Recording the diversity of Austria’s hoverflies – DNA barcoding and preparation of a checklist
With about 6000 described species worldwide, the hoverflies are an important family within the Diptera. In Austria, 419 species are currently known, although more than 500 species can be expected. Within the hoverflies, many species are regular flower visitors of a wide range of plant species. Thus, along with bees, they play a central role in pollination, one of the most important ecosystem services. In addition, hoverfly larvae decimate aphids, which can cause damage in commercial agriculture, which is why hoverfly larvae are successfully used in biological pest control. Adult hoverflies can occur in a wide variety of habitats and often cover long distances. However, many larvae require special habitats and environmental conditions to develop. Therefore, hoverflies can be used as bioindicators. Due to the large number of potentially conservation-relevant species, it is important to know the distribution and ideally also the abundance of the species. DNA-barcoding data, especially in combination with metabarcoding approaches, are a promising methodological alternative/supplement to classical taxonomic work to determine and detect different (also closely related) taxa in a time and cost efficient way. The potential of DNA barcoding approaches for the detection of species or general diversity surveys depends of course on the quality of the underlying reference database.
Within the scope of this project, classical taxonomy and genetic barcoding will be combined to a modern hoverfly checklist. The last summarizing work on this topic is 30 years old and needs an urgent revision. This species list will be the basis of a Red List of Hoverflies for Austria, which is needed to develop and implement efficient conservation measures.
Project status: active
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