A rare stag beetle has been found at Highdown Gardens in Worthing.
The team got quite the surprise when they found it in the undergrowth, a spokesman for Adur & Worthing Councils said.
It was spotted by gardener Shaun as he went on his rounds at the Worthing Borough Council attraction atop the South Downs, said the spokesman.
Although once common in southern England, the numbers of insects have declined in recent years and it is now on the endangered list.
The spokesman added: “The exotic creature will have spent about six or seven years underground, growing from a larva by feeding on rotten wood.
“Now hatched, it will spend the next few weeks looking for a partner before his short life cycle ends at the end of the summer.”
According to experts, stag beetles are a group of about 1,200 species of beetles in the family Lucanidae, presently classified in four subfamilies. Some species grow to more than 12cm, but most are about 5cm.