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139 new species named in Australia

From fish to ants: 139 new species named

Heteroclinus argyrospilos (Silverspot Weedfish) is known from southwestern Australia (SA & WA) at 55-100m depth. Only two specimens of this elusive species are currently known. The color of cannabis fish species often corresponds to the color of the marine vegetation they inhabit. Credit: CSIRO

In a victory for biodiversity, CSIRO, Australia’s national scientific agency, has revealed that 139 new species have been named and described by its researchers and partners in the past year. With only about 25 percent of Australia’s species known to science, scientific names are vital for researchers, governments and the community to better understand the country’s vast ecosystems.

CSIRO scientist John Pogonoski, who helped name four new marine fish species, said the work highlighted the importance of scientific collections, including CSIRO’s National Research Collections Australia. “We named three new species of small, brightly colored anthias by comparing specimens of related species in fish collections,” Pogonoski said.

“New species of anthias are still being recognized because they are rarely encountered because they are outside normal diving depths, are small in size or live in habitats that are difficult to sample.”

Pogonoski said the new Silverspot Weedfish, Heteroclinus argyrospilos, was described from just two known specimens collected in 2000 and 2005 by researchers at the former CSIRO Research Vessel Southern Surveyor in southwestern Australia.

“The Weedfish were found 55 to 100 meters below sea level, which is interesting because they live deeper than other known members of the genus,” he said.

In addition to 117 insects named in the past year, scientists have named 14 other invertebrates, including 11 jumping spiders, a centipede, an earthworm and a marine trematode discovered in a fish.

CSIRO entomologist Dr. David Yeates said the well-known but newly named ant Anonychomyrma inclinata was particularly special, with its support from the endangered Bulloak Jewel Butterfly, Hypochrysops piceatus. “The ecological requirements for this beautiful butterfly are very narrow, which is probably why it is so rare,” said Dr. Yeates.

“The ant species we have now mentioned must nest in an adult bull oak, Allocasuarina luehmannii. The butterfly caterpillars live under the bark and are carried to soft bull leaves at night to feed on ‘babysitter’ ants. The ants protect the caterpillars against predators and receive a sugary gift from the caterpillars, a win-win for both species,” he said.

The newly named species also emphasizes the importance of collaboration, with most scientific papers involving authors from multiple scientific collections and universities across Australia and abroad.

“Collaborating with our research community to name species is incredibly important – it’s the first step in understanding and managing biodiversity in Australia,” said Dr. Yeates.

“As a country, we are still in the very exciting phase of species discovery,” he said.

From fish to ants: 139 new species named

Undarobius howarthi, one of two new species of weevils in the new genus Undarobius found in lava caves in Undara Volcanic National Park in northeastern Queensland. Although this weevil has no eyes, pigmentation spots and a lack of setae (bristles) give the appearance of eye spots. Credit: CSIRO

New varieties at a glance:

Sea fishing (4)

  • Heteroclinus argyrospilos (Silverspot Weedfish) lives in waters from 55 to 100 meters deep in southwestern Australia (SA and WA).
  • Pseudanthias paralourgus (Purple-tip Anthias) lives in waters from 110 to 119 meters deep in southern Queensland.
  • Tosana longipinnis (Longfin Threadtail Anthias) lives in waters from 62 to 252 m deep from the central Queensland coast to the central NSW coast.
  • Tosana dampieriensis (Dampierian Threadtail Anthias) lives in waters from 66 to 177 meters deep in northern Western Australia.

Plants (3)

  • Lobelia pachytricha is a climbing plant with beautiful blue to purple flowers with yellow markings.
  • Gomphrena axillaris and G. longistyla were described using specimens kept in Australian herbaria.

frog (1)

  • Philoria knowlesi – a mountain frog from southeastern Queensland.

insects (117)

  • 39 gall wasps from America.
  • 34 beetles, including the 2 weevils of the new genus Undarobius, found in lava caves in the Undara Volcanic National Park in northeastern Queensland.
  • 16 katydids
  • 13 damselflies
  • 12 trips
  • 1 Ant – Anonychomyrma inclinata, the obligatory caretaker for the rare and beautiful Bulloak Jewel butterfly Hypochrysops piceatus.
  • 1 fly – Teratomyza ismayi, the first fern fly known from New Guinea.
  • 1 Insect: A treehopper found near Canberra and Wallaciana named namadgi after Namadgi National Park.

Other invertebrates (14)

  • 11 Jumping Spiders
  • 1 centipede – the first centipede with more than 1000 legs.
  • 1 earthworm
  • 1 Marine Trematode — Enenterum petrae was found in a species of fish, the Brassy Drummer (Kyphosus vaigiensis), collected off Lizard Island in Queensland.

New mollusk species discovered by museum curator


Quote: From fish to ants: 139 new species named in Australia (2022, August 8), retrieved August 8, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-fish-ants-species-australia.html

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