolk Beetle Recorder) a breeding site was discovered where a few examples were seen flying and ovipositing in the bark on 9th July 2017.
Andrea Kelly, Senior Ecologist for the Broads Authority stated that, ‘the discovery of this conservation priority species shows the success of our work to retain the full age structure of trees, particularly old deadwood which this rare longhorn beetle requires. Deadwood plays a crucial role in all woodlands, not only by storing nutrients and carbon but also providing the specific conditions for fungi, lichens, bugs and beetles, mosses and birds, many of which have evolved to be entirely dependent on old wood.’
The beetle recorder, Martin Collier is keen for the public to alert him to any sightings they may have of this scarce species, saying ‘these handsome longhorn beetles are likely to be present at more Norfolk sites and if people see them, or other types of longhorn beetles, they can report them by sending a photo with details to firstname.lastname@example.org’
The discovery of the beetle is a triumph for the biodiversity of the area championed by the Broads Authority and will hopefully lead to the further success of the species as well as that of others who are dependent upon the delicate ecosystem that is maintained through the protection of deadwood within our woodlands.
Monday 24 July 2017