Wet wildlife

Canal Boat - - News -

LADYBIRDS ARE AMONG farm­ers’ and gar­den­ers’ best friends with the abil­ity to eat up to 5,000 aphids in their short life.

Hav­ing just faced the wettest June on record, how­ever, the ladybirds of Bri­tain are fac­ing a dif­fi­cult time, with many re­cently hatched lar­vae (pic­tured right) likely to have been washed away.

An­other species likely to be af­fected by June’s un­sea­son­ably wet weather is dragon­fly lar­vae (or nymphs). Fluc­tu­at­ing river lev­els and fast cur­rents are known to wash away dragon­fly lar­vae and, as they live un­der­wa­ter for up to three years, the heavy rain may also have a long-term ef­fect on the pop­u­la­tion.

Ad­di­tion­ally, species such as birds, but­ter­flies, bees and bats do not fly in heavy rain and it could im­pact upon the amount of food they for­age for them­selves and their young.

The weather may also af­fect wa­ter voles, Bri­tain’s fastest de­clin­ing mam­mal. Too much rain in­creases the level of the wa­ter ta­ble and can flood their bur­rows. On a pos­i­tive note, the higher wa­ter ta­ble does pro­vide bet­ter habi­tats for frogs and toads. The Canal & River Trust is ask­ing peo­ple to help mon­i­tor all wildlife they see as part of its Great Na­ture Watch cam­paign, visit canal­rivertrust.org.uk/great-na­ture-watch to find out how to take part.

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