Field work is an important activity for many researchers at the museum. Every field trip contributes to development of the museum collection and adds species that the collection has been lacking. Sampling in poorly studied parts of the world results in discovery of many species unknown to science. In February 2020, just before the covid-19 pandemic halted international travel, Vladimir Gusarov made a field trip to the Falkland Islands, an archipelago in the Southern Atlantic, some 500 km off the coast of South America. The main purpose of the trip was to collect fresh DNA grade samples of insects, in particular staphylinid beetles. The local fauna includes two aleocharine staphylinid genera considered endemic of the Falklands.
Today, most of the interior of the Falklands is a large sheep pasture (see photo) but the coastal habitats are well preserved and diverse, ranging from rocky cliffs and outcrops to sand dunes and beaches. These habitats harbor a rich insect fauna. Among the most interesting finds was an undescribed species of the family Salpingidae, living in crevices of tidal rocks. The closest relatives of the new species are known from the coasts of New Zealand South Island and adjacent subantarctic islands. A photo shows a rocky outcrop and (inset) exposed rock crevice where the beetle larvae live presumably grazing the algae growing on the rock surface.
Text in the teaser: Would like to know what we did in the Southern hemisphere? Watch out tomorrow’s door at December 12th.
Pictures changed to include the copyright, the used licenses can be found here (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)
Picture in the teaser: