New snail species named after Greta Thunberg


This 20 February 2020 video says about itself:

Greta Thunberg snail

A new to science species of land snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company that organizes scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff of the National Park together decided to name the mollusk Craspedotropis gretathunbergae. The species name honors the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change. The study is published in the open access journal Biodiversity Data Journal.

This tiny snail was discovered in Kuala Belalong rainforest, Brunei in Borneo island.

Thunberg told she was “delighted” that the snail had been named after her.

Earlier, a newly discovered small Kenyan beetle species had been named after Ms Thunberg.

This video from Britain is called Beetle named after climate activist Greta Thunberg (1) (UK/Global) ITV & BBC News 25/26 October 2019.

New snail species discovery in Panama


This 2011 video says about itself:

Snail Sleuth: Smithsonian Scientist Rachel Collin

Meet Rachel Collin, a staff scientist and director of the Bocas Del Toro Research Station at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Rachel studies the evolution of marine gastropods (snails) and oversees multiple disciplines of marine biology at the Collin Lab in Bocas del Toro.

Now, however, about land snails.

From ScienceDaily:

Tiny thorn snail discovered in Panama’s backyard

November 6, 2018

Summary: Five years after one particular tiny thorn snail from Panama was identified as new to science, it is described in a scientific article. The official discovery only became possible after earlier this year glassy shells were collected from the La Amistad International Park, Chiriquí, Panama. Successfully recognized thanks to modern computed tomographic scans, the species adds to the few snails ever reported from the region, despite its indisputable biodiversity.

Discoveries of biodiversity at the Lilliputian scale are more tedious than it is for larger animals like elephants, for example. Furthermore, an analysis producing a DNA barcode — a taxonomic method using a short snippet of an organism’s DNA — is not enough to adequately identify it to the species level.

In the case of tiny thorn snails — appearing as minute white flecks grazing in moist, decomposing leaf litter — it is the shell that provides additional and reliable information needed to verify or question molecular assessment of these otherwise, nondescript critters.

However, at 2 mm, thorn snails are too small and fragile to handle and the few, if any, tangible details on the outside of the shells can only be seen using a high-powered microscope and computed tomographic (CT) images.

This is exactly how the interdisciplinary team of Dr Adrienne Jochum, Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern (NMBE) and University of Bern, Dr. Bernhard Ruthensteiner, Zoologische Staatssammlung Muenchen, Germany, Dr. Marian Kampschulte, University Hospital of Giessen and Marburg, Gunhild Martels, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Jeannette Kneubühler, NMBE and University of Bern, and Dr. Adrien Favre, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, managed to clarify the identity of a new Panamanian species. Their study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Even though the molecular analysis flagged what it was later to be named as the new to science species, Carychium panamaense, the examination left no shell for the description of the new snail to be completed, let alone to serve as tangible, voucher material in a museum collection available to future researchers. The mini forest compost-grazer had to wait for another five years and Dr. A. Favre, who collected fresh material while traveling in Panama.

The new snail is currently the second member of the family Carychiidae to be discovered in Panama. The first Panamanian, and southern-most member of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, is C. zarzaae, which was also described by Dr. A. Jochum and her team along with two sister species from North and Central America. The study was published in ZooKeys last year.

Much like X-rays showing the degree of damage in a broken bone, CT images visualise the degree of sinuosity of the potato chip-like wedge (lamella) along the spindle-like mast (columella) inside the thorn snail’s shell. These structures provide stability and surface area on which the snail exerts muscular traction while manoeuvring the unwieldy and pointed, signature thorn-like shell into tight nooks and crannies. The alignment and degree of waviness of the lamella on the columella is also used by malacologists (mollusc specialists) to differentiate the species.

Normally, a study of a thorn snail’s shell would require drilling out minute ‘windows’ in the shell by using a fine needle under a high microscope magnification.

“This miserable method requires much patience and dexterity and all too often, the shell springs open into oblivion or disintegrates into dust under pressure,” explains Dr. A. Jochum. “By exposing the delicate lamella using non-manipulative CT imaging, valuable shell material is conserved and unknown diversity in thorn snails becomes widely accessible for further study and subsequent conservation measures.”

The authors are hopeful that C. panamaense and C. zarzaae, which both inhabit the La Amistad International Park, Chiriquí, will remain a conservation priority along with other animalian treasures including the Resplendent Quetzal, Three-Wattled Bellbird and the Crested Eagles.

The park is considered the 1st bi-national biosphere reserve, as it occupies land in both Costa Rica and Panama, and constitutes a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.

Antarctic crustaceans-sea snails relationship


This video says about itself:

10 September 2018

Pteropod mollusks such as Clione and Spongiobranchaea produce chemical compounds that are known to deter other organisms and prevend the pteropods from being eaten. This molecule is called pteroenone a ketone that deters many predators such as icefish.

Hyperiid amphipods are common prey of icefishes, other fish and seabirds of the Southern Ocean.

To protect themselves, some, called Hyperiella, have evolved the habit of abducting pteropods, and carrying them around on their back. It was shown that fish catching such a tandem, immediately release it.

From the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany:

‘Kidnapping’ in the Antarctic animal world?

A puzzling relationship between amphipods and pteropods

September 10, 2018

Pteropods or sea snails, also called sea angels, produce chemical deterrents to ward off predators, and some species of amphipods take advantage of this by carrying pteropods piggyback to gain protection from their voracious predators. There is no recognisable benefit for the pteropod. On the contrary they starve: captured between the amphipod’s legs they are unable to feed. Biologists working with Dr Charlotte Havermans at the Alfred Wegener Institute have investigated this phenomenon as part of a cooperation project with the University of Bremen. In an article in the journal Marine Biodiversity, they talk about kidnapping and explain the potential advantages of this association for both the host and its passenger.

Amphipods of the suborder Hyperiidea are popular prey for fish and sea birds. They play an important role in the Southern Ocean food web, which is why biologist Dr Charlotte Havermans is investigating the distribution, abundance and ecological role of various species of amphipods. To do so, she is taking samples on board the Research Vessel Polarstern from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). She works at the University of Bremen’s working group Marine Zoology. The project is funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) in the Priority Programme on Antarctic Research.

During a Polarstern expedition that took place in the austral summer from 2016 to February 2017, she made an extraordinary discovery: “A few of the amphipods carried something unusual on their backs. On closer inspection I realised that they were carrying pteropods piggyback,” reports the biologist. A literature search revealed that US researchers had already described this behaviour back in 1990 — although only for the high-Antarctic coastal waters and not for the open Southern Ocean where the ship was underway.

“We were wondering whether these tandems occur as frequently in the open ocean as in coastal waters — and whether both animals benefit from the relationship,” explains Charlotte Havermans. In the coastal areas of the McMurdo Sound, most of the amphipods studied carried a pteropod rucksack. Subsequent genetic and morphological investigations provided new insights. Previously, such tandems were completely unknown for the open, ice-free waters of Southern Ocean, and now the biologists have discovered this behaviour in two species: the amphipod species Hyperiella dilatata carried a type of pteropod known as Clione limacina antarctica, while the crustacean Hyperiella antarctica was associated with the pteropod Spongiobranchaea australis. Our sample size was too small to say without doubt whether these are species-specific pairs, where only a certain amphipod carries a certain pteropod species. During the expedition along the Polar Front to the eastern Weddell Sea, the AWI biologist’s team found only four such tandems.

The research team’s findings regarding the benefits for the animals are very exciting. Behavioural observations of the free-living pteropods show that cod icefishes and other predators are deterred by the chemicals the gastropods produce. When amphipods take pteropods “hostage”, they are not affected by their poison. Icefishes quickly learn that amphipods with rucksacks are not tasteful and so avoid those with a pteropod on their back.

Because the conditions in the open Southern Ocean are different to those in coastal ecosystems, several open questions remain: whether or not predatory squid and lanternfish, commonly found in the area, are also deterred by the chemicals has not yet been investigated. It is also still unclear to which extent the pteropod benefits from saving energy by being carried by its host. The researchers observed that the amphipod uses two pairs of legs to keep the gastropod on their back so that they are completely unable to actively hunt for suitable food where it is available. “On the basis of our current understanding, I would say that the amphipods kidnap the pteropods,” sums up Charlotte Havermans with a wink.

The biggest lesson the authors draw from their discovery: “We are probably overlooking numerous such associations between species, because they are no longer visible after net sampling.” Unlike shelled gastropods and crustaceans, which remain relatively intact, jellyfish and other delicate animals are crushed in the nets. “In the future we will hopefully be able to use suitable underwater technologies with high-definition cameras to investigate even the smallest life forms in their habitat. This will provide insights into the numerous exciting mysteries of interspecific interactions, which have so far remained hidden for biologists — but which undoubtedly play an important role in predator-prey relationships in the ocean.”

Amphipods of the species Gammarus roeselii guard their chosen mates, often carrying them with them for days and defending them against potential rivals. This behavior requires a lot of time and energy, so that the males make their choice with care. Scientists at Goethe University have now investigated under which circumstances males are prepared to revise their decision: here.

A study of crustacean parasites attaching themselves inside the branchial cavities (the gills) of their fish hosts was conducted in order to reveal potentially unrecognized diversity of the genus Elthusa in South Africa. While there had only been one known species from South Africa, a new article adds another three to the list, including one named after fictional character Xena because of the strong appearance of the females: here.