Monday, 23 December 2013

Seven new species of Chewing Lice from Costa Rica.

Chewing Lice are parasites living in the feathers of Birds (or occasionally the fur of Mammals). They are considered to be more primitive relatives of the more advanced blood-sucking lice; lacking the apparatus for sucking blood they either chew through the skin and lap blood from the resulting wound or simply eat the skin. The biodiversity of the group is not well studied, as the group has not been sampled in many parts of the world, and in many other places only studied on commercially important birds. Since it is likely that most Birds (and many Mammals) play host to unique Chewing Lice there are probably many more species than currently described.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 6 March 2013, Filip Kounek and Oldrich Sychra of the Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Miroslav Kapek of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and Ivan Literak, also of the Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, describe seven new species of Chewing Lice from Thrushes in Costa Rica. All are placed in the genus Myrsidea, which is well known from tropical American Thrushes.

The first new species is named Myrsidea assimilis, where the specific name is derived from the host Bird, Turdus assimilis, the White-throated Thrush. The species is described from three female and four male specimens collected at La Amistad Lodge in the Zona Protectora Las Tablas in Costa Rica in 2010.

(Top) Myrsidea assimilis, female. (Bottom) Myrsidea assimilis, male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The White-throated Thrush, Turdus assimilisSalvadora Morale/The Internet Bird Collection.

The second new species described is named Myrsidea cerrodelamuertensis, where the specific name derives from the locality where it was discovered, Cerro de la Muerte (Death Mountain). The species is described from three females and three males, found living on the Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus gracilirostris

(Top) Myrsidea cerrodelamuertensis female. (Bottom) Myrsidea cerrodelamuertensis male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus gracilirostris. Wikipedia.

The third new species described is named Myrsidea hrabaki, where the specific name honours the entomologist Rudolf Hrabak, who passed away recently. The species is described from seven female and five male specimens collected from Black-faced Solitaires, Myadestes melanops, in the Tapanti and Braulio Carrillo National Parks.

(Top) Myrsidea hrabaki female. (Bottom) Myrsidea hrabaki male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Black-faced Solitaire, Myadestes melanops. Lee Hunter/The Internet Bird Collection.

The fourth new species is named Myrsidea obsoleti, where the specific name derives from that of the host, Turdus obsoletus, the Pale-vented Thrush. The species is described from three females and two males collected at Hitoy Cerere in Limón Province.

(Top) Myrsidea obsoleti female. (Bottom) Myrsidea obsoleti male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Pale-vented Thrush, Turdus obsoletus. Nick Athanas/Antpitta.

The fifth new species described is named Myrsidea quinchoi, in honour of Joaquin Cortes Carrera, whose nickname is Quincho. The species is named from one female and one male specimen, collected from a Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus frantzii, in the Tapanti National Park.

(Top) Myrsidea quinchoi female. (Bottom) Myrsidea quinchoi male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus frantzii. Lynn Barber/Carolina Nature.

The sixth new species described is named Myrsidea tapanti, where the specific name derives from the locality where it was discovered, in the Tapanti National Park. The species is described from four female and four male specimens, collected from Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrushes, Catharus fuscater.

(Top) Myrsidea tapanti female. (Bottom) Myrsidea tapanti male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus fuscaterJacques Erard/
The Internet Bird Collection.

The final new species described is named Myrsidea tapetapersi, in honour of Oldrich Sychra Sr, father of one of the authors, who is known by the nickname TapeTapers. The species is named from two female and four male specimens, collected from Sooty Thrushes, Turdus nigrescens, in the Tapanti National Park.

(Top) Myrsidea tapetapersi female. (Bottom) Myrsidea tapetapersi male. Kounek et al. (2013).

The Sooty Thrush, Turdus nigrescensRobin Lietz/
The Internet Bird Collection.


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1 comment:

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