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Article

Peering into the Darkness: DNA Barcoding Reveals Surprisingly High Diversity of Unknown Species of Diptera (Insecta) in Germany

1
SNSB-Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Münchhausenstr. 21, 81247 München, Germany
2
Department Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU), Großhaderner Str. 2, Martinsried, 82152 Planegg, Germany
3
Station Linné, Ölands Skogsby 161, 38693 Färjestaden, Sweden
4
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ding Yang
Insects 2022, 13(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010082
Received: 16 November 2021 / Revised: 16 December 2021 / Accepted: 5 January 2022 / Published: 12 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diptera Diversity in Space and Time)
Roughly two-thirds of the insect species described from Germany belong to the orders Diptera (flies) or Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants and sawflies). However, both orders contain several species-rich families that have received little taxonomic attention until now. This study takes the first step in assessing these “dark taxa” families and provides species estimates for four challenging groups of Diptera (Cecidomyiidae, Chironomidae, Phoridae and Sciaridae). The estimates given in this paper are based on the sequencing results of over 48,000 fly specimens that have been collected in southern Germany via Malaise traps that were operated for one season each. We evaluated the fraction of species in our samples belonging to well-known fly families in order to estimate the species richness of the challenging “dark taxa” (DT families hereafter). Our results suggest a surprisingly high proportion of undetected biodiversity in a supposedly well-investigated country: at least 1800–2200 species await discovery and description in Germany in these four families.
Determining the size of the German insect fauna requires better knowledge of several megadiverse families of Diptera and Hymenoptera that are taxonomically challenging. This study takes the first step in assessing these “dark taxa” families and provides species estimates for four challenging groups of Diptera (Cecidomyiidae, Chironomidae, Phoridae, and Sciaridae). These estimates are based on more than 48,000 DNA barcodes (COI) from Diptera collected by Malaise traps that were deployed in southern Germany. We assessed the fraction of German species belonging to 11 fly families with well-studied taxonomy in these samples. The resultant ratios were then used to estimate the species richness of the four “dark taxa” families (DT families hereafter). Our results suggest a surprisingly high proportion of undetected biodiversity in a supposedly well-investigated country: at least 1800–2200 species await discovery in Germany in these four families. As this estimate is based on collections from one region of Germany, the species count will likely increase with expanded geographic sampling. View Full-Text
Keywords: Diptera; insects; dark taxa; taxonomic impediment; species estimates; DNA barcoding; biodiversity; German insect fauna Diptera; insects; dark taxa; taxonomic impediment; species estimates; DNA barcoding; biodiversity; German insect fauna
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chimeno, C.; Hausmann, A.; Schmidt, S.; Raupach, M.J.; Doczkal, D.; Baranov, V.; Hübner, J.; Höcherl, A.; Albrecht, R.; Jaschhof, M.; Haszprunar, G.; Hebert, P.D.N. Peering into the Darkness: DNA Barcoding Reveals Surprisingly High Diversity of Unknown Species of Diptera (Insecta) in Germany. Insects 2022, 13, 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010082

AMA Style

Chimeno C, Hausmann A, Schmidt S, Raupach MJ, Doczkal D, Baranov V, Hübner J, Höcherl A, Albrecht R, Jaschhof M, Haszprunar G, Hebert PDN. Peering into the Darkness: DNA Barcoding Reveals Surprisingly High Diversity of Unknown Species of Diptera (Insecta) in Germany. Insects. 2022; 13(1):82. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010082

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chimeno, Caroline, Axel Hausmann, Stefan Schmidt, Michael J. Raupach, Dieter Doczkal, Viktor Baranov, Jeremy Hübner, Amelie Höcherl, Rosa Albrecht, Mathias Jaschhof, Gerhard Haszprunar, and Paul D. N. Hebert. 2022. "Peering into the Darkness: DNA Barcoding Reveals Surprisingly High Diversity of Unknown Species of Diptera (Insecta) in Germany" Insects 13, no. 1: 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010082

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