Some of our invertebrates are found nowhere else in the world, and for many more Scotland provides their last stronghold in the UK.
Scotland's rivers are home to internationally important populations of freshwater pearl mussels. These mussels can live for over 100 years, if they are not killed, illegally, by someone with the slim hope of finding a pearl.
The historic pine woods of the Highlands are home to many rare and threatened species including the pine hoverfly which lays its eggs in old pine stumps.
Flower-rich machair grassland in northwest Scotland supports populations of the great yellow bumblebee and the northern colletes bee. The marsh fritillary butterfly is declining across Europe and wet meadows in western Scotland managed in traditional ways are one of the most important remaining areas for this species.
Nature needs them
Invertebrates are vitally important to us. They turn natural waste into fertile soil and pollinate our crops and flowers. They are an essential food source for wild animals and birds; a single bird species, the blue tit, feeds it chicks with approximately one billion caterpillars and other small invertebrates every year.
We need them
Lobsters, crabs, langoustine and scallops are invertebrates of great importance to the Scottish economy: they provide a living for many people and a favourite food for many more of us. Many smaller invertebrates also have important roles in the food-chain, occurring in large numbers and concentrations that nourish many fish and whale species, from tiny sandeels to giant basking sharks and humpback whales. Invertebrates which attach to the seabed and live in large colonies also form some of the most important marine habitats, supporting a diverse range of other marine organisms.
What SNH is doing
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) helps to protect invertebrates by including them in the Species Action Framework and by looking after designated sites. SNH works with and funds other organisations to provide information, events and research into the best ways to protect all our wildlife. SNH also recently supported the development of a strategy for Scottish invertebrate conservation . Some invertebrates have legal protection because their future is so precarious.
What you can do
Many invertebrates are threatened by the loss and break up of their habitats or a decline in habitat quality. Others are at risk from climate change or pollution. To find out more about how you can help invertebrates, follow the links to the organisations listed on the species pages..
Last updated on Monday 3rd March 2014 at 15:22 PM. Click here to comment on this page