Rare cricket is spotted in compost

Importers urged to check plant stocks for rare species to boost UK populations

Bristol Zoo Gardens, English Nature and the Natural History Museum are urging plant importers and gardeners to look out for one of the UK’s rarest species, following the discovery of the mole cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa) in a compost heap in Oxfordshire. The species is on the verge of extinction in the UK with only four confirmed sightings in 25 years. It is under threat from heavy use of pesticides, intensive farming techniques and loss of habitat. Ecologist Bryan Pinchen said: “It is unfortunate that the majority of recent records for this species can be directly linked to the importation of container-grown trees and shrubs from Europe. I know of at least four specimens that have come in with trees from Europe this year. It raises the question of whether the mole cricket has ever been native.” # The plant pest citrus longhorn beetle has been found in imported Chinese acers in Lancashire and the south of England. The Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate is required to control any findings of the beetle.

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