New species of Brazilian copepod suggests ancient species diversification and distribution

March 20, 2017
Image of a male specimen of the new species Eirinicaris antonioi obtained via a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Credit: Dr. Paulo H. C. Corgosinho

A new species of groundwater copepod has been discovered in the rocky savannas of Brazil - an ecosystem suffering from heavy anthropogenic impact. Upon description, the tiny crustacean turned out to also represent a previously unknown genus. It is described by Dr. Paulo H. C. Corgosinho, Montes Claros State University, Brazil, and his team in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

Prior to the discovery of the , named Eirinicaris antonioi, only one genus of its subfamily (Parastenocaridinae) had been recorded in the Neotropical region, which comes to show that related had already spread across a huge range when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana split apart.

The new copepod measures about 0,300 mm and can be told apart by its morphological characteristics, including unusual sensorial structures at the rear part of the body, as well as unique sexual dimorphism.

The copepods of the family Parastenocarididae are adapted to life in groundwater, where they thrive between sand grains. These tiny creatures measure less than 1 mm, ranging between 0,200 and 0,400 mm in length. They can be found in various microbiotopes along rivers, lakes and human-made structures, such as dug or artesian wells. Alternatively, these copepods might be associated with mosses and other semi-terrestrial environments.

"This is the first species described from Goiás state, Central Brazil," explain the authors. "With the discovery of this new species our knowledge about the geographical distribution of the family Parastenocarididae is increased. Our project highlights the vast amounts of undiscovered biodiversity of the Brazilian rocky savannas, which are under high anthropogenic threat."

Explore further: Hidden diversity: 3 new species of land flatworms from the Brazilian Araucaria forest

More information: Paulo H.C. Corgosinho et al, A new genus of Parastenocarididae (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) from the Tocantins River basin (Goiás, Brazil), and a phylogenetic analysis of the Parastenocaridinae, Zoosystematics and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.3897/zse.93.11602

Related Stories

Three new wafer trapdoor spiders from Brazil

November 20, 2013

Scientists discover three new gorgeous species of the wafer trapdoor genus Fufius – F. minusculus, F. jalapensis, and F. candango. The discovery of the three new species, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, paves ...

Portuguese moth's mystery solved after 22 years

March 7, 2017

An unknown moth, collected from Portugal 22 years ago, has finally been named and placed in the tree of life thanks to the efforts of an international team of scientists. The moth was unambiguously placed in the family of ...

New sand fly species discovered in Brazil

December 3, 2015

In an attempt to better understand the taxonomy of a group of sand flies, researchers in Brazil examined specimens in museum collections. After detailed morphometric and morphological analyses of three different flies in ...

Researchers identify new species of dragonfly in Brazil

October 26, 2016

A new species of dragonfly with a brown spot on each of its four wingtips and a bluish waxy body coating has been described by Brazilian researchers in an article published in the scientific journal Zootaxa. Found in 2011 ...

Recommended for you

Knowledge gap on the origin of sex

May 26, 2017

There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough ...

The high cost of communication among social bees

May 26, 2017

(Phys.org)—Eusocial insects are predominantly dependent on chemosensory communication to coordinate social organization and define group membership. As the social complexity of a species increases, individual members require ...

Why communication is vital—even among plants and funghi

May 26, 2017

Plant scientists at the University of Cambridge have found a plant protein indispensable for communication early in the formation of symbiosis - the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and fungi. Symbiosis significantly ...

Darwin was right: Females prefer sex with good listeners

May 26, 2017

Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin first proposed a little-known prediction from his theory of sexual selection, researchers have found that male moths with larger antennae are better at detecting female signals.

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.