By Alice Parfitt
On a recent visit to Flatropers Wood I did a bit of sweeping along one of the rides and picked up an attractive beetle that I didn’t recognise. I took a few photos before letting it go and later that evening provisionally identified it as the very rare (RDB2) Cryptocephalus sexpunctatus or six-spotted pot-beetle. This identification was later confirmed by Peter Hodge, the county recorder for beetles, who also provided a bit of information about the beetle. They are called pot beetles due to the characteristic behaviour of the larvae once they have hatched. The female lays her egg and covers it with her own faeces. The larva then progressively enlarges the case with their own droppings, forming the larval ‘pot’ which they then carry around with them. The last confirmed record for this beetle in Sussex appears to be from the Hollington area in the 1920’s, and there are historical records from the Horsham area too. In fact, Peter Hodge told me that the only place in Britain where you stand any chance of seeing the beetle alive at the present time is at one site in Hampshire.
What will be the next exciting species to turn up at Flatropers Wood?