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Abstract

The archipelago of Svalbard in the European High Arctic lies on the convergence of the Palaearctic and Nearctic flora and fauna and contains elements of both regions. The island of Hopen is located in the south east of the archipelago within the path of the cold south−westerly flowing East Svalbard Current originating in the Arctic ocean and flowing along the north Russian coast. This current is postulated as a colonization route of the invertebrate fauna of Svalbard. Few reports of the terrestrial invertebrates of Hopen exist and none of the mite suborders Oribatida or Mesostigmata. With the taxonomic confusion existing in the inventories of this important region of the Arctic, new sampling campaigns with species identified by modern taxonomic principles and with material deposited in accessible museums and collections are essential. Identified mites included six species of oribatid mites with Diapterobates notatus dominating, and five species of Mesostigmata with Zercon forsslundi forming the dominant species. None of the species collected was a new record for Svalbard and all have wide circumpolar, Palaearctic or Holarctic distributions. Dispersal to Svalbard from northern Russia is hence neither supported nor rejected. The expected oribatid and mesostigmatid diversity of the island is greater than observed from the limited sampling described here.
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Abstract

The mesostigmatid mite Vulgarogamasus immanis (Berlese, 1904) is reported in Svalbard for the first time. The gamasid mite community of Svalbard is amongst the best known of invertebrate groups of the archipelago due to recent revisions based on fresh sampling campaigns. Nonetheless, a hitherto unrecorded species of gamasid mite was recently found along the strandline in Barentsburg. This record brings the total gamasid mite inventory of Svalbard to 23 species. The current inventory of Svalbard is bedeviled with synonyms and misidentifications. Nevertheless, resolving these confusions and maintaining an accurate and updated species inventory is of prime importance in understanding the ecology of this region. Especially in a period of rapid environmental change.
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