Antarctic Science

Biological Sciences

The establishment of a new ecological guild of pollinating insects on sub-Antarctic South Georgia

P. Conveya1 c1, R.S. Keya2 and R.J.D. Keya3

a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

a2 The Old Black Bull, Carthorpe, Bedale DL8 2LD, UK

a3 Natural England, Alverton Court, Crosby Road, Northallerton DL6 1AD, UK


We report the establishment of two representatives of a new ecological functional group on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia - pollinating insects - in the form of the hoverfly Eristalis croceimaculata Jacobs (Diptera, Syrphidae) and the blowfly Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera, Calliphoridae). The floricolous adults of these two species provide a new ecological role, pollination, in the ecosystems of this island. The activity of their respectively saprophogous or necrophagous larvae will also augment that of the native insect and microarthropod soil fauna. We discuss the potential new synergy between this functional group and that of a number of established non-native plants, reliant on insect pollinators for successful seed-set and hence dispersal, that are currently of persistent status with very limited local distributions.

(Received March 22 2010)

(Accepted July 06 2010)

(Online publication August 12 2010)