Rare sawfly discovered for first time in UK
Press Release 5th November 2010
Contact: Richard Bunting. 07753 488146; firstname.lastname@example.org
As a major conference on biodiversity and climate change is held in Inverness today (Friday 5 November 2010), conservation charity Trees for Life announced that it has discovered a species of sawfly that has never been recorded in the UK before.
Biodiversity surveyor Guy Knight, an entomologist at the National Museums in Liverpool, discovered the sawfly (Nematus pseudodispar) on Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston, which lies to the west of Loch Ness in Inverness-shire.
The specimen was collected on 20 August this year, but a second opinion was sought from an expert in Germany before the sawfly’s identity was confirmed.
The species has never been recorded in the UK before. It is also thought to be extremely rare in Europe, having only been found in Finland and Latvia. The species is considered to be a true northern European birchwood specialist.
“The presence of the sawfly on Dundreggan is remarkable, and we are delighted to have made this discovery during the International Year of Biodiversity. It illustrates the importance of the estate’s birch-juniper woodland, which is amongst the best of its type in Scotland,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life.
The Highlands International Biodiversity and Climate Change conference, part of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity, is being held at the Highland Council Chambers in Inverness today.
It is being hosted by CIFAL Findhorn, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research affiliated training centre for Northern Europe.
The event will discuss the latest information about how climate change is affecting the unique habitats and resources of the Highlands and Islands, and learn about innovative solutions to enhance biodiversity under the pressure of climate change. Experts in land and marine ecology, and people from all walks of Highland life, will be in attendance.
Delegates at the conference will be making a field visit to Dundreggan tomorrow (Saturday 6 November). The Highland estate is a key site in Trees for Life’s award-winning work to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Forest, and is notable for its biodiversity, with over 50 species that are listed as priorities for conservation in the UK having been found there.
The discovery of this sawfly there is the latest in a string of finds at the site. These include a mining bee thought to have been extinct in Scotland since 1949 and the golden horsefly, which had only been since twice in Scotland since 1923 until it was spotted on Dundreggan in 2008.
Trees for Life is planting half a million trees at Dundreggan, as well as developing scientific research and education programmes, and supporting the return of rare woodland wildlife, plants and insects.
Alan Watson Featherstone said: “The importance of on the ground projects such as the work taking place at Dundreggan was again highlighted only a few days ago, when the UN biodiversity meeting in Japan agreed a plan with disappointingly weak targets for slowing biodiversity loss.”
For details about Trees for Life’s work, see www.treesforlife.org.uk or call 0845 458 3505.
Notes to editors
- Trees for Life aims to restore the Caledonian Forest to an area of 1,500 square kilometres in the Scottish Highlands west of Inverness.
- Since planting its first trees in 1991 in Glen Affric, Trees for Life has planted over 885,000 trees. Its awards include 1991 UK Conservation Project of the Year, the Millennium Marque in 2000 and Top 10 Conservation Holidays worldwide in 2009.
- Trees for Life is a partner in the world-wide celebrations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. The diversity of life on earth is crucial for human well-being and now is the time to act to preserve it. For information on events, initiatives and exhibitions across the UK visit
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