In Dumfries and Galloway, many invertebrate groups are poorly recorded and little is known about the distribution of the majority of species. Nonetheless there are some species which have been studied sufficiently to enable us to understand which are of significance in our region.
Water beetles have been the focus of some study, and several species are identified as being of local significance. The diving beetle Bidessus minutissimus is one such species, last recorded by the Caul on the River Nith in central Dumfries. Dumfries and Galloway is the only region in Scotland to have recorded this species which is also recognised as a priority in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Several other uncommon species are also known to occur in the region.
Of the 26 recognisable ladybird species in the UK, at least 16 have been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway. These include the common 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata, the bright yellow 22-spot Ladybird Psyllobora 22-punctata and the Cream Spot Ladybird Calvia 14-guttata. The invasive Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis has been recorded at several sites.
Bees and wasps are a common sight in gardens, but can also be found in other habitats. This includes over fifteen species of bumblebee, among the most common being the Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris, Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum and the easily recognised Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius. The Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum was first confirmed in the region in 2013 and has since become well established. There are many species of solitary bee, and many resemble small honey bees. Some, such as the Northern Colletes Bee Colletes floralis, are nationally rare whilst others are common in gardens in spring and are important pollinators of garden flowers and crops.
Although molluscs have not been widely studied in the region, Dumfries and Galloway is known to be important for some species. The Narrow-mouthed Whorl Snail Vertigo angustior is a microscopic snail which has its only Scottish site on the Almorness peninsula in Kirkcudbrightshire.
An unexpected find in 2005 was the Tadpole Shrimp Triops cancriformis. The species was thought to be extinct in Scotland and restricted to just one pond in the New Forest. A new colony was then discovered at Caerlaverock WWT reserve, over 50 years since the last sighting in Dumfries and Galloway.
For more information:
The Natural History Museum has produced a wallet-sized bumblebee identification guide for the UK’s six most common species. This is available at
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust also have a very good online identification guide. Go to
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