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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Biogeographia – The Journal of Integrative Biogeography is the scientific journal of the Italian Biogeography Society (SIB, [in Italian only]). Since 1970, it publishes original research and reviews on any topic in biogeography.


Amazonia versus Pontocaspis: a key to understanding the mineral composition of mysid statoliths (Crustacea: Mysida)

We have determined the mineral composition of statoliths in 169 species or subspecies (256 populations) of the family Mysidae on a worldwide scale. Including previously published data, the crystallographic characteristics are now known for 296 extant species or subspecies: fluorite (CaF2) in 79%, vaterite (a metastable form of crystalline CaCO3) in 16%, and non-crystalline (organic) components in 5%, the latter exclusively and throughout in the subfamilies Boreomysinae and Rhopalophthalminae. Within the subfamily Mysinae vaterite or fluorite were found in three tribes, whereas other three tribes have fluorite only. The exclusive presence of fluorite was confirmed for the remaining seven subfamilies. Hotspots of vaterite were found in Amazonia and the Pontocaspis, in each case with reduced frequencies in main and tributary basins of the Atlantic and N-Indian Ocean. Vaterite is completely absent in the remaining aquatic regions of the world. In accordance with previous findings, fluorite occurred mainly in seawater, vaterite mostly in brackish to freshwater. Only vaterite was found in electrolyte-poor Black Water of Amazonia, which clearly cannot support the high fluorine demand for renewal of otherwise large fluorite statoliths upon each moult. Vaterite prevails in Diamysini, distributed over most of the area once occupied by the Tethyan Sea. It also prevails in Paramysini with main occurrence in the Pontocaspis, where fossil calcareous statoliths in the stable form of calcite are known from Miocene sediments of the brackish Paratethys. Four Recent genera from three tribes are heterogeneous in that they comprise both vaterite- and fluorite-precipitating species. Previous hypotheses are expanded to cover greater geographic and time scales, proposing that fluorite-bearing marine ancestors penetrated freshwaters in Tethyan and Paratethyan basins, where they developed precipitation of vaterite. This gave their successors predispositions for shifting into separate evolutionary lines from fluorite to vaterite precipitation and vice versa.

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Potential influence of Mesozoic and Tertiary tectonics on the evolution of European Hepialidae (Lepidoptera)

The distributions of genera and species of Hepialidae in Europe are documented and mapped, along with species distributions extending to eastern Asia. Patterns of species allopatry in Korscheltellus, Pharmacis, and Triodia are consistent with vicariance resulting from late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic tectonics along the Alpine-Mediterranean Mobile Belt. Widespread northern and sympatric distributions are interpreted as the result of range expansion at the end of the Pleistocene. We suggest that the origin of high elevation endemic species of Hepialidae, particularly in the European Alps, is the result of passive tectonic uplift. Pleistocene cooling and glaciation is seen as responsible for extinction of populations in northern Europe, but without discernible impact on divergence. Absence of the northern Eurasian Hepialidae further south is attributed to an original Laurasian ancestral distribution in the Mesozoic. Fossil-calibrated divergence estimates generate minimum clade ages only, and current estimates for some European Hepialidae probably considerably underestimate their phylogenetic age.


Occurrence, distribution and bibliography of the medicinal leech Hirudo verbana Carena, 1820 (Hirudinea, Hirudinidae) in Sicily (Italy)

The occurrence of the medicinal leech Hirudo verbana in the inland waters of Sicily has been lately overlooked. In the present note, the occurrence and distribution of this species is reviewed based both on the review of the available literature data and field collecting. Although a noteworthy reduction in the distribution range of the species seems to have taken place in Sicily in the course of the XX century, Hirudo verbana was confirmed to be still present in several sites located both within and out of Natura2000 sites. The Sicilian populations of the species should be included in the frame of the monitoring activities established by the Article 17 of the EU Council Directive 92/43/EEC (“Habitats Directive”).


New eastern limit of the geographic distribution of Orsinigobius punctatissimus (Canestrini, 1864) (Teleostei: Gobiiformes: Gobiidae) in northeastern Italy, with biological notes on the species

A record of the gobiid Orsinigobius punctatissimus (Canestrini, 1864) from the springs of the Gorizia Karst (Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia) is reported, extending the eastern limit of the geographic distribution of the species. This goby lives in threatened spring habitats, and has recently become rarer. However, although O. punctatissimus is listed in the Italian Red List of threatened species as “Critically Endangered” (CR), the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species classifies it as “Near Threatened” (NT). Despite its risk of extinction, the species is not included in the annexes of the Habitat Directive (EU Directive 92/43/EEC) or other international wildlife protection conventions. Information is given on the taxonomy, distribution, biology and conservation of the species.

Aphaenogaster finzii Müller, 1921, a trans-Ionian species new to Italy (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

The first data on the presence of the ant Aphaenogaster finzii Müller, 1921 in Italy are presented. Mainly distributed across the Balkans, from Greece to Croatia, A. finzii was discovered in Calabria, in the South-Eastern part of the Italian peninsula. As in the case of many other species of ants and other organisms found in this region, a trans-Ionian dispersal appears to be the most likely explanation of its distribution.

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An updated list of chironomid species from Italy with biogeographic considerations (Diptera, Chironomidae)

In a first list of chironomid species from Italy from 1988, 359 species were recognized. The subfamilies represented were Tanypodinae, Diamesinae, Prodiamesinae, Orthocladiinae and Chironominae. Most of the species were cited as widely distributed in the Palearctic region with few Mediterranean (6), Afrotropical (19) or Panpaleotropical (3) species. The list also included five species previously considered Nearctic. An updated list was thereafter prepared and the number of species raised to 391. Species new to science were added in the following years further raising the number of known species. The list of species known to occur in Italy is now updated to 580, and supported by voucher specimens. Most species have a Palearctic distribution, but many species are distributed in other biogeographical regions; 366 species are in common with the East Palaearctic region, 281 with the Near East, 248 with North Africa, 213 with the Nearctic, 104 with the Oriental, 23 species with the Neotropical, 23 with the Afrotropical, 16 with the Australian region, and 46 species at present are known to occur only in Italy. On the basis of new findings in Italy and in nearby areas it is stated that the knowledge of chironomid fauna is still incomplete.


On the non-malacostracan crustaceans (Crustacea: Branchiopoda, Copepoda, Ostracoda) from the inland waters of Fthiotida (Greece)

In the frame of the activities of the LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014 ForOpenForests, some water bodies occurring in the "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis” (GR2440004) and “Oros Kallidromo” (GR2440006) (Sterea Ellada) were investigated with the aim of providing a first census of the composition and diversity of their crustacean fauna. Overall, the sampling of 15 water bodies (7 of them listed as “Mediterranean temporary ponds” sensu EU “Habitats Directive”) led to the finding of 13 branchiopod, 11 copepod, and 7 ostracod taxa, including 4 species new for mainland Greece, i.e. the copepods Arctodiaptomus alpinus (Imhoff, 1885) and Diaptomus cf. serbicus, and the branchiopods Leptestheria dahalacensis (Rüppel, 1837) and Wlassicsia pannonica Daday, 1904. The comparative analysis of the observed species assemblages and richness suggests that the protection of those ponds identified as “priority habitats” according to the “Habitats Directive” is effective for the specialized and peculiar crustacean biota of these ecosystems, but it is not sufficient in order to preserve efficiently the whole diversity of temporary pond-dwelling crustaceans occurring in the study area. Therefore, the implementation of synergistic conservation measures dedicated to both “priority” and “non-priority” habitats is desirable.


Vicariance and ecological dispersal in Papilio subgenus Achillides (Papilionidae) and some other butterflies of Asia and the Southwest Pacific

Biogeographic patterns are reviewed for four widespread Southeast Asia butterfly groups in the superfamily Papilionoidea: Papilio subgenus Achillides Hübner, 1819 (Papilionidae), the birdwing butterflies (Papilionidae tribe Troidini), Genus Polyura Billberg, 1820 (Nymphalidae), and Genus Vanessa Fabricius, 1807 (Nymphalidae). The patterns of allopatry and sympatry are shown to be consistent with the vicariance of widespread ancestors with distributions including parts of Asia and Australasia, followed by secondary range expansion. Aspects of the distributions that are correlated with tectonic structures provide evidence of the age and origin of these butterflies in South-east Asia and Australasia. The transpacific affinities of the Troidini are consistent with a Pacific ancestry linked with former Cretaceous landscapes. The multi-island ranges of many of the butterfly species in Southeast Asia represent examples of metapopulation structure in which groups survive and persist in a region over long periods of time, even where individual islands are ephemeral.