Thursday, June 14, 2018

A new isopod: Stenasellus tashanicus

Isopods are an order of crustaceans that includes woodlice and their relatives. Isopods can be found in the sea, in fresh water, or on land. There are over 10000 known species of isopods in the world and they conquered most environments.

There are quite a few isopods that are found in subterranean waters, cave-dwellers that are specifically adapted to life in this environment. The new species was found in a cave in Iran. Consequently it was named after the type locality, the Tashan Cave.

For the experts: A new stenasellid isopod is described from Tashan Cave, Khuzestan Province, south-west Iran, belonging to the genus Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897. The first recorded species of Stenasellidae from Iran, Stenasellus tashanicus sp. n., is diagnosed by the presence of antennae with a minute squama bearing paired, long, robust setae; a maxilliped endite with six coupling hooks; and slender appendix masculina with an acute apex. A revised generic diagnosis is provided with a key to the six known western Asian Stenasellus species.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A new lichen: Architrypethelium murisporum

Lichens are fascinating organisms. In fact they are composite organisms build by algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. This combination of organisms has different properties than the individual species that build it.

Until now, the genus Architrypethelium has not been known from southeast Asia but this new species was found in Thailand.

The species name refers to the form of the spores of one of the fungi that are part of the composite.

For the experts: Architrypethelium murisporum Luangsuphabool, Lumbsch & Sangvichien is described for a crustose lichen occurring in dry evergreen forest in Thailand. It is characterised by a green to yellow-green corticated thallus, perithecia fused in black pseudostromata with white rim surrounding the ostiole and small, hyaline and muriform ascospores. Currently, all species in the genus Architrypethelium have transversely septate ascospores, hence the discovery of this new species indicates that ascospore septation is variable within the genus, similar to numerous other groups of lichen-forming ascomycetes. Phylogenetic analyses of two loci (mtSSU and nuLSU) supported the position of the new species within Architrypethelium. This is the first report of the genus in Southeast Asia.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A new legume: Psoralea forbesiae

Psoralea is a genus with its own family. Most species are actually poisonous,  but the starchy roots of two species,  P. esculenta (prairie turnip) and P. hypogaea,  are in fact edible. A few species form tumbleweeds.

The name of the new species honours Scottish born Helena Madelain Lamond Forbes (1900–1959) who immigrated to South Africa with her parents when young. She worked at the National Herbarium in Pretoria, visited Kew Gardens for one year and ended up as the Curator of the Natal Herbarium (NH).

For the experts: Psoralea forbesiae C.H.Stirt., A.Bello & Muasya is a new species of Psoraleeae, Fabaceae. Psoralea forbesiae is endemic to the Swartberg Mountains and is a tall densely branched re-sprouting shrub up to 2.5 m, with bluish-green stems and with most parts covered in small crater-like glands, leaves pinnately 3-foliolate, linear-oblong, pale bluish-green, semi-conduplicate, somewhat succulent, glabrous, crowded at the end of bare branches on older stems or distributed along short branches on young shoots, petiolate. A description of P. forbesiae, together with photographs and a distribution map are presented.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A new tetra: Hyphessobrycon piorskii

Hyphessobrycon is a genus of freshwater fish in the family Characidae, a family that also contains Piranhas. This genus belongs to a group of fish widely known as tetras. They are distributed from southern Mexico to Río de la Plata in Argentina. Many species are native to South America and about half a dozen species come from Central America. Many tetra species are popular aquarium fish and some are bred in large numbers in captivity.

The name piorskii honors the ichthyologist Nivaldo Magalhães Piorski for his contributions to the ichthyologic knowledge of the Maranhão State.

For the experts: A new species of Hyphessobrycon is described for the upper Munim and Preguiças river basins, northeastern Brazil, supported by morphological and molecular species delimitation methods. This new species belongs to the Hyphessobrycon sensu stricto group, as it has the three main diagnostic character states of this assemblage: presence of a dark brown or black blotch on the dorsal fin, absence of a black midlateral stripe on its flank and the position of Weberian apparatus upward horizontal through dorsal margin of operculum. Our phylogenetic analysis also supported the allocation of the new species in this group; however, it was not possible to recover the species sister-group. Pristella maxillaris and Moenkhausia hemigrammoides were recovered as the sister-clade of the Hyphessobrycon sensu stricto group.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A new shrimp: Odontonia bagginsi

Two new species of tiny symbiotic shrimps were described, illustrated and named by a biology student at Leiden University. The new shrimps do not reach sizes above a centimetre in length, and were found inside tunicates. It is believed that these symbiotic crustaceans are fully adapted to live inside the cavities of their hosts, which explains their small-sized and smooth bodies. Unlike most Odontonia species, which live inside solitary tunicates, the new species were the first ones to be associated with a colonial tunicate. These tunicates have even smaller internal cavities, which requires the shrimps to be even smaller than their close relatives.

One of the new species is named “bagginsi”, inspired by the famous Hobbit family name “Baggins” featured in the “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books. The Hobbits possess hairy feet comparable to this species.

For the experts: Two new species of palaemonid shrimp associated with ascidian hosts, Odontonia bagginsi sp. n. from Tidore and Odontonia plurellicola sp. n., from Ternate, Indonesia are described and figured. Through phylogenetic analyses based on both morphological and molecular datasets (mitochondrial Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene and the 16S mitochondrial ribosomal gene) of the genus Odontonia, the phylogenetic positions of the new species have been reconstructed. Scanning Electron Microscopy has been used to observe additional characters on dactyli of the ambulatory pereiopods. Odontonia plurellicola sp. n. appears to be more closely related to O. simplicipes and O. seychellensis, but it differs most notably in the morphology of the rostrum and mouthparts. Odontonia plurellicola sp. n. appears to be the only Odontonia species living inside a phlebobranch ascidian Plurella sp. Odontonia bagginsi sp. n. is closely related to O. sibogae, but differs markedly in the abundance of setae on the propodi of the ambulatory pereiopods. In the present paper, O. maldivensis Fransen, 2006 is regarded as a junior synonym of O. rufopunctata Fransen, 2002 based on both morphological and molecular aspects.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A new wasp: Ceraphron krogmanni

The family Ceraphronidae consists of some 360 known species of wasps. Scientists do believe that a great many species are yet to be described. In general little is known about this group. Most species are believed to be parasitoids of flies, but a few hyperparasitoids (parasitoid of a parasitoid) are also known. Many species are found in the soil, and of these, a good number are wingless.

The new species was collected in Germany and named after its collector, Lars Krogmann (Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart). 

For the experts: Male genitalia phenotypes of Ceraphron (Jurine, 1807) are informative for species delimitation, but due to their minute size, these characters have not been used extensively. Recent developments in visualisation techniques, e.g. confocal laser scanning microscopy and high resolution bright field imaging, allow for more thorough examination of these minute anatomical structures and the development of a robust, male genitalia-based taxonomic system. We also establish a character set, a template, that will facilitate future revisions of these wasps. Ceraphron krogmanni sp. nov. is described with outsized male genitalia and multiple diagnostic traits that are unique amongst Ceraphron species.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A new plant: Hemiboea suiyangensis

The relatively unknown genus Hemiboea contains about 23 species of exotic plants all native to China and neighboring countries. Hemiboea is in the Gesneriaceae family making it a cousin to African violets, Gloxinia, and Sinningia.

The new species is named after the type locality, Suiyang County, Guizhou, China.

For the experts: The limestone areas in south China are a major biodiversity hotspot for terrestrial biomes. Hemiboea, with 34 species and 5 varieties, mainly distributed in south China, is one of the characteristic plant groups in limestone areas. Hemiboea suiyangensis, a new species of Gesneriaceae from limestone areas in Guizhou, China, is described and illustrated. The new species is easily distinguished from other Hemiboea species by having an oblique-infundibular corolla with an abaxially gibbous swelling on the upper half of the tube and with a densely villose throat and lower lobes. Hemiboea suiyangensis is similar to H. omeiensis W. T. Wang in the shape of the leaf blade, but differs from the latter by the shape of the petiole, involucre, calyx and corolla and the colour of the corolla. The conservation status of this species is considered to be “Critically Endangered” (CR) according to IUCN Red List Criteria.