Tayside and Central Scotland

Fly first for Scottish wildlife reserve

Platypalpus aliterolamellatus Kovalev Image copyright National Museums Scotland
Image caption The species was first discovered in Russia in 1971

A species of fly has been recorded for the first time in the UK after it was discovered on a Perthshire wildlife reserve.

Two female specimens of Platypalpus aliterolamellatus Kovalev were found on Ballinluig Island, part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Tummel Shingle Islands reserve near Pitlochry.

The species is a predatory fly which feeds on other insects.

It was first discovered in Russia in 1971.

The discovery was made by National Museums Scotland researcher Stephen Hewitt, who is studying flies that live on river shingle banks.

He said: "The flies are around 2 millimetres long and need to be identified under a high-powered microscope.

"They can be distinguished from other flies by looking at the tiny bristles on their heads, and the shape of their legs and feet.

"It wasn't too surprising to find a new species on Ballinluig Island, because it is recognised as one of the best sites of its kind in Britain."

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves manager Rab Potter said: "The shingle islands on the River Tummel are an ever-changing environment and one of the rarest habitats in the UK.

"Our reserve supports a huge range of invertebrates and more than 400 different plants, which in turn attracts a wide variety of birds."

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