Mosquito Life Span

Full results in mosquito-rich
Insect Scientists got full credit for only one field season in Finnmark: 630 species of mosquitoes and a whole host of other insect species was in the bag home!

That there are a lot of insects that swirl in the air in Finnmark, we have long known. The insects in northernmost county have so far been poorly documented.

A group of researchers set out to do something about this, and went on an expedition to our northernmost county in the summer of 2010, to map the diversity of insects associated with water. 630 species of mosquitoes were something of what they found.

Mosquitoes are not only mosquitoes.

There are about 2,000 known species of mosquitoes alone. Most of us have at best a mixed relationship with these insects, and many have heard stories from Lapland in clouds so thick the stinging insects that obscure the sun.

For an insect researcher, however, sees the world differently. A mosquito is not only a mosquito. There are a large number of families, subfamilies and genera, of which only the families stick mosquitoes (Culicidae), black flies (Simuliidae) and sviknott (Ceratopogonidae) is of particular annoyance to human beings.

The research that has mapped the diversity of insects associated with water in Finnmark has been focusing on the most people more unknown families of mosquitoes, such as midges and fungus gnats, and the species of caddis and true bugs.

Surprisingly great diversity

During the field season in summer and autumn of 2010, the researchers collected material from more than 100 locations across the Finnmark.

The result is now presented in a final report shows that the diversity of insects associated with water in the county is impressively large. It was found 630 different species of mosquitoes and 132 species of caddis and true bugs. A total of 762 species.

The results also offer a number of major surprises: It was found at least 43 species that nobody knew existed, which means that they are new to science. 38 species were found for the first time, 12 species for the initial time in Europe.

Nearly 400, or half of all species found, has never before been found in Finnmark.

Insect diversity in the county is so large that it surprised even the researchers which work in the field. In particular, the number of species of biting midges and mosquitoes fungal much higher than expected.

- We were lucky in the weather and had good local partners in Finnmark. In addition, we could visit many different sites. Overall, did this mean that the field work was very successful, a prerequisite for getting a good picture of the diversity of the investigated organism groups.

- We had probably expected to find many new mosquitoes since not much was known from before, but that it would be so many new to science came as a surprise, leader of the project survey of insects associated with water and moist habitats in Finnmark.

In the table below you can see an overview of what was found during the field season.

Important contributions to the world's library of DNA barcodes

Each species has its own genetic signature - a unique "barcode" - which can be mapped using DNA analysis. An international reference library of DNA barcodes of all the world's species is now under construction. This is called the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD).

During the project period, the researchers sent tissue samples from several hundred mosquitoes for DNA bar coding. Mosquitoes from Finnmark is therefore, an important contribution to the development of the global reference library.

- Several of the new species that we detected, we would probably have overlooked because they are similar in appearance to the known species. DNA barcodes will give us another set of characters to distinguish species, and this project has been a useful tool to get a more accurate picture of the true species diversity.

Species diversity that was collected was much higher than expected and scientists are still working on a brand new project. At the University Museum, sorted and identified to reach new groups of species from the same material who was collected in 2010.


The team consisted of researchers from University Museum, Uni-Environment and Natural History Museum at the University. Financial support came from Biodiversity Information Arts Project. This is created to ensure long-term development of the knowledge of species, and places special emphasis on the species we know very little about today.