As part of their ongoing survey of spiders and other arachnids from REGUA, Dr Renner Baptista and his students from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have described two new jumping-spiders (Salticidae) from the reserve: Arnoliseus hastatus and Arnoliseus falcatus.
Both species belong to the Arnoliseus, a genus of Brazilian jumping-spiders described only as recently as 2002. To date, both of these new species are known only from REGUA.
These additions bring the number of spiders recorded at REGUA to an astonishing 425 species, and Renner reports that the species richness at REGUA is still is going up fast! A species list for REGUA will be published on our website soon.
To read the paper describing the new species click here.
The expedition was a huge success! REGUA was found to have the highest diversity of mantises of any single area of the Atlantic Forest and the team found what is most likely new and undescribed species of unicorn mantis of the genus Zoolea.
They also found not one by two males of the mythical Brazilian Dragon Mantis Stenophylla cornigera – one of the rarest species of praying mantis in the world, and took the first photos and video ever of this species.
Tom’s contribution to our knowledge of dragonflies and damselflies has been magnificent and provides valuable evidence of the importance of this reserve. He started his research in 2011, making several visits during the varying Neotropical seasons, travelling from the Netherlands to REGUA throughout 2013 and identifying 204 species in this region. Tom was supported by Dr. Ângelo Pinto and Professor Alcimar Carvalho of the Natural History Museum/UFRJ. This resulted in the publication of A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos, South-eastern Brazil (see details on our publications page).
The principle difference between dragonflies and damselflies is the position of the wings when resting. Dragonfly wings lie transversal and damselfly wings lie flat alongside their abdomen. 204 species have been recorded at the reserve and REGUA hosts annual visits to see the odonate and in an eight day visit it is possible to see at least 160 species!
Congratulations and thank you Tom for the magnificent contribution your work has given us and you have inspired us to continue to develop studies in ants, butterflies and spiders.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the best researched states in Brazil concerning the inventory of its flora and fauna, even so new taxa pop up from time to time and some groups, like the Arthropoda, or some areas are still poorly represented in state checklists.
Being a connoisseur in butterflies, around May 2010, Jorge spotted what seemed to be an unknown blackish metalmark of the genus Symmachia – remarkable among other characters by the ‘bent’ shape of its anterior forewing margin – when inspecting the saplings of the old REGUA nursery for butterfly caterpillars. Without a net and a camera at hand, the bug went unidentified with the hope of finding it soon again, given the notorious metalmark habit of coming back to the same spots at the same hours of the day, generation after generation.
Therefore, did it happen, on 25 March 2011 a Symmachia specimen was seen and netted while hill toping and perching near the lodge swimming pool. This time it was photographed indoors. Investigation is still going on, but its identity has been established as related to Symmachia probetor (Stoll, 1782), a remarkable range extension for what is usually taken as a central American/Amazonian species, not only seems to be new for REGUA, the Três Picos State Park area or Rio de Janeiro State itself, but for the whole south and eastern part of Brazil. The question if it might be an undescribed subspecies or the nominotypical race is still being addressed and investigated. A visit to the Museu Nacional (UFRJ) collection is scheduled to inspect the Symmachia holdings and check the records from the available label data.
Findings like this, more than exciting, highlight the faintness of our knowledge of tropical faunas, even in the best or historically sampled territories. Novelty can be lurking in places not as far as remote Amazonian areas, the Congolese forests or the Papuan mountains, the difference being on the speed at which what is left of this rich Biodiversity near human settlements is vanishing before it can even be registered. This remarkable record was found about a two hour drive from the second largest Brazilian metropolis and main tourist hub, and is a showcase on the importance of the conservation work carried out by the REGUA project.