The Status and Distribution of the scarab beetles Rhysothorax rufa and Ammoecius brevis on Lancashire dunes in 2017

A 2017 survey utilising both hand-searching and baited pitfall trapping was undertaken along the Sefton Coast to determine the current status of the scarab beetles Rhysothorax rufa and Ammoecius brevis where they had been previously recorded.

Despite intensive efforts, the survey failed to find the Rhysothorax rufa in 2017 at its Lancashire locations. The management of the Formby Point area is considered sympathetic for the conservation of this species as mobile dunes are present. Much of the dune system along the Sefton Coast has become stabilised and this is thought to be less favourable for this species. Management practices that favour dune mobility are suggested so that a dynamic dune system with mobile fore dunes, regenerating slacks and blow outs is fostered.

A total of seven Ammoecius brevis were found by sieving rabbit middens at a new locality for the species and the first Lancashire records for more than 20 years. This species was not recorded at previously known sites during the 2017 survey. A lack of livestock grazing during the breeding season is thought to be detrimental. Recommendations include the implementation of all season, low intensity grazing so that dung is available on the dune systems throughout the year.

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