Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 183–189 | Cite as

Sciaridae in lake sediments: indicators of catchment and stream contribution to fossil insect assemblages

  • Oliver Heiri
  • André F. Lotter
Original Paper


The larval head capsules of Sciaridae (black fungus gnats) are transported into lakes from terrestrial habitats, in most cases via streams or rivers, and preserve well in lake sediments. The abundance of sciarid remains can provide information on the importance of terrestrial and running-water input into fossil insect assemblages in lake sediments if examined in relation to the number of fossils of aquatic insects such as the Chironomidae, Thaumaleidae, Ceratopogonidae, or Simuliidae. Here we describe fossil head capsules of sciarid larvae and provide an example of how these remains can be used to constrain past changes in taphonomic processes that influence fossil chironomid records.


Fossil insects Sciaridae Chironomidae Diptera Lake sediments 



The data presented in this manuscript were partly produced during a visit by the lead author at the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group and The Natural History Collections, University of Bergen, Norway. Financial support for this visit and the associated fieldwork via a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship for prospective researchers (Fellowship 81BE-66224) and the Norwegian Research Council Strategic University Project ‘Norwegian Palaeoenvironments and Climate’ is gratefully acknowledged. We thank E. Willassen and H.J.B. Birks and their research teams for support during the Norwegian fieldwork and sample analysis, and O. Bennike, J.P. Smol, T. Solhøy, and E. Willassen for valuable comments on the manuscript. This is Netherlands Research School of Sedimentary Geology publication no. 20060803.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Palaeoecology, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of ScienceUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group, Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.The Natural History CollectionsUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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