Norway discovers 100+ new insect species with DNA analysis
A recent study has discovered over 100 previously unknown insect species in Norway through the use of DNA analysis on collected samples.
It is clear that there are still undiscovered species in our environment, but with diligent and patient research, new species of plants and animals continue to be identified.
Though it may take years of careful study and observation, the value of such discoveries for the scientific community cannot be overstated.
Discovery of 47 new species of water insects
In a recent study conducted by NTNU University Museum, researchers surveyed biting, non-biting, and water mites across roughly 100 locations in southern Norway.
The project also involved updating the species list of Norwegian biting insects and water pests with previously recorded information.
The study’s project manager, Elizabeth Stur, stated that DNA analysis was performed on most of the species collected, creating a DNA barcode to characterize each species and allowing for comparison of genetic characteristics with those of species from other regions.
Water mites, in particular, saw a notable discovery of 47 new species previously unknown to Norway. Despite the potential lack of excitement from some individuals, Stur highlights the diversity of these species and their important roles in the natural world.
Biting insects were found to primarily consume food as larvae, which could include algae, fungi, plant debris, or other animals depending on their habitat.
As adults, they may also feed on flower nectar, pollen, and other insects, with some species being bloodsuckers. Small water bugs, on the other hand, are predators as adults and crawl along the bottoms of streams, rivers, and other bodies of water to prey on other invertebrates.
Their larvae may also be parasitic on aquatic insects, while adults may hitchhike on flying insects. While the discovery of over 100 new insect species is certainly significant, Stur notes that many more are yet to be discovered.
Future research projects may continue to uncover new water bugs and small biting insects in Norway. The study has been published in the Norwegian Journal of Entomology.
New small red-eyed damselfly species
Insect Conservation and Diversity Journal has published a study on a new species of dragonfly that has surfaced in the United Kingdom, as reported by Nature World News.
The study suggests that the emergence of this new damselfly species may have an impact on native dragonflies in the UK, but further research is needed to fully understand the effects of invasive species on the country’s indigenous dragonfly population.
More than just a human tormentor
Although the discovery of more biting midges and mites in Norway may not spark excitement in some, it is important to recognize the diversity and significance of these species in the natural world.
Elizabeth Stur, a researcher and project manager at NTNU University Museum, explains that biting midges primarily consume food as larvae, which varies depending on their habitat, and can include algae, fungi, plant remains, or other animals.
Water mites, on the other hand, are distant relatives of ticks and other mites, but they do not feed on mammal blood.
Stur notes that adult water mites are predators and can be found crawling along the bottom of streams, rivers, and other bodies of water, preying on other invertebrates.
Meanwhile, their larvae are often parasitic on aquatic insects and may hitch a ride on adult flying insects.
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