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Wesener T.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Invertebrate Systematics | Year: 2014

Cyliosoma Pocock, 1895, the oldest available genus name for Australian giant pill-millipedes, is revised with a redescription of its type species, Sphaerotherium angulatum Butler, 1878. All 16 species of Epicyliosoma Silvestri, 1917 are transferred to Cyliosoma, together with two species, Sphaerotherium fraternum Butler, 1872 and S. marginepunctatum Karsch, 1881, which are redescribed here. A new phylogenetic analysis of the Sphaerotheriida was conducted using 100 morphological characters and including two Cyliosoma species and four recently described or redescribed species of the family Zephroniidae. Most character states are illustrated for Cyliosoma, including the first SEM images of a member of the genus. Cyliosoma is neither closely related to the South African Sphaerotherium, nor to the other Australian genus, Procyliosoma, and is here placed in a new family, Cyliosomatidae. The monotypic Australian genus Cynotelopus Jeekel, 1986 is also referred to the Cyliosomatidae. The current position of the Cyliosomatidae is in a trichotomy including the South African Sphaerotheriidae and the Malagasy-Indian Arthrosphaeridae. © CSIRO 2014.


Wesener T.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Revue Suisse de Zoologie | Year: 2014

The first records of the colobognathan millipede order Siphonophorida from Madagascar and Mauritius are presented. Specimens representing both families of the order, Siphonophoridae and Siphonorhinidae, were discovered on Madagascar. The specimens were collected from 18 rainforest and montane rainforest localities using primarily the Winkler or Berlese extraction methods. The limited number of specimens (mostly less than 5) available from each site and the difficult taxonomic state of the order prevented the naming of any of the specimens. Specimens from one locality could be studied in more detail using SEM, and were tentatively determined as members of the Asian genus Siphonorhinus Pocock, 1894, presently known only from Asia. Four additional Siphonophorida samples representing at least two different species came from three localities on Mauritius, providing the first record of the order from the island. All Siphonophorida specimens should be carefully examined before taxonomic description attempts, as some might represent widespread tropical tramps.


Blanke A.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity | Wesener T.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Arthropod Structure and Development | Year: 2014

The external and internal anatomy of millipedes (Diplopoda) is poorly known compared to some of the other myriapod and arthropod groups. Due to both language barriers, which hindered the assessment of the character-rich older literature, and non-phylogenetic thinking, our knowledge of morphological characters useful for phylogenetic work diminished over the last decades. Here, a new character matrix with 64 characters, mainly derived from old literature data, is used to reconstruct a phylogeny of Diplopoda. As a tool to further our knowledge about the morphology of the different millipede orders, we show how micro-computer tomography (μCT) can be used to assess and illustrate specific parts of the Platydesmida. With the advent of μCT it is now possible to analyse many taxa and characters in a comparatively short time. A focus is put on potential phylogenetically useful characters. Our results support a Verhoeffian classification of the Diplopoda: Polyxenida + Chilognatha. Pentazonia are the sistergroup to the Helminthomorpha. Colobognatha form the sistergroup to Eugnatha, the latter split into monophyletic Juliformia and Polydesmida + Nematophora. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Freyhof J.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters | Year: 2014

Acanthobrama thisbeae, new species, is described from the lower Ceyhan and Orontes Rivers in Turkey. It is distinguished from other species of the genus by having 73-86/3-4 scales along the lateral line, a thin and short last unbranched dorsal-fin ray, flank scales with a crenulated posterior margin, and 14-16% branched anal-fin rays. Acanthobrarna orontis is a valid species distributed in the Orontes, Ceyhan and Seyhan rivers. Eleven species are recognised as valid in the genus Acanthobrania (A. centisquarna, A. hadiyahensis, A. lissneri, A. inarmid, A. microlepis, A. orontis, A. persidis, A. telavivensis, A. thisbae, A. tricolor, A. urmianus). Acanthalburnus is treated as a synonym of Acanthobrarna. © 2014 by Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München, Germany.


The Italian pill millipede species Glomeris apuana Verhoeff, 1911, is redescribed from fresh material and its COI barcoding fragment is sequenced. The new specimens were compared to the original type series, of which a lectotype was selected. G. apuana was apparently still viewed as a subspecies of G. ligurica, as its name cannot be found in 'Fauna Europaea', or any faunal lists or catalogues in the last 85 years. We show that the species is both genetically and morphologically unique. G. apuana is easy to identify based on its entirely black coloration in combination with the absence of any main striae on the thoracic shield. Genetically, G. apuana shows large p-distances of >10% to four different populations of G. ligurica Latzel, 1884. G. apuana also differs from other sequenced Glomeris species, G. marginata Latreille, 1803, G. connexa Koch, 1847, and G. klugii Brandt, 1833 by p-distances of >10%. Specimens of G. klugii from a population occurring in sympatry with G. apuana were newly sequenced. All records of G. apuana, a large, easy to identify and conspicuous species, are from a narrow coastal zone of the Apuan Alps, an area in which the species might be microendemic.


Polyzonium malagassum de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902, the only indigenous record of the order Polyzoniida from Madagascar, is redescribed after a study of the type specimens. The only male specimen is selected as the lectotype and illustrated. P. malagassum is discovered to be a synonym of the widespread tropical tramp species Rhinotus purpureus (Pocock, 1894). A mapping of additional locality data of R. pupureus shows that the species is widespread in Malagasy rainforests and montane rainforests, and occurs locally in high densities. Seven potentially indigenous Polyzoniida morphospecies also occur on Madagascar, but these undescribed species are more localized and show a lower abundance than R. purpureus. Brief notes, locality data, and Museum acronyms are given for the undescribed Polyzoniida species, which will hopefully assist future studies on Malagasy representatives of this little-known but biogeographically interesting order. With the discovery of the ubiquitous presence of R. purpureus on Madagascar, the similarity of the defense secretions of South American and of endemic Malagasy poison dart frogs (family Mantellidae) might derive from the fact that both groups prey on and sequester alkaloids from the same species of millipede. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.


Wesener T.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity | Conrad C.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Local endemic species with their unique evolutionary history always stirred the interest of scientists. One such area especially rich in endemics is northernItaly. In case of pill millipedes of the genus Glomeris Latreille, 1803, only a single species is found in northern Europe, while 22 country-endemics alone are known from Italy. Many of these endemics, however, have not been studied in several decades; therefore we aimed to determine whether this diversity is the result of overlooked synonymies or natural processes. A focus was placed on the local endemics that are in some aspects morphologically similar to the widespread and variable G. klugii Brandt, 1833. The local endemics Glomeris larii Verhoeff, 1921, G. primordialisVerhoeff, 1930, G. oblongoguttata Verhoeff, 1894, G. oropensis Verhoeff, 1936, G. transalpinaKoch, 1836, G. romana Verhoeff, 1900, G. ligurica Latzel, 1884 and G. apuana Verhoeff, 1911 were included in a molecular analysis incorporating ribosomal nuclear (28S) and mitochondrial (COI) genes. Individuals were sequenced and compared to 31 specimens from 18 localities of G. klugii. The final dataset included 657 base pairs for 56 terminals in the COI, and 14 terminals with 1068 base pairs in the combined 28S and COI analysis. Our analysis shows intraspecific distances of up to 5% in the COI gene in G. klugii that are not strictly correlated to geography or color pattern. G. larii is discovered to be genetically and morphologically identical to G. klugii and is synonymised with the latter. Interspecific distances in our dataset vary between 6.7 to 15.9%, with the lowest (6.7-9.0%) between G. primordialisand G. klugii. Our analysis confirmsthe species status of the local endemics G. primordialis, G. oblongoguttata, G. oropensis, G. transalpina, G. ligurica and G. apuana.We also confirmthe synonymy of G. undulata Koch, 1844 under G. klugii. G. genuensis Latzel, 1886 is indistinguishable from G. ligurica. © 2016 Wesener, Conrad. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Wesener T.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Zootaxa | Year: 2015

The type of the only species of the order Sphaerotheriida with a record in Nepal, Kophosphaera excavata (Butler, 1874), originally described from Sikkim, is redescribed. The subspecies K. excavata mammifera Attems, 1936 from Sureil, Darjeeling, India, is elevated to species rank, K. mammifera stat. nov.. A species of unclear country of origin ('Himalaya'), Sphaeropoeus montanus Karsch, 1881, is briefly redescribed and transferred to the genus Zephronia, Z. montana (Karsch, 1881) n. comb.. Z. tumida Butler, 1882, an apparently widespread north Indian Zephronia species, is redescribed. Sphaerotheriida specimens collected during several expeditions to Nepal undertaken by Prof. J. Martens in the 1970s and 1980s were examined. The material contained 10 specimens (7 males, 3 females) from seven localities, including three undescribed species, Zephronia nepalensis n. sp., Kophosphaera shivapuri n. sp., and Kophosphaera martensi n. sp., as well as a specimen of Kophosphaera politissima Attems, 1935, type species of the genus and described previously from India. A key to all (now seven) species of Kophosphaera is presented. A brief diagnosis of the Kophosphaera excavata group is provided. While Zephronia seems to be restricted to the eastern part of Nepal, two endemic and two more widespread Kophosphaera species occur also in its central and mid-western part, representing the western-most records of the family Zephroniidae in Asia. The current distribution of the family in Nepal clearly indicates the Zephroniidae as a family adapted to tropical environments. Copyright © 2015 Magnolia Press.


In order to evaluate the status of the only species of pill millipede (Glomerida) endemic to Germany, Glomeris malmivaga Verhoeff, 1912, a DNA barcoding study based on the COI mitochondrial gene was conducted. Sequences of G. malmivaga were compared to those of G. ornata Koch, 1847 from Slovenia, of which the former was previously described as a variety of the latter before being elevated to subspecies- and, recently, species-rank. Included in the analysis were specimens of G. helvetica Verhoeff, 1894, also originally described as a variety of G. ornata, which was supposed to be closely related to G. malmivaga based on its morphology, as well as geographical proximity of occurrence. Additionally, G. valesiaca Rothenbühler, 1899, which occurs in sympatry and looks quite similar to G. helvetica was also sequenced for the first time and included in the study. Sequences of four widespread Glomeris species, all occurring in close proximity to G. malmivaga, G. marginata Villers, 1789, G. connexa Koch, 1847, G. klugii Brandt, 1833 and G. intermedia Latzel, 1884 were downloaded from Genbank and incorporated in the analysis. While G. helvetica and G. valesiaca were found to be clearly separate from G. ornata (11.8-14.6% p-distance), G. malmivaga is almost identical to the latter (0.5% p-distance), despite the large geographical distance between both species. Because of their great morphological and genetical similarity, G. malmivaga n. syn. is synonymised under G. ornata. Copyright © 2015 Magnolia Press.


Burghardt I.,College St | Wagele H.,Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity
Journal of Molluscan Studies | Year: 2014

For the first time, specimens of the nudibranch Melibe engeli hosting zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium spp.) were cultured for more than 9 months in aquaria in order to study this symbiotic system. Melibe engeli, in contrast to other previously studied 'solar-powered' nudibranchs, does not obtain its symbionts by feeding on prey that house Symbiodinium, but as by-catch from the water column. Specimens were exposed to different experimental conditions (nonfeeding vs feeding, light vs darkness) to estimate the efficiency of this putative mutualistic symbiosis. Photosynthetic efficiency of Symbiodinium measured by means of PAM fluorometry remained high, independent of experimental treatment. Specimens kept under nonfeeding conditions survived the whole experimental period, grew to modest size and laid fertile egg clutches continuously. Specimens fed additionally with crustaceans and turbellarians grew faster and larger and laid more egg clutches, implying higher fecundity. Symbiodinium density was higher in fed specimens, but is potentially regulated actively by M. engeli through various mechanisms. Fed specimens kept in continuous darkness died relatively soon, suggesting that light is crucial for survival. Histological analyses revealed specialized morphological structures of the digestive gland ('cisternae' and 'fine tubuli') that house Symbiodinium. These data suggest an advanced state of mutualistic symbiosis that enables M. engeli to survive times of food shortage. © 2014 The Author.

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