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Amazonian Chironomidae (Diptera, Chironomidae): A contribution to chironomid research in the Neotropics

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Fittkau, E. J. (2001). Amazonian Chironomidae (Diptera, Chironomidae): A contribution to chironomid research in the Neotropics. Amazoniana: Limnologia et Oecologia Regionalis Systematis Fluminis Amazonas, 16(3/4), 313-323.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-95A6-8
FABRICIUS described the first two South American Chironomidae in 1805, without naming where they
were found. A few years earlier, in 1803, MEIGEN had established the first two genera of today's Diptera
family Chironomidae, Tanypus and Chironomus. One hundred years were to go by before Emílio GOELDI
discovered the first Chironomidae in the Amazon region and described two species in all their phases of
development. Real chironomid research in Brazil, and in particular in Amazonia, did not start until 50
years later. The most comprehensive collection of Amazonian Chironomidae until now was presented at
the beginning of the 60s and 70s by the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia in cooperation with
the Max-Planck-lnstitute for Limnology, Plön. This collection is now in the State Zoological Collection in
Munich. At present, approximately 650 existing species are known from Central and South America. Only
a third of these, 190 species, from tropical South America have been described, the majority using material
from the Munich collection. How inadequate our knowledge still is concerning Amazonian Chironomidae
is proven by studies of pupal exuviae from the surface drift of a woodland stream in Central Amazonia,
which can be assigned to at least 200 chironomid species. We can expect a total far exceeding 1000
chironomid species in Amazonia alone, the occrrence of which appears to be limited to the Neotropics or
which belong to endemic South American genera. Information on dispersal patterns for the individual
species or their ecological integration in Amazonian waterways is inadequate at present.