Unknown midge mystery solved

June 18, 2015, Pensoft Publishers
Minute male genitalia with characteristic differences between two species in Gymnometriocnemus. Scale bar = 0.05 mm Credit: Elisabeth Stur, Torbjørn Ekrem

Revisiting original types and DNA analysis exposed hidden diversity in minute non-biting midges. Two species new to science were discovered and one misapprehended species was removed by following the traces back to the source in Brussels. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

"Nobody suspected a mystery until we solved it", says Elisabeth Stur, the senior author of the paper describing the misconception. - "Maybe even some will be upset that we discovered this long lasting misidentification".

It all started with Elisabeth Stur and Torbjørn Ekrem from the NTNU University Museum started to look at type material of in the genus Gymnometriocnemus to put correct names on their Norwegian specimens. These were vouchers for DNA barcodes in the Barcode of Life Data Systems, thus correct identification was important.

"We were surprised to find that the types of one species was not at all what it was supposed to be according to current belief", Stur says. - "They belonged to a quite different genus, but previous revisers never checked the types". Thus, a completely wrong understanding of the species was commonly accepted among entomologists working with midges.

As a result of their investigation and DNA barcoding of midges collected through the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative, two species new to science were also discovered.

"It is interesting that even in our relatively well documented area of the world, there still are new species to be discovered. Non-biting midges are fascinating creatures with an astonishing diversity and beauty - as long as you get them under the microscope" Stur adds.

Explore further: Museum bird DNA 'ready for use' in Naturalis Biodiversity Center

More information: Stur E, Ekrem T (2015) A review of Norwegian Gymnometriocnemus (Diptera, Chironomidae) including the description of two new species and a new name for Gymnometriocnemus volitans (Goetghebuer) sensu Brundin. ZooKeys 508: 127-142. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.508.9874

Related Stories

Vectors of bluetongue get a name

October 6, 2011

Scientists of the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG) have developed a molecular technique to easily and dependably identify the biting midges that spread bluetongue disease. Until know this identification was a ...

Dwarf dragons discovered in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador

April 6, 2015

Scientists have discovered three new species of dragon-esque woodlizards in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. The new species differ from their closest relatives in scale features, coloration and DNA. The study was published ...

Four new dragon millipedes found in China

October 30, 2014

A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers. ...

New cryptic amphipod discovered in West Caucasus caves

May 18, 2015

An international team of scientists have discovered a new species of typhlogammarid amphipod in the limestone karstic caves of Chjalta mountain range—the southern foothills of the Greater Caucasus Range. The study was published ...

Recommended for you

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

February 17, 2019

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

Diagnosing 'art acne' in Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings

February 17, 2019

Even Georgia O'Keeffe noticed the pin-sized blisters bubbling on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scholars assumed these tiny protrusions were grains of sand, kicked up from the New Mexico desert ...

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.