Protected Species | Butterflies, Moths & Other Insects

Peak Ecology regularly carries out surveys of terrestrial invertebrates. Often, these take the form of a preliminary survey of the likely level of invertebrate interest on a site.

Usually these include a site walkover with a specialist appraisal of habitat potential. At the same time, day-active insects are netted and recorded. Specimens are retained for identification using a stereo binocular microscope later, but only where necessary.

This type of survey covers such groups as butterflies and day-flying moths (Lepidoptera), dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae), hoverflies and solderflies (Diptera: Syrphidae and Stratiomyidae), and ground beetles and ladybirds (Coleoptera: Carabidae and Coccinellidae). Ordinarily, this is sufficient to give an index of invertebrate activity and interest on a site and much of the time, is sufficient for planning purposes. That said, on occasion a site of more significant potential interest is identified, requiring more in-depth survey and assessment.

Cambridgeshire July 2004commaeyed hawk-moth

As examples, Peak Ecology recently carried out a preliminary survey of invertebrate interest on a disused railway sidings site in Sheffield. Following a two-visit survey, the site appeared to support a range of common and widespread species and whilst such sites are always of value, it was not of significant nature conservation interest.

In contrast, we carried out a similar survey on a brownfield site (post-industrial site) on the Isle of Grain in north Kent, and this turned out to be a site of very significant interest, supporting the National Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) Priority Habitat Open Mosaic Habitats on Previously Developed Land and a number of Nationally Rare (Red Data Book), Nationally Scarce and Notable species. In this case, we were able to negotiate a way forward with Natural England and Buglife although the client decided not to pursue the development further.

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