Invertebrates Technical Factsheets from FWAG

Invertebrates of Heathland and Moorland


Heathland and moorland represents a broad habitat type, with its character depending on soil type, altitude, etc. It is characterised as a dwarf shrub habitat usually dominated by heather and with shrubs such as gorse. The habitat will also contain bracken, grass species that thrive in poor and thin soils, boggy areas, rock outcrops and bare ground, as well as flower species such as tormentil and heath bedstraw, which are important nectar source plants.

Fauna: e.g. Minotaur beetle

Minotaur beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus)

Large black dung beetle, the male with three prominent horns. Found in southern heathlands and northern moors, usually feeding on sheep or rabbit droppings on fairly dry soils. Local, but can be abundant where found.


Heathland is a National BAP priority habitat which is being affected by climatic change including atmospheric pollution. Many invertebrate species of heathland and moorland perform vital tasks such as recycling dead material, predation of pest species (such as aphids) and pollination. They also have an important place in the food chain, supporting local populations of small mammals, birds, etc.

Beneficial management

  • Aim for a mosaic of grassland and heather and, where appropriate, scrub. Moorland management relies largely on skilful grazing management.
  • Maintain some grazing to prevent total scrub invasion.
  • Allow some processes that create bare ground along paths and tracks.
  • Controlled burning of upland moorland can be beneficial for increasing diversity of invertebrates

Photo gallery 

Click <here> to view photographs of some important invertebrates of heathland and moorland.

Further information

For further information including possible grant aid contact your local FWAG Adviser and visit the FWAG website at

Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in the information sheet. However, FWAG cannot accept liability for any errors or omission.
Photographs Roger Key, English Nature
Author: Roger Key, English Nature
44.1 Jan 2004

ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
© University of Hertfordshire, 2011