• Factors affecting consistency and accuracy in identifying modern macroperforate planktonic foraminifera

      Fenton, IS; Baranowski, U; Boscolo-Galazzo, F; Cheales, H; Fox, L; King, DJ; Larkin, C; Latas, M; Liebrand, D; Miller, CG; et al. (The Micropalaeontological Society, 2018-09-25)
      Planktonic foraminifera are widely used in biostratigraphic, palaeoceanographic and evolutionary studies, but the strength of many study conclusions could be weakened if taxonomic identifications are not reproducible by different workers. In this study, to assess the relative importance of a range of possible reasons for among-worker disagreement in identification, 100 specimens of 26 species of macroperforate planktonic foraminifera were selected from a core-top site in the subtropical Pacific Ocean. Twenty-three scientists at different career stages – including some with only a few days experience of planktonic foraminifera – were asked to identify each specimen to species level, and to indicate their confidence in each identification. The participants were provided with a species list and had access to additional reference materials. We use generalised linear mixed-effects models to test the relevance of three sets of factors in identification accuracy: participant-level characteristics (including experience), species-level characteristics (including a participant's knowledge of the species) and specimen-level characteristics (size, confidence in identification). The 19 less experienced scientists achieve a median accuracy of 57 %, which rises to 75 % for specimens they are confident in. For the 4 most experienced participants, overall accuracy is 79 %, rising to 93 % when they are confident. To obtain maximum comparability and ease of analysis, everyone used a standard microscope with only 35× magnification, and each specimen was studied in isolation. Consequently, these data provide a lower limit for an estimate of consistency. Importantly, participants could largely predict whether their identifications were correct or incorrect: their own assessments of specimen-level confidence and of their previous knowledge of species concepts were the strongest predictors of accuracy.
    • Family-Level Sampling of Mitochondrial Genomes in Coleoptera: Compositional Heterogeneity and Phylogenetics

      Timmermans, MJTN; Barton, C; Haran, J; Ahrens, D; Culverwell, CL; Ollikainen, A; Dodsworth, S; Foster, PG; Bocak, L; Vogler, AP (Oxford University Press, 2016-01-01)
      Mitochondrial genomes are readily sequenced with recent technology and thus evolutionary lineages can be densely sampled. This permits better phylogenetic estimates and assessment of potential biases resulting from heterogeneity in nucleotide composition and rate of change. We gathered 245 mitochondrial sequences for the Coleoptera representing all 4 suborders, 15 superfamilies of Polyphaga, and altogether 97 families, including 159 newly sequenced full or partial mitogenomes. Compositional heterogeneity greatly affected 3rd codon positions, and to a lesser extent the 1st and 2nd positions, even after RY coding. Heterogeneity also affected the encoded protein sequence, in particular in the nad2 , nad4 , nad5 , and nad6 genes. Credible tree topologies were obtained with the nhPhyML (“nonhomogeneous”) algorithm implementing a model for branch-specific equilibrium frequencies. Likelihood searches using RAxML were improved by data partitioning by gene and codon position. Finally, the PhyloBayes software, which allows different substitution processes for amino acid replacement at various sites, produced a tree that best matched known higher level taxa and defined basal relationships in Coleoptera. After rooting with Neuropterida outgroups, suborder relationships were resolved as (Polyphaga (Myxophaga (Archostemata + Adephaga))). The infraorder relationships in Polyphaga were (Scirtiformia (Elateriformia ((Staphyliniformia + Scarabaeiformia) (Bostrichiformia (Cucujiformia))))). Polyphagan superfamilies were recovered as monophyla except Staphylinoidea (paraphyletic for Scarabaeiformia) and Cucujoidea, which can no longer be considered a valid taxon. The study shows that, although compositional heterogeneity is not universal, it cannot be eliminated for some mitochondrial genes, but dense taxon sampling and the use of appropriate Bayesian analyses can still produce robust phylogenetic trees.
    • Far from a distraction: Plastic pollution and the planetary emergency

      Lavers, Jennifer L; Bond, AL; Rolsky, Charles (Elsevier BV, 2022-07-04)
      Pollution of the environment with plastics has garnered significant public attention, but the topic has also been the focus of controversy, including assertions that resources are better spent on other topics, such as global warming. Here, we argue that plastic pollution and climate change are fundamentally linked, from the extraction of fossil fuels to the production of plastics, and eventual disposal. We demonstrate how plastics research and funding currently lag significantly behind that of climate change and conclude by advocating for a more integrated approach to addressing pressing conservation issues in the time of a planetary emergency.
    • Fauna Europaea: Hymenoptera – Apocrita (excl. Ichneumonoidea)

      Mitroiu, M-D; Noyes, J; Cetkovic, A; Nonveiller, G; Radchenko, A; Polaszek, Andrew; Ronquist, F; Forshage, M; Pagliano, G; Gusenleitner, J; et al. (2015-03-20)
      Fauna Europaea provides a public web-service with an index of scientific names (including important synonyms) of all living European land and freshwater animals, their geographical distribution at country level (up to the Urals, excluding the Caucasus region), and some additional information. The Fauna Europaea project covers about 230,000 taxonomic names, including 130,000 accepted species and 14,000 accepted subspecies. This represents a huge effort by more than 400 contributing specialists throughout Europe and is a unique (standard) reference suitable for many users in science, government, industry, nature conservation and education. Hymenoptera is one of the four largest orders of insects, with about 130,000 described species. In the Fauna Europaea database, ‘Hymenoptera - Apocrita (excluding Ichneumonoidea)’ comprises 13 superfamilies, 52 families, 91 subfamilies, 38 tribes and 13,211 species. The paper includes a complete list of taxa dealt with, the number of species in each and the name of the specialist responsible for data acquisition. As a general conclusion about the European fauna of Hymenoptera, the best known countries in terms of recorded species are those from northwestern Europe, with the least known fauna probably in the more eastern and southeastern parts of Europe.
    • Faunal Remains: Results by Species

      Knight, B; Milner, N; O'Connor, T; Elliott, B; Robson, H; Buckley, M; Witkowski, P; Charlton, S; Craig, O; Collins, M; et al. (White Rose University PressYork, 2018-04-16)
    • Female aristocrats in the natural history world before the establishment of the Geological Society of London

      Sendino, Consuelo; Porter, Julian (Geological Society of London, 2020-12-07)
      A fascination with natural history does not recognize class, as is shown through the activities of female aristocrats who, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, contributed significantly by increasing the number of collections at natural history museums. These women were not members of the Geological Society of London because, at that time, women were not even allowed to be members, but they still left their impressive legacy in museums. This paper will focus on three women who made extensive collections that are now incorporated into British museums. The first of these, the Duchess of Portland, made one of the finest collections in England and, possibly, the best collection of shells and fossils in Europe of her time, which was later acquired by the Natural History Museum, London. She was followed by the Countess of Aylesford who made one of the most important mineral collections of her time, which is now at the Natural History Museum, London. Finally, Baroness Brassey collected geological samples during her trips that were used to establish the Brassey Institute in Hastings. These three women used their own income and influence to build collections.
    • Field sampling is biased against small‑ranged species of high conservation value: a case study on the sphingid moths of East Africa

      Beck, J; Takano, H; Ballesteros-Mejia, L; Kitching, I; McCain, CM (Springer Verlag, 2018-08-23)
      The range size of species co-occurring in local assemblages is a pivotal variable in assessments of a site’s conservation value. Assemblages featuring many small-ranged species are given more priority than assemblages consisting mainly of wide-ranging species. However, the assembly of relevant information can be challenging and local range size distributions of tropical invertebrates are rarely available for conservation planning. We present such data for sphingid moths in East Africa, a highly diverse region of high conservation value. We compare geographic range size distributions based on field samples with predictions from modelled range map data. Using this system as a case study, we provide evidence for a systematic sampling bias when inferring average local range sizes from field data. Unseen species (i.e., species present but missed in local sampling) are often those with small ranges (hence, of high conservation value). Using an elevational gradient, we illustrate how this bias can lead to false, counterintuitive assessments of environmental effects on local range size distributions. Furthermore, with particular reference to sphingid moths in the study region, we show that current protected areas appear unrelated to the spatial distribution of species richness or average geographic range sizes at a local scale. We discuss the need to treat field sampled data with caution and in concert with other data sources such as probabilistic models.
    • Fine-scale appendage structure of the Cambrian trilobitomorph Naraoia spinosa and its ontogenetic and ecological implications

      Zhai, D; Edgecombe, GD; Bond, AD; Mai, H; Hou, X; Liu, Y (The Royal Society, 2019-12-04)
      Trilobitomorphs are a species-rich Palaeozoic arthropod assemblage that unites trilobites with several other lineages that share similar appendage structure. Post-embryonic development of the exoskeleton is well documented for some trilobitomorphs, especially trilobites, but little is known of the ontogeny of their soft parts, limiting understanding of their autecology. Here, we document appendage structure of the Cambrian naraoiid trilobitomorph Naraoia spinosa by computed microtomography, resulting in three-dimensional reconstructions of appendages at both juvenile and adult stages. The adult has dense, strong spines on the protopods of post-antennal appendages, implying a predatory/scavenging behaviour. The absence of such gnathobasic structures, but instead tiny protopodal bristles and a number of endopodal setae, suggests a detritus-feeding strategy for the juvenile. Our data add strong morphological evidence for ecological niche shifting by Cambrian arthropods during their life cycles. A conserved number of appendages across the sampled developmental stages demonstrates that Naraoia ceased budding off new appendages by the mid-juvenile stage.
    • First British record of Nacerdes carniolica (Gistel, 1834) (Oedemeridae) in Kent

      Geiser, Michael; Broad, G (The Coleopterist, 2022-09-13)
    • The first edrioasteroid echinoderm from the lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of Yunnan Province, China

      Zhao, Jun; Rahman, Imran; Zamora, Samuel; Chen, Ailin; Cong, Peiyun (Wiley, 2022-07-07)
      Until now, the earliest fossil echinoderms have been predominantly known from the early Cambrian of Laurentia and West Gondwana. Here, we describe Sprinkleoglobus extenuatusgen. et sp. nov. from the Chengjiang biota (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3) of Yunnan Province, China. The over-all profile of the theca and the morphology of the ambulacra clearly establish it as an edrioasteroid echinoderm. This represents the first discovery of an unequivocal echinoderm from the early part of the Cambrian of South China and is among the oldest records of echinoderms globally. Our material shows that edrioasteroids were diverse and widely distributed from their first occurrence in the fossil record, suggesting an earlier origin for the group. We infer that Sprinkleoglobus and other early echinoderms were adapted for attaching to hard substrates, implying that the so-called Cambrian substrate revolution was not a strong control on the early evolution of attachment in echinoderms.
    • First evidence of denticulated dentition in teleosaurid crocodylomorphs

      Young, MT; Beatty, BL; Brusatte, SL; Steel, L (2013-10-28)
    • First evidence of mutualism between ancient plant lineages (Haplomitriopsida liverworts) and Mucoromycotina fungi and its response to simulated Palaeozoic changes in atmospheric CO 2

      Field, KJ; Rimington, WR; Bidartondo, MI; Allinson, KE; Beerling, DJ; Cameron, DD; Duckett, JG; Leake, JR; Pressel, S (2015-01)
    • The first fossil Coleoptera record from the Volyn Region, Ukraine, with description of a new Glesoconomorphus (Coleoptera, Mycteridae) in syninclusion with Winterschmidtiidae (Acari) and a key to species

      Telnov, Dmitry; Perkovsky, Evgeny E; Vasilenko, Dmitry V; Yamamoto, Shûhei (Pensoft Publishers, 2021-11-08)
      Glesoconomorphus ekaterinae sp. nov. (Coleoptera, Mycteridae), representing the first ever fossil species of Coleoptera from the Volyn Region of Ukraine and the first mycterid from late Eocene Rovno amber, is described and illustrated. A key to species of the fossil mycterid genus Glesoconomorphus Alekseev, Pollock & Bukejs, 2019 is presented. The systematic position of Glesoconomorphus within Eurypinae J. Thomson, 1860 is briefly discussed. The oldest finding of phoretic Winterschmidtiidae Oudemans, 1923 mites, found on the type specimen of the new beetle species, is reported.
    • The first global deep-sea stable isotope assessment reveals the unique trophic ecology of Vampire Squid Vampyroteuthis infernalis (Cephalopoda)

      Golikov, A; Ceia, F; Sabirov, R; Ablett, J; Gleadall, I; Gudmundsson, G; Hoving, H; Heather, J; Pálsson, J; Reid, AL; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2019-12-13)
      Vampyroteuthis infernalis Chun, 1903, is a widely distributed deepwater cephalopod with unique morphology and phylogenetic position. We assessed its habitat and trophic ecology on a global scale via stable isotope analyses of a unique collection of beaks from 104 specimens from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Cephalopods typically are active predators occupying a high trophic level (TL) and exhibit an ontogenetic increase in δ15N and TL. Our results, presenting the first global comparison for a deep-sea invertebrate, demonstrate that V. infernalis has an ontogenetic decrease in δ15N and TL, coupled with niche broadening. Juveniles are mobile zooplanktivores, while larger Vampyroteuthis are slow-swimming opportunistic consumers and ingest particulate organic matter. Vampyroteuthis infernalis occupies the same TL (3.0–4.3) over its global range and has a unique niche in deep-sea ecosystems. These traits have enabled the success and abundance of this relict species inhabiting the largest ecological realm on the planet.
    • First mitogenome of subfamily Langiinae (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) with its phylogenetic implications

      Wang, Xu; Zhang, Hao; Kitching, I; Xu, Zhen-Bang; Huang, Yi-Xin (Elsevier BV, 2021-04-18)
      To date, a relatively complete classification of Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) has been generated, but the phylogeny of the family remains need to be fully resolved. Some phylogenetic relationships within Sphingidae still remains uncertain, especially the taxonomic status of the subfamily Langiinae and its sole included genus and species, Langia zenzeroides. To begin to address this problem, we generated nine new complete mitochondrial genomes, including that of Langia, and together with that of Theretra oldenlandiae from our previous study and 25 other Sphingidae mitogenomes downloaded from GenBank, analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of Sphingidae and investigated the mitogenomic differences among members of the Langiinae, Sphinginae, Smerinthinae and Macroglossinae. The mitogenomes of Sphingidae varied from 14995 bp to 15669 bp in length. The gene order of all newly sequenced mitogenomes was identical, containing 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and the A + T-rich region. Nucleotide composition was A + T biased, and all the protein-coding genes exhibited a positive AT-skew, which was reflected in the nucleotide composition, codon, and amino acid usage. The A + T-rich region was comprised of nonrepetitive sequences, which contained regulatory elements related to the control of replication and transcription. We analyzed concatenated gene sequences, with third codon positions of protein coding genes and rRNAs excluded, using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference techniques. All four currently recognized subfamilies were recovered as monophyletic but in contrast to the most recent studies, our preferred tree placed Langiinae as the first subfamily to diverge within Sphingidae rather as sister to Smerinthinae + Sphinginae. Our results also support the removal of the genus Barbourion from the smerinthine tribe Ambulycini to an unresolved position in "Smerinthinae incertae sedis".