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Coul Links Seed Fly Added to Global at Risk Register


An insect found only in the north of Scotland, and under threat from a new golf course development, has been been put on the global Endangered list. The assessment means that Fonseca’s seed fly now joins tigers and Blue whales on the list of species at risk of global extinction.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published a global assessment for Fonseca’s seed fly (Botanophila fonsecai) which found the species to be  globally Endangered.

The classification is the second most severe category in the internationally adopted system and is used for species that are likely to become extinct if current threats to their survival are not removed or avoided.

Fonseca’s seed fly is found on a short stretch of coast in northern Scotland and nowhere else in the world. It lives on the fragile dune systems that line the coast between Dornoch and Loch Fleet where it is thought to depend on plants such as ragwort and sow-thistles.

The IUCN assessment lists recreational pressures, development and climate change as the principal threats to the survival of the species. Nearly a third of its global range is currently threatened by proposals for a golf course at Coul Links north of Dornoch.

Craig Macadam, Conservation Director of Buglife said “This assessment places Fonseca’s seed fly in the same conservation category as the Asian elephant, Tigers and the Blue whale. We must do everything we can to ensure that the threats to this unique Scottish species are avoided and the species is allowed to thrive. We can start by throwing out damaging plans for a golf course at Coul Links that will see this species lost from a third of its global range.”

  • avatar


    Friday 30th November 2018

    The IUCN use robust criteria, together with independent scrutiny, to determine the threat status of species throughout the world. In the case of Fonseca’s seed fly it qualifies as Endangered due to its limited geographical range and ongoing threats from climate change, development, and recreational activities. The full detail of the assessment is available at
  • avatar

    Ian Madeley

    Monday 26th November 2018

    Can I ask how you have come to the conclusion that this fly is endangered?Have you actually done your own survey as surely you would need to understand the current position as your start point?

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