New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash


Aphonopelma johnnycashi. Image credit: Hamilton C.A. et al.

From Sci-News.com in the USA:

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Newfound Tarantula Species Named after Johnny Cash

Feb 5, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

A team of researchers, directed by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, has discovered a previously unknown species of tarantula that lives in the plains and foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, the United States, and named it after the famed American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author Johnny Cash.

The newly-discovered species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, has a distribution running along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and can be found inhabiting the following regions: Sierra Nevada, Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains, and Central California Valley.

“The specific epithet, johnnycashi, is in honor of the country music legend, Johnny Cash,” Dr. Hamilton and co-authors explained in a paper in the journal ZooKeys.

“This species can be found near the area of Folsom Prison in California (famous for Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’), and like Cash’s distinctive style of dress, where he was referred to as ‘the man in black’, mature males of this species are generally black in color.”

The breeding season of Aphonopelma johnnycashi, when mature males abandon their burrows in search of females, occurs during the fall (generally September-November).

“More than 50 different species of tarantulas had been previously reported from the United States, but that many of them were poorly defined and actually belonged to the same species,” Dr. Hamilton said.

To gain a better understanding of the diversity and distributions of these spiders, he and his colleagues spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout scorching deserts, frigid mountains, and other locations in the American Southwest.

The team studied nearly 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever performed on a group of tarantulas.

Because most species of tarantula in the United States are very similar in appearance and cannot be distinguished from each other using anatomical features alone, the researchers implemented a modern approach to taxonomy by employing anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data.

Their results indicate there are 29 species in the United States, among which Aphonopelma johnnycashi and 13 other species are new to science.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Johnny Cash – Man in black with lyrics

Recorded February 16, 1971; Nashville, Tennessee

New water mites discovery in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

A tiny species of water mite (taxa Hydracarina, species unresolved) and microworms (Panagrellus redivivus, a nematode) in a still-water aquarium.

From the Watermites introduction page:

ANYONE WHO TOOK A PEEK IN A CLEAR DITCH HAS SEEN THEM: the little red spiders that swim in the beautiful contrasting green of the water plants. They seem to roam about aimlessly, like simple red little balls with sprawling legs. Yet there are smaller species, not coloured red, but inconspicuous green or pale yellow. And you have to be an attentive observer to distinguish these minuscule dots in a jar full of jumping water fleas, where they move in more or less steady tracks, like planets between sparkling stars.

Worldwide there are over 5000 water mite species, with large differences in shape and habits. Some species are very similar to species on land.

Translated rom the Dutch EIS entomologists:

Feb 8, 2016 – Water mites are tiny, spider-like aquatic creatures. In the Netherlands, this group is well studied because they are used as indicators of water quality. It is therefore noteworthy that in recent years as many as nine new species of water mites have been found in the Netherlands. This brings the total number of species for our country to 267. …

In a recent article in Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen No. 45 eight new species were reported. Since the publication of this article again a new species for the Dutch fauna has been found, by Cynthia Kruijff-Van der Voorn of Waterschap Scheldestromen: Arrenurus denticulatus. This species is internationally very rare and had only been found in France, Romania and Sweden.

Scarce large blue butterflies have Dutch carnival float


Blues in the marshes

In carnival in the Netherlands this year, there is not only participation by Syrian refugees.

Translated from the Dutch Vlinderstichting entomologists:

Feb 4, 2016 – This weekend the time has come: carnival. Many people look forward to it, others can not wait until it’s over. This year it is a very special carnival because the scarce large blue butterflies join! To make the nature restoration project ‘Blues in the Marshes’ known to people there will be in the big parade in Den Bosch on Monday, February 8th a real scarce large blue butterfly float.

In 2018 there will be after completion of the LIFE + project ‘Blues in the Marshes’ in Den Bosch around 170 hectares of new nature. In the Vlijmens Ven and the Honderdmorgen there are created on an area as large as 340 football grounds humid arid grasslands, including Cirsio dissecti-Molinietum grasslands. One of the target species is the extremely rare scarce large blue butterfly, but all of nature will benefit strongly and the scenery is becoming more beautiful and more enjoyable.

However, today, 8 February 2016, is a stormy weather day. Because of that, many carnival parades in the Netherlands, and in Germany, have been canceled. Including the one in Den Bosch. The Den Bosch carnival association says they now want to have the parade on 6 March, Laetare Sunday. Until then, the scarce large butterfly float and the other floats will have to wait.

Woman dressed like scarce large blue butterfly

On 6 March, the weather may be better for human carnival parade participants dressed up like scarce large blue butterflies …

The scarce large blue butterfly float is also inspired by painter Jeroen (Hieronymus) Bosch.

This Dutch November 2015 video is from the film ‘Holland – natuur in de delta’. It was recorded near Den Bosch.

It says about itself:

How to film Maculinea teleius, Scarce Large Blue?

Bee pollinates orchid, video


Jean Claessens, the maker of this video, writes about it:

In Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) I had the chance to observe the pollination of the orchid Spiranthes spiralis by a small solitary bee, Halictus simplex. This bee has an ingenious, articulated tongue that enables this small bee to reach the nectar hidden in the flower of Spiranthes spiralis.

Tardigrade species, new for the Netherlands, discovered


Batillipes pennaki, photo by Frans W. Roza

Translated from the Dutch Stichting ANEMOON marine biologists:

Jan 31, 2016 – Recently, the discovery of a new tardigrade animal species of the Dutch coast was published. This is the Batillipes pennaki waterbear. The animal is not greater than about 0.2 millimeter. With this, the number of Dutch waterbear species that are found on our beaches becomes six. This species has been found in many places throughout the world.

Kestrel eats worm, video


In this 30 January 2016 video from Biesbosch national park in the Netherlands, a female kestrel eats a worm.

More on this is here.