First adult critically endangered pine hoverfly in nearly a decade spotted in the wild thanks to conservation efforts - Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)

dark brown fly on pink blossom
First pinehoverly spotted in the wild in over a decade (image: Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms)

An adult pine hoverfly has been spotted in the wild in Britain for the first time in nearly a decade, thanks to successful conservation efforts by the Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms (RIC) partnership.

The discovery of the adult female of the critically endangered species follows staggered releases of larvae in October 2021 and March 2022 at RSPB Abernethy and Forestry and Land Scotland Glenmore, sites carefully managed for conservation.

Larvae were bred as part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) conservation breeding programme for the species, based at Highland Wildlife Park. The adult sighting is an early sign of success for the project.

Dr Helen Taylor, conservation programme manager at RZSS said, “This discovery is a huge step for pine hoverfly conservation and recovery, showing the larvae which were released are surviving through to adulthood. There is now hope these adults will mate and produce a new generation of wild pine hoverflies, which is a key step in establishing new wild populations. As one of our most endangered native species, pine hoverflies are important to forest ecosystems, acting as both pollinators and waste recyclers. These releases also allow us to further develop our knowledge of their behaviours in the wild. For a species so little is known about, every observation improves our understanding of what pine hoverflies need to survive and thrive, helping us select the best habitat for future releases and continually evolve our techniques within the RZSS breeding programme.”

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Posted On: 10/06/2022

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