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Rare insects discovered on Barossa
As part of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s ongoing management of Barossa (a large area of heathland near Camberley, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence), an invertebrate study was carried out during the summer by the Trust’s invertebrate ecologist, Scotty Dodd. The study was the first ever known detailed invertebrate survey of the area; the results were awaited with great anticipation and rightly so!
In total, 25 hours were spent collecting data on site and 239 invertebrate species were recorded. That’s nearly 10 species every hour! Moth trapping records were added to this data which brought the total number of species to 370, of which, 106 species are considered to be of conservation importance.
One of the rarest finds was the blue pepper-pot beetle, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species. This beetle recently gained national fame by being given this common name by the British public in a competition run by The Guardian, Natural England and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Previously, it was only known by its Latin name, Cryptocephalus punctiger.
Excitingly, two species of leafhopper, that are new to Surrey and nationally scarce, were also discovered.
The study highlighted the fact that light grazing would be beneficial for the invertebrates discovered. This was of particular note in the wet areas where cattle would help suppress dominant grasses, allowing more specialist bog plants and mosses to develop. It is these rarer plants that support most of the rare invertebrates, so improving the habitat for the plants by grazing the area will benefit the invertebrates there too.
James Herd, SWT ranger for Barossa, said: “Surveys like this help highlight the importance of not over-looking the smaller, perhaps more difficult to find creatures and, in this case, revealed species we didn’t know existed in the county. This knowledge helps to influence the Trust’s land management, to ensure it is successful for all the wildlife on-site.”
|Date published:||Thursday 26 July 2012|