Rare ladybird spotted in Sutherland, Scotland

A species of ladybird which thrives on heather moorland has been spotted on land belonging to the John Muir Trust, a wild land conservation charity.

The sighting of the Hieroglyphic ladybird is the most northerly ever recorded.

Hieroglyphic Ladybird - Coccinella hieroglyphica - Pic Tim Ransom

Hieroglyphic Ladybird - Coccinella hieroglyphica - Pic Tim Ransom

John Muir Trust Wild Land Ranger Don O’ Driscoll spotted the insect near Loch na Gainimh on the Trust’s Sandwood estate, in Sutherland, Scotland.

It was recorded as part of a project, which aims to have a significant positive impact on Priority UK Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats on the Trust’s properties.

Liz Auty, Biodiversity Officer for the Trust said: “Hieroglyphic ladybirds are a good indicator of healthy moorland habitats. Sightings of species like these show the importance of our work to protect and enhance the habitats on our properties.”

The hieroglyphic ladybird varies in colour and pattern but is distinguished by a stripe along its body.

The species is dependent on healthy heather.

It breeds mainly on ling and other varieties of heather, and feeds on the larvae of heather leaf beetles.

The John Muir Trust is a member of the International Year of Biodiversity UK partnership, a diverse network of organisations that has come together to promote the understanding of biodiversity.

Ecology pioneer

The Trust takes its name from John Muir, the Scot who founded the modern conservation movement.

Born in 1838 in Dunbar, East Lothian, John Muir emigrated as a child to the United States of America.

He went on to find fame as a botanist, geologist, mountaineer and pioneer of ecology.

During his explorations of the high Sierra andAlaska, Muir became aware of the threats to wild places and successfully campaigned for the establishment of National Parks to safeguard vast tracts of wild lands such as Yosemite Valley in California.

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