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Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 09:56 UK
Beach wildlife study finds rare beetle
Rove beetle Aleochara obscurella
A population of the rove beetle was found at Kimmeridge

A rare beetle unseen in Dorset before has been found after a survey of wildlife on the county's beaches.

Dorset Wildlife Trust examined eight beaches and found a population of the rove beetle - Aleochara obscurella - at Kimmeridge and Broad Bench.

The survey also found a special beach plant, sea stock, for the first time in 100 years in Dorset, at Shell Bay.

Julie Hatcher, from Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: "These finds are very exciting."

'Strandline'

Sea stock at Shell Bay, Studland
The sea stock plant had not been seen in Dorset for 100 years

New species were recorded at each of the eight beaches examined.

Ms Hatcher said this shows the importance of the "strandline" to the beach - the line formed of rotting seaweed and washed-up debris which is found at the highest position of the tide.

She said: "Beaches where the strandline is not removed, such as Studland, Kimmeridge and Ringstead, are the ones with the richest and rarest plants and animals.

"A rotting heap of seaweed on the beach is a wildlife haven, home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the county."

The strandline provides food for insects and other wildlife while also supplying nutrients for plans which help to stabilise the sand and shingle on the beach.

The sea stock plant, also found during the survey, is under threat by the erosion of sand dunes and disturbance by beach visitors.

The nearest known sites are at north Devon and the Channel Islands, which they think is where the original wave-blown seas came from for the plant on Studland.

The beaches surveyed were Shell Bay, Swanage (North), Chapmans Pool, Kimmeridge, Worbarrow, Mupe Bay, Osmington Mills and Ringstead.




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