Saturday 17 August 2013

Two new species of parasitic Nematode from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nematodes are probably the most numerous and specious group of animals on Earth, though relatively few species have actually been described. The title of most specious group is more usually attributed to the Insects, but every species of insects seems to have its own set of Nematode parasites, as does every species of Mollusc, Vertebrate, Plant, multicellular Fungi etc. In addition there are vast and largely undescribed number of Nematodes living in the soil, as well as in marine sediments, an environment devoid of insects. Nematodes have been found on mountain tops, at the bottom of the deepest marine trenches and in sediment samples from over a kilometer underground.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 4 January 2013, Jans Morffe and Nayla García of the Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática in Havana describe two new species of Nematodes discovered by dissecting Bess Beetles collected in the Belgian Congo in the 1930s and stored in alcohol at the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren until now.

The first new species is named Kongonema meyeri, where 'Kongonema' means Congo-Nematode and 'meyeri' honours Marc de Meyer, the curator of the Entomological Collection of the Royal Museum of Central Africa. Kongonema meyeri is a 1.67 mm Nematode Worm found parasitizing two species of Beetle, Erionomus pilosus and Didimus sp., both from Katale in North Kivu Province. The species is sexually dimorphic, with the females being larger and more robust and the males smaller and more slender.

Kongonema meyeri, female (top) and male (bottom). Morffe & García (2013).

The second new species described is named Lubanema decraemerae, where 'Lubanema' means the Luba Nematode (the Luba are an ethnic group from southern Congo) and 'decraemerae' honours Wilfrieda Decraemer of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. The species was found living in Didimus sp. only from Katale in North Kivu Province. Lubanema decraemerae is a 2.1-2.4 mm parasitic Nematode Worm; only the female of the species is known, this being notably robust.

Lubanema decraemeraeMorffe & García (2013).

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