• The mitogenome of a Malagasy butterfly Malaza fastuosus (Mabille, 1884) recovered from the holotype collected over 140 years ago adds support for a new subfamily of Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera)

      Zhang, J; Lees, David; Shen, J; Cong, Q; Huertas, B; Martin, G; Grishin, NV (Canadian Science Publishing, 2020-04)
      Malaza fastuosus is a lavishly patterned skipper butterfly from a genus that has three described species, all endemic to the mainland of Madagascar. To our knowledge, M. fastuosus has not been collected for nearly 50 years. To evaluate the power of our techniques to recover DNA, we used a single foreleg of an at least 140-year-old holotype specimen from the collection of the Natural History Museum London with no destruction of external morphology to extract DNA and assemble a complete mitogenome from next generation sequencing reads. The resulting 15 540 bp mitogenome contains 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, and an A+T rich region, similarly to other Lepidoptera mitogenomes. Here we provide the first mitogenome also for Trapezitinae (Rachelia extrusus). Phylogenetic analysis of available skipper mitogenomes places Malaza outside of Trapezitinae and Barcinae + Hesperiinae, with a possible sister relationship to Heteropterinae. Of these, at least Heteropterinae, Trapezitinae, and almost all Hesperiinae have monocot-feeding caterpillars. Malaza appears to be an evolutionarily highly distinct ancient lineage, morphologically with several unusual hesperiid features. The monotypic subfamily Malazinae Lees & Grishin subfam. nov. (type genus Malaza) is proposed to reflect this morphological and molecular evidence.
    • Recommended best practices for plastic and litter ingestion studies in marine birds: Collection, processing, and reporting

      Provencher, JF; Borrelle, SB; Bond, AL; Lavers, JL; van Franeker, JA; Kühn, S; Hammer, S; Avery-Gomm, S; Mallory, ML (Canadian Science Publishing, 2019-05-09)
      Marine plastic pollution is an environmental contaminant of significant concern. There is a lack of consistency in sample collection and processing that continues to impede meta-analyses and largescale comparisons across time and space. This is true for most taxa, including seabirds, which are the most studied megafauna group with regards to plastic ingestion research. Consequently, it is difficult to evaluate the impacts and extent of plastic contamination in seabirds fully and accurately, and to make inferences about species for which we have little or no data. We provide a synthesized set of recommendations specific for seabirds and plastic ingestion studies that include best practices in relation to sample collection, processing, and reporting, as well as highlighting some “cross-cutting” methods. We include guidance for how carcasses, regurgitations, and pellets should be handled and treated to prevent cross-contamination, and a discussion of what size class of microplastics can be assessed in each sample type. Although we focus on marine bird samples, we also include standardized techniques to remove sediment and biological material that are generalizable to other taxa. Lastly, metrics and data presentation of ingested plastics are briefly reviewed in the context of seabird studies.