This is still at the blue-skies stage, but there may be a way to get Pameridea marlothii legitimately into the UK for Roridula dentata.
This is rather badly needed for conservation, as the very restricted R. dentata habitat is under threat from - of all things- Redbush Tea (Rooibos) cultivation.
One problem is quarantine.
The bugs need to be quarantined on arrival in the UK, and the big institutions like Kew and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) can't risk their plant/animal collections. It's too expensive and difficult to use established customs facilities for a highly specialised symbiotic insect, known to respond badly to handling and disturbance.
One solution presents itself in amateur growers of Roridula dentata.
We are usually quite isolated, far apart from each other and distant from big animal/plant collections. Ideal for quarantine, where the organism (and anything it's carrying) is unlikely to pose a health hazard to humans and is highly unlikely to survive if it escapes into the cold, sunless, Roridula-free UK environment.
My daughter Emma found a way to transfer and transport Pameridea with 100% survival, so getting the bugs to you shouldn't be so much of a problem.
I would like to build up a list of British-based Roridula dentata growers who would be willing to quarantine Pameridea marlothii for Kew and ZSL, if they can get it into the UK.
Allow me to be doom-sayer for a moment:
You won't get paid, nor given host plants, and there is no guarantee you will be able to keep some of the P. marlothii.
Please bear in mind the potential risk to your collections and yourselves.
It is suspected - but so far unproven - that Pameridea are venomous. They are not known to bite people, nor is any toxin they may produce known to be active against humans.
In the extreme circumstance that P.marlothii was - or was carrying - something nasty, your entire plant collection may have to be burnt, or you might spend the rest of your curtailed lifespan in an oxygen tent. There may be even be costs involved for you. You will probably have to sign waivers to indemnify the importers.
I've kept Pameridea roridulae for over a year, and in that time no-one dropped dead, nor felt an overpowering urge to salivate and bite people. (With an understandable exception for Christine Blakeley, of course... Yum yum!)
I'm not saying anything will come of it, but please pass me your names if you're interested in joining the register of quarantine volunteers.
N.B. That of course includes anyone on (or retired from) the CPS Committee or Trustees! You're all welcome to help conserve this fascinating little bug
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