Cumbria Wildlife Trust are working in partnership with Natural England and the British Dragonfly Society to introduce the rare White-faced Darter to Drumburgh Moss.
White-faced Darter is a specialist of lowland bogs, breeding in deep bog pools with floating sphagnum moss, which is used for egg laying by adults and refuge by larvae.
In England, the wide-spread destruction and degradation of peatlands has left the species isolated to a few site. As a result, in 2008, White-faced Darter were introduced to Foulshaw Moss reserve by translocating eggs and larvae from a donor site. This proved to be a great success and now Foulshaw Moss has a thriving White-faced Darter population. The Cumbria Wildlife Trust now wishes to replicate the project at Drumburgh Moss.
Located within the South Solway Mosses Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Drumburgh Moss is predominantly made up of raised mire and is a designated Site of Specific Scientific Interest. A previous habitat management project resulted in the creation of a number of bog pools on the reserve, which developed floating moss making them ideal breeding sites for White-faced Darter.
The South Solway Mosses SAC is made of a mosaic of peat wetlands, many of which could potentially support their own White-faced Darter populations with the right habitat management. Thus, if the Drumburgh Moss project is a success it could be extended within the SAC.
2019 marks the first year of larvae and egg translocation from the donor site.
114 mature larvae, as well as 5 buckets of Sphagnum (containing small larvae and eggs), were introduced to two pools at Drumburgh.
Exuviae and adult surveys will be carried out at Drumburgh, as well as the donor site (to ensure the removal of eggs and larvae has not impacted the existing population).
13 exuviae were found this year at Drumburgh.
Poor weather conditions during the emergence period may have lowered survey results by destroying exuviae.