Why did you choose this species?
I'm always keen to share the wonder of the wildlife on our doorsteps, especially the over-looked and under-appreciated. I see this species every few years on my local patch and like many flies in the Sciomyzidae family it is quite a lethargic mover, allowing me to get good photos. It's just a small brown fly but it has a subtle beauty of its own once you see it up close.
What are the threats that it faces?
Habitat loss is probably the most pressing. The larvae of this species feed on wetland snails so without marshy and boggy areas there will be no snails, and without the snails there will be no flies.
What can we do to help this species and others like it?
Protect the marshy habitats it needs: from development or draining; from peat extraction; from drying out due to diversion of water sources; from pesticides, herbicides and excess fertilisers.
What are your wider interests in nature?
I'm interested in all aspects of nature. As well as seeking out the some of the more obscure species I try to take good photos of species in the field to share and encourage other people's interest in nature. I am also interested in the lifestyles and interactions of species within their ecosystems.
Where is your favourite place for enjoying nature?
One site that I particularly enjoy is The Spearwort Fields, just south of Leicester. It has a remarkably rich flora and fauna for a suburban site. Despite recording there for many years I am constantly finding new species.
What are your top tips for helping wildlife?
The twin threats of climate change and ecosystem collapse can seem impossible for the individual to address, but we must do what we can for the sake of future generations. The key is to begin, making changes where you can. Support wildlife groups and charities, especially those actively conserving habitats and species. Make your garden more wildlife friendly. Don't use peat or pesticides. Learn about nature and share your knowledge. Stop or reduce your flying. Reduce your driving. Shop less, and shop with the environment in mind. Make sure your politicians know that green issues are important in winning your vote. And make sure they pay it more than lip-service. I could go on, but please, just start where you can. Everything we do matters and sets an example for others.