Invertebrates Technical Factsheets from FWAG

Invertebrates of Hedgerows and Scrub


Ancient hedgerows will contain a wider variety of tree and shrub species than is associated with later planted, enclosure hedges. Scrub is a very diverse habitat type, but is characterised by grassland interspersed with shrubs such as hawthorn and gorse.

Fauna: e.g. Comma

The larva of the comma butterfly feeds on nettle, hop and elm spp. The historical distribution of this species has fluctuated greatly though presently it occurs throughout most of England and Wales.

Comma (Polygonia c-album)


Ancient hedgerows are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat. Many of the invertebrate species of hedgerow and scrub 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 range of hedge types and management options on the farm - some annual cutting, the majority cut on rotation and some allowed free growth.
  • Buffer hedgerows with an extended field margin and avoid drift of fertilisers and sprays.
  • Ancient hedgerows, with their greater range of shrub species and hedge bottom flora are of most value, target beneficial management to these first.
  • Maintain a range of scrub ages, with rotational management such as cutting.

Photo gallery 

Click <here> to view photographs of some important invertebrates of hedgerows and shrubs.

Further information

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

See also FWAG Technical Information Sheets 3 and 12.

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
43.1 Jan 2004

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