Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2018-07-23

Skusella Freeman (Diptera: Chironomidae): new species, immature stages from Africa, Asia and Australia, and expanded distributions

Evolution & Ecology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia.
Institute of Groundwater and Earth Science, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, P. R. China.
Diptera new species pupal fringe range extension immature stages


Skusella Freeman, 1961 (Diptera: Chironomidae, Chironominae), known previously from adults from Australia and Africa, is revised with extended descriptions, including for immature life stages. Skusella is diagnosed based on its type species S. subvittata (Skuse, 1889) from Australia, S. pallidipes (Kieffer, 1921) from the Afrotropical region (the only other originally included species), a second African species S. freemani Harrison, 2002, and S. silingae Tang, sp. n., newly described here from the pupa and adult males from China. The immature stages of Skusella have been known informally for several decades, notably for a characteristic fringe of setae on one or more abdominal pleurae of the pupa, shared only with newly described Paraskusella Cranston, 2018 within the Chironominae. Amongst larvae of Chironomini with 6-segmented antenna, alternate Lauterborn organs and a well-demarcated ventromentum, those of Skusella are distinguishable only with caution due to insufficient reared associations. Unassociated pupal exuviae, tentatively belonging to three unknown new species, are described informally from China, as is a larval type from Africa. Range extensions include for S. freemani, with pupae (newly described here) from Nigeria and Cameroon, at least 5000 km from the type locality in South Africa. A wider distribution of S. subvittata in Australia and Asia is revealed by extensive pupal exuviae sampled from drift.



  1. Ali, A., Chaudhuri, P.K. & Guha, D.K. (1987) Description of Stictochironomus affinis (Johannsen) (Diptera: Chironomidae), with notes on its behavior. The Florida Entomologist, 70, 259–267.

    Cox, R., Hoffman, A.A., Pettigrove, V. & Carew, M.E. (2007) A microcosm approach for assessing the response of indigenous chironomids to salinity. Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology, 13, 13–118.

    Cranston, P.S. (1995) 2. Morphology. In: Armitage, P.D., Cranston, P.S. & Pinder, L.C.V. (Eds.), Chironomidae: Biology and Ecology of Non-Biting Midges. Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 11–30.

    Cranston, P.S. (1996) Identification Guide to the Chironomidae of New South Wales. AWT Identification Guide Number 1. Australian Water Technologies Pty Ltd., West Ryde, NSW, 376 pp.

    Cranston, P.S. (2000) Electronic guide to the Chironomidae of Australia. Available from: (accessed 17 March 2018)

    Cranston, P.S. (2004) Insecta: Diptera, Chironomidae. In: Yule, C.M. & Yong, H.S. (Eds.), The Freshwater Invertebrates of Malaysia and Singapore. Academy of Sciences, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 710–734.

    Cranston, P.S. (2013) The larvae of the Holarctic Chironomidae (Diptera)—morphological terminology and key to subfamilies. In: Andersen, T., Cranston, P.S. & Epler, J.H. (Sci. Eds.), The larvae of Chironomidae (Diptera) of the Holarctic Region—Keys and diagnoses. Insect Systematics & Evolution, 66 (Supplement), pp. 13–246.

    Cranston, P.S. (2016) Conochironomus (Diptera: Chironomidae) in Asia: new and redescribed species and vouchering issues. Zootaxa, 4109 (3), 315–331.

    Cranston, P.S. (2018) Paraskusella gen. nov., a new Afro-Australian genus in the tribe Chironomini (Diptera: Chironomidae). Austral Entomology.

    Cranston, P.S., Dillon, M.E., Pinder, L.C.V. & Reiss, F. (1989) 10. The adult males of Chironominae (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Holarctic region—Keys and diagnoses. In: Wiederholm, T. (Ed.), Chironomidae of the Holarctic region. Keys and diagnoses. Part 3. Adult males. Entomologica scandinavica, 34 (Supplement), pp. 353–502.

    Cranston, P.S. & Dimitriadis, S. (2004) The Chironomidae (Diptera) larvae of Atherton Tableland Lakes, north Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 49 (2), 573–588.

    Cranston, P.S., Hardy, N.B. & Morse, G.E. (2011) A dated molecular phylogeny for the Chironomidae (Diptera). Systematic Entomology, 37, 172–188.

    Cranston, P.S. & Hare, L. (1995) Conochironomus Freeman: an Afro-Australian Chironomini genus revised (Diptera: Chironomidae). Systematic Entomology, 20, 247–264.

    Epler, J.H., Ekrem, T. & Cranston, P.S. (2013) The larvae of Chironominae (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Holarctic region—keys and diagnoses. In: Andersen, T., Cranston, P.S. & Epler, J.H. (Sci. Eds.), The larvae of Chironomidae (Diptera) of the Holarctic Region—Keys and diagnoses. Insect Systematics & Evolution, 66 (Supplement), pp. 387–556.

    Freeman, P. (1955) Contributions à l'étude de la faune entomologique du Ruanda-Urundi. XXIX. Diptera Chironomidae. Annales du Musée Royale du Congo Belge, 36, 287–289.

    Freeman, P. (1957) A study of the Chironomidae (Diptera) of Africa south of the Sahara. Part III. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Entomology, 5, 323–426.

    Freeman, P. (1958) A study of the Chironomidae (Diptera) of Africa south of the Sahara. Part IV. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Entomology, 6, 261–363.

    Freeman, P. (1961) The Chironomidae of Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology, 9, 611–737.

    Freeman, P. (1962) Chironomidae from Batu Caves, Malaya (Diptera: Nematocera). Pacific Insects, 4, 129–131.

    Hare, L. & Carter, J.C.H. (1984) Diel and seasonal physico-chemical fluctuations in a small natural West African lake. Freshwater Biology, 14, 597–610.

    Hare, L. & Carter, J.C.H. (1987) Chironomidae (Diptera, Insecta) from the environs of a natural West African lake. Entomologica Scandinavica Supplement, 29, 65–74.

    Harrison, A.D. (2002) Chironomidae in the Albany Museum Part 1. Annals of the Eastern Cape Museums, 2, 9–18.

    Hayford, B.L. (1998) A systematic revision of Paratendipes (Diptera: Chironomidae) with special emphasis on the evolution of thermophily. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 548 pp.

    Heiser, M. & Schmitt, T. (2013) Tracking the boundary between the Palaearctic and the Oriental region: new insights from dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata). Journal of Biogeography, 40, 2047–2058.

    Johannsen, O.A. (1932) Chironomidae of the Malayan subregion of the Dutch East Indies. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Supplement, 11, 503–552.

    Kieffer, J.J. (1906) Diptera Fam. Chironomidae. In: Wytsman, P. (Ed.), Genera insectorum, 42, pp. 1–78 + 4 pl.

    Kieffer, J.J. (1917) Chironomides d'Australie conservés au Musée National Hongrois de Budapest. Annales historico-naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici, 15, 175–228.

    Kieffer, J.J. (1921) Chironomides de l'Afrique équatoriale (1re partie). Annales de la Société entomologique de France, 90 (1), 1–56, pls. 1–2.

    Krosch, M.N., Cranston, P.S., Bryant, L.M., Strutt, F. & McCluen, S.R. (2017) Towards a dated molecular phylogeny of the Tanypodinae (Chironomidae, Diptera). Invertebrate Systematics, 31, 302–316.

    McKie, B.G. & Cranston, P.S. (2005) Size matters: systematic and ecological implications of allometry in the responses of chironomid midge morphological ratios to experimental temperature manipulations. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 83, 553–568.

    Pinder, L.C.V. & Reiss, F. (1983) The larvae of Chironominae (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Holarctic region—Keys and diagnoses. Entomologica scandinavica Supplement, 19, 293–435.

    Pinder, L.C.V. & Reiss, F. (1986) The pupae of Chironominae (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Holarctic region—Keys and diagnoses. Entomologica scandinavica Supplement, 28, 299–456.

    Pinho, L.S., Mendes, H.F. & Andersen, T. (2013) Revision of Beardius Reiss et Sublette, 1985 (Diptera: Chironomidae), with the description of twenty new species. Zootaxa, 3742 (1), 1–78.

    Sæther, O.A. (1980) A glossary of chironomid morphology terminology (Diptera: Chironomidae). Entomologica scandinavica Supplement, 14, 1–51.

    Skuse, F.A.A. (1889) Diptera of Australia. Part VI—The Chironomidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, Second Series, 4, 215–311, pls. I–XIV, XIV bis, XV–XXIX.

    Sriariyanuwath, E., Sangpradub, N. & Hanjavanit, C. (2015) Diversity of chironomid larvae in relation to water quality in the Phong R., Thailand. AACL Bioflux, 8 (6), 933–945.