Monday, 22 July 2019

Capricephala chiaroscuro: A new species of Ambush Bug from the Dominican Republic.

Ambush Bugs, Phymatinae, are highly specialised Assassin Bugs, Reduviidae, noted for their highly modified forelegs, which are modified for seizing prey in a manner similar to Mantises. Ambush Bugs are, as their name suggests, ambush predators, and are capable of taking prey many times their own size. Ambush Bugs are global in distribution, but are more abundant in the tropics, with the Greater Antilles Islands being particularly rich in species.

In a paper published in the journal Insect Systematics and Diversity on 12 July 2019, Paul Masonick of the Department of Entomology of the University of California, Riverside, describes a new species of Ambush Bug from the Parque Nacional Sierra de Baoruco, in Pedernales Province, Dominican Republic.

The new species is named Capricephala chiaroscuro, where 'Capricephala' means 'Goat horns' in reference to four horn-like spines on the head of the species, and 'chiaroscuro' is an Italian term which refers to the composition of light and shadow in a picture, in reference to the contrasting colours of the species. The species is described from a single female specimen from the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, uncovered by Masonick during a review of the Ambush Bug material there. This specimen is 11.7 mm in length, making the species one of the largest Ambush Bugs described to date. The specimen was collected in June 2005 by entomologist Steve Lingafelter, in an area of cloud forest at an altitude of 1150 m.

Capricephala chiaroscuro, female specimen in dorsal view. Masonick (2019).

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/12/archetingis-ladinica-lace-bug-from.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/08/neotapirissus-reticularis-new-species.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/01/rhagovelia-caudata-rhagovelia-bisinuata.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/07/hairy-cicadas-from-middle-jurassic.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/02/monecphora-broomfieldi-monecphora.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/dysmicoccus-lavandulae-lavender.html
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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Thousands evacuated from homes following series of explosive eruptions on Mount Urbinas, Peru.

Around 30 000 people have been evacuated from homes in communities close to Mount Urbinas, a small but highly active volcano in the southern Peruvian Andes, generally considered to be Peru's most active volcano, following a series of explosive eruptions that began on Thursday 18 July 2019. The first of these eruptions produced an ash column about 5 km high, and led to ashfalls in communities 25 km from the volcano, prompting the volcano. The evacuees have been relocated to shelters outside the volcano's danger zone, as part of a predetermined emergency plan.

An ash column over Mount Urbinas, Peru. Picture Alliance/DPA/EPA/STR.

The volcanoes of the Peruvian Andes, and of South America in general, are fuelled by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate. The Nazca Plate underlies a large chunk of the eastern Pacific Ocean, and is being subducted along Peru-Chile Trench to the west of South America. As it sinks into the Earth, the Nazca Plate passes under South America, where it is heated by friction with the overlying South American Plate and by the heat of the planet's interior. This causes the Nazca Plate to partially melt, and some of this melted material then rises through the South American Plate as magma, fuelling the volcanoes of the Andes. The motion of one plate beneath another is not a smooth process, and the Nazca and South American Plates frequently stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, triggering frequent Earthquakes along the western coast of South America, and sometimes further inland.

 The subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate, and how it causes Earthquakes and volcanoes. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/05/magnitude-80-earthquake-in-alto.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/03/magnitude-70-earthquake-in-azangaro.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/02/eleven-known-deaths-as-floods-and.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/10/warnings-issued-to-aviation-after.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/01/magnitude-71-earthquake-off-coast-of.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/06/magnitude-56-earthquake-on-peru-equador.html
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Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake on the Attic Peninsula, Greece,

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake at a depth of 10.0 km, roughly 3 km to the northeast of the town of Magoula on the Attic Peninsula of Greece, slightly before 2.15 pm local time (slightly before 11.15 am GMT) on Friday 19 July 2019 . No injuries have been reported following this event, though some damage to buildings has occurred, and the event was felt across much of southern Greece.

A collapsed building in the Port of Piraeus near Athens, following the 19 July 2019 Attic Peninsula Earthquake. Petros Giannakouris/AP.

The Attic Peninsula is to the north of the boundary between the Aegean Sea Plate, which underlies southern Greece, and the African Plate, which underlies most of the Mediterranean. The African Plate is moving northward relative to the Aegean Sea Plate, and is being subducted beneath it along the Hellenic Trench, which runs from the Ionian Sea to the south and west of the Peloponnese and then to the south of Crete. This is not a smooth process, as the plates frequently stick together then break apart once the pressure has built up sufficiently, leading to (fairly frequent) Earthquakes.

The extent of the Hellenic Trench. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica eVulcanologia.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/10/magnitude-68-earthquake-beneath-ionian.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/09/magnitude-50-earthquake-in-thessaly.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/07/eighty-five-confirmed-dead-and-more.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/02/magnitude-50-earthquake-beneath-ionian.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/01/magnitude-51-earthquake-in-eastern.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/11/flooding-and-landslide-kill-nineteen-in.html
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Rockfall kills eight-month-old girl in Himachal Pradesh.

An eight-month-old girl has died and seven other people, including two other children, have been injured after a group of tourists was hit by a rockfall in Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh, India, on Saturday 20 July 2019. All of those involved are believed to have come from two families from Haroli in Una District, also Himachal Pradesh, who were walking on a trail between Bhagsu Nag Temple and the Bhagsu Nag Waterfall at the time of the incident. The landslide is the latest in a series of events connected to heavy rains in the area, brought on by the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon. Mountainous areas of Himachal Pradesh (which is most of the state) are notoriously prone to landslips and rockfalls, particularly during the monsoon season, which lasts from July to September, when very high rainfall levels can trigger many such events. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

The scene of the 20 July 2019 Bhagsu Nag rockfall. Kamaljeet/The Tribune.

Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate. This situation is particularly intense in South Asia, due to the presence of the Himalayas. High mountain ranges tend to force winds hitting them upwards, which amplifies the South Asian Summer Monsoon, with higher winds leading to more upward air movement, thus drawing in further air from the sea. 

 Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/05/himachal-pradesh-man-arrested-with-two.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/09/fifteen-families-evacuated-ater.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/08/eight-confirmed-deaths-after-landslide.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/11/woman-killed-by-himachal-pradesh.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/possible-volcanic-eruption-in-himachal.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2013/11/magnitude-44-earthquake-in-himachal.html
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Clash between villagers and park wardens leaves one dead and several injured near Gorilla Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One person has died and several more have been injured in a clash between park wardens and villagers belonging to the Miti ('Pygmy') group near the Kahuzi Biega National Park, an important Gorilla Sanctuary in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Wednesday 17 July 2019. The park wardens were reportedly following a group of suspected poachers leaving the park, when they were ambushed by villagers armed with bows and machetes. Several people were injured on both sides, with one warden loosing several fingers to a machete blow and a villager called lwaboshi Simba being shot dead.

An anti-poaching patrol in the Kahuzi Biega National Park. /Mongabay.

This is the latest in a series of clashes between the Miti people and the authorities over access to the park, which forms part of their traditional land but to which they now claim they are denied access, a dispute which led to the death of a park warden in April this year. Park authorities accuse the Miti and other forest dwelling communities of damaging the park by deforestation, principally the cutting down of trees for charcoal production, while local communities claim the park authorities have reneged on commitments to involve them in the management of the park.

Miti villagers at Buyungule village, just outside the Kahuzi Biega National Park. Primate Expertise.

The Kahuzi Biega Nationl Park is home to a population of about 125 Eastern Lowland Gorillas, Gorilla beringei graueri, and is one of the few places where tourists can visit Gorillas in the wild. At 6000 square kilometres the park is also one of the largest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, roughly the same size as Delaware or The Gambia. This makes the park a significant source of income for the Democratic Republic of Congo, but a significant loss of available land to local populations, who have been intermittently excluded from the park since its creation in 1970 by the Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver. The park authorities claim that local populations are major beneficiaries of the park, citing 350 children currently receiving schooling in the area, as well as two people from local communities attending universities, as well as jobs created in the tourism industry, and projects promoting Bee Keeping and Goat Breeding, though many people in the area complain this does not equate to the loss of access to traditional resources represented by the park.

Aerial view of the Kahuzi Biega National Park. Forest Service/US Department of Agriculture/Wikimedia Commons.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/05/virunga-national-park-guide-killed.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/04/eleven-lions-poisoned-in-ugandan.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/04/poaching-in-kakum-conservation-area-of.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/10/unsustainable-chocolate-production.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/02/loxodonta-cyclotis-african-forest.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/10/gorilla-beringei-graueri-grauers.html
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Flooding kills more than 30 people in Bangladesh.

More than 30 people are reported to have died in flooding associated with this years monsoon rains in Bangladesh, with over 200 000 people forced to flee their homes for higher ground as a series of rivers have burst their banks. The rains have also triggered a series of landslides, with over 200 in the Cox's Bazar District alone. The country has suffered some of the heaviest rainfall in years, but the bulk of the problems have been caused not by rain falling in Bangladesh, but rain that has fallen upstream in India, causing rivers to swell and cause problems in Bangladesh.

Flooding in the Bogura District of northern Bangladesh. Ahmed Salahuddin/Getty Images.

Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate. This situation is particularly intense in South Asia, due to the presence of the Himalayas. High mountain ranges tend to force winds hitting them upwards, which amplifies the South Asian Summer Monsoon, with higher winds leading to more upward air movement, thus drawing in further air from the sea.

Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/05/cyclone-fani-kills-at-least-28-in-india.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/12/landslide-kills-three-in-chittagong.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/11/woman-killed-in-landslide-at-illegal.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/10/elephants-kill-four-rohingya-refugees.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/07/five-killed-by-landslide-at-ramu-in.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/07/student-killed-by-landslide-at.html
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Geissleria lubiluensis & Geissleria fogedii: Two new species of freshwater Diatom from tropical Africa.

Diatoms are single celled algae related to Kelp and Water Moulds. They are encased in silica shells with two valves. During reproduction the cells divide in two, each of which retains one valve of the shell, growing a new opposing valve, which is slightly smaller and fits flush within the older valve. This means that the Diatoms grow smaller with each new generation, until they reach a minimum size, when they undergo a phase of sexual reproduction, giving rise to a new generation of full-sized cells. 

In a paper published in the journal Phytotaxa on 6 May 2019, Christine Cocquyt of the Meise Botanic Garden, and Edit Lokele Njombo of the Faculté des Sciences at the Université de Kisangani and the Institut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Yangambi describe two new species of Diatom from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana.

The first species is placed in the genus Geissleria, and given the specific name lubiluensis, meaning 'from Lubilu', in reference to the Lubilu River, a tributary of the Congo in which it was discovered; the Lubilu lies within the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve in Tshopo Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the species is described based upon specimens collected from the river during a series of biological surveys of the region in 2015, in the Lubilu, Lokombe, Lotuli, and Lukwaje rivers, all tributaries on the right bank of the Congo River downstream Kisangani.

Geissleria lubiluensis. SEM, valves from type material. (12)-(15) External views, showing the denser striae between the annuli and axial area; note the bifurcated terminal raphe ending and an open girdle band near the apex on (13). (16)–(17). Internal views. (16) Detail of the annuli. (17) Detail of the straight central raphe endings. Scale bar in (12) is 5 μm, and (13)–(17) ar all 1 μm. Cocquyt & Lokele (2019).

Geissleria lubiluensis has elongate valves with rounded ends, which range from 18.0 to 31.5 μm in length, and from 9.8 to 11.5 μm in width. The valves have an elongate grove that runs along most of the centre of the long axis, though this has a break in the middle and does not reach the ends. Much of the remainder of the surface is covered by rows of striae (small indentations), though again there is a break in the central part of the valve.

The second species described was discovered as the result of a study of previously collected Diatoms of the genus Geissleria made while determining that Geissleria lubiluensis was in fact a new species. The species is named Geissleria fogedii, in honour of Niels Foged, who first described the specimens from which the species is described in 1966. Foged identified the specimens as belonging to the species Geissleria paludosa, though after re-examining the specimens Cocquyt and Lokele conclude that this is a new species.

Geissleria fogedii. (18)–(22). Valve views from type material of Foged, Ghana, showing the size diminution series. (23). SEM. Inside view of valve showing the details of the striae and annuli near one pole. Scale bar in (18)–(22) are 10 μm, and in (23) is 1 μm. Cocquyt & Lokele (2019).

Geissleria fogedii was originally described from the River Suhin, a tributary of the Tain, which in turn flows into the Black Volta, though Cocquyt and Lokele also identified a valve possibly belonging to the species in the Lubilu River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which suggests the species might be quite widespread. Geissleria fogedii is similar to Geissleria lubiluensis, but reaches only 21.8 to 23.5 μm in length and 8.3 to 9.2 μm in width.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/10/pseudo-nitzschia-hallegraeffii-new.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/05/fallacia-californica-new-species-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/understanding-role-of-biofilms-in.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/algal-bloom-covers-much-of-western-lake.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/three-new-species-of-diatoms-from-skin.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/three-new-species-of-diatom-from.html
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