Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Wildlife park prepares for record-breaking pine hoverfly season
Pine hoverfly larvae.

"It is really exciting to have more larvae pupating than ever before" - Dr Helen Taylor.

Keepers at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park are gearing up for what could be a record-breaking breeding season for a rare insect breeding programme.

The Pine Hoverfly Conservation Breeding Programme is responsible for most of Britain’s known population of the critically endangered species, currently only found in a small forest in the Cairngorms.

More than 150 pine hoverfly hatched at the park in 2020, with almost all now entering the next stage of their life cycle by becoming pupae. Among them include ‘Larva Croft’ and ‘Pine-al Ritchie’, named by fans of the project funder, Marvelous Europe.

“Every individual matters, so it is really exciting to have more larvae pupating than ever before and nerve-wracking to have to wait and see how many complete the full cycle, from egg, to larva, to pupa, to adult, ”commented Dr Helen Taylor, conservation programme manager at RZSS.

“The process they go through is extraordinary. Inside the pupa case, these animals are breaking most of their body down into goo and then totally reassembling it to transition from a larva to an adult fly. Most people will be familiar with this idea from caterpillars turning into butterflies, but it really is a magical transformation.”

The pine hoverfly is one of Europe’s rarest species, with the last sighting of an adult in the wild being more than eight years ago.
In previous breeding cycles at the park, the most pine hoverfly larvae that pupated was 13.

Launched in 2016, the RZSS Pine Hoverfly Conservation Breeding Programme runs in collaboration with the Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms project, a partnership between the RSPB, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Buglife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, and NatureScot. 

In the weeks ahead, keepers at Highland Wildlife Park hope to move the pupae into a brand-new purpose-built breeding centre.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Budding 'Dr Dolittles' sought for writing competition

News Story 1
 Vets are being invited to enter a writing competition run by the Page Turner Awards for a chance to get their story published or even made into a film.

Dubbed the 'Rolls Royce' of writing awards, the Page Turner competition provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to submit unpublished fiction and non-fiction work to be read by a panel of influential players in the publishing industry.

A spokesperson said: 'Do you think of yourself as a magical healer, like Dr Dolittle. Or maybe you have a story to share about the times when, sadly, animals can't be treated, and pet owners reflect on those moments they took for granted."

For more information, visit 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.