a new paper on some new neighbours

We’ve just described some new species. That’s not news – thousands of new species are described every year by taxonomists from around the world. What is a little more interesting in this case is that these particular new species are from our own backyard – wetlands here in southern Quebec – one of the most densely populated and entomologically well-known parts of the country.

Amélie Grégoire Taillefer and Terry Wheeler have just published a revision of the North American species of the chloropid fly genus Calamoncosis (see Publications). This genus is well-known in Europe where several species develop in a range of host plants including the common reed (Phragmites). Many of the Phragmites-associated species actually feed in the galls produced by other chloropid flies in the genus Lipara. There were no described species of Calamoncosis known from North America until earlier this year, when some colleagues described a new species from New York State. That, however, was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve recorded two European species for the first time in North America, as well as  describing two new species that can be found in a range of wetland types in southern Quebec and northeastern Ontario.

Of course, describing and naming these species is only the first step towards understanding their biology. The habits and host plants of many of the European species are well-known. That is not the case here, where the natural history of most of the North American species is almost unknown. Being able to identify and attach a name to these newly discovered wetland inhabitants opens the door to discovering where and how they feed and which plants host our local species.

In other publication news: M.Sc. student Heather Cumming has published her first paper on the family Platypezidae – a review of the genus Seri (see Cumming and Cumming, 2011 under Publications). Look for more contributions on the fascinating flat-footed flies from Heather in the coming years. Also, our recent paper on nested patterns of  diversity in forest Diptera in the Monteregian Hills of southern Quebec (see Lévesque-Beaudin and Wheeler, 2011 under Publications) has been featured in a new Virtual Issue of Insect Conservation and Diversity on scaling conservation management actions to fine-grained ecological responses of invertebrates.

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About terry wheeler

professor, museum director, entomologist, ecologist, naturalist
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