Aside from the butterflies, moths and dragonflies, several other groups of invertebrates have been well studied on Dawlish Warren over the years, some records go back to the 1850s. This page only gives an example of the species recorded, more detailed lists are available but Teignbridge Council data is unfortunately not shared with the Recording Group so these may not be complete. We hope to be able to publish complete lists in the future, if you have any records please send them the relevant scheme, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre and the Recording Group.  For more information on National Recording Schemes, please see the Biological Records Centre.

Last updated 31/03/2021

Related Links:  Buglife     The British Entomological and Natural History Society

Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, crickets and allies)
    Related Link: Grasshopper Recording Scheme

21 of the 26 native UK species have been recorded on Dawlish Warren, this makes it one of the most outstanding sites in the UK, especially considering its area. The wide range of habitats and the mild climate all combine to create the conditions for a wide variety of species.

Oak Bush-cricket                         Meconoma thalassinum
This species is present in the Entrance Bushes and in other wooded areas on site. Individuals have been found on the Visitor Centre and attracted to moth traps.

© Matt Twydell

Great Green Bush-cricket          Tettigonia viridissima
This Devon priority species is widespread on site, especially in areas of bramble scrub. The loud stridulation easily reveals its presence, but despite its large size they can be surprisingly difficult to locate. 

© Luke Harman

Dark Bush-cricket                       Pholidoptera griseoaptera
This common species is widespread in south Devon, but despite searching, was rare in the Recording Area. A single second or third instar individual was recorded near the First Pond in 2000. However in 2008 several adults and individuals in various instars were found in a large patch of Restharrow and it is now regular on site.

© Alan Keatley

Grey Bush-cricket                       Platycleis albopunctata
This is a predominately coastal species which can be found on sand dunes and cliffs along most of the southern coast of England. A single large instar was recorded here in 1993, but there were no further records. This individual was seen whilst planting trees in the Buffer Zone so might have been introduced on them.
However in 2008 several individuals in various instars were found, with several further records so the species is indeed native on site.

© Dave Cawthraw

Roesel's Bush-cricket                 Metrioptera roeselii
A macropterous (long winged) male was discovered in the Back Meadow in July 2018, just the third Devon record for this species. Expanding westwards, 2018 saw several more Devon records and it may soon become established in the County and perhaps even on site.

© Debs Rylands

Long-winged Conehead             Conocephalus discolor
This species is a recent arrival in the recording area, with individuals first being noted in Greenland Lake in the mid 1990s. Since then a good population has built up and it can be found in most areas of long grassland.

© Alan Keatley

Short-winged Conehead             Conocephalus dorsalis
A single female was recorded in the Buffer Zone in September 2005, previous records of instars had not ruled out the above species. Adults were also recorded in the saltmarsh in August 2008, but this remains by far the rarer of the two species present.

Speckled Bush-cricket               Leptophytes punctatissima
A single adult individual, recorded in the Dogwood clump on Warren Point, in 1996 was the first record, but this species was expected to occur elsewhere on site. This prediction was finally confirmed when a late instar was recorded in July 2008 with occasional records since then.

© Simon Thurgood

Cepero’s Ground-hopper          Tetrix ceperoi
Has been recorded around the Entrance Bushes and Greenland Lake, although never in numbers. This is one of the few sites in south Devon for this nationally rare species but has not been seen recently.

Slender Ground-hopper          Tetrix subulata
Discovered in Greenland Lake in April 2009, no doubt overlooked previously, this species is still present, but scarce.

Common Ground-hopper           Tetrix undulata
This species is found in similar areas to its rarer relatives, often in good numbers. It is the only native orthopteran that can be found at all times of year.

© Alan Keatley

Common Field Grasshopper      Chorthippus brunneus
A widespread species that is commonly found on site. If disturbed adults can fly good distances to escape.

a pink morph © Alan Keatley

Meadow Grasshopper                Chorthippus parallelus
Another widespread and common species, this is the most numerous grasshopper on the Warren.

Lesser Marsh Grasshopper       Chorthippus albomarginatus
This species is rare in the southwest and this is one of the few sites it occurs in Devon. Several individuals have been recorded in the saltmarsh at the back of the Golf Course. Elsewhere on the Exe, it is also recorded at Exminster Marshes and the Old Sludge Beds.

Rufous Grasshopper      Gomphocerippus rufus
The first Devon record of this nationally rare species was found here by Parfitt in 1881. Unfortunately it has long been extinct on site.

Mottled Grasshopper                 Myrmeleotettix maculatus
This species prefers areas of short sun-baked turf, especially inward of the Dune Ridge,
there are few recent records.

Dusky Cockroach                        Ectobius lapponicus
Dawlish Warren is one of very few sites were this species can be found in Devon. It has been recorded on Warren Point, but presumably occurs elsewhere on site.

Tawny Cockroach                        Ectobius pallidus
Like Dusky, this species is rarely recorded in Devon. Here it is recorded more frequently than the above species, it has regularly been found at moth traps.

Lesser Cockroach                       Ectobius panzeri
The most frequently encountered of the three native cockroaches in the Recording Area. It can be particularly numerous in the short grass on Warren Point.

Common Earwig                           Forficula auricularia
As elsewhere this species can be encountered almost anywhere on site.

Lesne’s Earwig                             Forficula lesnei
One found by John Walters near the car park in October 2003 was the first record. It is still present there and in the Entrance Bushes, over wintering in umbellifer stems.

Hymenoptera (Bees, wasps and ants)    Related Link:  Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society

A total of 261 species have been recorded at the Warren although due to restrictions on collecting (even trap and release) recent records are confined to those that can be identified from digital images. Many rare species have been recorded over the years, burrowing into the soft sandy substrate to breed, including pre-1970 records of the UK priority species Lasioglossum pauperatum. The large sand wasp Ammophila sabulosa, is one of the few invertebrates mentioned in the SSSI citation and can be regularly seen hunting the Dune Ridge. Recent climate enhanced arrivals include Bee-wolf Philanthus triangulum and Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum, the latter one of nine species of Bumblebee, including Heath Bumblebee Bombus jonellus.

The breakdown of species is: Wasps 171, Bees 52,  Sawflies 36 & Ants 2.  A dedicated page on the bees recorded on the Warren can be found here.

Diptera (Flies)   Related link: Hoverfly Recording Scheme     Dipterist's Forum

Many rare species have been recorded over the years, including the UK priority cranefly Geranomyia bezzi, possibly at it's last extant UK site. A total of 626 species have occurred at Dawlish Warren, one of the reasons the national Dipterist's Forum once visited on their annual excursion, unfortunately they were refused permission to undertake any recording!  A dedicated page on the hoverflies recorded on the Warren can be found here.

Geranomyia bezzii © Rob Wolton

An initial attempt at a site list can be found here,. In addition 16 of the UK's 34 mosquito species have been recorded by Dr A.A. Allen on site, six of these new to Devon, only two of which are nuisance biters.

Coleoptera (Beetles)

A total of 203 species have been recorded at the Warren but with the exception of the readily identifiable and colourful Coccinellidae (Ladybirds), the only recent work includes a list of Carabidae (ground beetles) provided by John Walters and a 2017 study by E Armstrong.

Other records largely from ad hoc or historical recording, include the only UK records of the weevil Charagmus gressorius. This species feeds on the invasive Tree Lupin but its favoured area was pulled, so a potential ally in lupin control was lost. Two nationally scarce species; Sawyer Beetle Prionus coriarius and the water beetle Dytiscus circumflexus, the latter a first for Devon, taken at moth traps. Included in the list of ground beetles list is the UK priority species Cillenus lateralis (previously Bembidon laterale) which is found around the Bight. There are also old records for another priority species Amara incida, and a third species, which is found in saline mud and has been recorded from the Exe Estuary, may be present within the Recording Area, Bembidon quadripustulatum.

Charagmus gressorius © Andrew Cunningham


The following species have been recorded on site, good numbers of several species can often be found by searching the remaining Tree Lupins where they feast on the non native aphid Macrosiphum albifrons:  

Pointed-keeled Rhyzobius Rhyzobius litura
A small (2-3mm) inconspicuous species often found in dune grassland.

Angle-spotted Scymnus     Scymnus frontalis
Another of the small ladybirds, first recorded in 2017.

Kidney-spot Ladybird         Chilocorus renipustulatus
First recorded in August 2010.

© Simon Thurgood

Pine Ladybird                     Exochumus 4-pustulatus
Recorded in 1977, March 2007 and April 2021.

Orange Ladybird                 Halyzia 16-guttata
Regularly recorded, especially at moth traps.

© Lee Collins

22-spot Ladybird                  Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
First recorded in July 2010.

16-spot Ladybird                   Micraspis 16-punctata
Recorded in 1977 and still present.

© John Fortey

Adonis Ladybird                     Hippodamia variegata
Rare vagrant. The only record was on the seawall amongst large numbers of 7-spot and a few 11-spot Ladybird on 06/07/20.

© Guy Freeman

2-spot Ladybird                     Coccinella 2-punctata
Previously common but now much declined.

© Alan Keatley

10-spot Ladybird                    Adalia 10-punctata

Scarce 7-spot Ladybird         Coccinella 7-punctata
Rare vagrant. The only record was on the seawall amongst large numbers of 7-spot and a few 11-spot Ladybird on 06/07/20.

© Guy Freeman

7-spot Ladybird                     Coccinella 7-punctata

© Alan Keatley

11-spot Ladybird                    Coccinella 11-punctata
First recorded in June 2003 by James Diamond.  A species associated with dune systems.

Harlequin Ladybird               Harmonia axyridis
This invasive alien species was first recorded in 2008 and is now the commonest species on site.

© John Fortey

Cream-streaked Ladybird      Harmonia 4-punctata
First recorded in August 2010.

© Simon Thurgood

14-spot Ladybird                    Propylea 14-punctata

Eyed Ladybird                       Anatis ocellata
Recorded once, a worn individual at a moth trap, presumably a migrant?

Cream-spot Ladybird             Calvia 14-guttata
First recorded in July 2010.

© Simon Thurgood

Arachnidae (Spiders)    Related Link: 
British Arachnological Society

A full list of species recorded on the Warren can be found here. The most obvious of these the large and colourful Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi was increasingly recorded in Greenland Lake after being discovered in 2000. However numbers are much declined with over-wintering egg cases often lost to mowing and just one was recorded in 2019 with none the following year.

Wasp Spider & egg case © John Fortey

The most notable species is the jumping spider Euophrys herbigrada, last recorded in 1995, there are only six other sites for his species in the UK. Others include the Nationally Scarce species Dune Jumper Marpissa nivoyi, Bleeding Heart spider Nigma puella and the wolf spider Alopecosa cuneata.

Dune Jumper © Andrew Cunningham

Hemiptera (bugs)    Related Link: British Bugs

A total of 124 species have been recorded on the Warren, including Italian Alder Aphid Crypturaphis grassii, 10 shieldbugs and other obvious species such as Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis and the Spurge Bug Dicranocephalus agilis.

The introduced Tree Lupin Lupinus arboreus supports and an American aphid species Macrosiphum albifrons. This was introduced to the site in an attempt to control the invasive host plant. In some years this large species can kill off large numbers of Tree Lupin, but it has not been recorded feeding on any other species on site. It has however spread across UK and Europe and is a serious pest of lupins. 

Spurge Bug © Alan Keatley


Just 19 terrestrial species have been recorded on site. This includes two shelled slugs Testacella maugei & scutullum, Leopard Slug Limax maximus, Garlic Snail Oxychilus alliaris and Eccentric Glass Snail Vallonia excentrica. Introduced species include Paralaoma servilis, only a few mm long, originally from New Zealand and Mediterranean Snail Theba pisana often found in large numbers high on vegetation.

Testacella maugei © Andrew Cunningham

A total of 59 marine species have been recorded in surveys and along the tideline, these include Blue-rayed Limpet Tectura virginea, Common Pelican's Foot Aporrhais pespelecani and Spotted Cowrie Trivia monacha. The shells of the tiny snail Hydrobia ulvae can sometimes be found around the shore of the Bight in thousands. It is a major food source for many birds in the estuary and has been recorded at densities of 13,000/sq.m.

Common Otter Shell © Andrew Cunningham

Other species

A huge variety of other species of invertebrates can be found within the recording area, in all habitats from woodland to mudflats. As time progresses it is hoped that continued research will be hopefully augmented by other records and a more complete database will be available. If you are able to provide further information on any group or species from Common Water-boatman Notonecta glauca  to the Paignton Cockle Acanthocardia aculetata please get in touch.

Other notable species recorded include:

The nationally rare Beach-pill Woodlouse Armadillidium album, is occasionally recorded from debris on the tide line, although recent erosion has much reduced available habitat. One of just eight terrestrial crustacea recorded on site. The UK priority brackish water crustacean Allomelita pellucida was recorded in 1937.

Ophelia bicornis – a polychaete worm found in the estuarine sand at the mouth of the Exe, one of a handful of UK sites for this species. One of 58 marine worms noted from the Recording Area.

Of 15 cnidarians (anemones, jellyfish etc) recorded, one is the Portuguese Man-o-war Physalia physalis with occasional specimens washed ashore.

© James Marshall



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