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A rare flutter-wing fly, Palloptera laetabilis, not seen in the UK for over 100 years has been found at Den of Airlie Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a woodland in Angus. This is also the first time this fly has ever been found in Scotland.
The rare fly was presumed to be extinct, but was found during site condition monitoring surveys completed by Caledonian Conservation under contract to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in 2015. The discovery has since been confirmed and published by Steven Falk (the fly expert on the project team) in the most recent issue of Dipterists Digest.
Den of Airlie SSSI is only the fifth site that this species has been recorded at in the UK, and the only one in Scotland. The other four sites are all located in England, with the last record being from Oxfordshire in 1907.
Chris Cathrine, Director of Caledonian Conservation and project leader for the 2015 invertebrate site condition monitoring project said: “Finding a species last recorded over a century ago is very exciting. That this is also the first record for the species in Scotland makes this all the more special. We found a great number of rare species during our surveys across Scotland. While Palloptera laetabilis is undoubtedly the most exciting, we hope to publish records from all 25 sites, including the Isle of Rum, in the future.”
The invertebrate records collected by Caledonian Conservation during these surveys (including Den of Airlie SSSI) are available on NBN Atlas at: https://registry.nbnatlas.org/public/show/dp4
Learn more about SNH’s work in Scotland at: http://www.snh.gov.uk/
Steven Falk’s paper on Palloptera laetabilis is available on the Caledonian Conservation publications page, or directly here.
Steven Falk was contracted by Caledonian Conservation to complete surveys for this project through his previous role at Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust. For more information on Steven Falk’s work and photography, please visit: http://www.stevenfalk.co.uk/
For more information about the Dipterists Digest visit: http://www.dipteristsforum.org.uk/sgb_dipterists_digest.php
Photo: Female Palloptera laetabilis from Den of Airlie Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) © Steven Falk