A Scottish charity’s research unearths some interesting discoveries

Ecological surveys at the Dundreggan Conservation Estate near Loch Ness have revealed a range of rare species, including a midge never recorded in the United Kingdom before.
The discovery of the non-biting midge (Chironomus vallenduuki) by entomologist Peter Chandler last August brings the total of UK biodiversity firsts found at Trees for Life maintained estate in Glenmoriston in Inverness-shire to 11.
Other key findings during Trees for Life’s 2016 survey season included two rare gnats whose larvae feed on fungi. One of these is only known from four other UK sites. The other is only known in the UK from a handful of Scottish sites and had not been seen since 1990.
“Dundreggan is a special part of the Caledonian Forest that keeps on revealing beautiful, interesting and rare species,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, the charity’s founder. “The surprisingly rich wealth of life in this corner of the Highlands highlights the importance of concerted conservation action to protect and restore Scotland’s wild places.”
In total, more than 3,300 species have now been recorded at the forest restoration site. At least 68 of these are priority species for conservation.
Members of the public can volunteer to help plant half a million trees at Dundreggan as part of Trees for Life’s restoration of the Caledonian Forest. See www.treesforlife.org.uk