Tasmanian springtails


Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 15 April.

Applicant: Dept. of Zoology, University of Rostock, Germany

Species/Taxon: Entomobryomorpha, Symphypleona and Poduromorpha

Location: Various freshwater bodies, litter, soil, shrubs, trees and caves

Title of research: Systematics and Biogeography of Entomobryoidea

Aim of project/Justification:

The springtails (Collembola) are considered to be the first hexapods to inhabit planet Earth (Deharveng 2007). The broad geographical distribution of Collembola can be explained by the age, estimated to be earlier than 400 Ma, in the lower Devonian (Sanchez-Garcia & Engel, 2016), at a time when the southern hemisphere continents were united in Gondwana (McLoughlin, 2001). Springtails are interesting organisms to be studied in order to allow a better understanding of phylogenetic history and patterns of biogeographic distribution of terrestrial arthropods. Studies using springtails as model organisms for biogeographic inferences are scarce (e.g.  Oliveira et al. (2020). Certainly, the wide geographic distribution, with the existence of many endemic taxa, makes comparative studies difficult. Due to my experience studying the systematics and biogeography of Entomobryoidea (Oliveira et al. 2016, 2019, 2020) I found an interesting example among the genera of Entomobryini (Entomobryomorpha: Entomobryidae), whose furcula is smooth and straight in the genera of Pseudoparonella – complex, endemic to Oceania (Parachaetoceras, Plumachetas, Zhuqinia, Pseudoparonella) and crenulated and curved in the rest of the genera of this tribe. This morphological differences in the past has led systematists to interpret this endemic group as a more distant phylogenetic relative, but this is no longer a possibility after molecular evidence (Zhang et al. 2015a, 2015b, 2017; Oliveira & Almeida unpublished).

The Pseudoparonella-complex appear to compose a monophyletic group together with the rest of the Entomobryini (all animals with curved and crenulated furcula). The geographic distribution of this group restricted to Oceania, sharing close relationship with Neotropical taxa, like Paronellides (a taxon occurring in both Neotropical and Australian region), suggest a pattern of lineages exchanges between Australia and South America via Antarctica (circum-Antartic track) (Moreira-Munõz, 2007) during the Late Cretaceous and Eocene, a pattern also reported in Almeida et al. (2012).

​A more precise interpretation of what would have been the phylogenetic history and the divergence events that shaped the current diversity of Entomobryoidea and Pseudoparonella-complex will require a sampling of other pieces of this puzzle. This question is best answered studying an extended sampling of Entomobryinae taxa with an emphasis on Pseudoparonella-complex. To reach a hypothesis of phylogenetic relationship for the members of this complex and how they fit within Entomobryinae is a first step to understand the pattern of geographic distribution of the group and also the origin of this interesting trait, which is the well-developed, smooth and straight furcula, a morphological trait also present in other lineages of springtails. I consider that this sampling can also provide us interesting undescribed genetic diversity and species. Therefore, I will sample interesting endemic and non-endemic taxa for the Australian territory, aiming at an extensive diversity among taxa with close and distant phylogenetic relationships of Collembola.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved:
Entomobryomorpha – Paronellides spp. (300 in total); Plumachaetas spp. (200 in total); Entomobrya spp (100 in total); Tomocerus spp (50 in total); Epimetrura spp (30 in total); Metacoelura spp (30 in total); Heteromurus spp (50 in total); Willowsia spp (60 in total); Lepidosira spp (100 in total)
Symphypleona – Dicyrtomina spp (100 in total); Calvatomina spp (100 in total); Sminthurus spp (100 in total)
Poduromorpha – Hypogastrura spp (100 in total); Triacanthella spp (100 in total); Anurida spp (100 in total); Neanura spp (100 in total).

This study involves molecular methods, with preservation in 96% ethanol and morphological methods for which the specimens must have the tissues fixed in Bouin or Formaline. Therefore, it is essential that the sampling allows both approaches.

Activities undertaken and methods: Collection using entomological aspirator and malaise traps.

Fate of animals: Animals will be preserved and finally stored at the Zoological Collection Rostock (DE 212-03) and at the Australian Museum Sydney. All holotypes will be stored at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart

Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): None


Scientific Research Permits
Natural and Cultural Heritage
Level 5, 134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Email: Scientific.Permits@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Back Home