Basil Read workers assembling new plant in upper Ruperts Valley, have discovered the remains of three very large dark brown beetles among materials packed on an open trailer. The beetles are more than twice as long as a 1 penny piece, broad and distinctly flattened with long wings.
The beetles were promptly reported to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD) and passed onto David Pryce at the St Helena National Trust – who identified them as Giant Flattened Dung Beetles, Pachylomera femoralis. This is a first recording for St Helena.
Active by day, adult giant flattened dung beetles burrow beside fresh dung of various mammals for feeding, as well as rolling away balls of dung to brood their young. They are attracted to a wide range of dung types, carrion and fermenting fruit. Their native distribution is wide, from South Africa up to the Congo.
Basil Read has mapped the trailer on which they arrived from it’s origin in Port Elizabeth up through South Africa and into Walvis Bay in Namibia. These beetles are believed to be attracted to lights and they probably fell into the open trailer while it was parked under security lights at some point.
Ravi Michael, Logistics Manager for Basil Read on St Helena said:
“When rare incidents like this occur, it is crucial that the chain of events is investigated as swiftly as possible – in order to pinpoint the loophole and identify specific corrective and preventative actions that will avoid re-occurrence. The matter was dealt with at an impressive speed, and in a matter of hours the BR team on- and off – Island were working together to resolve the matter.”
If anyone sees any other dung beetles – please call Rosie Peters or Jill Key at ANRD on 24724.
28 March 2014