Protected species: invertebrates

Protected invertebrates found in Scotland include the extremely rare freshwater pearl mussel, plus other molluscs, insects and crustaceans.

Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) gives full protection to:

Further invertebrate species listed on Schedule 5 receive only partial protection.

Read the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedules 5 and 6

You can see our summary of offences in relation to these protected species below. For the definitive list of offences, you should consult the actual legislation.

Discover more about invertebrates found in Scotland.

Offences: protected invertebrates

For fully protected Schedule 5 invertebrates, it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly:

  • kill, injure or take a wild animal
  • damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place which such an animal uses for shelter or protection
  • disturb such an animal when it is occupying a structure or place for shelter or protection

It is also an offence to:

  • possess or control a living or dead Schedule 5 invertebrate
  • sell, offer for sale, or possess or transport for the purpose of sale any living or dead Schedule 5 invertebrate (or any such derivatives)

Knowingly causing or permitting any of the above acts to be carried out is also an offence.

Partial protection of a species under Schedule 5 generally prohibits the sale of animals.


Licensing allows named individuals to carry out actions that could otherwise constitute an offence. If you’re planning any activities that could affect protected invertebrates or the places they use, you must make sure you stay within the law.

Find out about protected invertebrate species and licensing and learn more about licensing.

Find out more

Protected species known to occur naturally in Scotland and their protection

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