Protecting our local species

PUBLISHED: 13:24 26 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:24 26 April 2015

Lydden Temple Ewell conservation task team

Lydden Temple Ewell conservation task team

Archant

The strange history of the wart-biter bush cricket, once used to chew warts from skin, is helping save the species

Bazuka – producer of verruca and wart treatments – is contributing to major habitat restoration works for the wart-biter bush cricket at Kent Wildlife Trust’s Lydden Temple Ewell nature reserve in the Dover Downlands.

The Species Recovery Trust, in collaboration with Kent Wildlife Trust, is working to create a habitat corridor connecting the current cricket habitat to a large area of uninhabited chalk grassland.

It is hoped that the crickets will gradually colonise this new area, expanding their range and population size. Surveys will 
be carried out in the summer to provide an up-to-date estimate of the current population size and status. This work should help to ensure the future survival of this extremely endangered insect in Kent.

Earlier this year, thanks to funding from the Species Recovery Trust, volunteer work parties carried out major scrub clearance tasks, taking the first steps in improving the habitat for the wart-biter.

The wart-biter bush cricket, whose Latin name is Decticus verrucivorus, is native to Europe but is facing extinction in the UK.

Due to environmental changes such as the destruction of grassland habitat and reduction in the number of prey species, its numbers have dramatically reduced. So much so that they are now only found in five locations across the south of the UK.

Dominic Price, Director of the Species Recovery Trust, said: “The wart-biter bush cricket is dangerously close to becoming an extinct species in the UK, which is why we, along with partners, Kent Wildlife Trust, are working tirelessly to ensure this doesn’t happen. We hope this project will help to protect one of the species’ final strongholds.”

John McAllister, Head of Reserves East for Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Along with the great green bush cricket, the wart-biter is the UK’s largest species of insect, about the size of an average human thumb, and they are the top insect predator on old chalk grasslands. Where strong colonies 
of wart-biters thrive provides a good indication of a healthy species-rich grassland; diverse in both wild flowers and other insects upon which they feed.”

The 90 hectare site at Lydden Temple Ewell is linked to an extensive network of roadside nature reserves and is one of Europe’s finest surviving chalk grasslands.

Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a National Nature Reserve, it is rich in its diversity of insects - especially butterflies. Look out for Adonis blue, marbled white and brown argus, as well as chalk flowers; notably orchids such as rare burnt-tip.

Find out more

If you would like to get involved in our conservation work in the Dover Downlands area, then please call 01622 662012, email info@kentwildlife.org.uk or visit www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

● The Species Recovery Trust is committed to halting the loss of some of the rarest species in the UK. Through its targeted recovery work, many species are showing an increase in their population numbers for the first time in decades and now face a more secure future. The Trust’s primary aim is to remove 50 species from the edge of extinction in the UK by 2050 through effective conservation strategies informed by detailed scientific knowledge. For more information, go to: www.speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk

n

More from Out & About

Here are 12 places that may have flown under your radar before but are well worth seeking out

Read more

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more
Tue, 11:34

Take our quiz to see if you can decipher the town or place in Kent from the emojis

Read more
Tue, 11:10

Enjoy three of Kent’s best and most loved cycle rides which take in lots of the county’s beautiful coastlines

Read more

We look ahead to the end of lockdown and to a quiet seaside resort we can’t wait to visit again – Herne Bay

Read more

Hythe and New Romney, with their peaceful marshes, abundant wildlife and beautiful coastline, are the perfect places to explore when we’re allowed to travel again

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2020

We’ve gathered six of the best dog-friendly pubs in Kent to enjoy a bite to eat after a scenic stroll

Read more

Try these Kent-themed ideas for the ultimate ‘stay-cation’ – without having to move further away from home than the garden gate

Read more
Monday, June 8, 2020

Picnic baskets at the ready because we have gathered 10 of the best places to enjoy a picnic in stunning rural Kent

Read more
Monday, June 8, 2020

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life