Karyotypes and morphology of larvae in tribe chironomini ( Diptera, Chironomidae )

Institute of Cytology and Genetics, SB RAS,
Novosibirsk State University, Faculty of Natural Sciences,
Department of Cytology and Genetics

Head of the Institute:

Vladimir K.Shumny, Academician of the RAS
10 Lavrentiev Ave., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Tel +(383-2) 33-35-26
Fax +(383-2) 33-12-78, 33-34-66
email: shumny@bionet.nsc.ru

Principal researchers:

I.I.Kiknadze, Professor

Project objectives

Translation of the monograph of Kiknadze I.I.,Shilova A.I., Kerkis I.E. et al. "Karyotypes and morphology of larvae in tribe Chironomini. Atlas", (1991, Science. Siberian Branch.of RAS, 115 P., 48 Figs., 46 Photographs ) from Russian into English. Publication of the English version.

Background and significance of objectives

The monograph is the first and so far a unique review of a complex of cytogenetical and morphological investigations of chironomid larvae to be used for quick and precise species identification.

Chironomidae (midges) are one of the most prosperous families among Insect in modern environment. Because of a great number of species and abundant occurrence in most freshwater habitats, chironomids are of obvious interest to limnologists and ecologists. Larvae of chironomids have a worldwide distribution, they predominate in bentos communities. They are the common and best food for many fish species. Biomonitoring studies include chironomids as indicator organisms for water quality and waterbody productivity. Chironomid larvae have giant polytene chromosomes in cells of their salivary glands. It allows one to record all chromosomes rearrangements induced by any factors including anthropogenic pollution.

However, scientists interested in chironomids biomonitoring have long been suffering from the lack of possibility to identify species at the larval stage because of a great similarity of their morphology.

This monograph allows them to improve the situation and to resolve the problem of species identification at larval stages: the karyotype of each chironomid species is species-specific and the monograph gives the possibility to use the complex of karyological and morphological characters for quick species identification.

The monograph is illustrated by original cytophotomaps of karyotypes of 46 chironomid species and by detailed drawings of larval morphology. Short and clear descriptions of karyotype and morphological characters allow species to be identified precisely.

A positive review on the monograph was given by well-known Bulgarian cytogenetisist Prof. P.Michailova in Tsitologia, 1992, 34:126-127.

The monograph has received the acknowledgements from many Russian chironomidologists and limnologists. It is widely used by scientists from the Zoological Institute, Institute of Biology of Inland Waters, Moscow University, Novosibirsk University, Institute of Applied Ecology of North (Yakutia-Sakha), Institute of Zoology (Kazakhstan) etc. Numerous requests on the monograph have been received from ecologists and chironomidologists from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the USA. In particular, Prof. M. Butler (USA, Fargo University, North Dakota) had translated several parts of the monograph needed to him for precise identification of chironomid species during biomonitoring of Minnesota and North Dakota lakes. The authors of the monograph have been asked for permission to use the main drawings of the monograph for "Key to the larvae of Chironomus in West Europe", 1997, issued by H.J.Vallenduuk and H.K.M.Moller Pillot.

The monograph was intensely used during a complex study of consequences of nuclear pollution of Altai regions as a result of nuclear explosions on the Semipalatinsk testing ground (Program "Assessment of the consequences of anthropogenic environmental pollution and tests in nuclear reactors for pollution of Altai territory, 1992-1995) and also during the study of pollution of Yakutian waterbodies by industrial wastes (Program: Karyofunds of Chironomidae in Yakutian permafrost", 1993-1996).

The monograph can be used as a good teaching issue for University students. In particular, it is used in several cytological and zoological practicums in Novosibirsk University.

Translation of the monograph into English will make this information available to a wide range of taxonomists, ecologists, limnologists and cytogeneticists. It will attract more attention to cytotaxonomy of chironomids and using them in biomonitoring.

Research plan: approaches and methods

Detailed descriptions of following methods of karyological and morphological analyses of chironomid larvae are presented in the monograph: development of collections and maintaining them at all stages of chironomid development, preparation of permanent slides for morphological study, preparation of squashes for phase-contrast observation, for acetorcein staining, for differential staining of polytene chromosomes, modern principles of banding pattern mapping, etc.

Expected results

Additional data on morphology and karyotypes of new 30 species will be included in the monograph during preparation of a new version for translation.

List of publications of participants related to the project

All publications of authors on cytotaxonomy of chironomidae (42 references in issue 1991 plus 33 additional references in the new version) will be included in the list of references to monograph.