On 18 July, local naturalist and photographer Gino Brignoli photographed a flat-footed fly along a path in Sanctuary Wood, in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.
It was confirmed by expert Peter Chandler as the nationally rare Agathomyia collini. The species was classified as Endangered in a review published by Natural England in 2018. Previously known from about a dozen sites across southern England, there have only been two 21st Century records, one from a Lewisham garden and one in Suffolk. Gino returned to Cemetery Park on 21 July and found a further three Agathomyia collini, suggesting that there is an established population there. This is the first record in Tower Hamlets and in the former county of Middlesex.
Flat-footed flies (family Platypezidae) feed on fungi as larvae. The larvae develop in living fungal tissue and most species are associated with a specific fungus or group of fungi. Adults are most often found around their host fungi or running about erratically on surfaces of broad leaves, where they feed on honeydew. Agathomyia collini is thought to be associated with bracket fungi, possibly those growing on old fruit trees.
Header photo: Agathomyia collini in Cemetery Park by Gino Brignoli