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Odonata: Local Wildlife Site Selection Guidelines

8. ODONATA
These guidelines and site selection have been based upon the dragonfly atlas (White, SJ & Smith PH. 2015. The Dragonflies of Lancashire and North Merseyside. Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society.)

Od1 Any site which regularly supports a breeding population of ten or more species of dragonfly or damselfly.
Od2 Any site which regularly supports a breeding population of a rare or scarce North Merseyside breeding species

Species Action: Agapanthia villosoviridescens

This species is found mainly in moist meadows and hedgerows where adults feed mainly on umbellifers such as Heracleum sphondylium (Hogweed) and Anthriscus sylvestris (Cow Parsley). It is also found on nettles and thistles.
Their flight time is May to August but numbers peak in May and June. It is a stem boring species who’s larvae develop in the stalks of the host plant, working their way down while growing, eventually cutting off the stalk and creating pupal cells near to ground level. Adults emerge through a newly cut exit hole in the side of the stalk.
It is a large a very distinctive longhorn beetle, reaching a length of 10-22 millimetres. It has a golden, iridescent bloom on the elytra and thorax and the antennae are also very distinctive having dark and light bands.

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Lapwing

The highest population densities occur in areas of arable farmland that still retain pockets of grassland. High densities also occur on coastal grassland at Marshside, Southport where up to 50 pairs per square km are recorded. Breeding populations persist at various sites within the conurbation, principally at Fazakerley and the Rimrose Valley.

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Grey Partridge

The highest population densities occur on arable farmland in Sefton. Together with adjoining areas of West Lancashire, these mosslands support the largest numbers of Grey Partridges in Lancashire with up to 8 pairs per sq. km being recorded. Good numbers are also found in the Rainford area. Smaller populations persist on uncultivated grasslands within the conurbation, notably at Otterspool and the Rimrose Valley.

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Sandhill Rustic

This sub-species of the Sandhill Rustic Moth is confined to sand dune systems in North Wales and North-West England. Other sub-species – all coastal but with varying habitat requirements – occur in Cornwall (ssp. leechi), South-West Ireland (ssp. knilli) and Essex/Kent (ssp. demuthi). The Red Data Book lists ssp. leechi as Endangered and ssp. gueneei as Vulnerable (Shirt 1987).

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Vernal Mining-bee

As its vernacular name suggests, the bee is an early spring species, normally occurring from late March to the end of May. It nests in old blow-outs undergoing secondary plant colonisation in semi-fixed yellow dune habitat. Females forage predominantly, but not exclusively, on the pollen of Creeping Willow Salix repens and mass emergence of both sexes, which are triggered by a period of warm weather, occur over two to three days.

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Northern Dune Tiger Beetle

Northern Dune Tiger Beetle is extensively found along a 15 kilometre stretch of the Sefton Coast which is estimated to support up to 75% of the species’ British population. It was recorded from 105, separate 100 metre squares, on the Sefton Coast during a 1999 – 2003 survey. The species is almost continuously recorded between Birkdale in the north and Hightown in the south. The most southerly record for the species is from Hall Road Crosby.

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Great Crested Newt

Between 1995 and 1998, the Pond Life Project undertook a survey of 1000 ponds in the Northwest. Of these 500 were north of the Mersey although no sites surveyed were within the boroughs of Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens or Liverpool. The Pond Life survey showed that 25% of ponds in the northern part of the survey area contained Great Crested Newts. Furthermore, in some urban areas (e.g. Wigan) the percentage of occupied ponds was higher.
Great Crested Newt surveys have been carried out on Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Evidence of Great Crested Newt occupation was found in 31 ponds and temporary slacks.