Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Two new species of cave-dwelling Pseudoscorpions from northern Arizona.


The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument lies in northwestern Arizona, covering 4,451 km2 of deep canyons, mesas, and mountains. It has typical a Mojave Desert flora dominated by the Creosote Bush and Joshua Tree at its lower elevations, giving way to Pinyon and Juniper woodlands then Colorado Plateau grasslands and Pine and Aspen forest at higher altitudes. It also has a series of cave systems, which have been found to host a distinctive Arthropod fauna with many unique species of Book Lice, Beetles, Centipedes, Millipedes, Isopods and Crickets.


The cave is located in Juniper scrubland at an altitude of 1585 m on the north side of the lower Colorado River along the western extent of the Grand Canyon. It is set in the Kaibab Limestone Formation, with a south facing entrance at the bottom of a large sinkhole, and is 76.2 m long and 10.4 m deep. The deeper parts of the cave are considered to be a true cave deep-zone, with constant complete darkness, a stable temperature and an atmosphere with water at near saturation point with little-or-no through-flow. This cave has produced the second most diverse biological community in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, with the largest known Cricket roost in northern Arizona.

The first new species described is placed in the genus Hesperochernes, which has nineteen previously described species from caves and woodland across North America, from Mexico and the Dominican Republic in the south to Canada in the North, and one previously described species from under tree-bark in Japan. It is given the specific name Hesperochernes bradybaughi in honour of Jeff Bradybaugh, the former superintendent of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument for his advocacy of cave research, conservation and management.

Hesperochernes bradybaughi, male (left) and female (right) in dorsal view. Harvey & Wynne (2014).

Hesperochernes bradybaughi is described from three specimens, one male and two females. The male is 3.11 mm in length, the females 2.82 mm and 4.21 mm, all are reddish brown and yellow in colour. The species is eyeless, and has long slender limbs.

The second new species is placed in the genus Tuberochernes, which to date contains only two other species, both from cave-systems in the southwestern United States. It is given the specific name Tuberochernes cohni, in honour of the late Theodore ‘Ted’ Cohn, a distinguished orthopterist (scientist studying Crickets and Grasshoppers) who passed away in November 2013 at the age of 82, and who identified a new genus of Crickets from the same cave.

Tuberochernes cohni, male in dorsal (left) and ventral (right) views. Harvey & Wynne (2014).

Tuberochernes cohniis described from a single male specimen, 3.38 mm in length and reddish brown in colour. This species is also eyeless with elongate, slender limbs.

See also…

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-new-species-of-pseudoscorpion-from.htmlA new species of Pseudoscorpion from Hainan Island, south China.            Pseudoscorpions (or False Scorpions) are small Arachnids with flattened oval or pear-shaped bodies; they have pincers resembling those of true Scorpions, but lack stinging tails. The largest species reach 12...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/two-new-species-of-pseudoscorpion-from.htmlTwo new species of Pseudoscorpion from China.                                              Pseudoscorpions, or False Scorpions, are small carnivorous Arachnids resembling Scorpions without the stinging tail. Most species are between two and eight millimeters in length, although the largest can...
False Scorpions are Arachnids related to Camel Spiders, Harvestmen and True Scorpions; they resemble Harvestmen with enormous, Scorpion-like claws, but are very small (the largest known species is...
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