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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 09:34 GMT
Rare ants found at proposed site
Narrow-headed wood ant. (Pic: Tim Ransom)
Narrow-headed wood ants obtain honeydew from aphids
Scotland's rarest wood ant inhabits a proposed housing site which has already been identified as having red squirrels, conservationists have said.

Cairngorms National Park Authority is seeking legal advice on the plan to build 117 homes near Carrbridge because of the high number of squirrels.

Organisation Buglife Scotland said the location is one of only seven sites in the UK to have narrow-headed wood ant.

Developer Tulloch Homes has said people and squirrels can live side-by-side.

An environmental assessment commissioned by the company as part of its planning application identified a significant number of red squirrels.

Rarest species

David Sutherland, of Tulloch Homes, said the need for affordable housing in the national park and conserving wildlife could both be met.

Buglife Scotland is opposed to the development.

It said the narrow-headed ant, Formica exsecta, is the rarest of the four wood ant species found in Scotland.

One of the seven UK sites is on heath land in Devon and the remaining six in glades and clearings in Caledonian pine woodland.

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