Environmentalists have described the reappearance of a rare bumblebee in southwestern England as a “fantastic and highly important find.”
The habitat of the brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis) has declined immensely over the years.
The insect has now been rediscovered at Prawle Point – a coastal headland which is the southernmost point of Devon – for the first time in 45 years.
Rob Skinner – who is a project manager at multi-partner initiative Life on The Edge – said: “This is a fantastic and highly important find.”
Rob added his team were looking forward to making more discoveries as the initiative advances and expands.
The brown-banded carder bee – which prefers vast grasslands – is considered as one of the most threatened bumblebees in the United Kingdom.
While worker bees measure between 10 and 15 millimetres, the species’ queens can reach a body length of around 18 millimetres. Their nests normally feature between 50 and 120 animals.
Hayley Herridge from Peterborough-based environmental organisation Buglife announced: “We are delighted that a species lost has been rediscovered at Prawle Point for the first time since 1978.”
Hayley explained: “Prawle Point is considered the most important location for rare invertebrates in our project area and this highlights how special it is.”
The Life on the Edge project is a partnership headed by the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organisation.
The initiative’s goal is to restore the populations of some of the country’s rarest plants and invertebrates along the Devon coast.