Scientists from the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the University of Tartu have identified a new species of mosquito in Estonia. The species was named Neuratelia salmelai.
“The newly found species is not harmful to people, its larvae eat fungus,” said zoologist Olavi Kurina. The specimens used to describe Neuratelia salmelai came from Alam-Pedja natural reserve, but zoologists think the newly found species could actually inhabit areas up to northern Finland.
“The most intriguing thing about N. salmelai is the fact that although it is morphologically quite distinct from its relatives, DNA-wise it differs very little,” Kurina said, adding that compared with the other species described in their recently published study, such as N. jabalmoussae (from Lebabon), it is the opposite – while it looks very similar to its close relatives, it has significant differences in its DNA sequence.
It is nowadays quite unusual for new insects to be found in Estonia. Over the last century and a half, this has happened around 50 times. Of these, around a dozen have been discovered by the Estonians. According to Kurina, the last such discovery was made about 15 years ago.
The new mosquito was first described in the Zookeys journal.
Editor: M. Oll