The free-living pterygote insects of Gough Island, south Atlantic Ocean

A. J. Jones, S. L. Chown, T. J. Webb, K. J. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Gough Island, the furthest outlier of the Tristan da Cunha Island group, is a remote land mass in the South Atlantic Ocean. Pterygote insect species representing nine orders have been recorded on the island, the Psocoptera (booklice), Hemiptera (leafhoppers, aphids etc.), Thysanoptera (thrips), Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (moths), Hymenoptera (wasps etc.), and parasites of vertebrates in the Phthiraptera (lice) and Siphonaptera (fleas). Excluding parasites of vertebrates, 99 species have been recorded, 54 of which are recorded here for the first time. In total, 24 species occurring on Gough Island are thought to be endemic to the Tristan da Cunha Island group, four species are naturally occurring but found elsewhere, and 71 species are accidental introductions. The indigenous species have predominantly Neotropical associations, whilst the introduced ones are almost all globally widespread, the majority being of Holarctic origin. Approximately 28% of the introduced species are known to exhibit parthenogenesis compared with 7% of the indigenous species. In this paper we present keys and descriptions of all 99 species of pterygote insects, with notes on ecology, biology and conservation issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-273
Number of pages61
JournalSystematics and Biodiversity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Endemics
  • Gough Island
  • Insect fauna
  • Introductions
  • Pterygote insects

Cite this