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Åland Islands yield rare insect species

Climate change is constantly bringing new southern species to the Åland Islands, the most south-westerly and mildest part of Finland.

Drosophila tristis
Drosophila tristis Image: Anssi Teräs, Åbo Akademin eläintieteelliset kokoelmat

Three insect species never seen before in Finland have been found at Åbo Akademi University’s Husö research centre on the main island of the semi-autonomous province.

Members of the Zoological and Botanical Society of Turku collected insect species at the centre in September. They identified 194 species of two-winged insects. Three were new to Finland.

These included three fever-flies (Dilophus febrilis), first identified by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. They are found in neighbouring Sweden and Norway.

The finds also included 13 male fruit flies known by the Latin name Drosophila tristis. This creature is not common, but has been found in most western European countries including Sweden and Denmark as well as Latvia, which lies due south of Åland.

The most unusual find was a single female muscid fly known as Lispocephala falculata. The fly has so far only been found in England, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Its lifestyle remains a mystery.

Some of the insects found will be displayed at the Åbo Akademi collection at the Turku University Zoological Museum.

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