Rare beetle unearthed in Muswell Hill

ONE of the rarest beetles in the country has been found living in Muswell Hill – its first appearance north of the Thames.

The Lesser Glow-worm was discovered over three different sites in Coldfall Wood by local ecologist Edward Milner.

Mr Milner was working as part of a year-long lottery-funded survey of the ancient woodland, carried out by Haringey Council as part of their Capital Woodland project.

He discovered five adults and two larvae of the beetle as well as numerous species of spider that had been previously undiscovered.

He told the Ham&High: “It is a very mysterious beetle that is not easy to find due to its subterranean nature and hasn’t been found in such large numbers for quite some time. Not much is known about it, it may be an original British breed but we don’t know for sure.

“It is the first time in over 60 years that the ancient Coldfall Wood has been regularly cut so we’re unsure whether the beetles have been here all this time or are just a recent invasion.”

Due to larger areas than usual being cut back, the increased light on the soil during growing season has also allowed over 100 types of plant not previously discovered in the park to grow up and this has helped rejuvenate the wood further.

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The nature expert added: “After 60 years of not being regularly cut, the canopy closes in and plants and creatures get hidden away.

“It is only now that things have begun to reveal themselves and the wood is beginning to bear fruit. It is a very sad state of affairs that the council has not had the funding over the last 60 to 70 years to spend on maintaining the park and it is only over the last year that the wood has been tapped into again.”

Along with the other creatures, two species of pseudoscorpions have also been found in the leaf-litter of the wood and are also re-thriving due to the rejuvenation of the ancient woodlands.

Although not as rare as the Lesser Glow-worm the pseudoscorpions are still an unusual find and despite being in existence for as long as spiders, they are not something that you are likely to come across.

Readers can relax though as despite being from the scorpion family, the tiny creatures do not possess a tail with a sting and are completely harmless.