Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Rare beetle found in timber yard

Longhorn beetle found in Anglesey timber yard
The longhorn beetle is though to have arrived in Wales via imported wood

A black beetle rarely seen in Wales and which squeaks when held has been found on a timber yard on Anglesey.

The longhorn beetle has powerful jaws, and comes from Italy and the former Yugoslavia.

This one has a body 1in (2.5cm) long and 1.5in (3.8cm) antennae, and its larvae, which probably arrived in Wales in imported timber, feed in dead wood.

The finder contacted scientists at National Museum Cardiff and sent photos and then the specimen for analysis.

Brian Levey, curator of coleoptera [an order of insects comprising beetles and weevils] at National Museum Wales, said: "This is probably the first time [the longhorn beetle] morimus asper has been found in Wales and as it originates from a much warmer climate, it is unlikely to become established in the UK."

Becoming adult

Longhorn beetles belong to a very large family of beetles containing more than 20,000 species worldwide.

They mostly have larvae that feed in woody plants, although some live in the stems of non-woody plants.

Some attack living trees and can cause considerable economic damage, while others live only in already dead wood and are part of the great recycling system which helps in the breakdown of dead wood.

The larger species usually live for several years as a larva before pupating and becoming adult.

In general the adult only lives for a few weeks or months, although some, like morimus asper, can survive for more than a year as an adult.

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