Peterborough at the centre of historic first for rare species

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A significant British wildlife first has been discovered right here in Peterborough.

Buglife Vice President Alan Stubbs has recently made the second ever recorded find of the Six-spot flat-footed fly (Agathomyia sexmaculata) in the UK, and the first ever recorded male in the country.

It was found in an area of willow and nettle in Alwalton, Peterborough.

The only previous British record of this species was a female caught at Thompson Common, Norfolk, on 13 October 2002; on the same latitude but about 80km due east.

The Six-spot flat-footed fly is one of the mushroom flies, a group of flies that lay their eggs in specific fungi, Bjerkandera fumosa a type of bracket fungus in this case often found on willow.

Alan Stubbs said: “One of the great things about studying invertebrates is the chance you may stumble on something rare even on your own doorstep. We can all take pride in the rare species found in our areas it is just a matter of going out and finding them.

The Six-spot flat-footed fly, first identified in 1840 by von Roser, the female is easily recognised by its black abdominal spots on a grey background whilst the male is all black.