Oxford

Girl's false darkling beetle added to Oxford museum

Sarah Thomas from Abbey Woods Academy
Image caption Sarah Thomas's find is now in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

A rare beetle discovered by a 10-year-old girl has become the first of its kind to be added to a museum's collection in 70 years.

Sarah Thomas found the false darkling beetle in the grounds of her school, Abbey Woods Academy, in Berinsfield.

It is the first beetle of its kind to be added to the British insect collections at Oxford's Museum of Natural History since the 1950s.

Sarah was taking part in the museum's Project Insect initiative.

Image copyright Museum of Natural History
Image caption Anisoxya fuscula is classified as "nationally scarce" in the UK

Darren Mann, a professional entomologist and head of the museum's Life Collections and who was visiting the school with the project, identified the beetle.

"It's anisoxya fuscula, which is rated as nationally scarce," he said.

"We seldom see these outside old forest habitats and this is the first beetle of its kind to be added to the collections for around 70 years."

"I went to a hedge and I saw a tiny black beetle behind a leaf," Sarah said. "I was amazed that Darren didn't really know what it was.

"I didn't really like insects, but now I really do."

Image caption The 5mm specimen is next to a label bearing Sarah's name

The 5mm specimen is now pinned and in the museum's collections, complete with a label bearing Sarah's name.

The Heritage Lottery Fund-supported Project Insect uses the museum's British insect collection to spark interest in state primary school pupils in Oxfordshire.

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