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Micropsectra curvicornis

Started by Laci Hamerlik, January 27, 2020, 05:59:57 PM

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Laci Hamerlik

Dear chiro-workers,

do you know anything about the present status of Micropsectra curvicornis Tshernovskij, 1949? The info I have found is rather confusing, some people recorded it from Europe, hence, it is not listed in Fauna Europae. Sawedal (1982) states that "Described on larva. Present status not known." So, is it a valid species or not?
Thank you!


Martin Spies

Dear Laci, dear all,

The name Micropsectra curvicornis has continued to be used by people still keying their larval material with Chernovskii (1949) - in some cases because there is no 'better' key for the respective area. Because of this rather frequent and wide usage of the name, it would probably have little effect in practice to remind such colleagues that 'technically', Micropsectra curvicornis is a nomen dubium, because Chernovskii's brief diagnosis is likely to apply to the larvae of more than a single species, and because it is unknown whether any of Chernovskii's material is still available and informative.

All that said, however, Mothes (1968: 94 in Annls zool. fenn. 5) claimed to have single-reared such larvae from two lakes in Brandenburg state, Germany, and identified the associated adults as Tanytarsus curticornis Kieffer sensu Lindeberg (1963)[which isn't necessarily the same species as Kieffer's!]. Astutely picking up on Mothes' work, Moller Pillot & Goddeeris (2001) in their "Identificatiesleutel voor Tanytarsus larven van Nederland en België" (13 pp.; distributed by the authors) keyed such larvae to "T. brundini / T. curticornis".

'So far, so good' one may think, but chironomids rarely let you off their hooklets this easily. As the Dutch authors' brundini/curticornis term probably reflects, the corresponding biological radiation does not appear to be fully resolved systematically and, thus, the corresponding usage of scientific species names is in disarray as well. For just one example here, pupal exuviae from the Thienemann sample that had produced Kieffer's adult type specimens of T. curticornis run to T. brundini in today's keys.

You can imagine that I could continue this for a long while, but I won't prove that here. Instead, I'd be grateful to hear from anyone who might have evidence that may allow morphological species separation of larvae with long, curved antennal pedestal projections like those in Chernovskii's (1949) illustration, which has been copied by most authors writing about these beasts.



Martin Spies

Laci Hamerlik

Thank you, Martin, for higly competent answer, as usual!

All the best,

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