Scientists Discover a Fungus Gnat Paradise in Peruvian Amazon

Posted on April 12, 2017

Maneta aligera

Scientists have discovered a region that is a fungus gnat paradise in the Peruvian Amazon. 16 new fungus gnat species were discovered there by researchers from the University of Turku, Finland and the University of Tartu, Estonia. The researchers also found several known fungus gnats of the genius Manota in the region.

Fungus gnat experts Heikki Hippa from the University of Turku and Olavi Kurina from the University of Tartu say the region is also home to many species of Orthocentrinae parasitoid wasps that specialize in parasitizing on fungus gnats. The existence of so many predators would seem to be less of a paradise for the gnats.

Allpahuayo-Mishana is already well-known for its unique environmental heterogeneity. There are many different types of rain forest all located in a small region. These rain forests all maintain unique species. The researchers say the region could easily be compared to an archipelago. Rare forest types form isolated areas in the region, and typical lowland rain forest grows around them. Ilari E. Sääksjärvi, Director, Biodiversity Unit at the University of Turku, says the region resembles an archipelago in satellite pictures.

The gnat pictured above, Maneta aligera, is one of the fungus gnats discovered. Fungus gnats are small insects whose larvae live inside mushrooms. A research paper on the discover can be found here in the journal, Zootaxa.

Photo: Olavi Kurina, University of Tartu, Estonia
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