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Champaign, IL, United States

Zahniser J.N.,Prairie Research Institute
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science | Year: 2012

Stenogiffardia Evans, 1977 is considered the senior synonym of Pratura Theron, 1982 syn. nov. and Doraturella Emeljanov, 2002 syn. nov., resulting in four new combinations. Duraturopsis Melichar, 1908 syn. nov. is considered a junior synonym of Chiasmus Mulsant and Rey, 1855, resulting in one new combination. Figures of the ovipositor of Stenogiffardia parvula (Kirkaldy) are provided for the first time, and habitus images of S. parvula and Chiasmus katonae (Melichar) comb. nov. are provided. © Copyright ICIPE 2012.

Taylor C.A.,Prairie Research Institute | Adams S.B.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Schuster G.A.,305 Boone Way
Journal of Crustacean Biology | Year: 2014

Diagnosable taxonomic units are fundamental to conservation biology and management of resources and the need for sound science in both fields is more pressing for aquatic ecosystems. Within freshwater crayfishes, the North American genus Orconectes is one of the most diverse in the World. Accurate assessments of species level relationships and species boundaries within the genus have historically been hampered by a low number of variable morphological characters and inadequate sampling from across the ranges of many taxa. We examine a diverse group of southeastern United States stream dwelling Orconectes in the subgenus Trisellescens using 16S, COI mtDNA, and morphology to resolve uncertainties in species boundaries. Our results suggest that strong divergences exist between taxa found above and below the Fall Line in parts of the southeastern United States and the taxonomy for taxa found in that region should remain unchanged. However, using both molecular and morphological datasets we are unable to determine species limits for some taxa found on and below the Fall Line. Analysis of DNA data suggests that historical and ongoing genetic events such as gene introgression may contribute to these uncertainties. For taxa found on and below the Fall Line, we suggest tentative, taxonomic assignments. Finally, we argue for increased sampling of independent molecular datasets and increased sample sizes for all cambarid crayfish biogeographic studies. © The Crustacean Society, 2014. Published by Brill NV, Leiden.

Seltmann K.C.,American Museum of Natural History | Penzes Z.,University of Szeged | Yoder M.J.,Prairie Research Institute | Bertone M.A.,North Carolina State University | Deans A.R.,Pennsylvania State University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Hymenoptera, the insect order that includes sawflies, bees, wasps, and ants, exhibits an incredible diversity of phenotypes, with over 145,000 species described in a corpus of textual knowledge since Carolus Linnaeus. In the absence of specialized training, often spanning decades, however, these articles can be challenging to decipher. Much of the vocabulary is domain-specific (e.g., Hymenoptera biology), historically without a comprehensive glossary, and contains much homonymous and synonymous terminology. The Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology was developed to surmount this challenge and to aid future communication related to hymenopteran anatomy, as well as provide support for domain experts so they may actively benefit from the anatomy ontology development. As part of HAO development, an active learning, dictionary-based, natural language recognition tool was implemented to facilitate Hymenoptera anatomy term discovery in literature. We present this tool, referred to as the 'Proofer', as part of an iterative approach to growing phenotype-relevant ontologies, regardless of domain. The process of ontology development results in a critical mass of terms that is applied as a filter to the source collection of articles in order to reveal term occurrence and biases in natural language species descriptions. Our results indicate that taxonomists use domain-specific terminology that follows taxonomic specialization, particularly at superfamily and family level groupings and that the developed Proofer tool is effective for term discovery, facilitating ontology construction. © 2013 Seltmann et al.

News Article
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Using head shape and genetic analyses, new research challenges the formerly designated subspecies within the western rattlesnake species. These findings have important implications for ecological conservation efforts across the United States and could provide the basis for new species designations. The results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. The western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) is found across a significant portion of the United States, from Mexico to Canada and from the Missouri River to the West Coast. Most work classifying rattlesnake species and subspecies was conducted in the mid-20th century. Since then, scientific methods have advanced to allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the path of rattlesnake evolution. Mark Davis, a research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, collected data from nearly 3,000 western rattlesnakes for this study. He gathered data from preserved samples of this group available at natural history museums across the western United States. “We are able to see that these different subspecies, which have different habits, live in different areas and have other different characteristics, have heads that have been shaped differently over evolutionary time,” Davis said. For western rattlesnakes, the head is the primary organ for conducting daily life. It is especially important for feeding and reproductive rituals. Head shape has evolved to better accommodate these critical behaviors, Davis said. The shape can vary drastically between different species of snakes. Given the importance of this feature, Davis and his colleagues used geometric morphometrics, a relatively novel method that allows researchers to quantify head shape without any influence of head size. To complement the shape analyses, Davis and his team analyzed genetic data from the snakes. Combining head shape and genetic information created a comprehensive perspective, Davis said. Together, these data confirm that several groups of snakes previously labeled as subspecies have substantial enough differences to qualify for a separate species designation. One of the greatest challenges to ecological conservation is identifying what species actually exist. For legal protections – including the Endangered Species Act – to be effective, scientists must specifically identify the units of biodiversity that may be in need of protection. ”It’s important to me to try to work with conservation practitioners to develop strategies for preserving biodiversity,” Davis said. With this study, Davis and his colleagues recommend officially elevating to the level of full species several groups of snakes previously believed to be subspecies. Davis expects that the national and international organizations responsible for naming various species will adopt the recommendations proposed in the study.

Allender M.C.,Urbana University | Allender M.C.,Prairie Research Institute | Dreslik M.J.,Prairie Research Institute | Wylie D.B.,Prairie Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Copeia | Year: 2013

With the current rate of declines in global biodiversity, it is apparent that wildlife diseases are serving as additional threats to population declines and potentially species extinctions. Free-ranging Eastern Massasaugas (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) have been reported susceptible to numerous health threats, one of which is a fatal fungal dermatitis. In response to the occurrence of the fungal dermatitis, a health survey and disease investigation was conducted on Eastern Massasaugas near Carlyle, Illinois in 2011. We captured 38 Eastern Massasaugas from March to April 2011. Polymerase chain reaction assays were performed from swabs collected from the faces of 34 snakes. We obtained hematologic data for 31 individuals, plasma biochemical data for 24, and toxicological data for 18. There was no evidence of Chrysosporium in any of the samples. Hematologic and plasma biochemistry parameters were consistent with previous health studies in the Carlyle population. Elemental toxicologic investigation of the plasma indicated variable levels of lead, copper, selenium, strontium, tin, iron, and zinc. © 2013 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

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