I love seeing a beetle in the field and not having a clue what it is, other than the certainty that it is something I’ve never seen before! Graeme Lyons found this amazing weevil at Parham Park, West Sussex on Friday …
After a suitable amount of colourful language, I suggested Graeme googled for an image of Syagrius intrudens – and it’s a match, subsequently confirmed under the microscope. With another few minutes’ work with the sweep-net targeting bracken, we had recorded four individuals. But we were left wondering how it could be that Syagrius intrudens has no conservation status when none of the 18 assembled pan-species listers had ever seen it before?!
Syagrius intrudens is definitely a rare species, previously known from six sites: Co. Dublin (Dublin Botanical Gardens), West Cornwall (Tregithy Woods area), East Sussex (Leonard’s Lee), East Kent (Hothfield Common), Glamorgan (Bridgend) and Guernsey (Fermain Bay). As a flightless species, it must be getting around with the help of gardeners moving fern plants around.
Syagrius is an Australian genus with 8 species known from the coastal plain between Sydney and Brisbane. As a non-native species in Britain it is ruled out from inclusion in the Red Data list but Syagrius intrudens has never been recorded away from Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands, and Parham Park becomes the seventh known site for the species in the world! As Theodoor Heijermann and Mike Morris have already written, we should surely be giving this fabulous weevil some conservation status in Britain. It may never be discovered in its native range, and could even be extinct in Australia?