Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz

Schönau am Königssee, Germany

Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz

Schönau am Königssee, Germany

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Schlick-Steiner B.C.,University of Innsbruck | Steiner F.M.,University of Innsbruck | Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Stauffer C.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | And 2 more authors.
Annual Review of Entomology | Year: 2010

Good alpha taxonomy is central to biology. On the basis of a survey of arthropod studies that used multiple disciplines for species delimitation, we evaluated the performance of single disciplines. All included disciplines had a considerable failure rate. Rigor in species delimitation can thus be increased when several disciplines chosen for complementarity are used. We present a flexible procedure and stopping rule for integrative taxonomy that uses the information from different disciplines separately. Disagreement among disciplines over the number and demarcation of species is resolved by elucidating and invoking evolutionary explanations for disagreement. With the identification of further promising study organisms and of new questions for in-depth analysis, evolutionary biology should profit from integrative taxonomy. An important rationale is clarity in researcher bias in the decision-making process. The success of integrative taxonomy will further increase through methodological progress, taxonomic training of evolutionary biologists, and balanced resource allocation. © 2010 by Annual Reviews All rights reserved.


A supercolonial mound-building wood ant was intentionally introduced from the Italian Alps to Quebec, Canada, in 1971. This species was believed so far to represent Formica lugubris ZETTERSTEDT, 1838. Yet, recent investigations on the distributions of F. lugubris and the closely related species F. paralugubris SEIFERT, 1996 in the Italian Alps showed presence of both species and also that the supercolonial social type is represented here mainly by the latter species. This raised doubts on the species identity of the Canadian ants and prompted a taxonomic re-investigation. Advanced exploratory and hypothesis-driven data analyses of worker phenotype of 152 nest samples of both species from the Alps and of two samples collected from the supercolony in Quebec convincingly confirmed the Canadian introduction to represent F. paralugubris. The Quebec samples were safely allocated to the F. paralugubris cluster in both Nest Centroid (NC)-Ward and NC-K-Means clustering, a nest-centroid based principal component analysis (PCA), and a linear discriminant analysis. The error of exploratory data analyses over all 154 samples varied between 0.6% (NC-KMeans) and 1.9% (NC-Ward, PCA). A new method calculating the size of nest populations of polygynous Formica rufa group ants is introduced, according to which the growth of the Valcartier introduction was estimated from about one million workers in 1971 to 19 million workers in 2005. Data on mating biology, strategy and speed of dispersal, colony structure, and ecological requirements indicate that active spreading of this ant to areas remote from the Valcartier beachhead is unlikely. There is also a low probability of passive dispersal by unintentional anthropogenic transfer of colony fragments. Although supercolonial, F. paralugubris lacks some of the essential properties of invasive tramp ants - its species-specific preadaptations are not comparable with the situation in the imported European Fire Ant Myrmica rubra (LINNAEUS, 1758). A prediction of the role of F. paralugubris in the Nearctic forest ecosystems is presented. The concluded low risk of it becoming a dangerous invasive species does not refute the importance of keeping the situation in Quebec under careful observation.


Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Galkowski C.,2104 route de Mounic
Zootaxa | Year: 2016

Application of Numeric Morphology-Based Alpha-Taxonomy (NUMOBAT) demonstrated the existence of three cryptic species within the Westpalaearctic Lasius paralienus species complex: L. paralienus Seifert, 1992, having a wider Euro-pean distribution north to Sweden, L. casevitzi sp. nov., an endemic of Corsica, and Lasius bombycina sp. nov. from south-east Central Europe, the Balkans and Asia Minor. Hierarchical NC-Ward clustering and non-hierarchical NC-k-means clustering of 16 morphological characters resulted in 98.7% identical classifications within 76 examined nest samples of the three species. The classification error in 180 worker individuals was 0% in a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and 1.3% in a LOOCV-LDA. Differential characters to other species groups and an identification key of the six European members of the Lasius alienus Förster species group are provided. © 2016 Magnolia Press.


Brunanska M.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | Poddubnaya L.G.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Xylander W.E.R.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz
Parasitology Research | Year: 2012

The mature spermatozoon of Amphilina foliacea Rudolphi, 1819 has been examined using transmission electron microscopy. The male gamete is filiform and tapered at both extremities. Its moderately electron-dense cytoplasm possesses two parallel axonemes of unequal lengths with the 9∈+∈1 trepaxonematan pattern, a mitochondrion, a nucleus, parallel cortical microtubules, four electron-dense attachment zones, and electron-dense glycogen granules. A crested body is absent. The anterior extremity of the cell exhibits a single axoneme. The anteriormost cortical microtubules have been observed with the appearance of the second axoneme. The number of cortical microtubules reaches a maximum (up to 25) in the nucleated region III of the spermatozoon. A single mitochondrion extends from the middle of region II to the end of region III of the cell. Both axonemes have become disorganized in a similar way: the axonemal doublets disappear first, followed by the central core. The nucleus is surrounded by a few cortical microtubules in the proximal part of region V. In the distal extremity of the mature spermatozoon, there is only the nucleus. Differences of spermatozoon ultrastructure within Amphilinidea and other Neodermata are discussed. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Hutchinson J.M.C.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Reise H.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz
Journal of Molluscan Studies | Year: 2015

Ariunculus is a genus of terrestrial slugs often treated as a subgenus of Arion. A survey of the literature reveals doubts about many of the described species: only A. speziae and A. isselii are now generally recognized as belonging to Ariunculus. Ariunculus isselii is widespread on Sardinia. We describe its external appearance, mating behaviour and genital anatomy, and interpret the functioning of the genitalia based on specimens killed during copulation or shortly afterwards. Instead of the distinct epiphallus of Arion, there is only a small ampulla, because sperm are pumped out piecemeal to the recipient rather than transferred in a spermatophore. We speculate (in a framework of sexual selection theory) that this may explain why mating lasts 12 h after the initial genital eversion, much longer than in most Arion. The absence of a spermatophore provides grounds for keeping Ariunculus separate from Arion. Similarly to some Arion species, the papilla is inserted into the partner's partially everted bursa trunk; we discuss four different hypotheses for the function of this arrangement. Also as in some Arion species, the oviduct is everted during mating so as to apply a ligula. We provide information on egg laying in captivity and report that the species can self-fertilize. © 2014 © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Malacological Society of London, all rights reserved.


Buchner J.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Tietz O.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz
Geomorphology | Year: 2012

Remnants of numerous monogenetic volcanoes are preserved in the Central European Volcanic Province (CEVP). The Landeskrone Hill, a monogenetic scoria cone in the Lusatian Volcanic Field, is reconstructed here. This was done using measurements of the dip of columnar jointing of lava lake basalts and the detailed mapping of the volcaniclastic rocks. The reconstruction implies a large scoria cone and a lava lake; filling the crater with a thickness of more than 110. m. Volcanic activity was characterized by strombolian eruptions possibly after an opening phreatomagmatic phase. A scoria cone was developed in an initial maar-diatreme volcano. A late phreatomagmatic phase could explain the unusual modified crater of the scoria cone. The conduit was emptied and so the crater was widened in this late eruption stage. An increased magma flux probably induced a change in the eruptive style and, finally, the crater was filled in a single event by a lava lake. This effusive phase completed the multi-stage volcano development. The 34. Ma-old volcano is an excellent example for the persistence of relicts of monogenetic volcanoes over a long period of time. There are some other remnants of monogenetic scoria cones that survived degradation processes in the area. With respect to the present surface, the reconstruction of the paleosurface implies low uplift and erosion rates of about 3. mm/ka since the Oligocene. These denudation values support and expand on the previously published fission track data (prior to the Upper Cretaceous) and glacial-sedimentological data on neotectonic movements since the Middle Pleistocene. The erosion rate estimated by physical volcanological data implies stagnation of tectonic uplift from the Upper Paleogene to the Middle Neogene and a reactivation of tectonic movement for the Lusatian Massif in the Middle Pleistocene. Thus, the reconstructed edifice provides a powerful tool for the study of landscape evolution by clearly defining the characteristics of the paleosurfaces at certain times. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Yazdi A.B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Schultz R.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz
Myrmecological News | Year: 2014

Palaearctic populations of Myrmica ants so far known under the name M. scabrinodis NYLANDER, 1846 were studied by combining geometric morphometrics (GM) with nest-centroid (NC) clustering and hypothesis-driven data analysis. A new cryptic species, Myrmica martini sp.n., showing a rather limited geographical range extending over largely the montane to subalpine zones of the Pyrenees and French Alps, was identified. 41 landmarks and 252 semilandmarks were fixed in the clypeus, head capsule, mesosoma and petiole aspects of 359 ant workers belonging to 106 nest samples. Extracting the 14 most diagnostic shape components from a set of 316 relative warps and running these data in NC-clustering, resulted in a complete species separation despite minute interspecific differences and large overlap in any character. The species identification provided by NC-Ward, NC-K-means and NMDS-K-Means clustering and by the controlling linear discriminant analysis agreed in each nest sample. There was no classification in disagreement with zoogeographic data. The lectotype samples of the five most similar and possibly synonymous taxa had near-to-zero pro-babilities of belonging to the M. martini sp.n. cluster: M. scabrinodis (p = 0.00015), M. scabrinodis var. rugulosoides FOREL, 1915 (p = 0.0037), M. pilosiscapus BONDROIT, 1920 (p = 0.0008), M. sabuleti var. spinosior SANTSCHI, 1931 (p = 0.0006), and M. rolandi var. reticulata STÄRCKE, 1942 (p = 0.00001). Myrmica rolandi var. reticulata, of which a lecto-type was designated here, is established as junior synonym of M. spinosior whereas M. scabrinodis var. rugulosoides and M. pilosiscapus are confirmed as junior synonyms of M. scabrinodis. We provide a rather simple system to discri-minate M. martini from M. scabrinodis requiring 8 - 10 minutes of investigation time per specimen and resulting in an error of 3.6% on the nest sample level.


Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Ritz M.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz | Csosz S.,Ecology Research Group
Myrmecological News | Year: 2014

This article introduces a new application of the Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) algorithms Ward's method, Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean (UPGMA), K-Means clustering, and a combination of Non-Metric Multidimen-sional Scaling and K-Means clustering (NMDS-K-Means) for hypothesis formation in morphology-based alpha-taxonomy of ants. The script is written in R and freely available at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/agnesclustering/. The characte-ristic feature of the new approach is an unconventional application of linear discriminant analysis (LDA): No species hypothesis is imposed. Instead each nest sample, composed of individual ant workers, is treated as a separate class. This creates a multidimensional distance matrix between group centroids of nest samples as input data for the clustering methods. We mark the new method with the prefix "NC" (Nest Centroid). The performance of NC-Ward, NC-UPGMA, NC-K-Means clustering, and a combination of Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling and K-Means clustering (NC-NMDS-K-Means) was comparatively tested in 48 examples with multiple morphological character sets of 74 cryptic species of 13 ant genera. Data sets were selected specifically on the criteria that the EDA methods are likely to lead to errors - i.e., for the condition that any character under consideration overlapped interspecifically in bivariate plots against body size. Morphospecies hypotheses were formed through interaction between EDA and a confirmative linear discri-minant analysis (LDA) in which samples with disagreements between the primary species hypotheses and EDA classifica-tion were set as wild-cards. Subsequent Advanced Species Hypotheses were formed by aligning Morphospecies Hypo-theses with biological and genetic data. Over all 48 cases and all four methods using nest centroid data generated by a hypothesis-free LDA, the mean deviation of clustering from Advanced Species Hypotheses was 5.25% in NC-UPGMA, 2.58% in NC-NMDS-K-Means, 2.40% in NC-Ward and 2.09% in NC-K-Means. A dramatically larger mean error of 21.50% was observed if K-Means used nest-sample means of morphological characters instead of centroid data. This indicates that having first run a hypothesis-free LDA was a deciding factor for the unexpectedly high performance of the new clustering algorithms. Advantages and disadvantages of the EDA methods are discussed. A combination of NC-Ward, NC-UPGMA and NC-K-Means clustering is recommended as the most conclusive and most rapidly work-ing routine for the exploration of cryptic species. The method is applicable to any group of eusocial organisms such as ants, bees, wasps, termites, gall-making aphids, thrips, weevils, pistol shrimps, and mole rats. In general, NC-Clustering can be applied for all cohesive systems providing repeats of definitely conspecific elements - e.g., leaves and flowers of the same plant, a coral "head" of genetically identical polyps, an aphid colony produced by a single fundatrix. It can also be used to monitor intraspecific zoogeographical structures. However, the clustering methods presented did not appear to be good tools for the investigation of hybrid scenarios, for which we recommend alternative methods.


Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde Gorlitz
Myrmecological News | Year: 2012

The taxonomic status of 32 taxa of the ant genus Bothriomyrmex from Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, and the Middle East was assessed and commented. Four European species were clearly distinguished by high-performance stereomicroscopy, reproducible numeric recording of 18 phenotypical characters and multivariate analyses: B. meridionalis ROGER, 1863, B. atlantis FOREL, 1894, B. communistus SANTSCHI, 1919 and B. corsicus SANTSCHI, 1923. Type investigation and evaluation of original descriptions established that there is definitely no Palaearctic taxon described before 31 March 1923 which is a senior synonym to any of these four names. Principal component (PCA) and discriminant analyses (DA) of 204 workers and 58 gynes clearly showed the following synonymies (in brackets posterior probabilities of type specimens in discriminant analyses): B. meridionalis var. adriaca SANTSCHI, 1922 (p = 1.000) and B. corsicus ssp. mohelensis NOVÁK, 1941 (p = 1.000) are synonyms of B. communistus SANTSCHI, 1919 (p = 1.000) while B. meridionalis ssp. gibbus SOUDEK, 1924 (p = 0.999), B. corsicus ssp. gallicus EMERY, 1925 (p = 1.000), B. corsicus var. ligurica EMERY, 1925 (p = 1.000), and B. menozzii EMERY, 1925 (p = 1.000) are synonyms of B. corsicus SANTSCHI, 1923 (p = 1.000). The performance of the DA was unexpectedly strong: After reduction to eight morphological characters, any individual of B. communistus and B. corsicus was classified with posterior probabilities of p > 0.960 and the error rate in leave-one-out cross-validation was 0%. Furthermore, no specimen was allocated to a wrong cluster in PCA.


Data on four species of the ant genus Tapinoma FÖRSTER, 1850 are presented. Three of these maintain permanent outdoor populations in Central Europe: the autochthonous T. subboreale sp.n., T. erraticum (LATREILLE, 1798) and T. nigerrimum (NYLANDER, 1856) which is a recently established neozoon in Germany. All three species can be safely separated on the individual level both in the female castes and in males by principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis (DA) of multiple morphometric characters. As the lectotype of T. ambiguum EMERY, 1925 is heterospecific from a more northern species which had been constantly named T. ambiguum during the last 34 years, it was necessary to describe the latter as T. subboreale sp.n. The earlier synonymy of T. ambiguum with T. madeirense FOREL, 1895 was confirmed on the basis of genital characters. The neotype of T. erraticum was fixed from a sample collected at the type locality. Tapinoma madeirense, known from Madeira and southern France, and T. subboreale sp.n. from Central and North Europe cannot be safely distinguished in the female castes but are clearly heterospecific concluded from male genital morphology. Workers of the four considered species show a strong allometry of some shape characters: Within the average intraspecific body-size range and given in per cent of the mean, the relative depth of posterior head excava-tion, of the metanotal groove and of the clypeal excision grow by 66.3%, 52.1% and 14.2% while relative head length falls by 13.6%. Removal of allometric variance in all shape characters and computation of these data in a PCA and a DA showed that worker morphologies of T. nigerrimum and T. erraticum differed independently from body size and, in conclusion, should also be independent from colony maturity.

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