The Pride of Kent

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 31 March 2013 16:41

Ten years ago I started working in the ecology department at the RSPB where I worked alongside some great naturalists and made many life-long friends. Matt Self, Malcolm Ausden, James Cadbury, Mark Gurney and of course, Mark Telfer. On the 6th August 2003, I went out into the field with Mark Telfer to Elmley Marshes on the Isle of Sheppey, north Kent to look for a very rare RDB1 beetle, the Pride of Kent Emus hirtus. I knew VERY little about beetles back then so the enormity of seeing one of these beasts almost as soon as we got out of the car was mostly lost on me. We then spent more than four hours searching cow pats for another individual on the hottest day of the year so far but to no avail. I even followed the back end of a herd of cows so we could search the freshest pats but we must have just been in the right place at the right time. 

There are some old records in the SxBRC database for this species but it's been a very long time indeed since someone has reported one in Sussex. So if you see something that looks like a cross between a devil's coach horse and a bumblebee hanging a round a cow pat, you may just have seen the Pride of Kent in Sussex. Many thanks to John Walters who took this photo of the very same specimen back in the day before it was released back into the wild...

P.S., don't confuse the Pride of Kent with the Maid of Kent. The Maid of Kent is a little larger, is always found near water and lacks the golden pubescence...

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