The stunning Blue ground beetle (Carabus intricatus) is a large, distinctive beetle with metallic blue markings, long legs and sculpted wing-cases. It has long been considered a rarity in Britain, and was once even thought to be extinct until it was resdiscovered in Dartmoor in 1994.
Until recently, the Blue Ground beetle was confined to just a handful of site in Devon and Cornwall. In 2012, however, the beetle was discovered in a woodpile of a garage in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, by a member of the public. Subsequent surveys found it to be present in nearby Coed Maesmelin, an ancient woodland managed by the Woodland Trust. Until this discovery, it had never been recorded in Wales.
A sighting of the beetle at its known second site in Wales came to light when another Skewen resident found a dead specimen in his garden.
This discovery coincides with the launch of a project aimed to protect it – the Blue Ground Beetle Project, led by Buglife Cymru.
Clare Dinham from Buglife Cymru says, “The discovery of the Blue ground beetle at just its second known site in Wales is very exciting and raises hopes of finding further populations of this rare beetle in Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas. The project also offers many opportunities for members of the public to get involved such as attending walks and talks, volunteer conservation task days and learning how to identify and survey for the Blue ground beetle.”