Category Archives: Posts

Two new scorpion species from Greece

In a paper published in the special issue of the journal Ecologica Montenegrina on 10 January 2017, scientists lead by Gioele Tropea described two new scorpion species of the genus Euscoprpis from  the Cyclades Islands. The genus Euscorpius widespread especially in southern Europe and Anatolia, is one of the most studied scorpion taxa. In this paper two new species were described, i.e. E. amorgensis from Amorgos Island and E. curcici named after the late Serbian zoologist and arachnologist Prof. Dr. Božidar Ćurčić, from Ios and Sikinos Islands.

“In addition to describing the first scorpion named after the late Bozidar Curcic who inspired me as far back as 1972, it deals with  the Crimean scorpion – I know and write about it for 40 years, but its recent discovery (with a DNA match) in Greece and then in Turkey remains one of the most interesting results our research group obtained for a long time“ says one of the coauthors Victor Fet from Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University.

New amphipod species named after Professor Gordan Karaman

In a paper published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina on 9 November 2016, Dmitry Sidorov from  Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok dessribed a new amphipod species from Caucasus. New species of amphipod species inhabits sandy and muddy bottoms with water temperature + 12–13 °C in Novy Afon cave in Abkhazia.

The new species Zenkevitchia karamani, is named in  honor of famous zoologist Gordan S. Karaman (Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, Podgorica) for his outstanding contribution to the amphipod systematics.

“This is fifth species of Zenkevitchia described  from the Abkhazian caves. The stygobiont fauna of underground biotopes of Caucasus is still poorly known as well as taxonomic composition of amphipod crustaceans in most areas of Abkhazian caves remains relatively unknown” the author of paper explained.

Piranha found in Lake Dojran

In a paper published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina on 7 October 2016, Vasil Kostov from Institute of Animal Science (Skopje, Macedonia) and his colleagues from Institute of Biology, Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics (Skopje, Macedonia), reported the first record of the occurrence of the exotic red bellied piranha, in Dojran Lake, the southern part of Republic of Macedonia. The morphological taxonomy revealed that the specimen is Pygocentrus nattereri Kner, 1860.

The authors questioned possibility that this aquarium species can breed in Dojran Lake and establish a viable population, knowing the fact that lake has a mean annual temperature of 14.2 ºC, with minimal temperature of 3.6 ºC in January and maximal 24.7 ºC for 120 days of the year. “Being an eutrophic lake surely means a substantiate food source for this fish especially during the summer period” the authors explained.

“Despite the open speculations about the reasons of why someone introduced this species in Dojran Lake, and the questions of when and how many samples there might be, serious analyses need to be conducted regarding the biology and population in this environment”, they concluded.

Science Thoughts: Two new species of Leech from the Balkan Peninsula

Here you can read article in Science Thoughts pon the two new leech species described from Kosovo and Montenegro and recently published in Ecologica Montenegrina.

Leeches, Hirudinida, are highly specialised Annelid Worms, related to Oligochaetes (Earthworms), or possibly a highly specialised group within the Oligochaeta. They are best known for the habit of sucking blood from Vertebrate animals, but many are carnivores, hunting and consuming Invertebrate prey. Most Leeches are found in freshwater environments, though marine and terrestrial forms are also known; many show remarkably sophisticated parental care for Annelid Worms. All Leeches, regardless of their diet, can be distinguished by the presence of two suckers, one at each end, and by their internal segmentation, which, unlike the segmentation seen in other Annelids, does not match the external segmentation.
In a paper published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina on 10 July 2016, Clemens Grosser of Elstertrebnitz in Saxony (Germany), Vladamir Pešić of the Department of Biology at the University of Montenegro, Violata Berlajolli of the University of “Haxhi Zeka” and Bogić Gligorović, also of the Department of Biology at the University of Montenegro, describe two new species of Leech from Montenegro and Kosovo.
The first new species is placed within the Family Glossiphoniidae, flattened Leaches with reduced forward suckers that live in freshwater and typically feed on the blood of aquatic Vertebrates, assigned to the genus Glossiphonia and given the specific name balcanica, in reference to the Balkan Peninsula, where it was found. These are small almost disk-shaped Leeches, reaching 10 mm in length and 8 mm in width, amber in colour and having three pairs of eyes arranged in two rows. The species was found in fast-running waters in both Kosovo and Montenegro, being most abundant on the Mediterranean side of Montenegro.
The second new species described is placed within the Family Erpobdellidae, elongate freshwater Leeches that hunt aquatic invertebrates rather than sucking blood, assigned to the genus Dina and given the specific name prokletijaca, after the Prokletije Mountain Range of the Western Balkan Peninsula, that runs from northern Albania to Kosovo and eastern Montenegro. These are small stocky |Leeches, reaching 23 mm in length and 4.5 mm in width. The are grey in colour with two dark stripes on their dorsal surface, and have greatly reduced eyes. The species was found around natural springs in deciduous Beech forests in the Prokletije Mountains of Kosovo.

New Book on water mites published by Springer

Süßwasserfauna von Mitteleuropa, Bd. 7/2-3 Chelicerata. Acari III
Reinhard Gerecke, Terence Gledhill, Vladimir Pešić, Harry Smit

ISBN: 978-3-8274-1893-7 (Print) 978-3-8274-2689-5 (Online)
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

For the first time in limnofaunistic bibliography, the present taxonomic knowledge about the different clades of chelicerata having adapted to an aquatic or amphibious lifestyle along various evolutionary pathways is brought together in an overview for the Central-European fauna. A total number of 746 taxa is covered, over 99 % of these at species level.

This third volume (Volume 7/2-3) includes taxonomic keys and ecological information for 355 species of the two highly diverse Hydrachnidia superfamilies Hygrobatoidea (241 species and one subspecies) and Arrenuroidea (113 species).

The chelicerata volumes of this series are a basic tool for all limnologists interested in diversity and ecology – in particular for biologists investigating the ecotones between ground and surface water, between bottom substrata and open water, and between water and land.

National Geographic: Overachieving Lizard Grows Three Tails

Here you can read article in National Geographic about the unusual reptile recently discovered in Kosovo which is among only a handful of three-tailed vertebrates known to science. This study was published in  the journal Ecologica Montenegrina.

Spotted in June in the Metohija region of Kosovo, the adult blue-throated keeled lizard (Algyroides nigropunctatus) had tails that measured 30, 15, and 10 millimeters in length.

The freak individual, besides being a first known in the species, is among only a handful of triple-tailed lizards documented worldwide, according to its co-discoverer Daniel Jablonski, a biologist at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Two-tailed specimens are more often seen—though are still relatively rare.

Science Daily: New genus of water mites from bromeliad phytotelmata

A new genus and species of water mites (Acari, Hydrachnidia, Wettinidae) Bromeliacarus cardoso Pešić, 2015 described from bromeliad phytotelmata in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, has received a lot of media recognition across a number of reputed international outlets like “National Geographic Indonesia” and “Science Daily”.

The scientist chose to name the new genus Bromeliacarus after its host and the Latin word for ‘mite’ (‘acarus’). The new species, B. cardoso, is called after its collection point, the State Park of Ilha do Cardoso, São Paulo, Brazil.

The rosette (circular) formation of some bromeliad species traps water and organic matter from the canopy in leaf axils (bromeliad ‘tank’) and harbors many invertebrate animals species. Bromeliads phytotelmata are considered as biodiversity amplifiers in the environments where they occur due to the high number of species in this habitat which prefer it.

“A diverse aquatic arthropod fauna is associated with bromeliad tank, composed mainly of aquatic insect larvae of several groups such as dipterans, beetles and damselflies, but also small non-insect invertebrates, such as ostracods, oligochaetes and mites,” the lead author Vladimir Pešić from the Department of Biology, University of Montenegro explained. “The new species appear to live only in the water-filled leaf axils of the bromeliads where they walk attached to submerged detritus in bromeliads tank or free swimming in water column.”

“In these bromeliad aquatic microcosms water mites, such as the new genus Bromeliacarus, are top predators,” he concluded.


New species named after Jennifer Lopez

During a recent survey of organisms collected from Bajo de Sico, a mesophotic coral reef ecosystem in Mona Passage off Puerto Rico, one pontarachnid mite species new to science was discovered. The new species Litarachna lopezae was named after the famous Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez.

“The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species,” explains the lead author Vladimir Pešić, Department of Biology, University of Montenegro, “is that J.Lo’s songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup Soccer 2014.”

Pontarachnid mites represent widely distributed but still unstudied group of marine animals. Nothing is known about the life cycle of these animals. The new mite species was collected from nearly 70 m depth, the greatest depth from which Pontarachnid mites have been found until now.

Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs), like Bajo de Sico where the new species was found are light-dependent habitats dominated by macroalgae, sponges and scleractinian corals and are found on the insular and continental slopes of Caribbean islands between 30 and 100 m. Even at the lower depth range (70-100 m), there is enough light for photosynthesis to take place enhancing the growth of several scleractinian coral species and algae.

Centipede and viper eat each other to death in Macedonia

The paper of Arsovski et al. published in Ecologica Montenegrina has received a lot of media recognition across a number of reputed international outlets.

In this paper authors reported case of a young snake that tried to eat an old centipede. It seems the snake managed to swallow the centipede live, but then the centipede fought back, attempting to escape by eating its way out of the snake’s body.

Read more on the following links:

Last Supper: Centipede Dies Eating Way Out of Snake Belly

When Predators Bite Off More Than They Can Chew

The snake who really bit off more than it could chew: Centipede EATS its way out viper’s stomach

Stonoga ubila poskoka


Science Daily: New genus of aquatic gastropod from Skadar Lake

A new genus and species of aquatic gastropods Karucia sublacustrina described from Skadar Lake, has received a lot of media recognition across a number of reputed international outlets like “Science Daily”.

The Gastropoda, more commonly known as snails and slugs, are a large group of animals within the phylum Mollusca. Gastropоds species are extremely diverse in forms and sizes, ranging from microscopic to large. About 50 species of snails are currently considered to inhabit Skadar Lake, the largest on the Balkan Peninsula. The Bojana River connects the lake with the Adriatic Sea, and the Drin River provides a link with the Ohrid Lake.

Scientists Vladimir Pešić from the University of Montenegro and Peter Glöer from the Biodiversity Research Laboratory have recently discovered the new snail species Karucia sublacustrina. The new species inhabits the ancient lake of Skadar that is situated at the border between Montenegro and Albania.

“Ancient lakes are among the most vulnerable and threatened ecosystems, and their faunas are frequently under extreme anthropogenic pressure. The small range of many endemic species living in the Skadar Lake system — together with ever increasing human pressure — make its fauna highly endangered. This becomes even more important in light of ongoing eutrophication, pollution and sand and gravel exploration activities in the lake and its basin. Therefore, knowledge on their inhabitants are of primary importance for timely and efficient conservation and preservation,” says the lead author Vladimir Pešić.

These circumstances and the reported decline in endemic gastropod diversity should trigger efforts to save this sensitive lake ecosystem. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes 21 endemic species from the Skadar Lake basin. Six of them are assessed as Critically Endangered and nine are listed as Endangered. All this comes to say that being such a valuable biodiversity location, Skadar Lake must be preserved together with its endemic biota.