The real monsters of Loch Ness: new species of bugs discovered

Eight UK biodiversity firsts discovered in ‘lost world’

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The Independent Online

Surveys of a “lost world” near Loch Ness have revealed an array of tiny monsters never before recorded in the UK.

Biological surveys at conservation charity Trees for Life's Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston found eight new species, bringing the total number of species recorded at the site where forest restoration is taking place to more than 2,800.

The new species discovered at the 10,000 acre estate in Inverness-shire are a sawfly, an aphid, two types of aphid parasites, three fungus gnats and a type of mite.

Surveys in 2012 also discovered a rare Lapland marsh-orchid, which had never been found in that area of Scotland before.

It brings the total of species recorded at Dundreggan to 2,815, including 269 plants, 341 lichens, 92 birds, 20 mammals, 354 beetles, 207 moths and 125 sawflies.

Species found at the estate include black grouse, pine martens and water voles and juniper stands, while research is on-going to establish whether the Scottish wildcat is present.

Trees for Life's executive director Alan Watson Featherstone said: “The surprisingly rich variety of life at Dundreggan highlights the vital importance of conservation work, and of protecting and enhancing habitats across the Highlands.

“The discoveries are not only demonstrating that the estate is a special site for biological diversity - they are also revealing that there is still much to learn about Scotland's biodiversity.”

Some 67 species which are considered to be a priority for conservation work have been identified on Dundreggan, which the charity said had been described as a “lost world” of wildlife.

Dundreggan was bought by Trees for Life in 2008, and with the help of volunteers, the charity is planting half a million trees on the estate as part of efforts to restore the Caledonian Forest to an area of 1,000 square miles in the Highlands.