Luckily for us it wasn’t one of our English longhorn cows that was found sitting on my boss’s desk, but this stunning red Welsh oak longhorn beetle Pyrrhidium sanguineum.
This species was first found at Knepp in 2013 during one of our recording weekends, in a log pile at the bothy. This was only the second time it had been recorded in Sussex (the first time was in 2012). Since its first discovery at Knepp it has been recorded on four more occasions here.
This beetle is expanding its range from the Welsh borders, with most records in the southern half of the UK. The larvae feed under the bark of dead branches, stumps and logs of deciduous trees, mostly oak, and is often found in log piles. There’s a small pile of logs from one of the estate’s woodland in the office and as it’s an unusual date for this beetle to have emerged (usually it is recorded from April to June) I imagine it’s been fooled in to thinking it’s a different time of year.
In the UK it is a rare species: it is an RDB2 species, which means its status is ‘vulnerable’.
by Penny Green, Knepp Ecologist