Species Overview: Anisomeria bistriata (Brullé, 1835) is an aquatic diving beetle c. 8 mm long and of enigmatic morphology, with longish legs, elongated head and otherwise strange appearance. It is so distinct from the other 4000 species of Dytiscidae that it was assigned its own tribe, Anisomeriini, only together with Senilites tristanicola from Tristan da Cunha.
Immediate Goals: Anisomeria is endemic to Juan Fernandez islands in the Pacific, off the Chilean coast. It has, to our knowledge, not been surveyed in over a century. Our immediate goals were: (1) visit the islands to establish if the species still exists, (2) if it exists, to describe its adult and larval habitat; (3) assess to which degree the species faces anthropogenic threats.
Secondary Goals: We also plan to (1) publish a popular article describing the species and its habitat; (2) to raise the awareness of the island people / public that there is a very fascinating species endemic to their island, small but nevertheless remarkable and unique; (3) place the species in a molecular phylogeny of the diving beetle family to infer the geographical rigin of Anisomeria and its evolutionary history, further highlighting the uniqueness of remote island faunas using state-of-the art scientific data; (4) publish these results in an international journal; (5)produce a website for the species with photography of beetle and its habitat; (6) If neccessary, supply recommendation to IUCN.
Current Project Status: Fieldwork is completed and was successful. The target species was found, and we note that it is in fact quite abundant in different types of aquatic habitat once searched for by a specialist. The species does not appear to be threatened at present. We have produced a popular publication in Spanish, in which we summarize our findings, highlight this unique species, and call attention to the need to appreciate such charismatic taxa in local conservation.
Michat MC, Balke M (2013) EL ESCARABAJO ACUÁTICO DE JUAN FERNÁNDEZ, ANISOMERIA BISTRIATA (BRULLÉ 1835): HÁBITAT, COMUNIDADES Y CONSERVACIÓN. Boletín del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Chile) 62: 29-39.
We have also published a phylogenetic analysis highlighting the unique evolutionary history of Anisomeria beetles:
Morinière J, Michat MC, Jäch MA, Bergsten J, Hendrich L, Balke M (2015) Anisomeriini diving beetles - an Atlantic-Pacific Island disjunction on Tristan da Cunha and Juan Fernández? Molecular phylogenetics and the role of transoceanic dispersal. Cladistics 31(2) 166-176 . DOI: 10.1111/cla.12074
Visit our website to learn more about our work and future updates on diving beetles:
Project 12054041 location - Chile, South America