Finding new species of caddisflies

This project focuses on determining if some populations of Caddisflies on mainland Australia are new species. The student will collect material from Mt Kosciusko and possibly Mount Buller and the Bogong High Plains, depending on specimens already in the MDFRC collection. The student will learn the basics of taxonomy and will identify diagnostic characters that separate out the tentative species. They will also carry out some genetic analyses that will help inform their taxonomic decisions.

There are currently only two species in the genusArchaeophylax. One species, A. ochreus, is described from Tasmania and also occurs on the mainland, while the second, A. canarus, is only known from the mainland. Recent genetic data suggests that at least two populations of A. ochreus on the mainland represent species that are distinct from those in Tasmania. It is likely that the populations that occur on Mount Buller, the Bogong High Plains, and Mount Kosciusko are all distinct species. Genetic data also suggest that A. canarus is a complex of at least three species.

There may be an opportunity for the student to collaborate with other students at Rutgers University, New Jersey on this project.

Supervisors Michael Shackleton and Paul McInerney
Student Rebecca Wray
Duration 8 weeks (commencing 1 Dec 2014)
Expected outcome Final Report and Seminar