Friday, July 31, 2015

A new isopod: Protracheoniscus sarii

Terrestrial isopods are commonly known as sowbugs, woodlice, pillbugs, and slaters. While most crustaceans need to live in water, the terrestrial isopods are the only larger group to become adapted for life on land. The only other crustaceans which include a small number of terrestrial species are amphipods (e.g. sandhoppers) and decapods (some crabs).  Like all members of the crustaceans, terrestrial isopods breathe through their gills, but these must stay moist to operate. This means the animals need to live in damp places, usually underneath something like decaying wood or leaves. 

Unable to return to the water to breed, females must carry water around with them. Fertilized eggs are deposited in a water-filled brood pouch, located beneath the thorax. When the eggs hatch, the young isopods must remain in the pouch until they can fend for themselves.

This new species was found in Khak-e Ali, Iran and named after Dr. Alireza Sari, professor in animal biosystematics at the University of Tehran. 

For the experts: Six species of terrestrial isopods from the province of Qazvin, central Iran, are recorded. Three species, Hemilepistus klugii (Brandt, 1833), Protracheoniscus ehsani Kashani, 2014 and Mongoloniscus persicus Kashani, 2014, were previously reported from the province. Hemilepistus elongatus Budde-Lund, 1885 and Protracheoniscus major (Dollfus, 1903) are recorded for the first time, and one species, Protracheoniscus sarii sp. n., is described as new. The diagnostic characters of the new species are figured.

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