Soldierflies are smart-looking insects with coloured stripes recalling old-fashioned military uniforms, hence their name. Many species have aquatic larvae, which prefer the classier types of wetland like springs, fens and mossy pond margins. Wetland soldierflies are, therefore, a mark of habitats of high ecological quality.
Martin Hammond recently found larvae of the Flecked General – or Stratiomys singularior, to give its scientific name – in two of the flood basin ponds. This is classed as a Nationally Scarce species (i.e. it has a very restricted British distribution). It is usually found on coastal grazing marshes but with a few inland populations. This is apparently its northernmost site in Britain, the handful of other Yorkshire records coming from sites around the Humber and a few locations in South Yorkshire. The fact that larvae were found shows that it is breeding here. See National Biodiversity Network for rarity.
The Flecked General is just the latest in a long list of rare invertebrates found in the flood basin ponds, most of which have been dug by hand by volunteers.