A RARE fly, once thought to be extinct in the UK, has been spotted in south Herefordshire.

Local naturalist Ian Draycott discovered the fly at the White Rocks nature reserve last week.

The Downland Villa, also known as the Villa cingulata, is a fly but looks like a small bee.

This is the first time the fly has been recorded in Herefordshire since 1904 and now a healthy population has been recorded at the Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

Ian Draycott who spotted the fly is an expert of flora and fauna in the area.

He said: "At first I thought it was a strange hoverfly but its characteristic delta shaped wings and absence of a waist suggested otherwise.”

Martin Harvey, from the National Diptera Recording Scheme for the Biological Records Centre, said: “Villa cingulata has been spreading since its rediscovery in 2000, and new sites are being reported each year, but this is the furthest north-west it has been recorded after recent records in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.”

Pete Johnson, from Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, added: "So many species are becoming more scarce nationally, it is great to find a species thriving and expanding its range.

"Some may think that this is not be the most exciting animal but tiny creatures are just as fascinating as larger ones and are just as important to a healthy eco-system.”