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The launch of Species on the Edge in North Uist highlighting the incredibly rare Short-necked Oil Beetle uncovered 24 specimens at Balranald Nature Reserve, NatureScot has revealed.

And now a previously unknown population has also been discovered on Tiree.

Three years ago, Scotland’s only known populations of short-necked oil beetles were found on the Isle of Coll.

But thanks to the increased awareness through Species on the Edge, more populations than ever before have turned up.

From Buglife, one of the conservation groups behind Species on the Edge, Conservation Officer Sally Morris said: “Short-necked oil beetles are rare in Great Britain and vulnerable to extinction due to their small, scattered populations. The presence of short-necked oil beetles is a great indicator of a healthy biodiverse ecosystem, as their lifecycle is linked to the northern colletes mining bee, a species that relies on flower-rich coastal grassland.

“Over the next four years, we will be talking to landowners about how they can manage their land to provide the right conditions for the short-necked oil beetle and other invertebrate species.”

Katy Malone (Bumblebee Conservation Trust), Outer Hebrides Area Manager for the Species on the Edge Programme, was excited about finding the rare beetle and launching public events in the Outer Hebrides.

She said: “This workshop marks the start of a four-year programme in the Outer Hebrides, and for me, it could not have gone any better. This is the first event of many that we have planned over the next four years. Residents and visitors should particularly watch out for the Outer Hebrides Wildlife Festival, which is being coordinated by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust over the next four years as part of the wider Species on the Edge programme.”

The Outer Hebrides Wildlife Festival begins on Saturday, June 24, to Saturday, July 1, 2023, and is an opportunity to get closer to nature through guided walks, boat trips, outdoor activities, exhibitions, etc.