Mystery box

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Thursday 12 June 2008 4.03am
Please read entire message. I appreciate my post is a bit weird but it means a lot to me.

I was a war baby, bought up in Sth London in a slum area, all brick tenaments, bomb sites and overcrowded terraced houses, many not even having a yard let alone anything resembling a garden. Nevertheless, I was an avid nature lover and took a keen interest in anything live.

For years trawled through books, watched hundreds of doco's and looked on the internet trying to identify a particular beetle and today I'm giving it one more try via this forum will someone please indulge an old woman with a mission.

The creature I'm trying identify I first saw slowly ambling along beside a wall in Peabody Buildings, London, SE1. It was a striking creature, very large, at least 2 inches height and length, black, and to some, probably looking quite diabolical.

I was probably about 5 years old at the time and managed to
persuade my busy mother to come look at it. She said it was a Devils Stage Coach Beetle and she hadn't
seen one for years. I always kept an eye out for one again but this didn't happened until I was at senior school. I saw a group of children around one and didn't get home until late as I was so worried that they might destroy it if I left before they did.

The next encounter was in the High Street at Catford when I was in my early twenties. It was laboriously
making its way along the wall side of the pavement. I picked it up and put it into a front garden of
a derelict house. Each time I've seen the beetle it has been high summer and each has been the same size.

I quite understand how it got the name my mother knew it by, it really did resemble an old fashioned box stage coach. For such a large beetle, I'm amazed that despite my asking dozens of people in the UK if they had seen one, no one has. They all think I'm referring to The Devils Coachhorse Beetle which I have looked up on the web and it is nothing like it nor any of the hundreds of others I've viewed from around the world.

Now I'm only interested in responses which are reports of sightings of the creature. Please ask elderly relatives, especially in London if they ever saw this odd creature during their lives.

Thursday 12 June 2008 7.32am
Your sure this isn't the common Stag Beetle? I had one of these sitting on my shoulder once unbeknown to me until I turned my head. Beautiful creature but not up that close, scared the life out of me, they're big!
Thursday 12 June 2008 1.05pm
and now very rare I have been told, the first time i saw one i thought it was a plastic toy, i put it safely in shrubbery.
Thursday 12 June 2008 8.30pm
If it is a stag beetle you're referring to, then I remmeber them when I used to live in Herne Hill (SE24) when I was a child some 20 years ago. They used to come out of Brockwell Park on warm Summer nights and saunter along my road. I haven't seen one in this country since then but I saw one in France a few years back. Shame they're an endangered species.

Friday 13 June 2008 3.58am
Thank you so much for the responses.

No, it isnt the friendly stag beetle! I agree, its a shame that our beetles are disappearing before our eyes.

I think Jan has sighted it and am waiting with baited breath for her next post.

Thank goodness for the Se1 forum.

Please spread the word about the large box beetle. If it has managed to survive it would undoubtably be Britains most extraodinary beetle and possibly the largest in the British Isles.

Thank you all,

Friday 13 June 2008 6.48am
Hmm.... I'm intrigued now.
Friday 13 June 2008 7.13am
Watch this space Tolstoy and London Aye. Its all in Jans hands now .. no pressure Jan!

Friday 13 June 2008 7.36am
I've posted your query on an entomologist's forum, reckon they should know.
Friday 13 June 2008 8.38am
The beetle I remember was not the same as the LondonAye one, so I went onto british nature..

the one i remember is the stag beetle lesser, or do i mean the lesser stag beetle, what ever it is called Lori thats the one I remember! :-)
Friday 13 June 2008 11.57am
Jan it isn't my beetle.

I thank you sincerely for so prompt a reply. I will persevere with tracking my beetle down. I'm waiting for my mother to return from a trip as she recognised the beetle years ago and is my only witness so far to its existance. She's a very active and alert ninety year old so I'm hoping she remembers it.

Would you ask your family and friends if they have ever sighted such a creature as my box beetle?

Thank you again for your kind attention. I really do appreciate you taking the trouble.

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