Entomology Department

Halobates - Oceanic
Insects
 

Halobates in the Zoological Museum, 
University of Copenhagen

Nils Møller Andersen
Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen

Ó Copyright, N. M. Andersen & Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen

Contents:

Types

First Galathea Expedition

Japetus Steenstrup

20th century expeditions

Lanna Cheng Collection

 



One of the largest collections of Halobates and other marine water striders (Hemiptera, Gerromorpha) is deposited at the Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen (ZMUC). At present, the ZMUC holds representatives for all but three of the described species of Halobates and allied genera (Asclepios, Austrobates), including the following TYPES:

Austrobates rivularis Andersen & Weir, 1994a: 1 paratype, Queensland, 12°40'S, 142°40'E, Lydia Ck, 18.i.1993, watersweep, P. Zborowski.

Halobates (s.str.) acherontis J. Polhemus, 1982: 4 paratypes, N.T., Daly River about 70 miles above mouth, CL 906, XII-11-1977, J. T. Polhemus.

Halobates (s.str.) calyptus Herring, 1961: 10 paratypes (pinned) + 2 tubes paratypes, Tubajon Bay, Dinigat I., Philipp., 17.vii.1951, st. 414, Galathea..

Halobates (s.str.) elephanta Andersen & Foster, 1992: Male HOLOTYPE, 2 paratypes, Bombay, Elephanta Island, 13.ii.89, Coll. W. A. Foster.

Halobates (s.str.) fijiensis Herring, 1958: Male HOLOTYPE, female ALLOTYPE: Suva Harbour, Fiji Isl., 12-14.xi.1928, st 3594, Dana Coll.

Halobates (s.str.) katherinae: 2 paratypes, Noumea Harbor, New Caledonia, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4 1928, Dana Coll.

Halobates (s.str.) murphyi J. Polhemus & D. Polhemus, 1991: 2 paratypes, Papua new Guinea, Morobe Prov., Labu Lakes, Markham Riv. Est., CL 1838, IX-20-83, J.T. & D.A. Polhemus.

Halobates (s.str.) salotae Herring, 1961: 5 paratypes,  Nukualofa, Tonga, III-8-52, Galathea (NB: Not cited by Herring, 1961).

Halobates (Hilliella) lannae Andersen & Weir, 1994b: 2 paratypes: Aust., NT, Darwin, Frances Bay, CL 914, XII-13-77, J. T. Polhemus; 1 paratypes: N.T., Inglis Is., 4.59S 136.48E, 29.i.88, H. Larson.

Boxes with unit-trays containing the collection of pinned specimens of Halobates in the 
Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen.
(Photo: N.M. Andersen).

The First "Galathea" Expedition

After the initial discovery and description of Halobates by J. F. Eschscholtz in 1922, these oceanic insects were practically ignored for several decades. On May 14th, 1845, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters received a communication from the king, Christian the Eighth: "We have decided to send the corvette "Galathea" to the East Indies, and in particular to the Nicobar Islands over which we have sovereignty, to undertake scientific investigations of the natural products of this group of islands and their application for cultivation and trade. . .". This was the start of the First “Galathea” Expedition which took the ship and its crew on a circumnavigation of the globe during the years 1845-47. The voyage included stopped at the Danish colonies Trankebar (India) and Nicobar Islands, and at Singapore, Batavia [Jakarta], Manilla, Shanghai, the Sandwich Islands [Hawaiian Islands], Tahiti, and several cities in South America. The commanding officer of "Galathea" was Steen A. Bille (who wrote a book on the expedition) and among the scientific staff was the entomologist C. E. Kiellerup and zoologist J. Th. Reinhardt.

The following material of Halobates collected by the crew of "Galathea" is preserved in ZMUC (pinned specimens): H. germanus (China Sea), hayanus (Nicobar Is.), micans (Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, South China Sea). Of these species, only H. micans was already described (by Eschscholtz, 1822). Unfortunately, the Halobates-material from the First "Galathea" Expedition was not (as planned) subjected to a scientific study immediately after it reached Denmark in 1847.

Colour plate from Lundbeck's (1914) paper on Halobates eggs 
dedicated to the memory of Japetus Steenstrup

Japetus Steenstrup

The next siginificant addition to the ZMUC-collections was made by Japetus Steenstrup (1813-1897), professor of Zoology at the University of Copenhagen, who persuaded shipmasters of the Danish merchant marine and the navy (in particular the captains Andréa and Hygom) to collect marine animals while on their voyages to the West Indies, South America, and the Far East. The following material of Halobates is preserved in ZMUC (pinned specimens and some alcohol material):

H. flaviventris (Java), germanus (Java, China Sea), hayanus (“Surabaia”), micans (Atlantic Ocean,West Indies, Zanzibar, Java Sea), ?princeps (Penang, Malaysia), sericeus (China Sea, S. Pacific Ocean). The record of H. princeps cited by Herring (1961) is based on a single female and may pertain to another species. Among this material are a number of objects collected from the ocean surface (Sepia-shells, bird feathers, pieces of cork, etc.) carrying Halobates-eggs. Steenstrup never managed to complete his planned study on Halobates, but the quite extensive material of Halobates-eggs was studied by William Lundbeck and published (1914) in a book dedicated to the memory of Japetus Steenstrup. In this work, a colour plate pictures some of the egg-carrying objects gathered by Steenstrup (see above).

 

Danish 20th century expeditions

Danish marine biologists organised two major expeditions during the 20th century, both producing substantial material of Halobates. The research vessel “Dana” cruised the Atlantic Ocean (1921-22) and later went on a circumnavigation of the globe (1928-30). The extensive material of Halobates and other marine water striders (chiefly in alcohol) was studied by the American entomologist Jon Herring and published in the "Dana Reports" (Herring, 1958). This work describes a new species, H. fijiensis, records the coastal species H. hawaiiensis, katherinae, and princeps, and updates the distribution of the oceanic species H. germanus, micans, sericeus, and sobrinus.

The largest Danish marine biological expedition of the century, the Second "Galathea" Expedition (1950-1952), also collected a large material of Halobates which was included in Herring's 1961-monograph. Included are paratypes of the new coastal species H. calyptus and salotae and extensive material of the oceanic species H. germanus, micans,  sericeus, and sobrinus (records shown on maps by Herring, 1961).

Apart from material aquired by these major espeditions, ZMUC have received  valuable material from various collectors: Mogens Andersen, Nils M. Andersen, G. Høpner-Petersen, Th. Mortensen, Claus Nielsen, Jørgen Nielsen, Torben Wolff (all staff-members at ZMUC), W.A. Foster (Zoological Museum of the University, Cambridge), Finn Munch Petersen (Denmark), Dan A. Polhemus (USNM, Washington, D.C.), John T. Polhemus (Denver, Colorado), and C.M. Yang et al. (Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Singapore).

Part of the Lanna Cheng Collection of Halobates, Zoological Museum
University of Copenhagen
(Photo: N.M. Andersen).

The Lanna Cheng Collection

By far the most significant recent additions to the ZMUC-collection of Halobates are the donations by Lanna Cheng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California), the primary researcher on the biology and distribution of Halobates for the past decades. These donations (1990 and 2001) now constitute the "Lanna Cheng Collection" of ZMUC. An overview of this collection is presented below. It consists of specimens belonging to many species of  Halobates and other marine water striders collected by L. Cheng throughout the World. The bulk of the collection, however, is thousands of samples of oceanic Halobates-species taken by various marine biological surveys and individual collectors during the past couple of decades. This material has been the basis of numerous publications by L. Cheng and co-workers (see the Bibliography of Halobates).

Cruise/collector

Locality

Period

Vials

Species

Reference

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

98

Halobates micans, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, 1973a; Cheng & Enright, 1973; Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

96

Halobates micans, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, 1973a; Cheng & Enright, 1973; Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

93

Halobates micans, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, 1973a; Cheng & Enright, 1973; Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

88

Halobates micans, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, 1973a; Cheng & Enright, 1973; Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

37

Halobates micans, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, 1973a; Cheng & Enright, 1973; Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

EASTROPAC

East Pacific Ocean

1967-68

17

Halobates sobrinus

(Cheng & Shulenberger, 1980)

ORSTOM

West Pacific Ocean

1965-67

25

Halobates germanus, micans, sericeus

(Cheng, 1971)

ORSTOM

West Pacific Ocean

1965-67

94

Halobates germanus, micans, sericeus

(Cheng, 1971)

Hakuho Maru (Japan)

Pacific Ocean

1967-69

37

Halobates germanus, micans, sericeus

(Cheng, 1973b)

Various collectors

Gulf of Mexico

1966-76

118

Halobates micans

(Cheng & Wormuth, 1992)

Various collectors

Gulf of Mexico

1966-76

17

Halobates micans

(Cheng & Wormuth, 1992)

Various collectors

South China Sea

1975-78

15

Halobates germanus, micans, sericeus

(Cheng, 1982)

L. Cheng & P. D. Schmitt

Lizard Is., Australia

1979-80

31

Halobates princeps, sericeus

(Cheng & Schmitt, 1982)

L. Cheng & P. D. Schmitt

Lizard Is., Australia

1979-80

19

Halobates princeps, sericeus

(Cheng & Schmitt, 1982)

Operation Drake

Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean

1979-80

87

Halobates germanus, maculatus, micans, sericeus

(Cheng & Holdway, 1983)

Walter Herwig

Atlantic Ocean

1967-71

94

Halobates micans

(Cheng, 1973c)

Various collectors

Guam, Palau, Ponape, Truk, Yap

1979

44

Halobates flaviventris, germanus, mariannarum, micans, nereis

(Cheng, 1981)

Various collectors

Madagascar

1963-72

25

Halobates flaviventris, germanus, micans

(Cheng, 1974)

Various collectors

Gulf of Mexico

1966-77

84

Halobates micans

(Cheng & Wormuth, 1992)

Snellius II, NIOZ

Banda Sea

1984-85

 

Halobates flaviventris, germanus, micans, princeps

(Cheng et al., 1990)

L. Cheng

Galapagos, Micronesia

1979-81

96

Halobates flaviventris, micans, nareis, robustus, sericeus, splendens

(Cheng & Maxfield, 1980; Cheng, 1981)

Various collectors

Atlantic Ocean

1976-77

77

Halobates micans

(Cheng, unpubl.)

Meteor 51

Atlantic Ocean

1970-71

c. 300

Halobates micans

(Cheng & Schulz-Baldes, 1981)

Meteor 69

Atlantic Ocean

1984

34

Halobates micans

(Cheng, John & Ré, 1986)

H.-Ch. John

Sargasso Sea

 

28

Halobates micans

(Cheng, unpubl.)

L. Cheng

Peru

 

8

Halobates splendens

(Cheng, unpubl.)

L. Cheng

Costa Rica

 

8

Halobates sobrinus

(Cheng, unpubl.)

Walter Herwig resort

Red Sea

 

20

Halobates germanus, micans

(Cheng, unpubl.)

Various collectors

Various localities

 

20

Halobates germanus, proavus, micans, sericeus, sobrinus, Halobates eggs

(Cheng, unpubl.)

Various collectors

Various localities

1985

16

Halobates alluaudi, hayanus, robustus

(Cheng, 1991 & unpubl.)

Eye of the Wind

Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean

1981-82

180

Halobates germanus, micans, proavus, robustus, sericeus, sobrinus, splendens

(Cheng & Holdway, 1995)

Norpac

Pacific Ocean

1979

78

Halobates micans, sericeus

(Cheng, 1997)

Lockheed Ocean Lab.

Central Pacific Ocean

1983

12

Halobates micans

(Cheng, unpubl.)


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 Last update: 04 september 2002