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Monday, 3 August 2015

A happy fly, in summer's play...

(from DWT press release)

A fly thought to have been extinct for almost 150 years has been found alive and well and living in Exeter, at DWT's Old Sludge Beds nature reserve on the southern edge of the city.

The last known and only other record of the Rhaphium pectinatum fly was on 19 July 1868, when the renowned Victorian entomologist George Verrall caught a male and female in Richmond, Surrey. 

The re-discovery was made by Devon naturalist Rob Wolton. “I took a recent trip to Devon Wildlife Trust’s Old Sludge Beds nature reserve on the outskirts of Exeter specifically to look for flies. I examined my catch that evening to find it included a fly that was presumed extinct in Britain, not having been seen for 147 years. Definitely one to add to the list of Devon specialities.”
photo: Rob Wolton

The metallic green fly is in the Family Dolichopodidae, known colloquially as 'long-legged flies'. Most members of the family live in tropical areas of the world. 

“Nothing is known about its biology, but it seems that it may like brackish conditions like those found at the Old Sludge Beds, and may even be associated with the extensive tidal reed beds nearby at the head of the Exe estuary,” said Rob.

The Old Sludge Beds have been a DWT reserve since 1979 and adjoin DWT's Exe Reed Beds reserve.

On a recent visit there I saw this handsome bug, Deraeocoris ruber. Is it feeding on the ladybird pupa?