News from the depths: A new cave-dwelling flatworm species from the Brazilian savanna

January 28, 2015, Pensoft Publishers
New species Girardia multidiverticulata. Credit: Lívia Cordeiro

Recently, field research by the Brazilian zoologists Lívia Cordeiro and Rodrigo Borghezan, of the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), recorded the first obligate cave-dwelling planarian of the suborder Continenticola (Platyhelminthes) in South America. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The Girardia multidiverticulata belongs to the genus Girardia, in which species recognition is difficult, because of the great morphological resemblance between species. However, the new species can be easily recognized by a unique feature in its reproductive apparatus, namely a large bulbar cavity with multiple diverticula.

G. multidiverticulata was described by the south brazilian research group on triclads, led by Dr. Ana Leal-Zanchet, of the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), in São Leopoldo, southern Brazil The type-locality of the new is a limestone cave, located at 266 m a.s.l. in the karst area of Bodoquena Plateau. The flatworms were directly sampled from a lake (10 m2) in the cave, at a depth of 25 m.

Despite a significant development of the speleobiology in Brazil over the last two decades, of Brazilian cave fauna, especially of invertebrates, has been highly underestimated. The Bodoquena Plateau, which is located in the Cerrado Biome (Brazilian savanna), in central Brazil, has about 200 recorded caves with a rich system of subterranean water resources and high troglobitic diversity.

Entrance of the "Buraco do Bicho" cave where the new species was found. Credit: Lívia Cordeiro

Explore further: Brazilian zoologists discovered the first obligate cave-dwelling flatworm in South America

Related Stories

Three new Begonia plant species from Brazil

January 13, 2015

Scientists discover and describe three new species of the plant genus Begonia, which holds many of the world-favourite decoratives. The news species come from Brazil, where they are found dwelling on small, confined territories ...

Four new dragon millipedes found in China

October 30, 2014

A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers. ...

A kingdom of cave beetles found in Southern China

November 14, 2014

A team of scientists specializing in cave biodiversity from the South China Agricultural University (Guangzhou) unearthed a treasure trove of rare blind cave beetles. The description of seven new species of underground Trechinae ...

New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil

May 22, 2013

Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil, and are described in research published May 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Adalberto Santos, from the Federal ...

Recommended for you

Researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

February 21, 2019

JILA researchers have made a long-lived, record-cold gas of molecules that follow the wave patterns of quantum mechanics instead of the strictly particle nature of ordinary classical physics. The creation of this gas boosts ...

Sculpting stable structures in pure liquids

February 21, 2019

Oscillating flow and light pulses can be used to create reconfigurable architecture in liquid crystals. Materials scientists can carefully engineer concerted microfluidic flows and localized optothermal fields to achieve ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.