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'Extinct' insect rediscovered in Edinburgh

The Bordered brown lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) has been rediscovered on Arthurs Seat, Edinburgh after having not been seen for over 30 years, and feared to be extinct in the UK.

The last record was from Edinburgh in 1982. The new specimen was found by Mike Smith, an intern with Buglife as part of a project supported by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES).

Mike Smith, Buglife intern said “Finding the lacewing has been a really exciting start to my project and now we know that it’s not extinct, we can start learning more about it. We think it might live on Wood sage but we’re not sure and so we need to investigate further to make sure that this rare Scottish insect has everything it needs to survive.”

Colin Plant, the national recorder for lacewings, who confirmed the identification, said “The rediscovery of the Bordered brown lacewing in Edinburgh is really good news for biodiversity. The discovery gives hope that other rare invertebrates might still be hanging on in areas where their micro-habitats still remain. The ongoing campaign by Buglife to preserve habitats remains key to the long term survival of a huge range of invertebrates.”

Further work will now be done to work out how healthy the population at Arthurs Seat is, as well as searching other old sites where the lacewing had been found previously.

Nida Al-Fulaij, Grants Manager at PTES, which has been supporting the internship, said “It’s really important to support and nurture the next generation of conservation scientists and biologists here in the UK. Mike Smith, who discovered the specimen as part of his intern project, has shown what can be achieved by an enthusiastic and dedicated young researcher when given the backing and guidance they need.”

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