Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Discoveries of the week #27

The exploration of Earth's biodiversity is an exciting and ongoing endeavour. Here, we report a new species of seadragon from Western Australia with substantial morphological and genetic differences to the only two other known species. We describe it as Phyllopteryx dewysea n. sp. Although the leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) and the common seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) occur along Australia's southern coast, generally among relatively shallow macroalgal reefs, the new species was found more offshore in slightly deeper waters. The holotype was trawled east of the remote Recherche Archipelago in 51 m; additional specimens extend the distribution west to Perth in 72 m. Molecular sequence data show clear divergence from the other seadragons (7.4–13.1% uncorrected divergence in mitochondrial DNA) and support a placement as the sister-species to the common seadragon. Radiographs and micro-computed tomography were used on the holotype of the new species and revealed unique features, in addition to its unusual red coloration. The discovery provides a spectacular example of the surprises still hidden in our oceans, even in relatively shallow waters.

While researching the two known species of seadragons as part of an effort to understand and protect the exotic and delicate fish, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography made a startling discovery: A third species of seadragon which was named for Mary ‘Dewy’ Lowe, for her love of the sea and her support of seadragon conservation and research, without which this new species would not have been discovered.
no DNA Barcodes (seven genetic markers but no COI, sigh)

Two new species of the genus Zospeum Bourguignat, 1856 are described from caves in the Sierra de Aitzgorri (Gipuzkoa) and the Sierra Salvada (Burgos) in Northern Spain. The taxa Z. vasconicum sp. n. and Z. zaldivarae sp. n. have recently, without a formal name, been included in a molecular study of worldwide members of the Carychiidae. In the present paper, the shell morphology and variation of these species is described and illustrated.

Two new species in the subterranean genus Zospeum. These blind gastropods barely reach 1 mm in shell size and inhabit caves at depths as deep as 950 m. One species is named after the pre-Roman Era Vascones Tribe which is considered albeit disputed the ancestor of the Basque People. The second species is named after Mª Pilar Zaldívar, a biologist and speleologist from the Niphargus Speleological Team, who discovered the species in the 1980’s.

The first species of the small Afrotropical family Ammodesmidae discovered in central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) belongs to the genus Ammodesmus Cook, 1896, which was hitherto known only from two species in western Africa. A key is given to incorporate A. congoensis sp. n., a species also showing an evident sex dimorphism: ♂ densely hirsute, ♀ with much longer and sparser tergal setae.

This new species belongs to a millipede family with members that had only been known  from western Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast), and eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi). This huge geographical gap has been a mystery for a while. The species was named after the county of origin.
no DNA Barcodes

Paracreptotrema rosenthali sp. n. was discovered in the intestine of Xiphophorus malinche and Pseudoxiphophorus jonesii, collected from the headwaters of Río Malila, tributary of Río Conzintla, in the Río Pánuco basin, Hidalgo, México, during 2008–2009. The new species differs from the five known species of Paracreptotrema Choudhury, Pérez-Ponce de León, Brooks & Daverdin, 2006 by having vitelline follicles that extend from a level anterior to the pharynx to mid-testes, the seminal vesicle which is more extensively folded, and a wider cirrus sac. The new species resembles P. heterandriae in the length of its ceca, which surpasses the posterior margin of the ovary but do not reach the testes. A key to the species of Paracreptotrema is provided.

A newly discovered helminth parasite that infects swordtail fishes.The species is named in honor of Gil G. Rosenthal, co-founder of the CICHAZ field station in Mexico.
no DNA Barcodes

Pseudancistrus kayabi, Pseudancistrus asurini
Two new species of Pseudancistrus, a genus diagnosed by non-evertible cheek plates and hypertrophied odontodes along the snout margin, are described from two drainages of the Brazilian Shield: P. kayabi from the rio Teles Pires (rio Tapajós basin) and P. asurini from the rio Xingu. The new species are distinguished from congeners (P. barbatus, P. corantijniensis, P. depressus, P. nigrescens, P. reus, and P. zawadzkii) by the coloration pattern. Pseudancistrus kayabi has dark bars on the dorsal and caudal fins which are similar to that of P. reus from the Caroní River, Venezuela. Pseudancistrus asurini is unique among Pseudancistrus in having whitish tips of the dorsal and caudal fins in juveniles to medium-sized adults.

And another week with new members of the Loricarid family, perhaps better known as suckermouth catfish. One species is named after the Kayabi indigenous people that inhabited the region of the rivers Arinos, dos Peixes and Teles Pires, in Mato Grosso State, Brazil and the second name refers to the Asurini indigenous peoples who inhabit the right margin and middle portions of Rio Xingu,  in Pará State, Brazil.
no DNA Barcodes

Thismia hongkongensis
A new species, Thismia hongkongensis S.S.Mar & R.M.K.Saunders, is described from Hong Kong. It is most closely related to Thismia brunonis Griff. from Myanmar, but differs in the number of flowers per inflorescence, the colour of the perianth tube, the length of the filaments, and the shape of the stigma lobes. We also provide inferences on the pollination ecology and seed dispersal of the new species, based on field observations and interpretations of morphology. The flowers are visited by fungus gnats (Myctophilidae or Sciaridae) and scuttle flies (Phoridae), which are likely to enter the perianth tube via the annulus below the filiform tepal appendages, and exit via small apertures between the filaments of the pendent stamens. The flowers are inferred to be protandrous, and flies visiting late-anthetic (pistillate-phase) flowers are possibly trapped within the flower, increasing chances of pollen deposition on the receptive stigma. The seeds are likely to be dispersed by rain splash.

A new species in the genus Thismia which comprise of small herbaceous plants with extremely reduced vegetative structures resulting in a lack of chlorophyll. The plants rely solely on fungal symbionts. The species name reflects the geographical origin of the species in Hong Kong.
no DNA Barcodes

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