Monthly Archives: May 2009

Giants – the largest pinned male insect

Phryganistria heusii (Hennemann & Conle) is the name of a stick insect or phasmatid. The species was only recently described from Vietnam. The male holotype is, thanks to Frank Hennemann and Oskar Conle, housed in the ZSM and is, with a body length of 22.5 cm (47 cm with legs stretched out), the largest known male insect specimen.

Phobaeticus heusii Hennemann & Conle

Holotype of Phryganistria heusii (Hennemann & Conle)

Stick insects are giants among insects. The largest species and in fact the longest known insect is a stick insect: Chan’s megastick (Phobaeticus chaini Bragg) from Malaysia was described only last year and reaches a body length of 35.7 cm and a total length (with legs stretched out) of 56.7 cm. Phobaeticus serratipes (Gray) from West Malaysia has a length of 55.5 cm with the legs stretched out.

See also: Phasmatodea.com

Two pairs of protonephridial organs in aplacophoran development

bild_weblog-ruthensteiner1In the course of a DAAD funded research stay of Dr. Christiane Todt (University of Bergen, Norway) the development of excretory organs of a “worm mollusc” (Solenogastres) was investigated at the ZSM. These exclusively marine animals are believed to represent the most primitive molluscs and thus they might exhibit archetypical features during development. As has been suspected earlier by the research group B. Ruthensteiner/G. Haszprunar/N. Baeumler (in the course of a DFG-project currently comparing the development of excretory systems of several molluscan clades), there are two pairs of protonephridia appearing successively during larval development, with the posterior one possibly involved in formation of the adult renopericardial system. These new findings differ fundamentally from what was previously assumed and they shed a new light on mollusk evolution.

Two pairs of protonephridial organs in aplacophoran development

bild_weblog-ruthensteiner1In the course of a DAAD funded research stay of Dr. Christiane Todt (University of Bergen, Norway) the development of excretory organs of a “worm mollusc” (Solenogastres) was investigated at the ZSM. These exclusively marine animals are believed to represent the most primitive molluscs and thus they might exhibit archetypical features during development. As has been suspected earlier by the research group B. Ruthensteiner/G. Haszprunar/N. Baeumler (in the course of a DFG-project currently comparing the development of excretory systems of several molluscan clades), there are two pairs of protonephridia appearing successively during larval development, with the posterior one possibly involved in formation of the adult renopericardial system. These new findings differ fundamentally from what was previously assumed and they shed a new light on mollusk evolution.

ZSM & Taiwan – Keeping in Touch

Klaus Schönitzer with colleagues in Taiwan

Klaus Schönitzer with colleagues in Taiwan

Klaus Schönitzer from the ZSM had a delightful trip to Taiwan to meet with colleagues and discuss joint projects. He was invited for a viva after supervising the very diligent student Liu Lan-Yiu who investigated powderpost beetles (Bostrichidae) in Germany and Taiwan as part of her thesis. Furthermore, Klaus was invited to give lectures at the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung and in the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, and met colleagues from several other institutes in Taiwan.

For several years the ZSM has a productive cooperation with Taiwan. This covered exhibitions about Taiwan’s nature and included other activities such as the presentation of the National Geographic film “The Black Dragon” on fighting crickets by Prof. Yang Jeng-Tze in the ZSM. Several new species of insects from Taiwan have recently been described from scientists of ZSM, among them Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Diptera.

WANTED: Dead or alive

E diversata

WANTED: Epirranthis diversata

After four months of DNA barcoding the Bavarian fauna we have 331 out of 405 Bavarian geometrid species sequenced resp. submitted to the barcoding ‘pipeline’. 47 of the missing species have barcodes from neighboring countries, 27 species are urgently needed because of their total absence from BOLD database. We have posted a list of the missing species on the website of the BFB project. Any fresh supply of such desiderata is highly welcome.

GESUCHT: Tot oder lebendig

Nach einer bisherigen Laufzeit von 4 Monaten hat die ZSM im Rahmen des Projektes Barcoding Fauna Bavarica von 331 der 405 bayerischen Geometridenarten DNA Sequenzen vorliegen bzw Belegstücke in den Barcoding Prozess eingespeist. Von 47 der fehlenden Arten liegen Daten aus Nachbarländern vor, 27 Arten werden besonders dringend benötigt, da sie in der BOLD Datenbank bisher komplett fehlen. Eine Fehlliste dieser Arten kann auf der Webseite des BFB Projektes eingesehen werden. Wir würden uns freuen, wenn jemand frisches Belegmaterial einiger dieser Arten beisteuern könnte.