Gall Midge Project

Gall Midge Project News: Again, it goes on!
Period: 2018–2020
Funding: ArtDatabanken Sweden (3,100,000 SEK)
Project leader: Dr Mathias Jaschhof
Other personnel: Catrin Jaschhof

November 2017 ArtDatabanken took the decision to continue funding our project on the taxonomy and diversity of gall midges (family Cecidomyiidae) in Sweden for another three years. Being aware of the fact that there are other groups of poorly known organisms in need of basic research in Sweden, we take that grant as an honour and privilege—and as an incentive for tackling new challenges. A part of the coming three years of research will address, for the first time in our career, the predators among the gall midges. This is another species-rich subgroup of Cecidomyiidae whose diversity, in Sweden and the world, is known only in fragments. Our project, designed to focus on Lestodiplosis and related genera, will contribute to the taxonomic revision of the world fauna, which is vitally needed (and demanded for a long time) for these tiny midges. It goes without saying that we will also continue doing research into the fungus-feeding gall midges of Sweden, which were recently shown to be more speciose than previously estimated by us—thanks to a new approach of combining morphology with molecular data (see below the outline of our project for the years 2015–2017).

Considering that ArtDatabanken has granted substantial amounts of taxpayer’s money in support of our research since 2004, some people might ask for the outcomes from this investment. Scientists’ currency is mostly publications, so below is a list of our publications on Swedish (and other Nordic) Cecidomyiidae produced during funding by ArtDatabanken. All these papers together contain descriptions of close to 200 species new to science. And: now it goes on!

The Gall Midge Project… goes on!

Period: 2015–2017
Funding: ArtDatabanken Sweden (3,180,000 SEK)Project leader: Dr Mathias JaschhofOther personnel: Catrin Jaschhof 

Why Gall Midges? Cecidomyiidae (gall midges), one of the most biodiverse families of the order Diptera (two-winged insects), contain more than 6,200 described species—mostly plant-feeders, but also fungus-feeders and predators. Cecidomyiids are abundant and ubiquitous in terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Even so, due to their small size and other difficulties in studying them, they have never attracted much research interest by dipterist-taxonomists and are thus ranked among the least known dipterans. At present only fragments of the world fauna are known and the number of world species is regarded as inestimable. To illustrate these facts, more than 800 species of gall midges, almost all unknown to science, have recently been found within just 4 hectares of tropical cloud forest!

To present knowledge, the Swedish fauna includes 240 plant-feeding species (classified in the subfamily Cecidomyiinae) and 409 fungus-feeding species (Lestremiinae, Micromyinae, Winnertziinae, and Porricondylinae). Only the fungus-feeders are well documented, thanks to two previous projects funded by ArtDatabanken. There are indications that the Swedish fauna actually comprises more than twice as many species as currently known, i.e. 500–600 plant-feeders, 500–600 fungus-feeders, and 100 predators. So there is still a long way to go before we may regard the Swedish Cecidomyiidae as adequately inventoried!

The Gall Midge Project, designed to closing this gap of faunistic and taxonomic knowledge, aims at the identification and documentation of 300+ species new to Sweden and 60+ species new to science. Specimens to study come from the rich Cecidomyiidae material generated by the Swedish Malaise Trap Project as well as from fresh collections (to be made in the course of the project) in Öland, Gotland, and several carefully selected sites on the Swedish mainland. The identification and classification of species will be based on both morphological and molecular evidence. Relevant results, such as new taxa, generic revisions, and identification keys, will be published in peer-reviewed journals, and voucher specimens will be deposited in the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet Stockholm.

Why Station Linné? The Station is the ideal base for studying the biodiversity and taxonomy of Swedish Cecidomyiidae: it ensures closest distance to the Swedish Malaise Trap Project, which is a major source of study material; it provides an adequate environment for rearing gall midges from infested plant material, as the Station maintains a greenhouse facility; and it allows for short distances to the envisaged collecting sites. Moreover, Station Linné is adequately equipped for morpho-taxonomic research, and some of its employees are themselves actively involved in biodiversity research. Altogether, all the Station breathes the animating spirit of discovery.

Who is funding this research? The Gall Midge Project is a subproject of, and funded by The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative (STI), which strives to inventory all the multicellular fauna and flora of Sweden. Of 50,000–60,000 multicellular species estimated to occur in Sweden, up to 1,300 might be gall midges. Being an ambitious and unique endeavour in biodiversity research in general, STI has performed as one of the major supporters of particularly cecidomyiid research for many years now. In fact, STI means far more than a regional enterprise for the study of gall midges, especially fungus-feeders. Nowhere else on the planet are fungus-feeding cecidomyiids so intensively studied as in Sweden—thanks to STI.

List of publications relevant to Nordic Cecidomyiidae (and a few other, related Diptera) produced with funding from The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative

Jaschhof, M. 2017. A taxonomic review of Palaearctic Peromyia Kieffer (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae, Micromyinae), with descriptions of thirty-eight new species mostly from Sweden. Studia dipterologica  23 (1) 2016: 51–116.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2017. New species of Aprionus (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae, Micromyinae) from Sweden and other parts of the Palearctic region. European Journal of Taxonomy  378: 1–38.

Gagné, R.J. & Jaschhof, M. 2017. A Catalog of the Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) of the World. Forth edition. Digital version 3.

Jaschhof, M. 2017. Catochini, Strobliellini and Acoenoniini revisited: a taxonomic review of the small tribes of the Micromyinae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Zootaxa 4250 (3): 275–295.

Sikora, T., Jaschhof, M. & Ševcik, J. 2017. Glossostyles perspicua gen. et sp. nov. and other fungivorous Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) new to the Czech and Slovak Republics.  European Journal of Taxonomy 303: 1–29.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2017. Mycophagous gall midges (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae: Lestremiinae, Micromyinae, Winnertziinae, Porricondylinae): first records in Sweden and descriptions of closely related new species from elsewhere. Zootaxa 4226 (4): 546–570.

Sevcik, J., Kasprak, D., Mantic, M., Fitzgerald, S., Sevcikova, T., Tothova, A. & Jaschhof, M. 2016. Molecular phylogeny of the megadiverse insect infraorder Bibionomorpha sensu lato (Diptera). PeerJ 4:e2563; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2563.

Wirta, H. K., Várkonyi, G., Rasmussen, C., Kaartinen, R. M., Schmidt, N. M., Hebert, P. D. N., Barták, M., Blagoev, G., Disney, H., Ertl, S., Gjelstrup, P., Gwiazdowicz, D. J., Huldén, L., Ilmonen, J., Jakovlev, J., Jaschhof, M., Kahanpää, J. V., Kankaanpää, T. T., Krogh, P. H., Labbee, C., Lettner, C., Michelsen, V., Nielsen, S. A., Nielsen, T. R., Paasivirta, L., Pedersen, S., Pohjoismäki, J., Salmela, J. A. M., Vilkamaa, P. A., Väre, H. U., von Tschirnhaus, M. & Roslin, T. V. 2016. Establishing a community-wide DNA barcode library as a new tool for arctic research. Molecular Ecology Resources 16 (3): 809–822.

Jaschhof, M. 2016. A review of world Diallactiini (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae, Winnertziinae), with the description of six new genera and seventeen new species. Zootaxa 4127 (2): 201–244.

Jaschhof, M. 2016. New species of Monepidosis Mamaev, 1966 and Antipodosis gen. nov., a closely related genus from New Zealand. European Journal of Taxonomy 192: 1–24.

Jaschhof, M. 2016. Taxonomic revision of some Micromyinae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) described by Zoya L. Berest. Zootaxa 4097 (2): 255–262.

Jaschhof, M. 2015. A review of the Aprionus flavidus group, with description of two new species close to Aprionus betulae Jaschhof (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae, Micromyinae).  Studia dipterologica 21 (2) (2014): 221–229.

Jaschhof, M. 2015. Morphological re-examination reveals that Campylomyza serrata Jaschhof, 1998 is a complex of five cryptic species (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae, Micromyinae). Contributions to Entomology 65 (2): 373–381.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2015. Linnaeomyia hortensis gen. et spec. nov. (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae, Porricondylinae) from a backyard site in Öland, Sweden. Zootaxa 4018 (2): 292–296.

Jaschhof, M. 2015. [Chapter] 17.12. Cecidomyiidae (Gall midges). – Pp. 572–574 in: Böcher, J., Kristensen, N.P., Pape, T. & Vilhelmsen, L. (eds), The Greenland Entomofauna. An Identification Manual of Insects, Spiders and their Allies. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 44, Leiden / Boston: Brill, 881 pp.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2015. New species and new distribution records of Lestremiinae, Micromyinae and Porricondylinae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in Sweden. Zootaxa 3973 (1): 159–174.

Jaschhof, M., Skuhravá, M. & Penttinen, J. 2014. Checklist of the Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) of Finland. In: Kahanpää, J. & Salmela, J. (eds): Checklist of the Diptera of Finland. ZooKeys 441: 103–118.

Gagné, R.J. &.Jaschhof, M. 2014. A Catalog of the Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) of the World. Third edition. Digital version 2.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2013. The Porricondylinae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) of Sweden, with notes on extralimital species. Studia dipterologica Supplement 20: 1–392.

Jaschhof, M. & Jaschhof, C. 2009. The Wood Midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae: Lestremiinae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Studia dipterologica Supplement 18, 333 pp.

Penttinen, J. & Jaschhof, M. 2009. On the systematics of Sylvenomyia Mamaev & Zaitzev (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae, “Porricondylinae”), with the description of a new species from Finland. Zootaxa 2009: 48–54.

Jaschhof, M., Jaschhof, C., Viklund, B. & Kallweit, U. 2006. On the morphology and systematic position of Sciarosoma borealis Chandler, based on new material from Fennoscandia (Diptera: Sciaroidea). Studia dipterologica 12 (2005) (2): 231–241.