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Blue ground beetle

Putting Welsh bugs on the map: a world first!

17/1/2024

Wales has become the first country in the world with a map of its most important areas for insects and other invertebrates – a vital source of information to help guide nature recovery in Wales.


Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust launched the 'Important Invertebrate Areas: Putting Bugs on the Map in Wales' report at the Senedd in December 2023. The network of 17 Important Invertebrate Areas (IIAs) has been identified by the charity working closely with experts and using millions of records collected by naturalists.


Wales is home to iconic and threatened species found nowhere else in Britain, such as the Cliff Mason Bee (Osmia xanthomelana) now only known from two short stretches of Welsh cliff top, and the Critically Endangered Scarce Yellow Sally Stonefly (Isogenus nebecula) which is only found in the River Dee and was once feared extinct.


The IIAs, which are home to nationally or internationally significant invertebrate populations and their habitats, took nearly five years to map. They cover 1,344km2 of Wales. Although this is just 6.5% of the country, they are home to over 10,800 species of invertebrate, including 7 of Britain's endemic species – those found nowhere else in the world.


The IIAs are also home to threatened species, including the stunning Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus), Britain's rarest snail, the Glutinous Snail (Myxas glutinosa), and the Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius) – our largest spider.


Buglife Cymru Manager, Clare Dinham, said, “Wales' Important Invertebrate Areas, from the Llŷn Peninsula to the South Wales Coast, are home to some of our most special species. But many are under threat. We hope that the new IIA map will help people to learn about and celebrate their local wildlife – and also understand what they can do to help nature recover.”


Jamie Robins, Programmes Manager, said, “To secure a better future for our invertebrate populations and help nature to thrive, it is essential to know where our most threatened species live. We've started the job by mapping IIAs for Wales, but this is only the beginning. We need decision makers to recognise the important role that invertebrates play and use our IIAs to prioritise much needed conservation action.”


The full map of IIAs can be explored on the Buglife website, with freely accessible profile documents for each of the 17 IIAs that explain why they are important, the threats they face, and what needs to be done to enable their special inhabitants to thrive.

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