According to a report in the Daily Telegraph (Last refuges of England’s rarest species revealed), Natural England has released a list of the most sensitive SSSIs, often the refuge of some of the most endangered species in the UK.
It’s often seemed to me (on the basis of nothing more than reports in the national media) that SSSI status offers little in the way of protection. Indeed, in my (increasingly frequent) moments of black humour, I often suggest that SSSI status seems to indicate the next place to be tarmacced over in some property development.
Anyway, it turns out there are over 4000 SSSIs, including the habitats of the startlingly lovely ladybird spider (illustrated in the Telegraph article), and the alarmingly named Queen’s executioner beetle. I looked up the Queen’s executioner beetle in Wikipedia, and discovered that it’s only had that name since July 2010, when a newspaper competition was run to find a common name for it.