CONSERVATIONISTS have urged MSPs to champion Scotland's threatened bug life and raise the profile of species at risk.

Six MSPs have already taken up a challenge after the call from Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

The future of the freshwater pearl mussel, which has more than half its population in Scottish rivers, has been taken onboard by Mary Scanlon, Tory list MSP for the Highlands and Islands.

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Also among the six is Angus Macdonald, MSP for Falkirk East, who has gone for the Bog sun-jumper spider (Heliophanus dampfi) which is 3mm long and is known to inhabit just five sites in central Scotland.

David Stewart, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is worried about the prospects for the Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus), now restricted to the flower-rich areas of the north and north-west of Scotland.

Craig Macadam, Buglife Scotland Director, said: "Becoming a species champion will help raise the profile of these endangered species. Buglife is delighted MSPs have selected invertebrates to champion."