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      Coming out in a harsh environment: a new genus and species for a land flatworm (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida) occurring in a ferruginous cave from the Brazilian savanna

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      PeerJ

      PeerJ Inc.

      Geoplaninae, Land planarian, Neotropical region, Taxonomy, Subterranean fauna, Cerrado

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          Abstract

          Faunal inventories in ferruginous caves from an area belonging to the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado phytophysiognomy), on the eastern margin of the Serra do Espinhaço Plateau, in southeastern Brazil, have revealed the occurrence of land flatworms. Herein, a flatworm sampled in such subterranean environment is described as a new genus and species of the Neotropical subfamily Geoplaninae, Difroehlichia elenae gen. nov., sp. nov. The new genus shows rare features within Geoplaninae, namely sub-cylindrical body, poorly developed sub-epidermal musculature and a narrow creeping sole. Some features, such as a small body and a broad sensory margin in the anterior region of the body, as well as the fact that the holotype showed signs of recent copula, may indicate an adaptation to the subterranean environment, probably representing a troglophile. Difroehlichia elenae is characterized by an almost homogeneous dark brown pigmentation over dorsal surface and body margins, a short cylindrical pharynx, and a tubular and unforked intrabulbar prostatic vesicle, among other features. The holotype shows a secondary male copulatory organ located immediately behind the primary one, both communicating with the female atrium and gonopore canal. Since the species seems to have low abundance and restricted distribution and its type-locality is affected by mining activities, major concern arises regarding its conservation.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Cave Ecology and the Evolution of Troglobites

           Thomas C Barr (1968)
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            Predation behaviour of land planarians

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              Molecular phylogeny of Geoplaninae (Platyhelminthes) challenges current classification: proposal of taxonomic actions

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                peerj
                peerj
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Diego, USA )
                2167-8359
                4 December 2018
                2018
                : 6
                Affiliations
                Instituto de Pesquisas de Planárias, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos—UNISINOS , São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
                Article
                6007
                10.7717/peerj.6007
                6284438
                ©2018 Leal-Zanchet and Marques

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                Funded by: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico CNPq
                Award ID: 306853/2015-9
                Funded by: Anglo American Brasil
                Funded by: Carste Ciência e Ambiente
                The work was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Nr. 306853/2015-9), Anglo American Brasil and Carste Ciência e Ambiente. The study area belongs to Anglo American Brasil, where mining activities are planned. Biologists of Carste Ciência e Ambiente were invited to perform data collection in the study area. According to the Brazilian law, mining exploitation and other activities that may have impacts to the cave environment should be based on a report of environmental impact. Specimens collected during field sampling should be identified by specialists. In the case that new species have been detected, they should be described before procceeding with any activities.
                Categories
                Biodiversity
                Taxonomy
                Zoology

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