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Old November 8th, 2013 #101
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5 New Species of 'Slavemaker' Ants Discovered
By Douglas Main, Staff Writer | November 04, 2013


Polyergus mexicanus, one of the newly reinstated species of ants that biologist James Trager found in his backyard.

If you want to get the job done, get somebody else to do it. That seems to be the motto of "slavemaker" ants, which raid the nests of other ants and steal their young. The kidnapped ants then do most of the work excavating a nest, finding food, and caring for the kidnapper queen and her offspring. You see how far the christian view of reality is removed from the actual world, regardless of how you believe that world came about.

Though scientists have studied these roguish ants for more than 200 years, until last week, the consensus held there were only five species. But a new analysis published in the journal Zootaxa has uncovered another five previously unnamed species. The research shows that the genus Polyergus, the taxonomic grouping above species to which these parasitic ants belong, contains more species diversity than previously thought.

The study also reinstated four old species that previously had been described as unique, but then wrongly lumped together as one, said study author James Trager, a biologist and naturalist at Shaw Nature Reserve in the St. Louis area. Trager found one of these new-to-science species, Polyergus mexicanus, in his backyard. [See Stunning Photos of Ants of the World]

Often, these dastardly raiders take multiple species of ants, so that their colonies teem with a multihued pallet of ant life. "The red and the brown, the red and yellow — they are running around together in the same colony," Trager told LiveScience. Hmm, they create a multicultural colony of slaves serving their own kind...what's a good name for them?

Trager worked on the analysis intermittently for a decade, collecting many of the insects himself and examining ant specimens from collections around the world. To distinguish between the different species, he looked at anatomy, geography, behavior and other traits, expanding the Polyergus genus to include 14 species. "I studied them quite carefully — I did a lot of measurements and literally counted hairs," Trager said.

"Patience and attention to detail lend James [Trager's] works particular longevity," entomologist Alex Wild, who wasn't involved in the study, wrote on his blog Myrmecos. "This new revision fits the mold, so I expect it will be the standard reference for identifying Polyergus to species for the next decade and beyond."

In his post, Wild also writes that the terms "slavemaker" or "slave-raider" have become controversial, because the former terms bring to mind human slavery, and making the subject "unduly difficult" to communicate about to the general public. He suggests using the term "kidnapper ant" instead. Trager said that he's OK with using the term "kidnapper" when communicating amongst nonscientists, but said the "slavemaker" term is already so well-established in the scientific literature that it would be impossible to totally do away with.

Among Trager's interesting findings were that the original "reference collection" for Polyergus breviceps, the widely distributed North American slave-raider ant — used as the standard for identifying other ants — actually comprises three separate species.

Most of Polyergus ants conduct their raids on warm summer afternoons, and they can be exciting to watch. Sometimes the invaded ants put up a fight, while other times, they don't appear to resist the onslaught, according to the study.

http://www.livescience.com/40916-new...t-species.html
 
Old November 8th, 2013 #102
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I'd love to know what happened to the bones of the giants allegedly found in Spirit Cave and around the country. There was a 19th century account of a giant human femur sticking out of a block of granite somewhere in Kentucky. Story is they gave them to the Smithsonian, then POOF....

Then there's the credible accounts of other 1800s scientists of finding modern human skeletons & man-made artifacts in ancient coal seams - most likewise vanished. Even a shoe print - complete with sole stitching - in stone believed to be over 500 million years old.

Repeated evolution over eons?
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Old November 8th, 2013 #103
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Quote:
In his post, Wild also writes that the terms "slavemaker" or "slave-raider" have become controversial, because the former terms bring to mind human slavery, and making the subject "unduly difficult" to communicate about to the general public. He suggests using the term "kidnapper ant" instead. Trager said that he's OK with using the term "kidnapper" when communicating amongst nonscientists, but said the "slavemaker" term is already so well-established in the scientific literature that it would be impossible to totally do away with.
It's like the laughable way the kwalege-edjewmacated nignogs refer to their nigcestors as "enslaved" rather than "slaves". Fuck the screaming niggers & the media kikes who enforce word heresy.
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Old November 8th, 2013 #104
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
I'd love to know what happened to the bones of the giants allegedly found in Spirit Cave and around the country. There was a 19th century account of a giant human femur sticking out of a block of granite somewhere in Kentucky. Story is they gave them to the Smithsonian, then POOF....

Then there's the credible accounts of other 1800s scientists of finding modern human skeletons & man-made artifacts in ancient coal seams - most likewise vanished. Even a shoe print - complete with sole stitching - in stone believed to be over 500 million years old.

Repeated evolution over eons?
I wish I could tell you. All I know is that 1) there is a giant underground amateur anthropology "hobby" industry, let's say. There are all kinds of claims and assertions about ancient, giant men. The Si-Teh-Cah (spelling) white men killed off in Nevada Caves is one of the more interesting stories.

Hell, I still don't have hence haven't read the Stanford book, Across Atlantic Ice.

I personally think that within a very short time of whatever we decide is the human cutoff evolving, hominids were skipping around every landmass on planet earth. If I had to guess. It's just not that hard to get these places, by accident or intention. The key is what you do when you get there.
 
Old November 8th, 2013 #105
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
It's like the laughable way the kwalege-edjewmacated nignogs refer to their nigcestors as "enslaved" rather than "slaves". Fuck the screaming niggers & the media kikes who enforce word heresy.
Clarity and simplicity are hate crimes under the tyranny of Newspeak.
 
Old November 22nd, 2013 #106
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Default Five Surprising New Bat Species Found in Africa


Each less than 4 inches (10 centimeters) wide, the newfound mammals echolocate, or use their natural sonar, to find prey—mostly midges.

“It was quite a shock to find [so many] new species in one study,” said co-author Nancy Irwin, a biologist at the University of York in the U.K.

The bats belong to Vespertilionidae, the biggest and most well-known bat family. But these bats—discovered during seven expeditions by Czech scientists to Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park between 2004 and 2008—are still something of a mystery. (Also see “Pictures: ‘Demon’ Bat, Other New Tube-Nosed Species Found.”)

“The real surprise,” Irwin said, was that though the new bats look similar to their bat cousins in other parts of Africa, genetically they’re different.

“This is a signal telling us that these animals have been isolated in the same place,” she said.

West African Refuge

In the case of West Africa, deep rain forests blanketed the region until about three million years ago, when much of the area became covered with giant expanses of savanna.

However some forest patches remained, and it’s here where the newfound Senegalese bat species became isolated from their cousins and diversified into new species, the study says.

That’s supported by Irwin and colleagues’ genetic research, which shows that the new bats split off from their relatives about three million years ago.

Irwin and colleagues suspect West Africa was also a “refugia” during the last Ice Age, which ended about 11,000 years ago. A refugia is an area where certain conditions allow a species or a group of species to survive during a time of change.

Much is still unknown about the new bats, including their ranges, added Irwin, whose study was published August 12 in the journal Frontiers of Zoology.

“West Africa is an amazing place,” she said, “with lots of things to be discovered and described.”

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic....cience-africa/
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Old November 22nd, 2013 #107
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Default Strange insect that ‘looks like a Troll doll’ discovered in South American rainforest


This strange-looking insect which resembles a fuzzy-headed Troll doll toy has got scientists scratching their heads.

The 7mm-long creature has hair-like feelers sticking out of its rear and orange dots on its body.

It was discovered by a team of US-led researchers in the South American rainforest.



They believe its closest family is probably the nymph.

Dr Trond Larsen, from Princeton University, said:’I have spent hours searching drawers of nymphs to compare it to other species, but have only been able to narrow it down from 16 to four.’

http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/19/strang...orest-4192135/
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Old November 22nd, 2013 #108
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Default Hesperotarsius: New Miocene Tarsier Discovered in Pakistan

Paleontologists led by Dr Jelle Zijlstra from Harvard’s Peabody Museum have discovered a new genus and species of tarsier that lived in what is modern-day Pakistan during Miocene, between 18 and 16 million years ago.



Tarsiers are small, nocturnal, predaceous primates found only in the islands of southeast Asia, including Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Philippines. They are intermediate in form between lemurs and monkeys, measuring up to 15 cm long and weighing 100 – 150 g.

These primates have very large eyes, elongated hind legs and feet, a thin tail and long fingers. Their fur is velvety or silky and buff, grayish brown, or dark brown on the back and grayish or buffy on the underside.

Tarsiers are rare in the fossil record, only four fossil species are known: two from the Eocene of China and two from the Miocene of Thailand.

The new Miocene species, named Hesperotarsius sindhensis, has been described from four fossil teeth found in the Manchar Formation of Sindh Province, southern Pakistan.



“The Pakistani tarsier is morphologically distinct from all living and fossil tarsiers, but most similar to the middle Miocene Thai species Tarsius thailandicus,” Dr Zijlstra with colleagues wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

The genus name, Hesperotarsius, is derived from the Greek word hesperos (meaning western), combined with Tarsius, the type genus of the family Tarsiidae. The species is named after the Pakistani province of Sindh.

The discovery of Hesperotarsius sindhensis extends the range of the family Tarsiidae more than 4,000 km to the west, according to Dr Zijlstra’s team.

http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology...tan-01561.html
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Old November 22nd, 2013 #109
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A shaving brush with feet. Let's see Uranus top THAT.
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Old November 23rd, 2013 #110
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Default Tridacna: Marine Biologists Find New Species of Giant Clam



Scientists have discovered a previously undescribed species of giant clam on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.

The yet-to-be-named species belongs to Tridacna, a genus of large saltwater clams.

“Giant clams can grow up to 230 kg and are some of the most recognizable animals on coral reefs, coming in a spectrum of vibrant colors including blues, greens, browns and yellow hues,” explained Jude Keyse, a postgraduate student at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Giant clams are beloved by divers and snorkelers but also prized as a source of meat and shells. Overconsumption by humans has depleted giant clams populations in many areas and most giant clam species are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Ms Keyse, who is a co-author of the paper published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, with colleagues non-lethally collected samples of tissues from giant clams at 0 – 20 m depth in the waters near the Solomon Islands and at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.



“DNA sequences strongly suggest that a distinct and unnamed species of giant clam has been hiding literally in plain sight, looking almost the same as the relatively common Tridacna maxima,” Ms Keyse said.

“To correctly describe the new species now becomes critical as the effects of getting it wrong can be profound for fisheries, ecology and conservation,” said co-author Shane Penny, a postgraduate student at Charles Darwin University.

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/scie...lam-01569.html
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Old November 23rd, 2013 #111
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Default Biologists Find Three-Eyed Crab in New Zealand



First described by zoologist Charles Chilton in 1882, Amarinus lacustris is an omnivorous, freshwater spider crab found in rivers of south-eastern Australia, New Zealand and nearby islands.

The species grows up to 1 cm wide and has an H-shaped groove on its back.

The malformed specimen was found in Hoteo River, a river that feeds into Kaipara Harbour, north of Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, near Auckland, New Zealand. It has three compound eyes and a third antenna-like structure on the back of its carapace.

“In New Zealand, Amarinus lacustris is the only freshwater crab and is common in a number of streams and rivers of the Auckland and Waikato Regions, and all specimens collected thus far have been normal,” Dr Stephen Moore from the University of Auckland with co-authors wrote in the paper published in the journal Arthropod Structure & Development.

They described the three-eyed mutant: “the lateral two eyes are situated in the outer angles which are formed between the lateral sides of the two rostra and the carapace margin, i.e. in the expected position.”

“The third eye lies at the same horizontal level in the middle between the two lateral eyes, underneath the anterior opening of the notch between the two rostra.”

“The median eye is slightly larger than the lateral ones and it has an oval shape with its large axis horizontally oriented.”

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/scie...and-01549.html
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Old November 23rd, 2013 #112
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Default Scientists Find Three New Species of Spiders in Brazil

Brazilian arachnologists from Butantan Institute and the University of Brasília have discovered three new of wafer trapdoor spiders.



The new species, named Fufius minusculus, F. jalapensis, and F. candango, belong to the widespread spider family Cyrtaucheniidae.

Many wafer trapdoor spiders, but not all, make wafer-like doors to their burrows, while others build the cork-like doors found commonly in the true trapdoor spiders.

Little is known about the biology Fufius spiders, but among the curiosities is that instead of burrows they live in silken tubes in crevices, carefully prolonged with silk. They are widely distributed from Guatemala in Central America to southeastern Brazil, in South America.

“What is curious about the genus Fufius is the wide distribution of the species. Normally, mygalomorphs have a very restricted distribution. Furthermore, the genus has species living in contrasting environments as the Amazon, Savannah, and Brazilian Atlantic forest. This makes the genus a potential model for biogeographic studies,” said Dr Rogerio Bertani of Butantan Institute, the senior author of the study published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

The study also provides the first description of a female Fufius lucasae.

“The three new species described in the paper as well as the redescription of an old species and the description of a female of another species formerly known from male specimen aids in understanding the morphological variability of the species in this little known mygalomorph genus,” Dr Bertani concluded.

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/scie...zil-01562.html
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Old November 23rd, 2013 #113
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Default Euscorpius lycius: Scientists Find New Poisonous Species of Scorpion in Turkey



The new species is named Euscorpius lycius, after the historical region of Ancient Lycia. Like the mystical history of the region, the scorpion is rather secretive and can be found mainly in pine at night hidden away in pine forests, crawling on rocks or sitting on stone garden walls.

Euscorpius lycius belongs to a group of scorpions commonly known as small wood-scorpions. The group is widespread in North Africa and across Europe.

Euscorpius scorpions are relatively harmless, with poison that has effects similar to a mosquito bite.

Euscorpius lycius is a relatively small representative of the genus, reaching a size ranging between 2 – 2.5 cm.

The color of the adult representatives is pale, between brown and reddish, with claws usually darker than the rest of the body.

All localities where Euscorpius lycius was found were humid and cool, with calcareous stones covered with moss.

“A total of 26 specimens belonging to the new species were collected from Antalya and Muğla Province, in the south-west of Turkey,” said Dr Ersen Aydın Yağmur from Celal Bayar University, Turkey, who is the lead author of the article published in the journal ZooKeys.

“Further studies are in progress to understand the quantity and distribution of the different species and populations of the genus Euscorpius in Turkey and their relationship with the Greek populations.”

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/scie...key-01534.html
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Old November 23rd, 2013 #114
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Quote:
It has three compound eyes and a third antenna-like structure on the back of its carapace.
Bullshit - that's a GUN TURRET!



There's not a moment to waste: we must send a peace delegation to their HQ before they launch their attack. Maybe we can form a grand alliance against Shlomo.
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Old November 26th, 2013 #115
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Default New species of terrifying looking 'skeleton shrimp' discovered


The omnivorous ocean-dwellers are thankfully only a few millimetres in length

It’s a truism that the ocean depths will remain Earth’s last great wilderness, and judging by the recent find of a new species of 'skeleton shrimp' there’s still a lot of eye-popping discoveries yet to be made.

Named liropus minusculus due to their small size, the tiny crustaceans were identified by a research team from the University of Seville living in a reef cave offshore from California’s Catalina Island. The female of the species is on the left and the male on the right.

They belong to a family of animals known as caprellidae, though the creatures are most commonly identified as ‘ghost shrimps’ or ‘skeleton shrimps’ – a moniker given in recognition of the tiny crustaceans slender, translucent bodies.

Although their claws look fearsome (technically these are gnathopods “used to grasp females during copulation”) these are tiny creatures just a couple of millimetres in length.

Like the similarly proportioned praying mantis, many species of caprellidae are patient predators, lying in wait for long periods of time before snatching and eating creatures even smaller than themselves.

Their angular bodies and pale colouring also help, allowing them to blend in among the seaweed and vegetation on the sea floor. Although they are occasionally found in the ocean’s deeper climes their preferred habitat is the intertidal and subtidal zone.



http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...d-8962913.html
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Old November 26th, 2013 #116
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Default 2 new beautiful wasp species of the rare genus Abernessia



Two new beautiful wasp species are added to the rare pompilid genus Abernessia, which now contains a total of only four known species. The two new species A. prima and A. capixaba are believed to be endemic for Brazil alongside the rest of the representatives of the genus. Both wasps are distinguished by the large size (almost 3cm in length) and the beautiful black color with metallic shine typical for the family. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.



The enigmatic genus Abernessia is part of the spider wasp family Pompilidae. Spider wasps take their name from the preference of the representatives to parasitize spiders. The females paralyze the prey by stinging it, which is then put in a specifically built nest. The female then lays a single egg on the abdomen of the spider and bury it carefully marking any signs that might give away the nest.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-tnb112513.php
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Old November 28th, 2013 #117
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Default New Housecat-Size Feline Species Discovered


An oncilla (Leopardus guttulus) found in southern Brazil. They are one of the smallest cats in South America, maxing out at 3 kilograms (about 6.5 lbs.).

Don't judge a cat by its cover.

Oncillas are housecat-size felines found throughout much of South America, and are also known as little tiger cats, little spotted cats or tigrinas. But not all oncillas are the same: New research suggests that little tiger cats in northeastern Brazil belong to a different species from those elsewhere on the continent, although they look virtually identical.

Researchers analyzed the genetic material of oncillas in northeastern Brazil, and compared them with nearby populations in the south. They found that there was no flow of genes between the two populations of oncillas, and hasn't been any for millennia, according to the study, published today (Nov. 27) in the journal Current Biology.

This, along with other genetic differences, led researchers to conclude the two populations do not interbreed and are in fact different species, said study co-author Eduardo Eizirik, a researcher at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. [In Photos: Tiger Species of the World]

The study "illustrates how much is still unknown about the natural world, even in groups that are supposed to be well-characterized, such as cats," Eizirik told LiveScience. "In fact, there are many basic aspects that we still don't know about wild cats, from their precise geographic distribution and their diets to even species-level delimitation, as in this case."

Since this population of oncillas is a unique new species, there is an urgent need to learn more about it and its rarity; for example, whether or not it may need protection under conservation laws, Eizirik added.

Both species of little tiger cats live in rainforests and savannahs, and sport yellowish-ochre fur with a black rosettelike pattern. Though the cats primarily live on the ground, they are agile tree climbers, and feed on birds and small mammals like rodents, according to the University of Michigan. They are one of the smallest cats in South America, maxing out at 3 kilograms (about 6.5 lbs.).

Eizirik and colleagues have given the species in the south a new name, Leopardus guttulus, while the species in the northeast shall be known as Leopardus tigrina. The authors found that in the distant past, the northeastern species interbred, or hybridized, with an entirely different species known as the Pampas cat. This interbreeding may have helped the two oncilla species diverge, Eizirik said.

http://www.livescience.com/41569-new...t-species.html
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Old November 30th, 2013 #118
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On oncillas

Keep your eyes open in the wild for new species of cat
18 hrs ago
The king of the jungle can relax, but it turns out there's yet another cat out roaming the forests and grasslands. Tigrinas, or oncillas, are just the size of housecats and are found throughout much of South America. But it turns out what scientists thought were interbreeding families are actually evolutionarily distinct. Researchers using molecular markers found that a species found in northeastern Brazil hybridized with an entirely different species known as the Pampas cat. Now they've been given the name Leopardus tigrina, while the southern cat will be known as the Leopardus guttulus. And now the fun begins: Biologists will have to assess whether the new cat is at all endangered and what steps need to be taken to preserve its conservation. [Source]

http://now.msn.com/new-tigrina-speci...-brazil-forest
 
Old November 30th, 2013 #119
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What’s ‘new’ in the natural world
by Tom McLaughlin. Posted on December 1, 2013, Sunday

MYCOTROPHS RICH: A Japanese research team discovered two new species in the Betung Kerihun National Park, West Kalimantan.

Marine Water Mites

A NEW species of marine water mite (Acari: Hydrachnidia: Pontarachnidae) was discovered in Brunei Bay by a team of researchers from the University of Montenegro and the University of Brunei Darussalam.

Water mites are related to spiders and they have eight legs and a soft body.

There are over 40 species of the marine mite located in Borneo waters; a low number and many more are expected to be found.

Almost nothing is known about the life cycle.

They are usually found amongst coral and embedded in seaweed (algae).

They are microscopic to pinhead in size and sometimes you can see them as tiny dots scurrying along the beach between the high and low tide zone.

Mycoheterotrophic plants

Why did the fungi leave the party? Because they weren’t mushrooms.

“Borneo is one of the richest areas for mycoheterotrophic plants,” stated the leader of a Japanese research team after discovering two new species: S betung-kerihunensis and S brevistyla genus Sciaphila Blume, Triuridaceae in the Betung Kerihun National Park, West Kalimantan.

Mycotrophs (short for mycoheterotrophic) are plants which lack chlorophyll and are parasitic on fungus to obtain nutrients.

They used to be called saprophytes. The fungus is usually attached to the roots.

Rat study

A survey of parasites on rats collected in Bukit Aup Jubilee Park, Sibu by a team led by A Madinah of the Department of Zoology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) found that three species of parasites – Ixodes granulatus, Laelaps nuttalli and Hoplopleura dissicula – are a potential health risk. Ixodes, a tick, is known to carry spotted fever, typhus and rickets.

A mite – Laelaps nuttalli, carries foot and mouth disease, while Hoplopleura dissicula – a sucking louse – can carry plague.

The research was reported in the Sept 2013 issue of the prestigious ‘Journal of Bio Tropical Medicine’.

Number of frog species declines by one

Examination of museum specimens led by Annemarie Ohler of the National Museum of Natural History, Paris has discovered two Bornean frog specimens, Pyxicephalus khasianus and Rana laticeps are the same frog.

The name Rana laticeps will be dropped because it was recorded in 1882 while Pyxicephalus was described in 1871.

Both had been used interchangeably throughout the literature. First come, first served.

ANT-LIKE: Eight new species of the Myrmarachne spider have been discovered in Borneo.

Eight new jumping spiders

There are now 22 species of Myrmarachne, the jumping spider who waves its front legs in the air to mimic the antenna of ants in Borneo.

Eight new species, from Borneo, were recently made known to science by Takeshi Yamasaki of Kagoshima University and Abdul Hamid Ahmad of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

It is thought that the spiders prey on the ants, fooling them to believe they are also ants.

The Malaysian Nature Society

Established in the 1940, the Malaysian Nature Society is the oldest scientific and non-governmental organisation in Malaysia. Our mission is ‘to promote the study, appreciation, conservation and protection of Malaysia’s nature heritage’. Our 5,000-strong membership, spread across 12 branches nationwide, come from all walks of life, bound by a common interest in nature. For further information on membership or our activities in Kuching, call Kwan on 019-8349499. For information on our activities in Miri, call Nazeri Abghani on 085-453185. You can also visit www.mns.org.my or http://[email protected].

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/12...#ixzz2mA2xXVCv
 
Old November 30th, 2013 #120
Alex Linder
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New species welcomed into professor’s family
By Paul Mayne
November 28, 2013



Part-time Biology professor Nina Zitani now has a perfect half-dozen when it comes to new insect species named in her honour – the latest being Heterospilus zitaniae, a wasp discovered in the rain forests of Costa Rica.

You could say Nina Zitani has a blended family – two wonderful boys and six insects.
The part-time Biology professor’s latest addition to the family is named Heterospilus zitaniae, a new wasp species discovered in the rain forests of Costa Rica by Paul Marsh, a retired researcher from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“I tell my students it’s a perk of the job,” Zitani said. “Once you become a taxonomist, and you’ve discovered and named new species yourself, your superiors name species after you. It’s a way of saying you have done good work and put in the time.
“It’s an honorary thing taxonomists do for each other.”

Growing up in Moorestown, N.J., Zitani earned a master of science and doctorate in systematic entomology from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. During her time out west, she led two expeditions to Costa Rica where she spent weeks searching for new insect species, being involved in the collection of six new species.

In damp conditions, surrounded by a variety of spiders and venomous snakes and hauling car batteries every night to power the light trap, it was the perfect outing for Zitani.
“When I started my graduate work, this is what it was all about,” she said. “My supervisor would ask if you want to go to the rain forest and look for new species and, without hesitation, I said ‘yes.’”

But really, how many new species of insects could there still be out there? They’ve all been discovered by now, haven’t they?

“Oh gosh, no,” Zitani said. “There are about 1.7-million described species of all organisms worldwide – bacteria, fungi, plants, animals and everything else. The estimate of the total number still undiscovered, which is always difficult to estimate since the universe is so huge, and just looking at terrestrial arthropods, which what insects belong to, right now the consensus is around 8 million.”

More recently, Zitani returned to the University of Wyoming where she helped teach a tropical diversity field course in Ecuador. Her former graduate school supervisor, Scott Shaw, was teaching and doing research at the same location.

He had discovered a new genus the year before and told Zitani to keep an eye out for any wasps.

“I had a break one morning and was up the side of the mountain and was simply walking along a trail and I found these wasps, and with the naked eye it’s hard, but I knew they looked like the wasps Scott was looking for,” she said. “I collected them and gave them to him. Later that night, I was just about to head to bed, when he burst in and gave me this big hug. ‘You found them,’ he said.”

It’s a bit of advice Zitani gives her students today.

“What I always teach my students, and when I take them in the field, is you have to stop and smell the roses,” she said. “You have to slow down, look and observe; use your eyes. A lot of students want to quickly hike up the mountain, but along the way you may be missing a lot of stuff.

“There is so much to see.”

And once they see, and trap the insects, the monotonous work begins: cataloguing its colour, measuring the body length, head, thorax, abdomen, wings, temple, eyes, legs and more. In total, she’ll look at close to 100 variations on an insect no bigger than 3mm.
“You will get thousands of insects and then you have to sort through them,” Zitani said. “It’s incredibly tedious. But you’re trying to learn about their biology and ecology. The idea is to – literally – live in the forest and learn as much as you can and find out as much as you can. We know so little.”

Every spring, Zitani gets the urge to head back to some remote rain forest to hunt down more insects – hopefully sooner than later, because she and her husband, Western biology professor Greg Thorn, have put together a proposal for a field course in Ecuador.
“I never have a problem to find students willing to go,” she said. “You look for people who naturally have it in them; they’re out there. I love the rain forest and love teaching this.”

http://communications.uwo.ca/western...rs_family.html
 
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