Rare beetle found at Ffrwd Farm Mire – July 2011

A workparty clearing reeds from the ditches at Ffrwd Farm Mire nature reserve near Pembrey, in Carmarthenshire, turned up an unexpected rarity this month, in the form of a Musk Beetle Aromia moschata.

WTSWW volunteer Richard Pond found the spectacular beetle amongst the reeds and willows as the group worked along the central ditch in the heart of the reedbed.

Musk Beetle at Frwd Farm Mire Photo by L Wilberforce

Musk Beetle at Frwd Farm Mire Photo by L Wilberforce

The enormous beetle, with a body around 3cm long, was photographed and later identified as a Musk Beetle. We think it may be a first record for the county- it is certainly known from very few sites in south Wales- one other being Crymlyn Bog, near Swansea.

The Musk Beetle is mainly associated with wetlands and wet woodlands, particularly fens and willow carr, both of which are present at Ffrwd. Host trees include a number of willow species such as Common Sallow Salix cinerea which is present at this site, and it also depends on nectar sources (such as umbellifers), which Ffrwd also provides in abundance.  Although it was once widespread, the species seems to have declined significantly and is now nationally scarce.

It is a spectacular member of the longhorn beetles, with enormous antennae and metallic green elytra, and easy to identify, with a good view.