A new Kosovo insect takes the name of the coronavirus

Collected a few years ago at the edge of a stream in the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in Kosovo, Potamophylax coronavirus specimens could not be described until later, coinciding with the pandemic. The study is now published in the Biodiversity Data Journal.

These insects are very susceptible to water pollution and habitat deterioration.

The team of scientists, led by Professor Halil ibrahimi from the University of Pristina in Kosovo, was inspired precisely by the Covid-19 crisis to name the new tricopters. The new species, endemic to that natural area, could be confirmed thanks to the molecular analysis Y morphological.

These insects, belonging to the order of Trichoptera, are very susceptible to water contamination and the deterioration of the habitat. According to the authors of the research, it is a small-scale endemic taxon, very sensitive to the activities that take place in the Lumbardhi i Deçanit river. “Not understanding this can lead to this and many other species towards extinction,” they emphasize.

Area where the new species of insect was found. / Halil Ibrahimi and Astrit Bilalli

Pollution, a silent pandemic

With this work and the description of this new species of insect, the group of researchers draws attention to “the other silent pandemic that is occurring in organisms of sweet water in the rivers of Kosovo ”.

The researchers draw attention to “the other silent pandemic that is occurring in freshwater organisms in the rivers of Kosovo”

This ecological crisis is caused by the contamination and the degradation of freshwater habitats, as well as the increase in activity in the last years of hydroelectric plants mismanaged.

The study points out that the Lumbardhi i Deçanit river basin, where the new species was discovered, has become a “battlefield” for scientists and civil society on the one hand and the management of the hydroelectric power plant that operates in this river for the other.

In the same research, the authors have also managed to identify other species that could be new to science in isolated habitats in the balkan peninsula, but they are still waiting to be described once more specimens are collected.

For researchers, the Western Balkans and especially Kosovo are a major focus of biodiversity from sweet water. In recent years, several new species of insects have been discovered in that territory, most of them described by Professor Halil Ibrahimi and his team.

Reference:

Ibrahimi H, et al (2021). “Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n. (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae), a new species from Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in the Republic of Kosovo, with molecular and ecological notes ”. Biodiversity Data Journal

Rights: Creative Commons.