The Narrow-headed ant (Formica exsecta) is facing extinction in England. Always rare, but once found across heathlands from Dorset to Cornwall and in the New Forest, it now survives at one site only in South Devon.
Without targeted action, and whilst dependent on a single site, this ant is at high risk of being lost altogether. Meanwhile, much about the species is poorly understood, including which factors are most important for generating new ant queens and aiding their dispersal to new areas.
Back From The Brink will secure a safer future for the Narrow-headed ant by enhancing the current population, and establishing the species at two other sites in South Devon. We will support practical management of habitats, survey and monitor the population at its remaining site, and trial techniques to boost production of new queens and colonisation of new areas. Former known sites in the surrounding area, as well as the environmental conditions of current nest sites, will be investigated, alongside different facets of Narrow-headed ant life history and behaviour. This will enable us to establish colonies both at new sites, and locations where the species has been found in the past.
Local communities, groups and individuals will be able to get involved in all sorts of ways, from meeting and finding out more about this rare and special species living so close by, joining in events, surveys and research, and helping habitat creation, to taking part in themed creative, arts and educational projects and activities.