CEFF Project: Jewels of Lough Erne

This project by Buglife aims to lay the foundations for the conservation of Reed Beetles. Reed beetles are referred to “jewels amongst the reeds” due to their bright metallic colours. Upper Lough Erne, in particular, is a habitat stronghold for a number of rare and threatened species of reed beetle.

Project Partner:

CEFF Project: Jewels of Lough Erne

Project Partner:

This project by Buglife aims to lay the foundations for the conservation of Reed Beetles. Reed beetles have been referred to as “jewels amongst the reeds” due to their bright metallic colours. These species of beetles are associated with waterside habitats, being found on reeds and other emergent marginal vegetation.

Northern Ireland is a stronghold for several rare and threatened species of reed beetle in particular the Zircon reed beetle and Two-tone reed beetle, with Upper Lough Erne being a vital site for these species. Both of these beetles are UK and Northern Ireland Priority Species for conservation action. The Northern Ireland population of Two-tone reed beetle is seen as the stronghold of both the Irish and UK populations.

This project will lay the foundations for the conservation of these species.  Buglife will work in partnership with a number of other organisations to conduct a pilot study of Lough Erne’s reed beetles, undertaking essential survey work to gather population and distribution data and develop a local species recovery plan for the Zircon and Two-tone reed beetles. We will engage landowners, land managers, and local communities through social media, outreach events and training/workshops to raise the profile of these species with the public and the need for conservation action.

Jewels of Lough Erne | Buglife projects

For more information contact Anna Hart (Buglife) at anna.hart@buglife.org.uk or Heather Gott (Lough Erne Landscape Partnership) call: 07738 116385 email: heather.gott@rspb.org.uk at heather.gott@rspb.org.uk

Project Updates

Jewels of Lough Erne Press Release – September 2021

The Hidden Jewels of Lough Erne

Reed beetles are beautiful, brightly metallic species associated with waterside habitats. Northern Ireland is a stronghold for several rare and threatened species of reed beetle including the Zircon (Donacia aquatica) and Two-toned (Donacia bicolora) reed beetles, with Upper Lough Erne being a vital area for both of these species. Reed beetles are often sensitive to changes in water and habitat quality and are therefore good indicator species. Unfortunately this also makes them particularly vulnerable, with several having greatly declined and being threatened with extinction. For example, the Zircon reed beetle has been lost from over 81% of its UK range.

Buglife are working in partnership with the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, the National Trust and others to complete a pilot study of Lough Erne’s Zircon and Two-toned reed beetles, undertaking essential survey work to gather population and distribution data and develop local species recovery plans.

Lough Erne Landscape Partnership Programme Manager, Elmarie Swanepoel stated; “ We are delighted to be able to support Buglife through the LELP Community Engagement and Farming Fund supported by National Lottery Hertitage Fund, to carry out this important project.

The landscape of Lough Erne has a rich and unique biodiversity with a diverse range of species found within this special habitat, we look forward to working with Buglife and explore the Reed Beetle species within this magnificent landscape.”

Buglife will work with interested parties, organisations, landowners and volunteers; any organisation or individual who wishes to be involved is invited to contact Anna Hart on Anna.hart@buglife.org.uk. It is hoped that by having local people champion these animals we can make a real difference in their community.

Anna Hart, Conservation Officer for Buglife Northern Ireland has said “By discovering where exactly our most threatened species are found we can focus our conservation efforts to reverse declines and prevent them from being lost from the landscape”

There is a need for more species records to monitor trends in population and distribution. We hope to encourage people with a passion for wildlife to look for this species. You can help us to monitor reed beetles by taking part in our citizen science survey to find the Zircon Reed Beetle in Northern Ireland.

Our thanks to the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership  (LELP) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund who funded this project.

Fieldwork with St. Kevin’s College, Lisnaskea – June 2021

On Wednesday 9th June 2021, the LELP Environmental Education Officer was joined by Anna Hart from Buglife and a group of enthusiastic Year 10 pupils and staff from St. Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, at Crom Estate, to search for elusive reed beetles.

Although the weather was a little windy and overcast for searching for the beetles, Anna carefully explained searching techniques, how to use the equipment and where reed beetles are commonly found and their preferred habitat. The pupils and staff from St. Kevin’s got stuck in immediately and it wasn’t long before a great selection of insects, moths, damson flies, beetles, spiders and snails had been collected from the rich shoreline at Crom. Furthermore, the pupils managed to find TWO different types of reed beetles! A very successful and fun morning for all involved.

Many thanks to Crom Estate and the National Trust staff team for facilitating our visit, Ms Rogers and the pupils from St. Kevin’s College, LELP and Heritage Lottery Fund NI. This also ties in with LELP Project 15: Young Amateur Naturalists.

Habitat Exploration and Reed Beetle Surveying – June 2021

Anna Harte from Buglife conducted a number of days in the field documenting habitat sites and searching for Reed Beetle habitats as part of this project.

Check out the pictures below.

Launch of Jewel of Lough Erne Project – April 2021

Reed beetles, the “jewels amongst the reeds” (Nelson, B., 2007) are brightly metallic species associated with waterside habitats, being found on reeds and other emergent marginal vegetation. Northern Ireland is a stronghold for several rare and threatened species of reed beetle in particular the Zircon reed beetle (Donacia aquatica) and Two-tone reed beetle (Donacia bicolora), with Upper Lough Erne being a vital site for these species. Both of these beetles are UK and Northern Ireland Priority Species for conservation action. The Northern Ireland population of Two-tone reed beetle is seen as the stronghold of both the Irish and UK populations. The Zircon reed beetle has greatly declined, having been lost from over 81% of its UK range.

Buglife will work in partnership with other organisations to complete a pilot study of Lough Erne’s reed beetles, undertaking essential survey work to gather population and distribution data and develop a local species recovery plan for the Zircon and Two-tone reed beetles. This pilot project will run throughout the summer of 2021.

This exciting species focused project will help raise awareness of these rare beetles and the need for conservation action through surveys, training and workshops. We also hope to encourage people with a passion for wildlife to take part in our citizen science survey and look for the Zircon reed beetle. It is hoped that by having local people champion these species we can make a real difference in their community. One of the recommended conservation actions is to create new wetland pond complexes within the historic distribution of the beetles. We will identify opportunities to create new pond habitat to boost the populations of the Zircon and Two- toned reed beetles.

Buglife will work with interested parties, organisations, landowners and volunteers; any organisation or individual who wishes to be involved is invited to contact Anna Hart on Anna.hart@buglife.org.uk.

Help us find the Zircon Reed Beetle in Northern Ireland. Further information can be found here.

Our thanks to the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership  (LELP) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund who funded this project.

Jewels of Lough Erne | Buglife projects

Have-you-seen-this-beetle.pdf (buglife.org.uk)

Recent Tweets

Join the Mummers in Fermanagh House on Thursday 9th December at 7:30pm for their event Brining the House Down, a presentation on the folk lore of Fermanagh's Mummers.
Visit https://lelp.org.uk/events/the-mummers-bringing-the-house-down/ for more info!

This week is National Tree Week! Did you know there are more than 3 trillion trees on earth – that’s 422 times as many trees as people! National Tree Week is a great excuse to get outside and identify trees. Visit our website for fun activities:
https://lelp.org.uk/national-tree-week-2021/

© 2021 Website designed & developed by SugarProjects

X