A rare “skin-eating” beetle has been spotted in the UK, with scientists saying its appearance is a “mystery”.

The dermestes undulatus beetle was discovered on Flat Holm Island, off the coast of Cardiff.

It is the first time the beetle has been spotted in Wales, and scientists believe it could be the last area the beetle is found after it has not been seen in England since 2020.

A team of researchers from the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre was carrying out an ecology check on the island when they found the species.

Flat Holm Community Engagement Officer, Sarah Morgan, said: "It's not for the squeamish, but these tiny beetles feed on the skin, fur and bones of dead animals -Dermestes literally means skin eater.

“It's a preference that makes them a bit of a pain in museum collections, but incredibly useful in forensic science to help determine how long a body has been in situ.

"Exactly how the beetle made it out to the island is a bit of a mystery, given that they appear to be completely absent from the mainland now, but it's possible they were brought by gulls carrying scavenged remains.

"Without the team at South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre we might never have known about the beetles, so a big thank you has to go to them.

Other notable finds during the bioblitz of the island included a rare Scarlet Berry Truffle, microscopic cup fungi, tiny moths that live inside bracken stems, and an amazingly well-camouflaged Burnished Brass Moth.

Cardiff Council cabinet member for culture, parks and events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: "We already knew that Flat Holm island was a haven for nature - it was the first island in Wales to achieve bee-friendly status, it's home to a colony of protected lesser black-backed gulls, as well as slow worms, wild leeks and much more - but with recent research showing that one in six species is at risk of extinction, this new find makes it even more important that we continue our work to protect and conserve the island's unique habitat."