Guernsey residents asked to look for rare mole crickets

Mole cricket
Image caption The most recent sighting of the insect was in a garden in the parish of St Sampson

Guernsey residents have been asked to contribute to research into a rare insect found in low-lying areas.

Charles David of the Biological Records Centre asked islanders to report any sightings of mole crickets, which he said were not found in the UK.

His appeal followed a sighting in St Sampson by BBC Guernsey listener Chantelle Thompson on Saturday night.

Mr David said: "I'm very pleased to hear that somebody's found one. It's not very common."

He said the mole cricket was usually seen only in the sandy areas of Guernsey's west and north coasts, such as Portinfer and the Braye du Valle.

The total number of sightings in the 21 years since 1990 has been fewer than 60. Most of these were during the 1990s, when a previous public appeal for information was made.

"They live underground but they mustn't get drowned, so they've got to have soil that drains well," Mr David said.

The records centre wants to hear from anyone who finds the insect on their property.

Mr David said researchers from overseas regularly travel to Guernsey to see mole crickets and would appreciate seeing even the signs of their dwelling on the island.

These include the trumpet-shaped chambers dug by the males to amplify their mating calls.

He said attempts had been made to reintroduce the insect into the UK, adding: "There's still a population in London Zoo of Guernsey-origin crickets."

Mrs Thompson said the sight of the insect had taken her and her husband by surprise.

"It looked like it hailed from another planet," she said.

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