British invertebrates come in all shapes and sizes, each with a part to play in the local ecosystem. But some aren’t winning any popularity contests. Here’s why we should all try and embrace some of our unlovable species.
Slugs and snails are hated by gardeners the world over for chewing unsightly holes in treasured flowers and shrubs. Their slimy appearance and eating habits make them unwelcome in the immaculate show gardens that many of us know and love.
However, in the nature-centric garden (the kind we prefer here at the Wildlife Trust), slugs and snails are very important and should be tolerated. They are a vital food source for all sorts of birds, mammals and reptiles, and are a part of the natural balance. Leave them be and you may be amazed at the wildlife that follows.
Spiders have inspired some of our best-loved novels and comics, but did you know without them the world might be overrun with swarms of insects. Despite this, spiders carry formidable reputation.
House spiders are incredibly helpful in the house and the garden, keeping flies and other pests in check. In autumn and winter it may seem like there are more spiders in your home than usual, but they are just more active at this time of year. Though they can appear large and sinister, the UK house spider is harmless.
Encourage spiders in the garden by providing logs and stone piles for them to live, feed and breed in. Spiders are a food source for many creatures – providing another vital link in the food chain.
Moths are often overlooked in favour of their often more colourful cousins – butterflies. They are dismissed as brown and dull, but in fact many species are bright and colourful, and with over 2,500 types of moth in Britain, there’s an amazing amount of diversity to be discovered!
If you want to get a closer look at these flighty little visitors, why not set up a simple light trap using a white sheet, washing line and torch?
Photo Credit: Angle shades by Amy Lewis