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Bordered brown lacewing

After more than 30 years of no sightings and fears of extinction, the Bordered brown lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) has been rediscovered on Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh!       

The last record of the Bordered brown lacewing in the UK was from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in 1982. As a result of this, the lacewing is classified as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) priority species and in Scotland is on the Scottish Biodiversity List. Given the conservation status and the poor knowledge of its current distribution there is a pressing need to determine its status in the UK.

Brown bordered lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) Stirling (C)Suzanne Burgess

Brown bordered lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) Stirling (C)Suzanne Burgess

Through an internship project with Buglife, supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), Mike Smith surveyed Holyrood Park in Edinburgh in the summer of 2015 to identify if this very rare lacewing was still present. Although only one specimen of the lacewing was collected in June from Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia), this survey has proven that the Bordered brown lacewing is still extant in the UK. Mike determined that as only one specimen was collected, this either reflects low population levels or a short flight season early in the summer that was missed by the surveying period.  Because of this nothing could be discerned about the ecological requirements of the Bordered brown lacewing through his study. 

Mike Smith PTES intern surveying for the Brown bordered lacewing (c)Suzanne Burgess

Mike Smith PTES intern surveying for Brown bordered lacewing (c)Suzanne Burgess

Additionally, Mike recorded a total of 123 species of invertebrate during the survey through sweep nets, direct observations, moth light traps and the use of a bug vac; a leaf blower put on reverse.  Of this total, 100 species (includes 48 species of moth) are new to Holyrood Park and 12 new to the vice-county area. 

Mike’s final conclusion to his study is that there is an obvious need for further information for not only the Bordered brown lacewing but also other invertebrates at Holyrood Park. It is recommended that surveying work is continued in subsequent years with a focus on Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crag within Holyrood Park for the Bordered brown lacewing.

This internship was funded by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.