New Gnat Species Discovered in Germany

Posted on April 4, 2016

Ctenosciara alexanderkoenigi gnat

A previously unknown species of gnat has been discovered in Germany. The gnat was discovered after scientists Kai Heller and Bjorn Rulik placed a malaise trap in the garden of the Alexander Koenig Museum. The scientists were surprised to find a strikingly colored new gnat species in the trap.

The gnat species has been named Ctenosciara alexanderkoenigi after the German museum's founder. The researchers were convinced they had just discovered a new to science species when they noticed its colors. Most of these flies are bright brownish and the only other orange European dark-winged fungus gnat is almost uniformly orange. The newly discovered gnat has a mixture of reddish, black and yellowish-white hues.

The scientists say in a statement, "It is a rare occurrence, that a species from the opposite end of the world is represented by a single specimen only and it is not yet clear, whether Ctenosciara alexanderkoenigi has a permanent population in Germany or if it was only introduced casually with plants or soil. Probably, the species was recently introduced from the Australasian Region. If it was a permanent member of the European fauna, a striking species like this would likely have been found earlier."

A research paper on the gnat was published here in the Biodiversity Data Journal.

Photo: Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig / GBOL

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