Aside from butterflies and dragonflies, several groups of invertebrates have been 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 held by the wardens, but these have not been made available to the website. We hope to be able to publish these lists in the future, but if you have any records you can add to this database please send them on to the recording group.  If you require any information on National Recording Schemes, please use the Biological Records Centre.


Related Links:  The British Entomological and Natural History Society            Buglife

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

Many rare species have been recorded over the years, many burrowing into the soft sandy substrate to breed, including pre-1970 records of the UK BAP species Lasioglossum pauperatum. The large sand wasp Ammophila sabulosa, is mentioned in the SSSI citation and can be regularly seen hunting the dune ridge. Several species of Bumblebee have been recorded, these include Bombus lucorum, lapidarius, terrestris and Bombus pascuorum. Hornet Vespa crabro has been recorded on several occasions and may now nest on site.

These additional species have also been recorded recently:

  • Episyron rufipes

  • Tachysphex pompiliformis

  • Nysson trimaculatus

  • Anthophora bimaculata

  • Diodontus minutus

  • Epeolus variegatus

  • Chrysis impressa

  • Megachile leachella

  • Hedychridium ardens

  • Megachile maritima

  • Oxybelus uniglumis

  • Coelioxys conoidea

  • Dryudella pinguis


Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, crickets and allies)
20 species having been recorded on Dawlish Warren, this makes it one of the most outstanding sites in the UK, especially considering its size. The wide range of habitats and the mild weather all combine to create the ideal conditions for a wide variety of species.

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

Great Green Bush-cricket         Tettigonia viridissima
This Devon BAP 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 difficult to locate. 

Dark Bush-cricket                       Pholidoptera griseoaptera
This common species is widespread in south Devon, but despite searching, has only been seen once in the recording area. A single individual in second or third instar 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 near the Visitor Centre. It is hoped this will lead to the establishment of a population on the reserve.

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 have been no further records. This individual was seen whilst planting trees in the Buffer Zone so may have been introduced on them.
However in 2008 several individuals in various instars were found with Dark Bush-cricket in a large patch of Restharrow near the Visitor Centre, so the species is probably native on site.

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.

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.

Speckled Bush-cricket               Leptophytes punctatissima
A single adult individual, recorded in the Dogwood clump on Warren Point, is the only record, but this species should occur elsewhere on site. This prediction was finally confirmed when a late instar was recorded near the Tractor Compound in July 2008.

Cepero’s Ground-hopper          Tetrix ceperoi
Has been recorded around the Entrance Bushes and Greenland Lake, although never in high numbers. This is one of the few sites in south Devon for this nationally rare species.

Slender Ground-hopper          Tetrix subulata
Discovered in Greenland Lake in April 2009, no doubt overlooked previously.

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

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

Meadow Grasshopper                Chorthippus parallelus
Another widespread and common species, this is the most numerous 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, most recently in August 2008. Elsewhere on the Exe, it has been 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 and can be found in these situations on the reserve, especially inward of the Dune Ridge.

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 all around the reserve.

Lesser Cockroach                       Ectobius panzeri
The most frequently encountered of the three native cockroaches on the reserve. 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 on 10/10/2003 is the only record.

Diptera (Flies)   Related link: Hoverfly Recording Scheme

Many rare species have been recorded over the years, including the UK BAP cranefly Geranomyia bezzi, however apart from a series of records from the early 1980s there is little information available on this group at present. An initail attempt at a site list can be found here More recent sightings include the hoverfly Volucella zonaria  and a 1986 record of several Carcelia lucorum, (from a Cream-spot Tiger Arctica villica host).

Coleoptera (Beetles)
With the exception of the colourful Coccinellidae (Ladybirds), and the list of Carabidae (ground beetles) provided by
John Walters, little information is available for this the largest animal group. Moth trapping in 2005 produced records of two nationally scarce species; Sawyer Beetle Prionus coriarius and the water beetle Dytiscus circumflexus, the latter a first for Devon. Included in the list of ground beetles list is the UK BAP species Cillenus lateralis (previously Bembidon laterale) which is found around the Bight. There are also old records for another BAP species Amara incida, and a third species, which is found in saline mud and has been recorded from the Exe estuary, may be present Bembidon quadripustulatum.

The following ladybirds have been recorded on site, good numbers of several species can often be found by searching the remaining Tree Lupins:  

  • 7 spot Ladybird             

Coccinella 7-punctata

  • Eyed Ladybird

 Anatis ocellata

Recorded once, a worn individual at a moth trap, perhaps a migrant?

  • 2 spot Ladybird 

 Coccinella 2-punctata

  • 10 spot Ladybird  

 Adalia 10-punctata

  • 14 spot Ladybird

Propylea 14-punctata

  • Orange Ladybird

Halyzia 16-guttata

Regularly recorded at moth traps

  • 11 spot Ladybird

Coccinella 11-punctata

Recorded in June 2003 and other occasions by James Diamond.  A species associated with dune systems

  • Pine (4 spot) Ladybird

Exochumus 4-pustulatus

Recorded in 1977 and seen again in March 2007

  • 16 spot Ladybird

Micraspis 16-punctata

Recorded in 1977 and seen again in 2005

  • Harlequin Ladybird

Harmonia axyridis

This invasive alien species was first recorded in 2008

  • Cream-spot Ladybird

Calvia 14-guttata

First recorded in July 2010

  • Cream-streaked Ladybird

Harmonia 4-punctata

First recorded in August 2010

  • 22-spot Ladybird

Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata

First recorded in July 2010

  • Kidney-spot Ladybird

Chilocorus renipustulatus

First recorded in August 2010

The following ground beetles have been recorded on site since 2002:






Nebria salina


Agonum muelleri


Notiophilus substriatus


Amara aenea


Dyschirius thoracicus


Amara tibialis


Broscus cephalotes


Harpalus (Harpalus) affinis


Trechus (Trechus) obtusus


Harpalus (Harpalus) anxius


Bembidion (Cillenus) laterale


Harpalus (Harpalus) attenuatus


Bembidion (Diplocampa) assimile


Harpalus (Harpalus) rubripes


Bembidion (Philochthus) guttula


Harpalus (Harpalus) tardus


Pogonus chalceus


Dicheirotrichus gustavi


Pterostichus nigrita


Bradycellus harpalinus


Pterostichus strenuus


Demetrias atricapillus


Calathus cinctus


Dromius linearis


Calathus fuscipes


Dromius melanocephalus


Calathus melanocephalus


Dromius meridionalis


Calathus mollis


Metabletus foveatus


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 has been increasingly recorded in Greenland Lake and elsewhere on the reserve since 2000.

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 known to be present include:

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.

The introduced Tree Lupin Lupinus arboreus supports and an American aphid species Macrosiphum albifrons. In some years this large species can kill off large numbers of lupins, but it has not been recorded effecting any other species on site.

An introduced snail Toltecia pusilla, only a few mm long, originally from New Zealand, has been recorded in Greenland Lake. Other molluscs include the Common Garden Snail Helix aspersa and the marine species Hydrobia ulvae.  The shell of this tiny snail can 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.

The UK BAP listed brackish water crustacean Allomelita pellucida was recorded in 1937.

A species of leafhopper that was first discovered in 1980 on Warren Point, this was the first British record.

A nationally rare woodlouse has been recorded from debris on the tide line, although not recently.


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