A species of fly thought to be extinct was spotted in Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve in UK - alive and flying well. The said fly, called the Rhaphium pectinatum, was only seen once in the UK and so the latest discovery came as a surprise.

Rob Wolton, an expert naturalist and a member of the Devon Fly Group and the Dipterists Forum, specializing in the investigations of flies, was then on a trip to look for flies. He went to the nature reserve, particularly at the Old Sludge Beds located on the boundaries of Exeter for the said endeavor. During that evening, he was taken aback as he reviewed his catch and found a fly that has long been considered extinct in Britain as it has not been spotted for about 147 years. The said catch is absolutely something that can be included to the specialties of Devon, he said.

Victorian entomologist George Verrall last caught a male and female Rhaphium pectinatum at Richmond in Surrey on July 19, 1868. No further sightings of the species were recorded thereafter, placing it on the list of extinct animals. Rhaphium pectinatum is classified under the Dolichopidiae family, which is a group of long-legged flies. Most of these species, donning metallic green external features, are said to be located in tropical countries.

"Nothing is known about its biology, but it seems that it may like brackish (salty) 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," says Walton. The remarkable discovery of the presumed extinct fly is a testament of the essentiality of the efforts exerted by Devon Wildlife Trust in terms of monitoring these unique and special habitats, he adds.

"So often we have to break the news of species that are disappearing, so it's good to be able to announce the discovery of an animal that was thought to be extinct," says Steve Hussey from Devon Wildlife Trust. According to him, this is an exciting discovery for the nature reserve, which is managed by a team who has worked hard to keep the ponds, lagoons and reed beds conducive for wildlife animals including rare birds, dragonflies and amphibians. The latest discovery of the said fly species may signify that the team has been doing the right thing for many of the animals that in turn make the county distinguished.

Devon Wildlife Trust's Old Sludge Beds nature reserve measures about five hectares and is a located between Exeter Canal and River Exe. The place was originally used as storage for the sewage sediment of Exeter until 1969. In 1979, the place was turned into a nature reserve for people and wildlife creatures by The Trust, who also undertook its management since then.

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