Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 16:53 UK

Rare beetle is found in fenland

Crucifix Ground Beetle
The beetle was found by Stuart Warrington of the National Trust

One of the UK's rarest beetles has been rediscovered in a fen on the border of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk - 50 years after it was last seen at the site.

The crucifix ground beetle, whose markings look like a black cross on a orange background, was rediscovered at Wicken Fen, near Burwell.

It was found by Stuart Warrington, from the National Trust which owns the Fen.

Before the discovery at Wicken Fen the beetle was thought to survive at only three places in the UK.

Mr Warrington said: "This beetle is the rarest species I have ever seen and in the insect world it is perhaps the equivalent of a bittern for ornithologists.

'Fantastic news'

"To say that I was surprised and excited to have found it during one of my regular surveys at Wicken Fen is an under-statement."

Beetle expert, Tony Drane, who has been visiting Wicken Fen for more than 30 years, said: "It is fantastic that this rare species has been re-discovered at Wicken Fen.

"It has probably never been away but has survived undetected in low numbers in the Fen alongside Wicken Lode.

"This is one of a number of rare species in decline across the UK which survive at Wicken Fen, which show the importance of this nature reserve."

Wicken Fen was the first nature reserve to be acquired by the National Trust when two acres were purchased in 1901.

Appeal to save fenland
30 Oct 03 |  Cambridgeshire
Fen field flooded to beat parasite
30 Sep 03 |  Cambridgeshire

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