STAFF REPORTER TWO new species of wildlife have been identified in the nature reserve of Albufera near Alcudia, reported the regional ministry for the Environment yesterday.

The first is a fly, discovered by insect expert Phil Withers who has been working in the natural wetlands for the past year. Prior to the new species (Renocera lyami) being identified, there were already 450 types of fly known to exist in the reserve.

The second is a type of orchid spotted in the park by Withers at the end of last month which has been christened with the Latin name of Serapias vomeracea. The park is also home to twenty-two other types of orchid.

Although the orchid has never been seen in the Balearics before, it does apparently exist in other parts of the Mediterranean, specifically in Portugal and as far east as Turkey and Cyprus. The dark red, late-flowering orchid lives in sandy areas and is large in comparison with other varieties.

The Albufera wetlands are known to be home to some 3'000 different species of plants, fungus and animals. Some of them have not been found anywhere else on Earth. Visiting the park yesterday was Balearic Environment and Transport Minister Biel Vicens. His trip and the announcement of the finding of the two new species, coincided with International Biodiversity Day.

Vicens spoke of the ecological importance of the Albufera wetlands and said that “less needs to be said, and more needs to be done,” about protecting the adjacent natural ground of Son Bosc which is also home to a type of rare orchid.

Meanwhile, Balearic conservation group, GOB, took the opportunity of the recent discoveries to pour scorn on plans to build a golf course on Son Bosc. Excavators have already moved in.

GOB said that it was shameful that an area of great biodiversity such as Son Bosc could fall prey to the political expediency of local government. They placed the blame for the move to destroy the habitat on the development company Golf Playa de Muro and local hoteliers' associations.