While carrying out habitat work on Crossness Nature Reserve recently, Karen Sutton, and volunteer Reg, stumbled across a specimen of the huge and incredibly impressive Great Silver Water Beetle (Hydrophilus piceus). This member of the Hydrophilidae family, was found wandering along a terrestrial footpath, near adjacent water at the southern end of the Protected Area.
While this huge beetle, measuring 35-65mm in length, is the second largest in the UK – with the terrestrial Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus) taking first place – it is Britain’s largest aquatic beetle. It is also very rare and threatened. Yet another reason why local decision-makers need to wake up and respond appropriately to the huge importance of this tiny fragment of what was once extensive marshland, protecting it from any more ‘development’, and looking for ways to enlarge it again where adjacent industrial land becomes vacant.
The Great Silver Water Beetle gets its name from the fact that bubbles of air that are trapped on its underside whilst swimming, look somewhat silvery. This gives the impression that the beetle is silver in colour despite the fact that it is a shiny black beetle with a greenish sheen.
The full article, with photographs, can be downloaded here: