Larval morphology of Silphidae, Lampyridae & Leiodidae
- species determination, instar determination, descriptions and redescriptions of species
The majority of beetle species are described mostly based on the morphology of adults (and usually males only), while good quality descriptions of their juvenile stages – larvae – are often scarce. However, being able to recognize all life stages of an animal is invaluable in understanding its life history and becomes crucial in potential conservation efforts as some beetle species can spend years in the larval stage, only to exist in the adult stage for several weeks only. We have (re)described the larvae of numerous beetle species mostly from the families Silphidae, Leiodidae and Lampyridae in great detail. Our morphological studies include high-resolution photographs as well as detailed images of microstructures taken by advanced technical equipment like a digital microscope or scanning electron microscope.
Correct species determination from larva and its developmental stage is critical in forensic entomology and our team has produced several descriptions that help advance the field. Furthermore, thanks to international cooperation (Szymon Matuszewski lab, Poznań, Poland) we have developed a technique, that enables us to determine the age of beetle pupae collected at a crime scene, based on the color of their eyes which to this day represents the most reliable and practical technique to determine the age of pupae in general.
Developmental biology of forensically important species of beetles
- developmental models, influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the development and its speed (temperature, local adaptations, quality and quantity of food, sex, photoperiod etc.).
Taxonomy, phylogenetics and faunistics of Silphidae and Cholevinae beetles
- system classification of studied species
- studies of historical development of the taxa of interest and their relations
- studies of contemporary distribution of species of interest
Ecology and ethology within necrophagous communities
- food preferences and their influence on survival and growth of an individual
- biotope preferences and their mechanisms
- influence of ecotonal effect on diversity and abundance of necrophagous beetles and flies
- competition between vertebrates and invertebrates on carrion
Morphology and ecology of Fireflies
Our team member Martin Novák just loves fireflies! He focuses mostly on European species and is interested in their ecology and behavior, as well as the morphology of larvae and adults. The taxonomy of European species and outdated and chaotic. Martin is therefore trying to create better descriptions of selected firefly species that will lay the foundation for future taxonomic revision and illuminate the grey zone of regional morphological varieties. This includes not just thorough external examinations of firefly anatomy, but also studies of internal organs and skeletal structures.
The numbers of fireflies are declining worldwide. This is caused mostly by ever-growing light pollution that disrupts their communication and the destruction of their habitats. Prague is full of fireflies, however, the rapid development of the city threatens to diminish their populations if preemptive measures are not taken into consideration. We are currently trying to map the distribution of these beetles within the city limits, determine the species composition and find out what environmental conditions they prefer to come up with solutions to preserve these beautiful glowing beetles in our capital for future generations.