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New Species Discovered

India Sanju Offline
Indian
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#31

New insect found in B.C. caves could be a survivor from Ice Age

Quote:Haplocampa wagnelli is closely related to species in Japan and Siberia, may have crossed land bridge


*This image is copyright of its original author

Haplocampa wagnelli, a new insect species found in a limestone cave near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, is about three to four millimetres long, with no eyes and a whitish, almost transparent colour. (Felix Ossig-Bonanno (2017); CC-BY 4.0)

A newly discovered cave-dwelling species of insect found in British Columbia could be a survivor from the last ice age, scientists say.
Haplocampa wagnelli, the arthropod found in a limestone cave near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, is about three to four millimetres long, with six legs, no eyes and a whitish, almost transparent colour.

Alberto Sendra, lead author of a study published in the journal Subterranean Biology last week, said the little bug's existence opens up possibilities of how species survive in different climates and conditions.
"This is a very intriguing species because it looks like it lived underground in caves — for more or less a long time," Sendra said in an interview.

"This means they can survive in the glacial period. And this is very remarkable because there are no examples of species that live in subterranean areas so up north."
Sendra, a professor of animal biology at the University of Alcala in Madrid, said there is a possibility the insect migrated north from the United States and settled in the caves on Vancouver Island.

He said he could not say how old the insect is — just that it is primitive, and its discovery raises a number of questions.
"How can they survive there? It opens up the possibility in the future to search for species in other places where nobody looks for them," he said.
"We always look in warmer climates in the south and this species suggests we need to look for this more in the Northern Hemisphere."
Named after B.C. caver

The insect's name pays tribute to caver and study co-author Craig Wagnell, who has spent years exploring caves on Vancouver Island.
A group from the Central Island Caving Club, including Wagnell, first recorded the critter in 2017, and Sendra said he spent the last year studying it.
Unlike most cave-adapted species that are elongated and slender, this insect has only slightly elongated antennae and legs and a thicker body, according to a news release announcing the study.


It also shows a close relationship with species found in Japan and Siberia, which is evidence for dispersal events where populations would cross over the land bridge that used to connect America and Asia, the release stated. The study said Vancouver Island has more mapped and explored caves than the rest of Canada combined, and many contain unique features, including streams and rivers running through them most of the year.

The caves help the streams maintain constant water temperatures and quality year round, which helps support a variety of fish and wildlife, the study said, noting little has been done to protect the caves from logging, mining and recreational practices.
Some of the caves have been misused and more needs to be done to protect them and the unique wildlife they support, researchers said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/insec...-1.5013875
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India Sanju Offline
Indian
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#32

Orange-bellied 'starry dwarf frog' discovered in Indian mountains
Quote:Astrobatrachus kurichiyana lurks in leaf litter and is sole member of an ancient lineage

         
*This image is copyright of its original author

Astrobatrachus kurichiyana was found in the Western Ghats mountain range by Indian and US researchers. Photograph: SP Vijayakumar/PA

An orange-bellied frog with a brown back, covered in tiny spots that resemble a starry sky, has been discovered in a mountain range in India, surprising researchers who said its ancestors branched off on the evolutionary tree from other members of the same frog family tens of millions of years ago.

The frog, which is about 2cm to 3cm long, has been named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana, although some might prefer its more rock-star sobriquet: “starry dwarf frog.”

Dr Alex Pyron, a co-author of the study into the frog at George Washington University, said: “Astrobatrachus is from the Greek for star frog, and so we named it after the spots that sort of look like stars, and kurichiyana is the name of the local peoples in this area where it was found.”

Writing in the journal PeerJ, the team of researchers from the US and India said they first came across the creatures in 2010 while exploring a hill range called Kurichiyarmala in India’s Western Ghats mountain range.

The researchers explained they were working at night to survey amphibians and reptiles when they spotted the frogs on the forest floor and in adjacent grassland, adding that they were generally found lurking beneath leaf litter.

“Because individuals were secretive and difficult to spot, sampling involved an intensive search of the forest floor,” the authors wrote. “Individuals were found to be shy of torchlight and, upon disturbance, made quick hopping movements to hide.”

The team said the frog’s appearance was unusual. “When [the others] first saw it, they immediately knew that it was something unusual that hadn’t been seen before,” Pyron said.

Through a genetic analysis, the team said they worked out the starry dwarf frog was not only a new species, but the sole member of a whole new subfamily of frogs within the Nyctibatrachidae family.

“It may have had other relatives in the past that have since died out, but this is the sole living representative,” Pyron said.

The team said it was an example of an “ancient lineage”, with the last common ancestor of the starry dwarf frog and its closest living species thought to have lived somewhere in the region of 57m–76m years ago.

“It fills in a gap in our knowledge of what the ancient history of frogs in India looked like,” said Pyron, adding that it increased the period of time for which ancestors of the Nyctibatrachidae frog family have been in the area.

The team said other frogs in the area also have an ancient lineage, and the biodiversity in the Western Ghats is down to a combination of factors, including the broad diversity of species present when India broke away from other parts of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, as well as the wide range of habitats provided by mountain ranges.

“Having an ancient tropical mountain range like the Western Ghats is relatively rare, there are only a few places like that, so they tend to harbour very ancient, very diverse and very rich assemblages of plants and animals,” Pyron said.
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