Golf course could push one of Scotland’s rarest species close to extinction

Wednesday 13th July 2016

Plans for a 236 hectare golf course near the Dornoch Firth in the Scottish Highlands could put one of Scotland’s rarest species at threat of extinction. Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is asking people to sign their petition calling for Highland Council to do everything within its power to protect Fonseca’s seed fly and its home from development .

Fonseca’s seed fly is restricted globally to a short stretch of coast in northern Scotland it is known from adjacent sites to the development site. The habitat within the proposed golf course is similar  so the inference is that the fly should be there too.  Its population is perilously small and is thought to be closely associated with Ragwort, Sow-thistle and the sand dune systems found in this area. Stabilisation of the dunes and creation of fairways and greens for the proposed golf course will destroy the habitat for the species and further fragment the already fragile population.

Craig Macadam, Conservation Director at Buglife said ‘Fonseca’s seed fly is an endemic species extremely vulnerable to extinction.  Recent survey work by Scottish Natural Heritage found that populations have dropped significantly since the 70s and 80s; further loss of habitat to development will make it even harder for this rare species to survive. Unfortunately SNH were unable to survey the proposed golf course, however the fly is expected to be present there as there is suitable habitat. It is vital that surveys for this species are undertaken to ensure that any development doesn’t impact upon this species or its habitat.’   

Macadam concluded ‘Scotland has an international responsibility for this species. Its habitat should be protected and enhanced, not put under threat from yet another golf course development.’

An online petition has been created by Buglife asking for help from the public to stop this destruction.

Fonseca’s seed fly is named after the British dipterist Evelyn Cecil Muschamp d’Assis-Fonseca (1899 – 1993). His extensive Diptera collection is now in the Hope Entomological Collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Fonesca’s seed fly is one of the UK’s rarest endemic invertebrates and has very limited distribution