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Biodiversity Journal 2023, 14 (1): 1-272

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0001-0002
    Emanuela Bognanni
    Tulipa raddii Reboul (Liliaceae)
  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0003-0017

    Marianne Nyegaard, Ingrid N. Visser & London A. Fletcher
    Ocean sunfish, genus Mola Kölreuter, 1766 (Pisces Molidae), exhibit surprising levels of agility during interactions with orca, Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia Delphinidae)

    Ocean sunfish (Mola spp.) are well known for their large adult size and peculiar morphology, which in combination give them the resemblance of a giant, swimming fish head. At first glance, this unusual body form hints at locomotive ineptitude, and traditionally molids have indeed been considered poor swimmers. Although this archaic view has been thoroughly rebutted in recent years, with studies revealing molids are strong swimmers (for example their ability to rapidly accelerate, with recorded burst speeds for Mola mola of 6.6 m/s), their fine scale maneuverability is unclear. Furthermore, many natural molid behaviours are not well understood, including antipredator behaviours, as opportunities to observe this taxa in the wild are limited. Unexpectedly, during a recent global review of molid interactions with orca (a molid predator), a number of video recordings revealed surprisingly rapid and agile molid movements. These included the molids turning up-side down, rolling backwards, pivoting and spinning. These behaviours appeared to be deliberate attempts on behalf of the molids to keep the clavus (‘tail’) towards the orca, keep the ventral area away, evade the orca, and/or discourage the orca from making physical contact. Here, we describe eight ‘Evade’ behaviours based on video analysis, present detailed descriptions and provide examples.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0019-0060

    Ingrid N. Visser & London A. Fletcher
    First records of orca, Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia Cetacea), predation on sharptail ocean sunfish, Masturus lanceolatus (É. Liénard, 1840) (Pisces Molidae), with novel components of foraging behaviour discovered through social media.

    Foraging techniques for orca - Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758), killer whale, Mammalia, Cetacea), have been documented since at least the 16th century and in the last few decades a wide range of behaviours such as ‘carousel feeding’, ‘intentional stranding’ and ‘karate-chop-ping’ have been added to the species repertoire. During a recent global review, where records were sourced primarily through social media postings, orca interactions with the large species of ocean sunfish - Mola spp. and Masturus lanceolatus (É. Liénard, 1840) (Actinopterygii, Tetraodontiformes, Family Molidae) - were collated. We discovered orca utilizing novel components of foraging strategies on these fishes. Specifically, after targeting the molids pectoral fins, the orca; (i) created a wound in the side of the molid and removed the intestines (and potentially other organs) from the still-alive molid and consumed them and (ii) then disarticulated the molid and inserted their rostrum (maxillae & mandibles) into the body cavity to extract tissue. These behaviours were documented in the South Atlantic, Oceania and the eastern Pacific Ocean, with those in the latter including what we believe to be the first confirmed predation by orca of Ma. lanceolatus. That, coupled with the novel behaviours described, may suggest an orca ecotype which has yet to be formally described, highlighting how social media can be used to document biodiversity.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0061-0164

    Ingrid N. Visser, Marianne Nyegaard & London A. Fletcher
    Orca, Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia Cetacea), interactions with ocean sunfishes (Family Molidae, genus Mola Kölreuter, 1766 and Masturus Gill, 1884): A global review.

    To better understand the interactions between orca, Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758), killer whale (Mammalia Cetacea Delphinidae) and the large species of ocean sunfish (molids), Mola spp. and Masturus lanceolatus (Tetraodontiformes Molidae Actinopterygii), we searched for published and unpublished records of contact between these taxa. We reviewed a total of 73 interactions between 1961 and 2022, with social media in recent decades clearly facilitating dissemination of records. The interactions were primarily clustered in hotspots in Oceania (n=17), the eastern Pacific Ocean off Central and North America (n=33), and the South Atlantic off South Africa (n=10). We assessed predation risk for the molids by distinguishing between non-predation (n=29) and predation (n=42) interactions (the status of two interactions could not be established). We document what we believe to be the first confirmed predation by orca on M. alexandrini (n=3) and we reaffirm that predation occurs on M. mola and Ma. lanceolatus. Both non-predation and predation interactions involved orca who had previously been documented feeding on fish (elasmobranch and teleost) (n=9) and mammals (pinnipeds and cetaceans) (n=19). The most common orca group size was a single orca (n=27) and where molid numbers could be established (n=65), all but one interaction involved a single molid. During interactions the orca exhibited cooperative hunting and food sharing and learning/teaching may have been occurring. The relatively low number of interactions found for these two sympatric and charismatic species is surprising. Explanations may include prey-selection specificity by some orca and/or reflect the opportunistic nature of human documentation. However, our findings suggest that molids are potentially a localized food source for some orca in Oceania and the eastern Pacific, as predation was documented for 65% and 58% of interactions within those regions respectively.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0165-0166

    Carlo Chirli & Maurizio Forli
    Synonymical note on Alvania benestarensis Chirli et Forli, 2021 (Gastropoda Rissoidae)

    After studying of new molluscan collections and of the existing bibliography it is established that Alvania benestarensis Chirli et Forli, 2021 (Gastropoda Rissoidae) is a junior synonym of Benthonellania benestarensis (Vazzana, 1996).

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0167-0171

    Sonnie A. Vedra, Ramon Francisco Q. Padilla & Rafael J. Vicente
    Macrobenthic Assemblages in the Riverine Systems in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, Philippines

    Determining the composition of taxa and diversity of benthic macrobenthos could serve as reference in understanding the structure and function of riverine ecosystems. In this study, temporal and spatial variations in the distribution of macrobenthos were determined in dry and wet seasons in four sampling stations in the river and creek systems in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. A total of 272 specimens/m-2 benthic macrobenthos belonging to 6 taxa were identified, namely, Nematoda (42.28%), Oligochaeta (22.06%), Annelida (11.40%), Amphipoda (9.19%), Rotifera (8.46%), and Polychaeta (6.62%). Diversity index analyses indicated that Simpson index varied from 0.65 to 0.78, Shannon diversity values ranged from 1.21 to 1.62, while Dominance index ranged from 0.22 to 0.35, respectively, for all sampling stations during wet and dry seasons. Composition and diversity of taxa in all sampling stations for both wet and dry seasons were not significantly different (p>0.05). This means that macrobenthos population did not thoroughly changed through time and space. Thus, this study can be used in determining patterns and dynamics of biodiversity in ecosystems and try to manage their main aspects.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0173-0184

    Bariza Gourari, Nacira Boulaacheb, Vincent Andreu-Boussut & Badr Eddine Belkhodja
    Floristic and phytogeographic study of the vegetation of Djebel Médjounes (Setifian High Plains, Algeria)

    The floristic and phytogeographical study of the pre-forest vegetation of Djebel Médjounes allowed for the evaluation of the floristic dynamics under anthropogenic and natural pressures due to climate change. Of the 237 phytosociological surveys, 420 taxa belonging to 53 families and 226 genera were recorded. The floristic composition reveals 186 Therophytes (45.03%), 133 Hemicryptophytes (32.20%), 33 Geophytes (8%), 40 Chameophytes (9.68%), 19 Nanophanerophytes (4.84%), and 2 Microphanerophytes, or 0.24%of the floristic cohort. The best represented families in terms of genera and species are Asteraceae (73 species, 17.33%) and Poaceae (55 species, 13.06%). The rest of the families have less than 50 species: Fabaceae (26 species, 11.16%), Brassicaceae (25 species, 5.93%), Lamiaceae (24 species, 5.7%), Caryophyllaceae (18 species, 4.27%), Boraginaceae (17 species, 4.03%), Apiaceae (13 species, 3.08%), Cistaceae and Crassulaceae (12 species, 2.85%), Ranunculaceae (10 species, 2.37%). From a phytogeographical perspective, the Mediterranean element is relatively predominant with 244 species (85.37%), of which 37 endemic species were inventoried. The identified floristic diversity component is induced by strong anthropogenic pressure (overgrazing, fires, exploitation) in addition to a regression of precipitation.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0185-0194

    Hasnaoui Okkacha, Bessaid Farah, Bourouaha Mohamed, Babali Brahim, Aouadj Sid Ahmed & Khatir Hadj
    Post-fire dynamics of the forest formations in the mounts of Tlemcen (Western of Algeria): Case of the Forest of Zarifet

    A study on the post-fire dynamics of plant species in the Zarifet forest (National Park of Tlemcen, north-western Algeria) was conducted after a violent fire that destroyed more than 200 hectares in the month of October 2016. Floristic records were done at a control site and the burned area during the phenological period, which extends from 2017 to 2019. The analysis of the floristic succession indicated a continuum of population dynamics over the three years after the fire. The results showed that the number of species found in the burnt sites reached 52 species (39%) after 8 months from the initial fire and 121 of them (91%) at three years afterward. The natural regrowth of the vegetation in the Tlemcen Mountains is typical of the “tiger bush”. The competitivity between the different species has been highlighted in the present study. The most competitive species in the post-fire occupation of the soil are stump-rejecting species and geophytes one, such as Quercus ilex, Chamaerops humilis, Calicotome intermedia, Asparagus acutifolius, Ulex boivinii, Drimia maritima, Cistus sp., Stipa tenacissima and Ampelodesmos mauritanicus. The analysis of the frequency indices (F.I.) seem to be in favor of an expanding tendency of these taxa.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0195-0198

    Ivan Rapuzzi
    Two new Carabus Linnaeus, 1758 species from Vietnam (Coleoptera Carabidae)

    Two new Carabus Linnaeus, 1758 (Coleoptera Carabidae) belonging to subgenus Apotomopterus Hope, 1838 are described and depicted: C. (Apotomopterus) tenuicostatus n. sp. and C. (Apotomopterus) artemisioides n. sp. The two new species come from the mountains of North-Western Vietnam, Lai Chau Province.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0199-0206

    Mauro Grano
    The story of Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771) (Mollusca Bivalvia) in Europe and Italy and observations on the origin of these populations

    Currently the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771) is considered an allochthonous species in Italy with a great potential for invasiveness. However, archaeological studies show that this species was present in our territory since ancient times.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0207-0215

    Salim Omar Belkheir, Wacila Rahal Benguedda, Amaria Aouar & Esma Choukchou-Braham
    Evaluation of the concentrations of heavy metals (Cu, Zn Cd and Pb) in Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797 (Cephalopoda Octopoda Octopodidae) fished in the port of Ghazaouet (western Algeria)

    This study aims to determine the accumulation and the seasonal variation of the average concentrations of some heavy metals in various organs (branchial hearts, digestive gland, mantle) in a cephalopod mollusc (the common octopus: Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797) in the port of Ghazaouet (extreme western Algeria). The elements Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb were determined using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The study was monitored seasonally in the site, from January 2018 to December 2018. The results obtained revealed that the levels of contamination by heavy metals obey an organotropism between the metal and the targeted organ. Statistical processing (ANOVA) revealed highly significant variations for the average concentrations of heavy metals between octopus organs throughout the sampling campaign, with the exception of zinc (P > 0.05). The sample is marked only for cadmium: The summer season and the printed season show the highest levels, while the fall season and winter season show the lowest levels.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0217-0221

    Zekri Jihane, Merradi Manel, Abdelaziz Ouidad & Maalem Nour el Houda
    Assessment of metal and mineral contents in soils amended by sludge in cork oak seedlings

    The cork oak (Quercus suber L.) is a tree species that has a high economic and naturalistic value. It was chosen for this job since we explore the possibility to improve the choice of sludge-based growing media in order to enhance the nutrition quality for plants by minerals and trace elements and to assess the level of contamination by heavy metals (lead, copper, etc.). The biometric parameters of the meristem growth, aerial and underground biomass are the main criteria for the standardization of plants. Seven types of substrates were tested for raising seedlings. The dosing of heavy metals was carried out on the various substrates before sowing and after 18 months. The results showed morphogenetic differences for the seven substrates, particularly for the pine bark and olive pomace mix sludge and also high levels of nitrogen, phosphor, potash (NPK) and heavy metals mainly for substrates amended by sludge. The high levels of heavy metals induce high soil pollution that may be used as bio-indicator of toxicity, reflecting the sensitivity of the species. The obtained results showed high levels of NPK for four substrates, but according to the standards these levels do not exhibit harmful effects on the growth. The plants cultured with sludge-based substrates, namely substrates S1 and S2 (<25% sludge), showed levels of heavy metals according with the standard Osol (1986). These substrates can be recommended, however; substrates S3 (45% sludge) and S4 (65% sludge) have high levels especially of lead and copper thereby affecting the growth parameters. Therefore, these latter are unfavorable substrates for growth and the species is sensitive for their high concentrations in the sludge. Finally sewage sludge have qualities and ideal characteristics for a recovery in forest areas but requires a good study for the future of these heavy metals in plant tissues and in the ecosystem.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0223-0239

    Michelle S. Suelo,  Alma B. Mohagan,  Aprille Joy M. Luceño,  Chris Rey M. Lituañas,  Joliesa Mae S. Toledo, Rona Mae P.  Viernes & Reggie Y. Dela Cruz
    Morphological description and ecological status of Hawkmoths (Lepidoptera Sphingidae) in selected areas of Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

    Hawkmoths which belongs to order Lepidoptera and family Sphingidae are known for their vital ecological role on biodiversity. They are responsible for pollinating tropical flora due to the presence of their proboscis making Sphingidae family be considered of great ecological and economic importance. The light trapping technique was a successful method in the collection of hawkmoths species in selected areas of Vintar, Valencia City, Musuan and Bacusanon, Pangantucan, Bukidnon. A total of 54 individuals where collected which consist of 15 species belonging to 9 genera (Acosmeryx, Ambulyx, Amplypterus, Cechenena, Daphnis, Hippotion, Marumba, Pergesa and Theretra). Morphological description became the basis of its identification. Ecological status of each species based on the checklist of Hogenes & Treadaway revealed that among the species collected, three species are endemic to the Philippines and thesa are Ambulyx bakeri, Ambulyx johnsoni and Ambulyx wilemani. One species is categorized as rare (Amplyterus panopus), three species are uncommon and the rest of the species collected are all common and widely distributed to the Philippines.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0241-0254

    Fabio Liberto, Maria Stella Colomba, Agatino Reitano, Roberto Viviano & Ignazio Sparacio
    On the taxonomy of Siciliaria grohmanniana (Rossmässler, 1836) (Gastropoda Clausiliidae)

    In the present paper the taxonomy of Siciliaria grohmanniana (Rossmässler, 1836) (Gastropoda Clausiliidae) is revised through the study of literature data and type series. Clausilia decollata Potiez et Michaud, 1838, C. grohmanniana var. minor Schmidt, 1868, C. grohmanniana var. crassilabris Monterosato, 1894, C. grohmanniana var. densa Monterosato, 1894, C. grohmanniana panormitana Paulucci, 1878 and C. subdiaphana Benoit, 1882 are confirmed synonyms of S. grohmanniana grohmanniana. A neotype is selected for C. panormitana. A lectotype is selected for Clausilia rubra Benoit, 1882 and S. grohmanniana addaurae De Mattia, Reier et Haring, 2021 is considered its junior synonym.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 14 (1): 0255-0270

    Ignazio Sparacio, Roberto Viviano, Fabio Liberto, Agatino Reitano & Salvatore Surdo
    New data on Siciliaria septemplicata (Philippi, 1836) complex (Gastropoda Clausiliidae) from the surroundings of Palermo (NW-Sicily, Italy)

    Siciliaria septemplicata (R.A. Philippi, 1836) (Gastropoda Clausiliidae) endemic from northwestern Sicily (Italy) is revised, using shell and genital characters. The diversity of the species complex, the taxonomic history, faunal data and distributional relationships are examined. Siciliaria septemplicata vincentii n. ssp. and S. septemplicata mariastellae n. ssp. from the surroundings of Palermo are here described.