The richly varied habitat of St Nicks attracts a surprisingly wide range of insects, spiders and other invertebrates (species that do not have a backbone and which make up the vast majority of life on Earth). These include a sizeable community of creatures discovered under logs and stones including several species of ground beetle, centipede and millipede. In the summer months pride of place on the reserve goes to the butterflies, of which more than half the UK’s species have been found here through the years. In the warm summer of 2013 nineteen species were seen, some such as Peacock and Ringlet in great abundance.
Hoverflies can be seen all over the reserve from Spring to Autumn, with around 30 species positively identified so far. Other attractive insects include ladybirds, of which 10 or more species can usually be seen during the year, plus a number of other species of beetle, some brightly coloured. True bugs include the unusually-shaped shieldbugs, of which 10 species have been found in the last year or so. Many bees and wasps can be seen, both social and solitary, some proving an identification challenge.
The Environment Centre pond is a magnet for aquatic insects and other kinds that prefer a moist habitat, including dragonflies and damselflies of several species seen regularly around the pond and along the becks. The reserve also boasts a good population of spiders: a spider workshop in the autumn of 2013 identified 13 species including one not recorded in Yorkshire since at least 1991. In sum, St Nicks is an amazing mosaic of different types of habitat and vegetation, home to a strikingly large range of nature’s little creatures.
For the latest sightings, please see the Wildwatch Group’s blog and let us have yours!
For more information on the different types of invertebrates and how to conserve them we recommend the following websites: