Micro-caddisfly rediscovered in Assynt

March 19th 2010

Micro-caddisfly rediscovered in Assynt

A caddisfly last seen in Britain in 1881 has turned up in Scotland.  The tiny insect was discovered by David Pryce, one of the co-ordinators of the Riverfly Recording Schemes.  It was found beside a river in Assynt, in north west Scotland while David was undertaking field work for his PhD at the University of Stirling.

The Pincer-tailed caddisfly (Hydroptila tigurina) is a micro-caddisfly, measuring around 3mm, which lives in fast flowing, stony rivers.  The only other record of this species is from Ambleside, Cumbria in 1881. It was thought that after nearly 130 years with no records this species may be extinct in the UK.

This new record, over 350 miles north of the previous one, raises the possibility that this species may turn up in other areas.

Buglife’s Conservation Officer for Scotland, Craig Macadam said of this find. “Many riverflies have suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in recent years.  To find a species over a century after it was last recorded is fantastic news. Hydroptila tigurina is only found in a handful of countries in Europe.  This new record represents the first record of this species in Scotland.”

A. Summers (3rd March 2010)

 

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