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November 27, 2012
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What can psyllids tell us that other bugs can't?
A non-model model organism for studying plant-insect interactions

 

Diana Percy

Terrestrial Invertebrates, Dept.of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 28 of November 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


Psyllids exhibit the greatest degree of host specificity amongst the sternorrhynchan plant-feeders, and they are the only members of this group to have retained a complex vibrational communication system [sound and light show includes backup band]. But can psyllids reveal things that studying other bugs can't? I will present examples of how systematic analyses of psyllid lineages can provide remarkable insights into host mediated diversification. From modest beginnings of “who eats what where?”, we can build up a picture of how these observed plant-insect interactions came to be. Combining these observations with molecular systematics and genomics approaches will help us interpret the past and look into the future to make predictions of “who will eat what where?” – the psyllid version of “eats shoots and leaves”.

 

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html

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Ralf Britz and collaborators from the Conservation Research Group from St Albert's College, Kochi, Kerala have published a series of papers describing three new fish species from South India.

 

Pristolepis rubripinnis, Dario urops and Pangio ammophila were discovered during the January 2012 NHM-funded visit of Dr Ralf Britz to Kochi, to work with Dr Rajeev Raghavan. Historical specimens of the fish collection in the Natural History Museum collected by Sir Francis Day in the 1860s and 70s played an important role in the resolution of taxonomic and nomenclatural issues before the species could be described.

 

This series of papers highlights our incomplete knowledge of one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in Asia, the Western Ghats, a mountain range along the west coast of Peninsular India. Both Pristolepis rubripinnis and Dario urops are of particular interest in that closely related species are found in north-eastern India - it is not clear how this distribution arose because there are no river connections between the two areas that would have allowed ancestral populations to separate, migrate and diverge into different species. 


Britz, R., Kumar, K. & Baby, F. (2012). Pristolepis rubripinnis, a new species of fish from southern India (Teleostei: Percomorpha: Pristolepididae). Zootaxa, 3345: 59-68.

Britz, R., Ali, A. & Philip, S. (2012). Dario urops, a new species of badid fish from the Western Ghats, southern India (Teleostei: Percomorpha: Badidae). Zootaxa, 3348: 63-68.

Britz, R., Ali, A. & R. Raghavan. (2012). Pangio ammophila, a new species of eel-loach from Karnataka, southern India (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cobitidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 23: 45-50.