HEATH TIGER BEETLE
A large charcoal-black tiger beetle, with pale yellow markings on the wing cases.
Rarity: A handful of sites in the south of England
Causes of decline: Loss of heathlands and the decline in quality of those that remain. Also may be limited by a poor ability to disperse.
Heath Tiger Beetles have a fragmented distribution in the South of England, with small, isolated populations in Dorset, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.
The beetles have a poor ability to disperse and their heathland habitat has sadly become increasing fragmented over time, as large areas have been converted for agriculture, forestry and development.
The remaining sites have been the focus of considerable conservation effort and as a result, the beetle populations do seem to be stable. However, to be confident of the future survival of the population, we need to work to increase the connectivity of the current sites, increase available habitat and help the populations grow.
One of the key problems facing the conservation of this species was that we did not have up to date information on its distribution. The Species Recovery Trust have been working to train volunteers over the last 5 years to identify and survey for the beetles.
We have set up a database on which we are collecting the records submitted by volunteers, and sharing these with all other interested conservation organisations.
We have also been undertaking surveys in Surrey to determine whether there are established populations on a number of sites that have sporadic records.
In addition, we are working on a captive breeding project for the species, so that in the future we will be able to reintroduce beetles to boost dwindling populations or create new populations to improve connectivity between existing sites.