Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms

The Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms (RIC) project is working to improve the conservation fortunes of some of the Cairngorms National Park’s rarest species.

Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms logos


Through this project we are trying to learn more about six invertebrate species and their distribution across the Cairngorms National Park
The six species are: silver stiletto fly, Kentish glory moth, pine hoverfly, shining guest ant, dark bordered beauty moth and small scabious mining bee. These are six of the UK’s rarest insect species and the Cairngorms National Park is an important stronghold for all of them.
We hope to improve their conservation fortunes by recruiting local volunteers to help survey for them, as well as working with landowners to ensure important habitat is protected for these species.


  • Find new sites for the six invertebrate species
  • Develop a community of volunteers who monitor the six species populations
  • Work with landowners and land managers to manage land enabling these species to thrive.
  • Learn more about the behaviour and habitat needs of each species


Key Dates

  • July to October 2017: discovered 21 pine hoverfly larvae - the most endangered of the six species
  • August 2017: found the first recorded nesting site of small scabious mining bee in the Cairngorms
  • Autumn 2017: First new site discovered for shining guest ant by volunteer
  • April – May 2018: Kentish glory found in 71 new 1km2
  • Summer 2018: northern silver stiletto fly found in three new 10kmn2 sites
  • Autumn 2018: working with the project, RZSS Highland Wildlife Park captive rearing of pine hoverfly begins
  • Summer 2019: SNH graduate placement discovered that dark-bordered beauty moths travel an average of 84m.
  • 2019: first successful completion of pine hoverfly life cycle in captivity by the Highland Wildlife Park
  • 2019: over 100 new breeding stumps created for pine hoverfly
  • 2019: discovery of the southern-most shining guest ants in the Cairngorms by volunteer

Planned Work

There will be volunteer training days running for each of the species over spring and summer of 2018. Keep up to date on our Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about opportunities.


The project has been very successful in finding new sites for some species and rediscovering locations the species had previously been lost from. To date, volunteers have discovered 89 new 1km2 sites for Kentish glory moth, 5 new sites for northern silver stiletto fly, three new sites for the shining guest ant and 10 new sites for the small scabious mining bee. We have also been mapping suitable habitat with volunteers to plan for future surveying, habitat management and translocation work and to understand the potential spread of these key invertebrates in the national park.


During 2020, the project is financed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and RSPB. Between 2017-2019, the project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community LEADER 2014-2020 programme.


Coast on a stormy day

Genevieve Tompkins


Further reading

Find us on Facebook and Twitter or read our blogs.

Press release.
Tagged with: Country: Scotland Project status: Ongoing Project types: Site protection