Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 18:26 UK

Highland midge 'not moving south'

Biting midge
Dr Blackwell said midges thrive in habitat not found south of the border

An expert on midges has dismissed newspaper reports that the Highland midge may be moving south due to climate change.

There has been an apparent drop in the levels of the insects in the north and west of Scotland.

This has coincided with increases in Northern Ireland and parts of south west England and Wales.

But Dr Alison Blackwell, from Edinburgh University, said it was likely to be due to localised weather conditions.

She said those areas were highly unlikely to ever face the levels of midges found in the Highlands.

"Midges need large areas of suitable habitat to reach the kind of numbers we see in the west coast of Scotland, where you get vast peat bogs and similar habitat," she said.

"There's nowhere in England which would match that."

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