2023 MAY 17
Environment and Ecology > Biodiversity > Species in news
Why in news?
- According to a study by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a tiny flightless midge (small fly) “Eretmoptera murphyi” that has colonized Antarctica’s Signy Island is driving fundamental changes to the Island’s soil ecosystem.
About Eretmoptera murphyi:
- Eretmoptera murphy is an invasive species on Antarctic Signy Island.
- It is a native of South Georgia, a sub-antarctic Island, and was accidentally introduced to Signy in the 1960s during a botany experiment. Its proliferation became apparent in the 1980s.
- Eretmoptera murphyi feasts on dead organic matter and has led to faster plant decomposition, thus increasing the soil nitrate levels by three-five times compared to places on the island where only native invertebrate species live.
- Eretmoptera murphyi can also survive in water, which raises concerns that it could spread to other islands.
- It has become a big problem as the tiny insect has spread to a much larger area with multiplying populations.
- The activity of the midges, along with climate change, may also create conditions for other invasive species to become established and accelerate the effects of climate change.
‘Eretmoptera murphyi’, an invasive species recently in news, is causing a major threat in:
(c) Pacific Islands