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Concept: Chironomidae


Mosquito control based on the use of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is regarded as an environmental friendly method. However, Bti also affects non-target chironomid midges that are recognized as a central resource in wetland food webs. To evaluate the risk for different larval stages of Chironomus riparius we performed a test series of daily acute toxicity laboratory tests following OECD guideline 235 over the entire aquatic life cycle of 28 days. Our study is the first approach that performs an OECD approved test design with Bti and C. riparius as a standard organism in ecotoxicological testing. First-instar larvae of Chironomus riparius show an increased sensitivity towards Bti which is two orders of magnitude higher than for fourth instar larvae. Most EC50 values described in the literature are based on acute toxicity tests using third and fourth instar larvae. The risk for chironomids is underestimated when applying the criteria of the biocide regulation EU 528/2012 to our data and therefore the existing assessment approval is not protective. Possible impacts of Bti induced changes in chironomid abundances and community composition may additionally affect organisms at higher trophic levels, especially in spring when chironomid midges represent a key food source for reproducing vertebrates.

Concepts: Organism, Larva, Mosquito, Trophic level, Food chain, Bacillus thuringiensis, Chironomidae, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis


The genus Troglocladius Andersen, Baranov et Hagenlund, gen. n. is erected based on T. hajdi Andersen, Baranov et Hagenlund, sp. n. collected at 980 m depth in the Lukina jama-Trojama cave system in Croatia. Morphological features such as pale color, strongly reduced eyes and very long legs make it a typical cave animal. Surprisingly, it has also retained large wings and appears to be capable of flight which would make T. hajdi the first flying troglobiont worldwide, disproving previous beliefs that bats are the only animals capable of flying in complete darkness. Morphologically the new species does not readily fit within any described genus, but shares characteristics with genera both in the tribes “Metriocnemini” and “Orthocladiini”. Bayesian molecular phylogenetic analysis using the markers COI, 18S rDNAs, 28S rDNA, CADI, and CADIV groups it with the genera Tvetenia, Cardiocladius and Eukiefferiella in the tribe “Metriocnemini”. Troglocladius hajdi may be parthenogenetic, as only females were collected. The discovery confirms the position of the Dinaric arch as a highly important hotspot of subterranean biodiversity.

Concepts: Biology, Organism, Species, Order, Cave, Chironomidae, Croatia, Orthocladiinae


Understanding predator-prey dynamics is a fundamental task in the evaluation of the adaptive capacities of species. However, direct observations or morphological identification of fecal remains do not offer an effective way to study the dietary ecology of elusive species, such as nocturnal insectivorous bats. However, recent advances in molecular techniques have opened a new method for identifying prey species from fecal samples. In this study, we amplified species-specific mitochondrial COI fragments from fecal DNA extractions from 34 individual Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii) collected between 2008 and 2010 from southwestern Finland. Altogether, 128 different species of prey were identified based on a comprehensive local DNA reference library. In our study area, Daubenton’s bats feed most frequently on insects of the orders Diptera (found in the diet of 94% individuals), Trichoptera (69%) and Lepidoptera (63%). The most frequent dipteran family in the diet was Chironomidae, which was found in 31 of 34 individuals. Most common prey species were chironomids Microtendipes pedellus (found in 50% of bats), Glyptotendipes cauliginellus (44%), and Procladius ferrugineus (41%). For the first time, an accurate species level list of the diet of the insectivorous Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii) in Finland is presented. We report a generally applicable method for describing the arthropod diet of vertebrate predators. We compare public databases to a national database to highlight the importance of a local reference database.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Insect, Predation, Lotka–Volterra equation, Bat, Carnivore, Chironomidae


Surrogate approaches are widely used to estimate overall taxonomic diversity for conservation planning. Surrogate taxa are frequently selected based on rarity or charisma, while selection using statistical modeling has been rarely applied. We used boosted regression tree models (BRT) fitted to biological data from 165 springs to identify bryophyte and invertebrate surrogates for taxonomic and functional diversity of boreal springs. We focused on these two groups because they are well known and abundant in most boreal springs. According to BRT, the best indicators for taxonomic vs. functional diversity differed: while the bryophyte Bryum weigelii and the chironomid larva Paratrichocladius skirwithensis best indicated taxonomic diversity, the isopod Asellus aquaticus and the chironomid Macropelopia spp. were the best surrogates of functional diversity. In a scoring algorithm for priority-site selection, taxonomic surrogates performed only slightly better than random selection for all spring-dwelling taxa, but were very effective in representing spring specialists, providing a distinct improvement over random solution. However, the surrogates for taxonomic diversity performed poorly in representing functional diversity, and vice versa. When combined with cross-taxon complementarity analyses, surrogate selection based on statistical modelling provides a promising approach for identifying groundwater-dependent ecosystems of special conservation value, a key requirement of the EU Water Framework Directive. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Conservation biology, European Union, The Surrogates, Jonathan Mostow, Copyright, Water Framework Directive, Chironomidae


The aim of this work was to highlight the main ecological predictors driving invertebrate distribution in eight glacier-fed streams in the Southern Alps. Thirty-five sites belonging to four stream types were sampled monthly during the ablation season of one, two or three years between 1996 and 2014. Taxa from glacial (kryal and glacio-rhithral) and non-glacial (kreno-rhithral and lake outlet) sites were separated by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) along a glacial influence gradient and a hydrological-altitudinal gradient. High glacial influence was associated mainly with low maximum water temperature (Tmax), high Glacial Index (calculated as a function of glacier area and distance from the glacier), and the abundance of Diamesa species (D. steinboecki, D. goetghebueri, D. zernyi, and D. latitarsis). Change-point analysis and Threshold Indicator Taxa Analysis confirmed the CCA results in identifying these Diamesa species as the taxa with the strongest preference for high percent glacier cover in the catchment (change point~30%) and low Tmax (change point~6°C). Temporal changes in community structure were highlighted in seven sites fed by glaciers under different retreat rates. Where the rate was faster and the remaining glacier smaller (≪1km2), the most cold-stenothermal kryal inhabitant, D. steinboecki, almost disappeared or survived only as brachypterous populations, whereas other Diamesinae (Pseudokiefferiella parva), Orthocladiinae (e.g. Eukiefferiella, Orthocladius), Limoniidae, Baetidae, Nemouridae, and non-insect taxa (e.g. Oligochaeta, Hydracarina) became more abundant. Upstream migration was observed in Diamesa spp. which conquered new stream reaches left free by the retreating glacier, and euriecious taxa which colonized reaches with ameliorated environmental conditions, no longer the exclusive habitat of Diamesa spp. Co-occurrence of stochastic and deterministic assembly processes seem to drive spatio-temporal changes in these invertebrate communities. Long-term ecological studies on the adaptive biology of kryal species will be useful to predict the fate of Alpine biodiversity.

Concepts: Species, Water, Glacier, South Island, Chironomidae, Glacier mass balance, Orthocladiinae, Glaciers


In this study, mouthpart deformities in Chironomid larvae (Diptera) were investigated in relation to sediment contamination in the Shiroro Lake in Nigeria. Metals and chironomids were sampled monthly at three stations (A-C) between August 2013 and January 2014. Across the stations, zinc ranged (3.9-75mg/g), manganese (1.29-1.65mg/g), lead (0.00-0.10mg/g), iron (101-168mg/g) and copper (0.13-0.17mg/g). The metal ions did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between the sampling stations. However, zinc and iron ions were significantly different between the sampling seasons (P < 0.05). Thirteen chironomid species were recorded, with Chironomus sp., Polypedilum sp. and Ablabesmyia sp. dominating the assemblage structure. Mouthpart deformities were significantly higher at Station A compared with Station C, and seasonally significantly higher during dry season compared with wet season. Elevated incidences of deformity were recorded in Chironomus spp larvae as compared to other genera therefore for further studies in this region assessments should be based solely on Chironomus species and ignoring the rest. Strategies need to be developed to reduce the contaminations and the biological effects.

Concepts: Iron, Aluminium, Metal, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Seasons, Chironomidae


This field ecological study, based on the chironomid pupal exuvial technique (CPET), is new for the Paraná River and proposes an efficient tool to be used in future ecological approaches and biomonitoring. Drifting of pupal exuviae in a river-floodplain system of the Middle Paraná River floodplain was represented by 34 Chironomidae taxa, being the characteristic association obtained from the CPET: Lopescladius, Onconeura, Paralauterborniella, Polypedilum, and Harnischia complex. Diversity, richness, dominance, total density, and density of dominant taxa were different between the longitudinal and lateral dimensions but not between hydrologic phases, with a greater diversity and richness in the main channel of the river and higher density and dominance in floodplain habitats. The species turnover is the dominant process in structuring studied assemblages in spatial and temporal analysis, increasing in the floodplain habitats and in low-water phase. The results obtained showed that drifting exuviae in the longitudinal axis were coming from different assemblages and environments of a wider area (regional), while exuviae recorded in the connections of the floodplain environments in the lateral dimension could reflect the local assemblages. We demonstrated the ecological value of CPET studies to interpret the attributes of Chironomidae assemblage in river-floodplain systems of large rivers in an integrated way.

Concepts: Natural environment, Dimension, River, Complex number, Ecological economics, Floodplain, Chironomidae, Chironominae



A new species of Tanypus Meigen, T. urszulae sp. nov. from Brazil, is described and figured as adult male, pupa and larva. Additionally, the generic diagnosis for the larva is emended.

Concepts: Insect, Fly, Chironomidae, Neotropic ecozone, Tanypodinae, Tanypus


The immature stages are described for the first time for Chironomus (Xenochironomus) australiensis Freeman (Diptera: Chironomidae) and the adult male is redescribed including from type specimens. The species does not belong to Chironomus Meigen or Xenochironomus Kieffer, but is best placed in a modestly expanded Einfeldia Kieffer. Application of this genus name is clarified, including by a lectotype fixation for its type species, E. pectoralis Kieffer, 1924. Einfeldia australiensis (Freeman) comb. n. provides the first record of the genus from Australia; otherwise the genus is reported confidently only from North America, Central America and western Europe to Japan. The immature stages of E. australiensis occur in relatively shallow mesotrophic to eutrophic dune lakes and maars with circum-neutral pH and high conductivity, from southeastern Queensland to southern Australia. The cytology is described briefly from larval salivary glands. Alternative genus placements for the species are discussed, and problems with Einfeldia and connected systematics in the tribe Chironomini are addressed.

Concepts: Biology, Europe, North America, Central America, Zoological nomenclature, Chironomidae, Chironominae, Chironomini