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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.