Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Some discoveries of the week

Every week I come across quite a few new descriptions of organisms. Unfortunately, not all of them do get a DNA Barcode right away as they should. There are a multitude of reasons for that one certainly being the lack of funds for the lab work and perhaps also the nonavailability of facilities. It would be great if we could find a group of philanthropists that would be willing to finance just this one element in our efforts to build the all-encompassing reference library. Type specimens associated with the original description are perfect resources for reference barcodes but we still do not make much use of them. 

By the way I think we should be more open to the idea of naming species after donors. For example the purchase of star names has become a fairly lucrative business. I always wondered why taxonomists are rather hesitant when it comes to this idea. Nothing needs to change when it comes to the established thorough process of describing a new species. Only naming will be different and potential 'customers' need to be aware of the fact that there is the small risk that a revision might change names although even synonymized names will be around for a very long time. The proceeds could help to finance the next field trip or a set of DNA Barcodes for all the newly described species. I am sure there are many people out there who would consider to name a species after one of their loved ones and that brings in money to fill the empty coffers of biodiversity science. 

I thought it might be a good idea to list some new discoveries each week and indicate if they have a DNA Barcode yet or not. I will limit myself to 5-6 newcomers. There are far more new descriptions than that but it would be too much to show in this blog. The modus operandi for my choice is a mixture of random choice (whatever lands in my inbox, RSS feed etc.) and educated guess (what I think readers consider interesting). 

Credit: Entomological Society of America
A new species of Labiobaetis Novikova & Kluge, 1987, Labiobaetis soldani sp. nov., is described from the larvae and reared male and female imagoes from Gadana River in the southern Western Ghats in India. Brief ecological notes are appended. The taxonomic status of Labiobaetis is commented on in light of the morphological traits of the larvae and associated imagoes.

The species named in honor of Dr. T. Soldan for his contributions to the understanding of the Ephemeroptera (Mayflies) of the Palaearctic and Oriental regions.
no DNA Barcode 

Credit: Entomological Society of America
The poorly-known genus Conosimus Mulsant et Rey, 1855 (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Issidae) includes six species and is briefly reviewed. Adults and fifth instars of a new species, Conosimus baenai n. sp., are described and compared with other species in the genus. The new species is associated with an endemic shrub, Echinospartum boissieri, in Jaen, Spain, in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, one of the richest botanical areas of the Mediterranean Basin.

The new species has been named after Manuel Baena, a Spanish hemipterologist, for his contributions to the taxonomy of Iberian Hemiptera. The species was found in a medium-high mountain area that is dominated by thorny shrubs (Echinospartum boissieri), of which it seems to be associated. This rare shrub, which is endemic to the Baetic Range in southern Spain, blooms and produces fruit from July to August.
no DNA Barcode

 Credit: João F. R. Tonini
Among Neotropical microhylids, the genus Chiasmocleis is exceptionally diverse. Most species of Chiasmocleis were described in recent years based on external morphology, but recent studies using molecular data did not support the monophyly of the species groups clustered based on feet webbing. Furthermore, a phylogeographic study of C. lacrimae estimated high genetic divergence and low gene flow among populations across small geographic ranges. Increasing the molecular and geographic sampling, and incorporating morphological data, we identified new cryptic species. Herein, we used novel genetic and morphological data to describe a new species of Chiasmocleis.

The newly discovered frog species occurs in the Atlantic Forest of the Espírito Santo State in southeastern Brazil. Despite its modest size, adults reach only about 14 mm, the new species bears a heroic name inspired by the quilombos communities typical of this region. The specific epithet "quilombola" used for the species' name refers to the people who inhabited these communities -- slaves who dared to escape during colonial times and find a refuge in the depths of the Atlantic Forest. Quilombos were used as a refuge for escaped slaves during colonial Portuguese rule in Brazil between 1530 and 1815. Even today in the north of Espírito Santo State quilombola communities still remain and maintain alive their traditions, such as quilombola food and craftwork.
no DNA Barcode (despite extensive molecular work using four genetic markers)

Credit: Daniel Adrian Ciobanu
In a lichen sample collected from a tree in Bârlad town (Vaslui County, Romania), a new tardigrade species belonging to the genus Milnesium (granulatum group) was found. Milnesium berladnicorum sp. n. is most similar (in the type of dorsal sculpture) to Milnesium beasleyi Kaczmarek et al., 2012 but differs from it mainly by having a different claw configuration and some morphometric characters. Additionally, the new species differs from other congeners of the granulatum group by the different type of dorsal sculpture, claw configuration and some morphometric characters.

This new species is named after the Berladnici, an ancient population with a controversial origin (most probably Slavs) who previously lived in the area of the present Bârlad town.
no DNA Barcode

One new species of the genus Ctenophora Meigen, 1803, C. fumosa Men, sp. nov. (southern China: Anhui) is described and illustrated. A key to known species along with a checklist of known species of the genus Ctenophora are provided. The specific epithet is a noun derived from the Latin ‘fumos’ with the feminine termination ‘-a’, referring to the presence of smoky mark on the wing.

This genus is interesting because the name Ctenophora is also used for the phylum of comb jellies. This is not a unique problem but perhaps a more prominent example for what taxonomy calls a homonym. Actually the phylum name is called a 'pseudohomonym' of the crane fly genus which means that both have the same name, but the case has not been ruled by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
no DNA Barcode

A new species of Solanum is described from Peru. Solanum junctum S. Stern & M. Nee, sp nov. is a member of the Torva clade of the spiny solanums (Leptostemonum clade). Solanum junctum is taken from the Latin “junctus“ for “connect or join, ” referring to the morphological similarities of this species with other sections within the spiny solanums. This has been used as an herbarium name on specimen annotations by M. Nee since at least 1995.

no DNA Barcode (apparently other markers have been sequenced but not published yet)

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