Thousand species challenge – the results are in!

My thousand species challenge finished on New Year’s Eve, yet it felt more like a beginning than an end. This was an epic undertaking, but with the most amazing educational and obsessive attractants. The target was to find one thousand species, of any taxa, within a single kilometre square. The square that I chose included my garden, which also provided an interesting journey of discovery.

I reached one thousand species on 29th July 2013, and eventually ended up with 1,170. These included the following taxa:

  • Amphibian 3
  • Aphid 5
  • Bird 86
  • Bristletail 1
  • Bryophyte 16
  • Assorted bug 35
  • Centipede 2
  • Charophyte 1
  • Coleoptera 42
  • Crustacean 1
  • Diptera 53
  • Fish 3
  • Fungi 30
  • Hymenoptera 28
  • Lacewing 3
  • Lepidoptera 451
  • Lichen 10
  • Mammal 13
  • Millipede 4
  • Mollusc 22
  • Odonata 12
  • Orthoptera 6
  • Leech 1
  • Spider 27
  • Trichoptera 5
  • Vascular plant 305
  • Woodlouse 3
  • Worm 1

The moth trap was a major source of new species, and gave me valuable new skills, but it was the other taxa that really tested me (apart from birds). I never knew how difficult fungi were to identify, or caddisflies, or bees. Conversely, I found spiders, ground beetles, molluscs and hoverflies more straightforward.

It was also interesting to learn something about the habitats within my 1km square. A green lane was amazingly diverse, and the ponds, ditches and streams were an obvious source of new species. The garden was also terrific. These are important lessons for ecologists I think. Even small and isolated patches of habitats within a less diverse landscape are important for biodiversity, and not just protected species. Perhaps 3 out of the 1170 species I noted were legally protected!

It’s also the start of a great journey for me, as I start to become more knowledgeable about some species groups, and maybe even start finding some really rare and interesting things! It’s known as pan-species listing. Look it up, it may be for you!

Rosy footman moth

Rosy footman moth, one of the 1170!



  1. Well done, Wild Frontier Ecology team for your scrub clearance efforts at Buxton Heath !
    I’m glad you had an enjoyable day. I hope Susie can drag you back there during the summer when the place is in its full glory.
    Best wishes to you all,
    Colin Penny
    (Founder of Buxton Heath Wildlife Group on 16th May 1992, now exiled in Hungary).

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