About 400 invertebrates are listed as protected or priority species under EU or UK law. Large blue butterflies, Fisher's estuarine moth and little ramshorn whirlpool snails have the highest level of protection as European protected species, and where they occur, the sites are often designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
You are breaking the law if you capture, kill, disturb or injure, on purpose or by not taking enough care, any of these species or damage, destroy or obstruct access to their breeding, resting or sheltering places.
Priority habitats for protected and priority invertebrate species include semi-natural vegetation, wetland, coastal areas, open mosaics and previously developed brownfield land. Invertebrate surveys are also generally required where a full assessment of the ecological value of a site is required, for example during Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) or where an inventory of species is required to inform management works, for example, on a designated site or nature reserve.
ECOSA use a number of specific techniques to survey for terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, to identify scarce species and key habitat areas. Survey work includes the use of pitfall traps, sweep netting, light traps and grubbing. In order to cover all the activity periods for all the species, survey work ideally needs to extend from April until September. However, basic assessments of the potential of the on-site habitat to support important communities of invertebrates can be carried out throughout the year.
Our project experience includes creation of species inventories for statutory and non-statutory designated sites, and numerous surveys for proposed development sites including roads and housing developments. ECOSA carried out extensive invertebrate surveys for a number of sites included within the bid to designate the Darwin Landscape Laboratory as a World Heritage Site. These surveys included assessments of areas of land used by Darwin for his research into natural selection.
An initial site visit would be followed up by species specific inspections throughout the summer months.