Wednesday 27 March 2013

Two new species of terrestrial Flatworm from Brazil.

Flatworms (Platyhelminths) are among the simplest animals, and generally considered to be one of the oldest animal groups; they have almost no fossil record, but this is unsurprising given their small size and lack of hard parts. Flatworms are bilaterally symmetrical, but lack a true body cavity, meaning that they have to be small enough for nutrients to diffuse through their tissues by osmosis.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 13 December 2013, a team of scientists led by Ana Maria Leal-Zanchet of the Instituto de Pesquisas de Planárias and Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia at the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos describe two new species of Flatworms form Brazil. Both species are placed in the genus Pasipha, which is made up of elongate worms from the Neotropical region.

The first new species is named Pasipha backesi, in honour of Albano Backes, an expert in the ecology of Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle) Forests. Pasipha backesi is a 30-50 mm dark brown Flatworm with yellow and black stripes and dorsal eyes. The species was found at São Francisco de Paula in Rio Grande do Sul State.

Pasipha backesi. Leal-Zanchet et al. (2012).

The second species described is Pasipha brevilineata, where brevilineata means thin stripes, referring to a long, thin stripe running the length of the worm's dorsal surface (back). It is a 25-55 mm dark brown or black Flatworm. This species was also discovered at São Francisco de Paula in Rio Grande do Sul State.

Pasipha brevilineataLeal-Zanchet et al. (2012).

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