Global climate change is expected to cause major alterations in the years to come to the arctic ecosystems on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. These environmental changes will most likely be detected early through changes in the insect fauna. 

There is relatively little knowledge on the diversity of many important insect groups on Svalbard. This is true for flies and mosquitoes (Diptera), the most common insect group in the archipelago, and one that has particularly has adapted to an Arctic environment.

Worldwide, Diptera represent around 15 per cent of species diversity among insects, while those on Svalbard constitute about 60 per cent. That makes Diptera an important group to study to be able to detect changes in the fauna on land and in fresh water.

The “Svalbard Diptera” project will compile a list of all known Diptera from Svalbard, prepare identification keys and build good reference collections. These will be useful tools for biological monitoring and for scientists working with arctic ecology. The project is supported by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre (the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative) and is a collaboration between the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo, the NTNU University Museum and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).


Geir Søli, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Email: g.e.e.solii
Phone: +47 93 62 33 96

The aquatic net is an important tool when collecting insects under water. Here at Blomstrand peninsula, Kongsfjord.

An insect trap (malaise trap) at Fjortende Juli glacier by Krossfjord. The vegetation is lush and the insect fauna rich even quite close to the glacier. At this location we collected a Scathophagidae ("dung-flies”) species, never before found on Svalbard or on the Norwegian mainland. 

The lush vegetation under bird cliffs provides the basis for a rich insect fauna. Here is used a insect net in a steep slope at Nilspynten in Lilliehöökfjord.

Flies are very important pollinators on Svalbard. Here, a Spilogona sp. on a dryas.