A VOLUNTEER at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond has uncovered 315 new species on the reserve, including a wasp that has never been recorded in Scotland before.

Sam Buckton, a recent zoology graduate from the University of Cambridge, set himself the challenge of finding and recording 250 new species for the reserve this summer, though his target has since been upped to 500.

Some of the species he’s discovered are scarce in Scotland, at least one is a first for the area, and many have never been recorded on any of the RSPB’s 200 nature reserves before anywhere in the UK.

Buckton said: “RSPB Scotland’s Loch Lomond reserve was acquired relatively recently in 2012, so we still have much to learn about the species that call it home.

“Although the birds and plants on site are well-studied, other groups – particularly invertebrates – are relatively unknown. As a large site with a wide array of habitats, Loch Lomond is likely to harbour a huge diversity of species, and the truth is, I’ve just been scratching the surface with my surveys.”

Many species, particularly invertebrates, are under-recorded across the UK, but even common wildlife is regularly overlooked. This means that dramatic declines, such as those seen in recent years with house sparrows and bumblebees, can take time to come to light.