Bittacus hageni

(Bittacus hageni)



Bittacus hageni is one of the two species of the mosquito family (Bittacidae) native to Central Europe. The predatory species is widespread in Europe but very rare everywhere. Bittacus hageni reaches a body length of about 20 millimeters (front wing length 17 to 20 millimeters) and is delicately built with long legs. The habit is reminiscent of a gnat (Diptera, family Tipulidae). As is typical for beak flies, the mouthparts on the underside of the head are extended into a greatly elongated, long "beak". The animals are quite uniformly colored light ocher yellow. The elongated abdomen is clearly broadened towards the tip from the fourth (in the male from the fifth) segment. The wings are also tinged with yellow to yellow-brown longitudinal veins. In the middle of the forewings, a row of cross veins is tinted conspicuously dark, the following also appear darkened by a gray edge.Bittacus hageni can be distinguished from the second European species, Bittacus italicus, by the lighter color of the body and the absence of black spines on the hips. In addition, the wing mark is smaller and less sharply defined. A reliable identification of the species is mainly possible on the basis of the male reproductive organs. The genus Bittacus includes 124 species, of which only two occur in Europe, of which Bittacus hageni is far rarer. However, the few finds are spread over large parts of Europe. Type locality is the Waschberg near Stockerau, Austria, and it was also found by the first describer in the Vienna Prater in the same year. In the more than 100 years that followed, no second proof was successful. There is evidence from France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in front. In Germany, after more than 100 years without evidence, the species was found north of the Harz Mountains in 2003. During a field trip by the University of Leipzig in July 2021 in the Burgaue, part of the Leipzig floodplain forest, the doctoral student at the Institute of Biology Lisa Hahn identified a specimen of Bittacus hageni that the student Sophie Locke found by chance. As a result, several were caught and identified as belonging to this species. This is the first record for Saxony and the eastern part of Germany. The find should provide the first genetic fingerprint of the species, which should then also make this species accessible for research in DNA databases.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Insecta
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