Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Trichocera maculipennis (Diptera) - an invasive species in Maritime Antarctica.

Abstract

Antarctica, with its severe conditions, is poor in terrestrial fauna species. However, an increase in human presence together with climate change may cause an influx of non-native species. Here we report a significant increase in colonized area of one of the few known invasive species to date in Antarctica. Non-native flies of Trichocera maculipennis have been recently observed in the Admiralty Bay area on King George Island, South Shetlands Islands, West Antarctica, 10 years after its first record in Maritime Antarctica (Maxwell Bay, King George Island). Its rapid spread across the island, despite geographic barriers such as glaciers, indicates successful adaptation to local environmental conditions and suggests this species is invasive. The mode of life of T. maculipennis, observed in natural and anthropogenous habitat and in laboratory conditions, is reported. The following adaptations enabled its invasion and existence within the sewage system in Antarctic scientific stations: the ability to survive in complete darkness, male ability to mate on the substrate surface without prior swarming in flight, and adaptation of terrestrial larvae to survive in semi-liquid food. Possible routes of introduction to Antarctica and between two bays on King George Island are discussed, as well as further research leading to the containment and eradication of this species.