St Helena has a myriad of invertebrate species, around 470 of which are found nowhere else on the planet.
These species vary from the vibrant Spiky Yellow Woodlouse (Pseudolaureola atlantica) found in the cloud forest of the Peaks, to the cryptic and as yet undescribed Mole Spider in the semi-desert of Prosperous Bay Plain. Others are found more widely, including Loveridge’s Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria beattiei), and the wonderfully named Blushing Snail (Succinea sanctaehelenae).
This high level of endemism and wealth of species means that the invertebrates of this small island deserve special recognition. Over 30 have already been listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and more continue to be assessed.
Funding has been received by the Darwin Initiative, including Darwin Plus, for specific work on conservation of the Spiky Yellow Woodlouse, as well as wider ranging projects.
Many partners have been involved throughout the Trust’s invertebrate work including:
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Natural History Museum, London
Museum for Natural and Prehistory, Dessau
Mid Atlantic Islands Invertebrate Specialist Group
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Zoological Society of London
We have been involved in the formation of both the Invertebrate Conservation Strategy and the Spiky Yellow Woodlouse Strategy and continue to work towards achieving goals within these.
Ongoing goals for invertebrate conservation include:
- assembling all the knowledge of the island’s land-based invertebrates and making sure this information is available to conservationists;
- training local staff in invertebrate conservation management;
- developing resources, including the reference collection and identification guides, to help conservationists and residents to recognise and identify invertebrates;
- helping to restore native habitats as functioning ecosystems;
- teaching schoolchildren of the importance of invertebrates to the environment; and
- raising public awareness of the special place invertebrates have in the island’s natural heritage.