München, Germany
München, Germany

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | April 28, 2016
Site: www.treehugger.com

But why did the bitty bug remind its finders of Han Solo’s Wookiee co-pilot? It’s teeny, black and rife with scales. The newly discovered, rhomboid-shaped weevil beetle found in New Britain, Papua New Guinea is hardly a doppelganger for the tall hirsute resistance fighter from the planet Kashyyyk. But hey, if you’re a scientist and find a new species, you get naming rights. And thus, meet Trigonopterus chewbacca! Dr Alexander Riedel/CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Scientists Dr. Matthew H. Van Dam from the SNSB-Zoological State Collection in Germany, along with Raymond Laufa from The University of Papua New Guinea and Dr. Alexander Riedel from the Natural History Museum Karlsruhe have described the new species in a paper published in the open access journal ZooKeys. The newly discovered beetle, a flightless weevil, was one of four new black weevils found during an expedition to New Britain, Papua New Guinea. So why the name? It’s not based on stature, the little guys only measures between 2.78 and 3.13 mm. Warrior attributes were not noted, no mention of smuggling tendencies, and clearly no waves of flowing locks. One would imagine a critter earning the Chewie designation to be more along the lines of the puss (or flannel moth) caterpillar. But according to the paper: So there you have it. I’m guessing there might be a Star Wars fan or two among the scientists? The authors note that they presume there are many other new species to be found on the island. But maddeningly, "large expanses of low-elevation forests in New Britain have been converted to oil-palm plantations, highlighting the significance of documenting the insect fauna before the remaining forests are gone." Well we've got Trigonopterus chewbacca, now where's the Jedi when you need them?


Riedel A.,Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe SMNK | Sagata K.,Papua New Guinea Institute for Biological Research PNG IBR | Suhardjono Y.R.,Indonesian Institute of Sciences | Tanzler R.,Zoological State Collection | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Zoology | Year: 2013

Background: A so called " taxonomic impediment" has been recognized as a major obstacle to biodiversity research for the past two decades. Numerous remedies were then proposed. However, neither significant progress in terms of formal species descriptions, nor a minimum standard for descriptions have been achieved so far. Here, we analyze the problems of traditional taxonomy which often produces keys and descriptions of limited practical value. We suggest that phylogenetics and phenetics had a subtle and so far unnoticed effect on taxonomy leading to inflated species descriptions.Discussion: The term " turbo-taxonomy" was recently coined for an approach combining cox1 sequences, concise morphological descriptions by an expert taxonomist, and high-resolution digital imaging to streamline the formal description of larger numbers of new species. We propose a further development of this approach which, together with open access web-publication and automated pushing of content from journal into a wiki, may create the most efficient and sustainable way to conduct taxonomy in the future. On demand, highly concise descriptions can be gradually updated or modified in the fully versioned wiki-framework we use. This means that the visibility of additional data is not compromised, while the original species description -the first version- remains preserved in the wiki, and of course in the journal version. A DNA sequence database with an identification engine replaces an identification key, helps to avoid synonyms and has the potential to detect grossly incorrect generic placements. We demonstrate the functionality of a species-description pipeline by naming 101 new species of hyperdiverse New Guinea Trigonopterus weevils in the open-access journal ZooKeys.Summary: Fast track taxonomy will not only increase speed, but also sustainability of global species inventories. It will be of great practical value to all the other disciplines that depend on a usable taxonomy and will change our perception of global biodiversity. While this approach is certainly not suitable for all taxa alike, it is the tool that will help to tackle many hyperdiverse groups and pave the road for more sustainable comparative studies, e.g. in community ecology, phylogeography and large scale biogeographic studies. © 2013 Riedel et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Riedel A.,State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe | Tanzler R.,Zoological State Collection
ZooKeys | Year: 2016

The Australian species of the genus Trigonopterus Fauvel are revised. Eight previously recognized species are redescribed and 24 additional new species are described: T. allaetus Riedel, sp. n., T. athertonensis Riedel, sp. n., T. australinasutus Riedel, sp. n., T. australis Riedel, sp. n., T. bisignatus Riedel, sp. n., T. bisinuatus Riedel, sp. n., T. boolbunensis Riedel, sp. n., T. cooktownensis Riedel, sp. n., T. daintreensis Riedel, sp. n., T. deplanatus Riedel, sp. n., T. finniganensis Riedel, sp. n., T. fraterculus Riedel, sp. n., T. garradungensis Riedel, sp. n., T. hasenpuschi Riedel, sp. n., T. hartleyensis Riedel, sp. n., T. kurandensis Riedel, sp. n., T. lewisensis Riedel, sp. n., T. montanus Riedel, sp. n., T. monteithi Riedel, sp. n., T. mossmanensis Riedel, sp. n., T. oberprieleri Riedel, sp. n., T. robertsi Riedel, sp. n., T. terraereginae Riedel, sp. n., T. yorkensis Riedel, sp. n.. All new species are authored by the taxonomist-in-charge, Alexander Riedel. Lectotypes are designated for the following names: Idotasia aequalis Pascoe, I. albidosparsa Lea, I. evanida Pascoe, I. laeta Lea, I. rostralis Lea, I. sculptirostris Lea, I. squamosa Lea. A new combination of the name Idotasia striatipennis Lea is proposed: Trigonopterus striatipennis (Lea), comb. n.. A key to the species is provided. Australian Trigonopterus occur in coastal Queensland, narrowly crossing into New South Wales. The southern parts of the range are inhabited by species found on foliage. A rich fauna of 19 edaphic species inhabiting the leaf litter of tropical forests is reported for the first time from the Australian Wet Tropics. © Alexander Riedel Rene Tänzl.


News Article | January 21, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Lying among hundreds of beetle specimens in museum collections across Australia was a treasure trove of unidentified weevils, including as many as 24 new species, according to a new study. Most of the beetles were collected almost 30 years ago, but they remained unnamed until Alexander Riedel, a curator at the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe, and Rene Tänzler, a biologist at the Zoological State Collection in Munich, both in Germany, started cataloging them and stumbled across 24 new species that have now been added to the weevil genus Trigonopterus. All of the newly described weevils are restricted to small areas of tropical rainforests along the east coast of northern Queensland, Australia. Part of the reason for their isolation may be their lack of wings, which has prevented them from spreading, the researchers said. The new beetle species are also easily overlooked because they live on fallen leaves and dead wood, feeding on leaf litter, bits of palm fronds and other rainforest plants, basically recycling plant material, the scientists added. [Image Gallery: Shimmering Metallic Beetles] "There are millions of species on our planet with whom we co-exist," Riedel told Live Science. "What's most exciting for me is to make a few of these new forms of life visible to others as well. And, of course, this has practical implications for national parks and so on, because if you realize that there are lots of species endemic to the region, then there is special value in protecting it." Still, it is not unusual to discover this many new weevil species in Australia, Rolf Oberprieler, an entomologist at the National Research Collections in Canberra, Australia, who was not involved in the new study, told Live Science in an email. There are hundreds more beetle specimens in the Australian National Insect Collection, and Oberprieler estimates that the real number of beetle species in Australia may be more than 20,000 — five times as many as have been cataloged. Tropical rainforests are known for their high biodiversity, and many contain species that are unknown and not yet named by scientists. Insects, and especially beetles, make up a large proportion of this undiscovered life on Earth, Riedel said. He has been cataloging Trigonopterus beetles from rainforests across Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. It is likely that Trigonopterus weevils originated in Australia because it is the oldest landmass in the region, Riedel said. This is why putting a name and face to as many of the beetles in the area as possible is important to the study of their evolution. However, the process of studying and cataloging Trigonopterus weevils is difficult. "They are small, and they all look the same!" said Chris Reid, an entomologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney who studies a different genus of weevil and was not involved in the new research. "Normally, they are folded up very tightly and pretend to be seeds, and are very hard to dissect." Riedel and his colleagues had to depend on both dissection and DNA sequencing to name the new species. But there are many more beetle specimens that they had to omit because either the morphology was too similar or the researchers did not get the opportunity to sequence the beetle's DNA yet. The researchers hope that their study will spur additional fieldwork needed to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the Australian Trigonopterus fauna and their evolution. The findings were published today (Jan. 21) in the open-access journal ZooKeys. High-resolution photographs of each species, along with its scientific description, also will be uploaded to the Species-ID website, the researchers said. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Riedel A.,Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe | Sagata K.,Papua New Guinea Institute for Biological research PNG IBR | Surbakti S.,niversitas Cendrawasih | Tanzler R.,Zoological State Collection | And 2 more authors.
ZooKeys | Year: 2013

A species discovery and description pipeline to accelerate and improve taxonomy is outlined, relying on concise expert descriptions, combined with DNA sequencing, digital imaging, and automated wiki species page creation from the journal. One hundred and one new species of Trigonopterus Fauvel, 1862 are described to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach: T. aeneipennis sp. n., T. aeneus sp. n., T. agathis sp. n., T. agilis sp. n., T. amplipennis sp. n., T. ancoruncus sp. n., T. angulatus sp. n., T. angustus sp. n., T. apicalis sp. n., T. armatus sp. n., T. ascendens sp. n., T. augur sp. n., T. balimensis sp. n., T. basalis sp. n., T. conformis sp. n., T. constrictus sp. n., T. costatus sp. n., T. costicollis sp. n., T. crassicornis sp. n., T. cuneipennis sp. n., T. cyclopensis sp. n., T. dentirostris sp. n., T. discoidalis sp. n., T. dromedarius sp. n., T. durus sp. n., T. echinus sp. n., T. edaphus sp. n., T. eremitus sp. n., T. euops sp. n., T. ferrugineus sp. n., T. fusiformis sp. n., T. glaber sp. n., T. gonatoceros sp. n., T. granum sp. n., T. helios sp. n., T. hitoloorum sp. n., T. imitatus sp. n., T. inflatus sp. n., T. insularis sp. n., T. irregularis sp. n., T. ixodiformis sp. n., T. kanawiorum sp. n., T. katayoi sp. n., T. koveorum sp. n., T. kurulu sp. n., T. lekiorum sp. n., T. lineatus sp. n., T. lineellus sp. n., T. maculatus sp. n., T. mimicus sp. n., T. monticola sp. n., T. montivagus sp. n., T. moreaorum sp. n., T. myops sp. n., T. nangiorum sp. n., T. nothofagorum sp. n., T. ovatus sp. n., T. oviformis sp. n., T. parumsquamosus sp. n., T. parvulus sp. n., T. phoenix sp. n., T. plicicollis sp. n., T. politoides sp. n., T. pseudogranum sp. n., T. pseudonasutus sp. n., T. ptolycoides sp. n., T. punctulatus sp. n., T. ragaorum sp. n., T. rhinoceros sp. n., T. rhomboidalis sp. n., T. rubiginosus sp. n., T. rubripennis sp. n., T. rufibasis sp. n., T. scabrosus sp. n., T. scissops sp. n., T. scharfi sp. n., T. signicollis sp. n., T. simulans sp. n., T. soiorum sp. n., T sordidus sp. n., T. squamirostris sp. n., T. striatus sp. n., T. strigatus sp. n., T. strombosceroides sp. n., T. subglabratus sp. n., T. sulcatus sp. n., T. taenzleri sp. n., T. talpa sp. n., T. taurekaorum sp. n., T. tialeorum sp. n., T. tibialis sp. n., T. tridentatus sp. n., T. uniformis sp. n., T. variabilis sp. n., T. velaris sp. n., T. verrucosus sp. n., T. violaceus sp. n., T. viridescens sp. n., T. wamenaensis sp. n., T. wariorum sp. n., T. zygops sp. n. All new species are authored by the taxonomist-in-charge, Alexander Riedel. © Alexander Riedel et al.


Toussaint E.F.A.,Zoological State Collection | Sagata K.,Papua New Guinea Institute for Biological research PNG IBR | Surbakti S.,University of Indonesia | Hendrich L.,Zoological State Collection | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

The Australasian archipelago is biologically extremely diverse as a result of a highly puzzling geological and biological evolution. Unveiling the underlying mechanisms has never been more attainable as molecular phylogenetic and geological methods improve, and has become a research priority considering increasing human-mediated loss of biodiversity. However, studies of finer scaled evolutionary patterns remain rare particularly for megadiverse Melanesian biota. While oceanic islands have received some attention in the region, likewise insular mountain blocks that serve as species pumps remain understudied, even though Australasia, for example, features some of the most spectacular tropical alpine habitats in the World. Here, we sequenced almost 2 kb of mitochondrial DNA from the widespread diving beetle Rhantus suturalis from across Australasia and the Indomalayan Archipelago, including remote New Guinean highlands. Based on expert taxonomy with a multigene phylogenetic backbone study, and combining molecular phylogenetics, phylogeography, divergence time estimation, and historical demography, we recover comparably low geographic signal, but complex phylogenetic relationships and population structure within R. suturalis. Four narrowly endemic New Guinea highland species are subordinated and two populations (New Guinea, New Zealand) seem to constitute cases of ongoing speciation. We reveal repeated colonization of remote mountain chains where haplotypes out of a core clade of very widespread haplotypes syntopically might occur with well-isolated ones. These results are corroborated by a Pleistocene origin approximately 2.4 Ma ago, followed by a sudden demographic expansion 600,000 years ago that may have been initiated through climatic adaptations. This study is a snapshot of the early stages of lineage diversification by peripatric speciation in Australasia, and supports New Guinea sky islands as cradles of evolution, in line with geological evidence suggesting very recent origin of high altitudes in the region. © 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.


Hendrich L.,Zoological State Collection | Hendrich L.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Pons J.,CSIC - Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies | Ribera I.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: The demand for scientific biodiversity data is increasing, but taxonomic expertise is often limited or not available. DNA sequencing is a potential remedy to overcome this taxonomic impediment. Mitochondrial DNA is most commonly used, e.g., for species identification (''DNA barcoding''). Here, we present the first study in arthropods based on a near-complete species sampling of a family-level taxon from the entire Australian region. We aimed to assess how reliably mtDNA data can capture species diversity when many sister species pairs are included. Then, we contrasted phylogenetic subsampling with the hitherto more commonly applied geographical subsampling, where sister species are not necessarily captured. Methodology/Principal Findings: We sequenced 800 bp cox1 for 1,439 individuals including 260 Australian species (78% species coverage). We used clustering with thresholds of 1 to 10% and general mixed Yule Coalescent (GMYC) analysis for the estimation of species richness. The performance metrics used were taxonomic accuracy and agreement between the morphological and molecular species richness estimation. Clustering (at the 3% level) and GMYC reliably estimated species diversity for single or multiple geographic regions, with an error for larger clades of lower than 10%, thus outperforming parataxonomy. However, the rates of error were higher for some individual genera, with values of up to 45% when very recent species formed nonmonophyletic clusters. Taxonomic accuracy was always lower, with error rates above 20% and a larger variation at the genus level (0 to 70%). Sørensen similarity indices calculated for morphospecies, 3% clusters and GMYC entities for different pairs of localities was consistent among methods and showed expected decrease over distance. Conclusion/Significance: Cox1 sequence data are a powerful tool for large-scale species richness estimation, with a great potential for use in ecology and β-diversity studies and for setting conservation priorities. However, error rates can be high in individual lineages. © 2010 Hendrich et al.


Hawlitschek O.,Zoological State Collection | Porch N.,Deakin University | Hendrich L.,Zoological State Collection | Balke M.,Zoological State Collection | Balke M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: DNA sequencing techniques used to estimate biodiversity, such as DNA barcoding, may reveal cryptic species. However, disagreements between barcoding and morphological data have already led to controversy. Species delimitation should therefore not be based on mtDNA alone. Here, we explore the use of nDNA and bioclimatic modelling in a new species of aquatic beetle revealed by mtDNA sequence data. Methodology/Principal Findings: The aquatic beetle fauna of Australia is characterised by high degrees of endemism, including local radiations such as the genus Antiporus. Antiporus femoralis was previously considered to exist in two disjunct, but morphologically indistinguishable populations in south-western and south-eastern Australia. We constructed a phylogeny of Antiporus and detected a deep split between these populations. Diagnostic characters from the highly variable nuclear protein encoding arginine kinase gene confirmed the presence of two isolated populations. We then used ecological niche modelling to examine the climatic niche characteristics of the two populations. All results support the status of the two populations as distinct species. We describe the south-western species as Antiporus occidentalis sp.n. Conclusion/Significance: In addition to nDNA sequence data and extended use of mitochondrial sequences, ecological niche modelling has great potential for delineating morphologically cryptic species. © 2011 Hawlitschek et al.


Pons J.,CSIC - Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies | Ribera I.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF | Bertranpetit J.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF | Bertranpetit J.,University Pompeu Fabra | Balke M.,Zoological State Collection
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

The ages of cladogenetic events in Coleoptera are frequently estimated with mitochondrial protein-coding genes (MPCGs) and the "standard" mitochondrial nucleotide substitution rate for arthropods. This rate has been used for different mitochondrial gene combinations and time scales despite it was estimated on short mitochondrial sequences from few comparisons of close related species. These shortcomings may cause greater impact at deep phylogenetic levels as errors in rates and ages increase with branch lengths. We use the full set of MPCGs of 15 species of beetles (two of them newly sequenced here) to estimate the nucleotide evolutionary rates in a reconstructed phylogeny among suborders, paying special attention to the effect of data partitioning and model choices on these estimations. The optimal strategy for nucleotide data, as measured with Bayes factors, was partitioning by codon position. This retrieved Adephaga as a sister group to Myxophaga with strong support (expected-likelihood weights test 0.94-1) and both sisters to Polyphaga, in contradiction with the most currently accepted views. The hypothesis of Archostemata being sister to the remaining Coleoptera, which is in agreement with morphology, was increasingly supported when third codon sites were recoded or completely removed, sequences were analyzed as AA, and heterogeneous models were implemented but the support levels remained low. Nucleotide substitution rates were strongly affected by the choice of data partitioning (codon position versus individual genes), with up to sixfold levels of variation, whereas differences in the molecular clock algorithm produced changes of only about 20%. The global mitochondrial protein coding rate using codon partitioning and an estimated age of 250 million years (MY) for the origin of the Coleoptera was 1.34% per branch per MY, which closely matches the 'standard' clock of 1.15% per MY. The estimation of the rates on alternative topologies gave similar results. Using local molecular clocks, the evolutionary rate in the Polyphaga and Archostemata was estimated to be nearly twice as fast as in the Adephaga and Myxophaga (1.03% versus 0.53% per MY). Rates across individual genes varied from 0.55% to 8.61% per MY. Our results suggest that cox1 might not be an optimal gene for implementing molecular clocks in deep phylogenies for beetles because it shows relatively slow rates at first and second codon positions but very fast rates at third ones. In contrast, nad5, nad4 and nad2 perform better, as they exhibit more homogeneous rates among codon positions. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Mehner T.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Pohlmann K.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Elkin C.,ETH Zurich | Monaghan M.T.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | And 3 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2010

Background: Teleost fishes of the Coregonidae are good model systems for studying postglacial evolution, adaptive radiation and ecological speciation. Of particular interest is whether the repeated occurrence of sympatric species pairs results from in-situ divergence from a single lineage or from multiple invasions of one or more different lineages. Here, we analysed the genetic structure of Baltic ciscoes (Coregonus albula complex), examining 271 individuals from 8 lakes in northern Germany using 1244 polymorphic AFLP loci. Six lakes had only one population of C. albula while the remaining two lakes had C. albula as well as a sympatric species (C. lucinensis or C. fontanae). Results. AFLP demonstrated a significant population structure (Bayesian θB = 0.22). Lower differentiation between allopatric (θB = 0.028) than sympatric (0.063-0.083) populations contradicts the hypothesis of a sympatric origin of taxa, and there was little evidence for stocking or ongoing hybridization. Genome scans found only three loci that appeared to be under selection in both sympatric population pairs, suggesting a low probability of similar mechanisms of ecological segregation. However, removal of all non-neutral loci decreased the genetic distance between sympatric pairs, suggesting recent adaptive divergence at a few loci. Sympatric pairs in the two lakes were genetically distinct from the six other C. albula populations, suggesting introgression from another lineage may have influenced these two lakes. This was supported by an analysis of isolation-by-distance, where the drift-gene flow equilibrium observed among allopatric populations was disrupted when the sympatric pairs were included. Conclusions. While the population genetic data alone can not unambiguously uncover the mode of speciation, our data indicate that multiple lineages may be responsible for the complex patterns typically observed in Coregonus. Relative differences within and among lakes raises the possibility that multiple lineages may be present in northern Germany, thus understanding the postglacial evolution and speciation in the C. albula complex requires a large-scale phylogenetic analysis of several potential founder lineages. © 2010 Mehner et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Loading Zoological State Collection collaborators
Loading Zoological State Collection collaborators