A new isopod: Stenasellus tashanicus

Isopods are an order of crustaceans that includes woodlice and their relatives. Isopods can be found in the sea, in fresh water, or on land. There are over 10000 known species of isopods in the world and they conquered most environments.There are quite a few isopods that are found in subterranean waters, cave-dwellers that are specifically adapted to life in this environment. The new species was found in a cave in Iran. Consequently it was…

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#BadStockPhotosOfMyJob

Ever seen anything in relation to the hashtag #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob? If not you should check out Twitter or search for it on Google because it really shows some ridiculously funny photos that exhibit some of the worst stereotypes people have when thinking about other's jobs. Especially the perception of what scientists do is almost tragic. I thought its a good idea to show a few examples including ironic comments by the real scientists. It's funny indeed…

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A new lichen: Architrypethelium murisporum

Lichens are fascinating organisms. In fact they are composite organisms build by algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. This combination of organisms has different properties than the individual species that build it.Until now, the genus Architrypethelium has not been known from southeast Asia but this new species was found in Thailand.The species name refers to the form of the spores of one of the fungi that are part of…

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Interview with a vampire

In this study, we show for the first time that it is possible to use DNA meta-barcoding to generate data on both diet and the predator's population structure. And we more or less get this additional information for free because the vampire bat's DNA is found in the DNA that we extract from blood meal and faecal samplesWhen the sun sets in South and Central America, the vampire bats wake up and fly out in…

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A new legume: Psoralea forbesiae

Psoralea is a genus with its own family. Most species are actually poisonous,  but the starchy roots of two species,  P. esculenta (prairie turnip) and P. hypogaea,  are in fact edible. A few species form tumbleweeds.The name of the new species honours Scottish born Helena Madelain Lamond Forbes (1900–1959) who immigrated to South Africa with her parents when young. She worked at the National Herbarium in Pretoria, visited Kew Gardens for one year and ended…

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Citizen science vs giant slugs

Citizen science is a powerful tool to combat the challenges created by invasive species. Our study emphasizes the importance of collaborations between researchers, government administration, and citizen volunteers. The giant slug Limax maximus is an invasive species which made its way from northern Europe all the way to Japan and other regions of the world. It is a notorious pest of horticultural and agricultural crops. Recently a Japanese research team found that a certain set of weather…

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A new tetra: Hyphessobrycon piorskii

Hyphessobrycon is a genus of freshwater fish in the family Characidae, a family that also contains Piranhas. This genus belongs to a group of fish widely known as tetras. They are distributed from southern Mexico to Río de la Plata in Argentina. Many species are native to South America and about half a dozen species come from Central America. Many tetra species are popular aquarium fish and some are bred in large numbers in captivity.The…

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Weekend readings

Need some readings for a sunny weekend? Not enough papers on the pile on your desk? Here is a solution for you. A couple of interesting journal articles I came across this week. Enjoy.A DNA barcode library for ground beetles of Germany: the genus Amara Bonelli, 1810 (Insecta, Coleoptera, Carabidae).The genus Amara Bonelli, 1810 is a very speciose and taxonomically difficult genus of the Carabidae. The identification of many of the species is accomplished with…

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A new shrimp: Odontonia bagginsi

Two new species of tiny symbiotic shrimps were described, illustrated and named by a biology student at Leiden University. The new shrimps do not reach sizes above a centimetre in length, and were found inside tunicates. It is believed that these symbiotic crustaceans are fully adapted to live inside the cavities of their hosts, which explains their small-sized and smooth bodies. Unlike most Odontonia species, which live inside solitary tunicates, the new species were the first…

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Who owns ocean biodiversity?

Within national jurisdiction, the Nagoya Protocol protects countries from exploitative bioprospecting, and is meant to foster greater equity. But there's a huge missing piece, because two-thirds of the ocean exists beyond national jurisdiction. That's roughly half the Earth's surface with no regulations on accessing or using genetic resources.Marine organisms have evolved to thrive in various ocean environments, resulting in unique adaptations that make them the object of commercial interest, particularly for biomedical and industrial applications.…

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