Four new fungus gnat species have been described in a paper published in Biodiversity Data Journal. The species were collected from mires and old-growth forests of Finnish Lapland between 2012 and 2014.
“These four species are really interesting because they are rather distant to other known members of the genus Boletina,” said Dr. Jukka Salmela, one of the co-authors. “I am also confident that these species are very rare and may be dependent on old-growth forests or small water bodies such as springs and wetlands.”
About 1,000 fungus gnat species are known to occur in the Scandinavian Peninsula, representing about 83% of the continent’s total. Furthermore, undescribed fly species are continuously being discovered from North Europe.
“I must admit that it was a pleasure to give names to these species,” said Dr. Salmela.
The names of the new species all reflect northern nature in one way or another. Boletina valteri is named after Professor Valter Keltikangas, a forest researcher who made very demanding and physically tough field excursions to Finnish Lapland in the 1920s and the 1930s.
Boletina kullervoi derives from “Kalevala,” a Finnish national epic. It tells the story of an orphan named Kullervo who eventually kills his foster father and commits suicide. The violent story of Kullervo has also inspired composer Jean Sibelius for his first symphony, “Kullervo.”
Boletina hyperborea means “far north.” The species occurs in the Yukon and in northern Scandinavia. Similarly, Boletina nuortti is named after the River Nuortti. In the north Sami language, “nuorti” means east. The gorgeous and wild River Nuortti flows from Finland to Russia.
No fewer than 100 Scandinavian fungus gnat species await their formal description.
“The boreal and Arctic nature still holds many secrets,” Dr. Salmela said. “Entomologists with simple gear such as sweep nets, Malaise traps, and microscopes can still make notable discoveries even in rather well-studied regions such as Finland and Sweden. Samples collected from northern mires and boreal forests are never boring if one studies neglected groups such as small flies. These four newly described taxa just represent a small fraction of the numerous undescribed northern fly species, so they are like a tip of an iceberg.”
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