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Published: 2016-02-15

Cryptic species in the nuisance midge Polypedilum nubifer (Skuse (Diptera: Chironomidae) and the status of Tripedilum Kieffer

Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia.
Genetics, Genomics & Development, School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 3010.
SNSB - Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Münchhausenstr. 21, 81247 München, Germany.
Diptera Chironominae taxonomy new species synonymy immature stages


Polypedilum nubifer (Skuse, 1889), originally described from Australia, is an apparently widespread species of Chironomidae (Diptera) that can attain nuisance densities in some eutrophic water bodies. Appropriate management depends upon the identity and ability to distinguish from potential cryptic taxa. A morphological study of larvae, pupae and adults of both sexes confirmed P. nubifer as widely distributed and frequently abundant, but also revealed two previously cryptic species of limited distribution in northern Australia. These species are described as new and illustrated in all stages here. Polypedilum quasinubifer Cranston sp. n. is described from north-west Queensland, Australia and also from Thailand and Singapore. Polypedilum paranubifer Cranston sp. n. is known only from retention ponds of a uranium mine in Northern Territory, Australia. Unusual morphological features of P. nubifer including alternate Lauterborn organs on the larval antenna, cephalic tubules on the pupa and frontal tubercles on the adult head are present in both new species as well. Newly slide-mounted types of Polypedilum pelostolum Kieffer, 1912 (lectotype designated here) confirm synonymy to Chironomus nubifer Skuse, 1889, examined also as newly-slide mounted types. Reviewed plus new evidence does not support recognition of Tripedilum Kieffer, 1921 as a separate taxon; therefore, Tripedilum is returned to junior synonymy with Polypedilum s. str.



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