Senckenberg German Entomological Institute Müncheberg


SDEI Diptera.



Dissertation Projects

The Phylogeny of the Black Fungus Gnats (Diptera: Sciaroidea: Sciaridae) of the Australasian region, with Special consideration of the Fauna of New Zealand

Arne Köhler (PhD Thesis)

Due to its long geographical isolation, New Zealand has long attracted the attention of many biologists. Well known examples of endemism – species that are strictly restricted to New Zealand – are the kiwis (birds) and the tuataras (lizard-like reptiles). Nearly all New Zealand black fungus gnats (Sciaridae) exist only on these islands. Two previous taxonomic studies – in 1927 and in 1999 – have revealed 53 species. Particularly the more recent of these studies focussed on the relatively densely populated North Island. However, the more natural South Island with its temperate rainforests, etc., should provide many habitats for the plant litter feeding sciarid larvae. The present project is based on a large collection of sciarids from the South Island. It is to be assumed that several new species will be discovered. Possibly such newly discovered species may lead to a better understanding of the colonisation of New Zealand by black fungus gnats.

Sciarids of New Zealand

(Photos: A. Köhler)