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The Hunt for Red February

The Northern February red stonefly (Brachyptera putata) is a rare species of stonefly. Its stronghold is in the Scottish Highlands, and it has only been spotted on two rivers outside Scotland; the Usk in Wales, and the Wye near Hereford, where it is now thought to be locally extinct.

Buglife's Craig Macadam, with the support of Sottish Natural Heritage and Caignorms National Park Authority, has produced a report on the species. During recent surveys it was found that winter sun is of great importance to the adult Northern February red, who enjoy 'basking' on fenceposts near the river. This has been identified as a useful technique for monitoring them.

Volunteers have recently used this method to find them on the River Dee at Balmoral and the River Conon near Maybank- which is the first time this species have been recorded on the Conon!

“Discovering a new site for the Northern February red stonefly on the River Conon is fantastic. By getting more people spotting stoneflies we can start to fill in the gaps in our understanding of where the Northern February red stonefly lives, which helps with planning action to help this species to survive.”- Craig Macadam, Conservation Director at Buglife

Anyone who is out and about near a river is encouraged to look out for the adults sunning themselves on fenceposts. They have three distinctive bands across their wings, and February- March is the perfect time of year to spot them. New records are vital to increasing understanding and distribution of this species.

Members of the public can get involved by taking a photo and sending it to scotland@buglife.org.uk or tweeting it to @buglifescotland.More information is available on BugLife's survey flyer available Here

To see the original Scottish Natural Heritage article this is based on please click here. Photo credits: Gus Jones and Stewart Taylor.

Adult Northern February red stoneflies basking on the top and one side of a wooden fence post.

 

New Brown Trout Discovered at Loch Laidon

A new type of brown trout has been discovered at Loch Laidon in Perthshire. Researchers used systematic sampling techniques and DNA analysis to identify four types of brown trout living in the loch that are genetically, ecologically and morphologically distinct from one another.  

The deep water, bottom feeder or 'profundal benthivore' is new to science. Similar quartets have been observed in other species such as the Arctic charr, but never for brown trout. The profundal benthivore is paler than the other trout in the loch, and has much larger eyes and mouth.  

The findings present exciting possibilities about the diversity of freshwater lakes in the Northern hemisphere. 

'Findings such as those for Loch Laidon may well be the tip of a biodiversity iceberg in Scottish and other northern lakes, the true size of this iceberg will only become clear once we study more lakes using methods such as those we employed'. - Professor Verspoor.

The study was conducted through the Rivers and Lochs Institute at UHI Inverness College by Professor Eric Verspoor, Mark Coulson, Ronald Greer and David Knox. The paper was published in the journal Freshwater Biology and can be accessed online here.

Last Training Events of the Season

 

The last few training events of the season are coming up. 

Training is a must if you would like to become an ARMI monitor. The one day workshops include a practical, cover the theory, and go through everything you need to get started. 

For more information please see the 'Diary of Events' page linked Here.

 

Volunteers Help To Monitor Rare Chalk Streams

Experts from the Environment Agency recently delivered a training session via the Riverfly Partnership to ARMI monitors on the Great Eau, a rare chalk stream in Lincolnshire. 

Chalk streams are almost exclusively found in England. They feature aquifers that give rise to clean and clear water. Their unique geology and conditions support a vast array of wildlife. 

The Lincolnshire chalk streams project now has an incredible 42 volunteers surveying at 34 key sites in and around the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. 

The work achieved by volunteers has proved invaluable for reporting non-native species and for monitoring recovery following pollution events in the area. 

It's absolutely fantastic that so many volunteers are willing to dedicate their time to monitoring the chalk streams, and to learn how to survey riverflies- a vital part of the delicate chalk stream ecosystem.

-Will Bartle, monitoring officer, Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project 

For more details, including how to get involved in next seasons training event, please click here. 

New ARMI volunteers needed in Yorkshire

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