ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, and Pensoft today announced a new partnership that will see a set of Pensoft’s open access journals increase their reach and visibility through ResearchGate – increasing access and engagement with its 25 million researcher members.
As part of this new partnership, 20 journals published by Pensoft – including the publisher’s flagship titles ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal and Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) amongst others – will now have their content automatically added to ResearchGate upon publication to benefit from enhanced visibility and discoverability through ResearchGate’s innovative Journal Home offering. These journals will all have dedicated profiles and be prominently represented on all associated article pages on ResearchGate, as well as all other relevant touch points throughout the network.
Journal Home provides a unique opportunity for Pensoft to connect its authors with their readers. The new journal profiles on ResearchGate will provide a central location for each journal, enabling researchers to learn more, discover new article content, and understand how, through their network, they are connected to the journal’s community of authors and editors. Authors of these journals additionally benefit from having their articles automatically added to their ResearchGate profile page, giving them access to metrics, including who is reading and citing their research. These rich insights will also enable Pensoft to build a deeper understanding of the communities engaging with its journals.
“Pensoft is delighted to be working with ResearchGate to provide an even greater service to our authors and readers. ResearchGate offers an innovative way for us to grow the reach and visibility of our content, while also giving us a way to better understand and engage our author and reader audiences.”
said Prof Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft.
“We couldn’t be happier to see Pensoft embark on this new partnership with ResearchGate. Journal Home will not only enable Pensoft authors to build visibility for their work, but provide them and Pensoft with greater insights about the communities engaging with that research. I look forward to seeing this new collaboration develop”
said Sören Hofmayer, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at ResearchGate.
ResearchGate is the professional network for researchers. Over 25 million researchers use researchgate.net to share and discover research, build their networks, and advance their careers. Based in Berlin, ResearchGate was founded in 2008. Its mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all.
Pollinators play a crucial role in our ecosystems by pollinating flowering plants and crops, contributing to the planetary and human well-being. During the past decade, the decline in insect pollinators has become a more and more disturbing issue that countless scientific and public communities are trying to tackle every day.
Published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, a new study aims to contribute to updating the knowledge on wild bee diversity in Serbia, necessary for determining conservation priorities and future endeavours at the national level, but also for improving the understanding of the status of European pollinators. The study is also making an attempt to upgrade the exciting data provided by the recently published checklist of European bees, European bees country records, and, focusing on Serbia, a preliminary list of 706 bee species.
To do that, researchers used data from the implementation of the national project SPAS, and within the EU-funded project Safeguard. With the aim of monitoring the diversity and abundance of insect pollinators in Serbia, 54 sites were surveyed three times throughout the 2022 season.
The transect walks and pan traps used for the assessment led to the discovery of 312 bee species. Results show that 25 of these have not been previously recorded for Serbia. Furthermore, the study confirms the presence of 26 species, without any available records from the 21st century.
The authors also share that 79 of the examined species were known only from literature-based data and six of the recorded species are considered threatened with 67 (10 newly recorded) assessed as Data Deficient in the European Red List of Bees. In addition, the study manages to achieve the goal of updating the current knowledge of bee species occurring in Serbia. By recording 25 new species, the Safeguard study successfully extends the national list with new recordings – from 706 to 731 species.
This new study not only presents new records of bee species in Serbia and confirms some old ones, but also provides additional information about European distribution, required for new assessment at the European level.
Mudri-Stojnić S, Andrić A, Józan Z, Likov L, Tot T, Grković A, Vujić A (2023) New records for the wild bee fauna (Hymenoptera, Anthophila) of Serbia. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 96: 761-781. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.96.107595
Jewel wasps (Chalcidoidea) are one of the most diverse groups of insects, with more than 120,000 species described and an estimated true diversity of nearly one million. The chalcids are parasitoid wasps, which attack other insects to lay their eggs upon in order to feed and grow within the host. The evolution and origin of this immense group has puzzled scientists for decades. Based on fossils and molecular work, the group is thought to have originated in the late Jurassic around 162 million years ago. Until recently, no confirmed fossils were known from earlier than 100 million years ago. Now, a newly described family, Protoidae, provides the first glimpse into how these wasps appeared at the earliest stages of their evolution.
Scientists Jonah M. Ulmer, Dr. Petr Janšta, and Prof. Dr. Lars Krogmann, from SMNS – State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, alongside Dr. Dany Azar from the Lebanese University describe the new family and 10 new species of jewel wasps in a paper in the open-access Journal of Hymenoptera Research.
The discovery of the family came about when one of the coauthors, Prof. Dr. Lars Krogmann, noticed an unusual fossil during a visit to the Natural History Museum in Paris. The specimen embedded in the amber had a long tail-like structure covering its ovipositor. “It was previously described as a completely different type of wasp, however the authors were quick to recognize it was indeed an ancient chalcid. Despite the prevalence of Chalcidoidea in the fossil record, none had ever been recorded from Lebanon or were known to be that old, nearly 130 million years old to be exact,” says Jonah Ulmer.
The researchers soon realized they had a new, and very old, family: currently the oldest known within the jewel wasps. “Multiple similar specimens in amber soon became apparent and the family now contains two genera, Protoita and Cretaxenomerus. The family name is derived from being a ‘proto’ form of the Chalcidoidea,” Ulmer explains.
These ancient species present a unique snapshot of what these wasps looked like in their earliest forms, this allows researchers to better understand the order of evolutionary events through time and when certain structures evolved that ultimately led to the massive diversity we see today.
The new family’s most striking characteristic is the long, shovel-like process, which extends from the end of the abdomen. While no living species have such a pronounced structure, it is hypothesized to have assisted with egg-laying and ovipositing or perhaps sifting through loose leaf litter for hosts.
The authors note that there are likely other equally old families of Chalcidoidea still lying in wait to be discovered, either in the ground or in old forgotten museum cabinets. “Protoitidae shows that we can keep looking further back in time than we expected and still find new, and old, species” says Ulmer.
UImer JM, Janšta P, Azar D, Krogmann L (2023) At the dawn of megadiversity – Protoitidae, a new family of Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera) from Lower Cretaceous Lebanese amber. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 96: 879-924. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.96.105494
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Guest blog post by Yu Hisasue, Kazuhiko Konishi, and Kenji Takashino
Parasitoid wasps have developed behaviors to adapt to the ecology of various hosts and overcome their means of avoiding parasitism. Host searching behavior is a crucial stage for parasitoids, not only for efficient host search, but also for competing with other parasitoids that exploit the same host as a resource. A variety of such behaviors has been reported, including utilizing chemical or sonic cues. Parasitoid wasps select their strategies based on their own morphology, their host, and the host’s habitat.
Parasitoid wasps that challenge the ant society are known to have highly specialized morphologies and behaviors.
All members of the subfamily Hybrizontinae are ant parasitoids, and specialize to the ant society, representing the third most diverse group of ant parasitoid wasps after Eucharitidae and Neoneurini. The oviposition behavior has been reported for three species belonging to three different genera in Hybrizontinae: Ogkosoma cremieri, Neohybrizon mutus, and Hybrizon buccatus. In these species, the females hover over an ant trail, and when they come across ant larvae carried by workers, they attack and lay eggs on the ant larvae.
No reports have been made for oviposition behavior in the genus Ghilaromma. G. orientalis was suggested to be a specialist of Lasius nipponensis, but its oviposition behavior was unknown.
In our ten years of frantic observation, we were fortunate enough to observe the parasitic behavior of G. orientalis a single time. On 20 October 2015, Kenji Takashino observed the oviposition and took pictures of it on his phone.
He noticed that the female, hung on the grass growing along the ants’ trail on its hind legs with its head down, and when workers with larvae pass by, stretched its abdomen toward the larvae with its hind legs remaining on the grass.
There are different merits and demerits of the two strategies in Hybrizontinae. The active type has the advantage of covering a wider search area and enabling the movement of the parasitoid to areas where the ants carrying larvae are located. However, this strategy has the drawback that hovering of parasitoid wasps over an ant trail alerts the ants and prevents larva-carrying ants from exiting the nest entrance or covered area. In addition, ants have been observed to open their mandibles to threaten hovering wasps, which then occasionally fail to fly or get captured by worker ants.
The ambush type has the limitation of a narrow search area. As ant larvae are not always conveniently transported by workers close to the wasp, narrowing the search area directly leads to a decrease in parasitic opportunities. However, the ambush type strategy affords G. orientalis the advantage of laying eggs without being noticed by ants and in a narrow environment where wasps cannot fly in active type.
In addition, we report a new host ant (Lasius cf. fuliginosus) for G. orientalis. Some members of this species group are known to transport their larvae outside the nest. Therefore, it is plausible that G. orientalis may use not only a single ant species, but multiple L. fuliginosus-group species that have a habit of transporting larvae outside the nest.
Although we made only one observation of the wasp, we compared and discussed the other ecological information and parasitic behavior of closely related species using observations, literature, and studies on the parasitic behavior of other well-studied parasitoid wasps.
Hisasue Y, Konishi K, Takashino K (2023) An alternative host searching strategy found in the subfamily Hybrizontinae (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 96: 629-639. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.96.106836
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (05/11/2023) — Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a new species of tiny parasitic wasp that might prove beneficial to managing soybean gall midge, a recently emerged pest in Midwest soybean fields that can have devastating impacts on plant production.
Since the appearance of the midge in 2018, growers have struggled to manage this insect, prompting researchers to seek effective and environmentally-friendly ways to help soybean farmers protect their crop. One approach is biological control, using natural enemies to kill pests. However, because soybean gall midge is new, very little is known about which species might prove to be good allies to growers in the fight against this damaging insect.
Amelia Lindsey, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, and Robert Koch, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology and an Extension entomologist, led the team at the University of Minnesota. They focused on searching for parasitoids — insects that lay their eggs in or on another insect — of soybean gall midge. Juveniles of the parasitoid develop inside the other insect, eventually killing them.
To find such parasitic insects, a graduate student in the Lindsey and Koch labs, Gloria Melotto, collected soybean gall midge-infested plants from a Minnesota farm and waited to see which adult insects emerged from the plants.
The researchers found:
In addition to a lot of soybean gall midges, there were a number of tiny parasitoid wasps.
In collaboration with two taxonomists who specialize in this group of insects—Jessica Awad, doctoral researcher, State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, and Elijah Talamas, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services—it became clear that there was no information on this wasp anywhere in the scientific record. It is a new-to-science species.
The team used DNA sequencing data and physical characteristics of the wasps to formally describe the specimens and give them a scientific name: Synopeas maximum.
The findings point toward this newly described parasitoid wasp species being a likely natural enemy of soybean gall midge.
“Unidentified and undescribed parasitoid micro-wasps are all around us. Although they are tiny, they play a huge role in regulating the populations of other insects, including pests. It’s really exciting to discover a new parasitoid species in such an important crop system,” said Awad.
“Effective management of soybean gall midge has proven challenging. Identification of a new species of parasitic wasp attacking this pest is an exciting breakthrough,” said Koch.
Ongoing work from the team includes a deeper dive into the biology of the wasp and the soybean gall midge to see how often this wasp attacks the pest, and how widespread this potential beneficial insect is across the midwest. Ultimately, the goal is to develop strategies for incorporating the natural enemy into management plans for safe and effective control of soybean gall midge infestations.
This research was supported by the Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Fund.
Another year rolled by and we at Pensoft have a lot to celebrate! This year, we marked our 30th birthday, and what a ride it’s been! We thank all of you for sticking around and helping us put biodiversity science in the spotlight where it deserves to be.
The holiday season is always great fun, but for us, every biodiversity or conservation win is reason enough to celebrate. And we’ve had so many this year! We already showed you our top species for the first half of 2022. Here’s an update for the second half with the most exciting new species that we’ve published across our journals:
The elusive owl from a remote island
The Principe scops-owl (Otus bikegila) was discovered on the small island of Príncipe, just off Africa’s western coast. Its existence had been suspected since 1998, but locals said its presence on the island could be traced back to 1928.
The bird is endemic to the island of Príncipe. Furthermore, the research team behind its discovery noted that it can be found only in the remaining old-growth native forest on the island, in an area that largely remains uninhabited.
Otus is the generic name given to a group of small owls sharing a common history, commonly called scops-owls. They are found across Eurasia and Africa, and include such widespread species as the Eurasian scops-owl (Otus scops) and the African scops-owl (Otus senegalensis).
The species epithet “bikegila”, in turn, was chosen in homage of Ceciliano do Bom Jesus, nicknamed Bikegila – a former parrot harvester from Príncipe Island and now a park ranger on the island.The new species quickly became insanely popular, generating memes (a true sign of its popularity!). One website even described it as “a flying meme-generator that sounds like a newborn puppy.”
Nepenthes pudicais a carnivorous plant that grows prey-trapping contraptions underground, feeding off subterranean creatures such as worms, larvae and beetles.
It belongs to pitcher plants – a group of carnivorous plants with modified leaves (called pitfall traps or pitchers) that help them catch their prey.
Pitcher plants usually produce pitfall traps above ground at the surface of the soil or on trees. N. pudica is the first pitcher plant known to catch its prey underground.
At first, the researchers thought the deformed pitcher protruding from the soil that they saw had accidentally been buried. Only later, when they found additional pitcherless plants, did they consider the possibility that the pitchers might be buried in the soil.
Then, as one of the researchers was taking photos, he tore some moss off the base of a tree and found a handful of pitchers.
The unique plant, however, could already be under threat. As it only lives in one small area of Indonesia, scientists believe it should be classed as Critically Endangered.
In November 2021, biologist Alejandro Arteaga and his colleagues were traveling through the cloud forests of Ecuador looking for toads, when a local woman told them she had seen odd snakes slithering around a graveyard. Based on her description, the team suspected they might be ground snakes from the genus Atractus, which had never been scientifically recorded in that area of Ecuador.
Indeed, they were able to discover three new snake species living beneath graves and churches in remote towns in the Andes mountains.
The “small, cylindrical, and rather archaic-looking” snakes all belong to a group called ground snakes. In general, not a lot of people are familiar with ground snakes, as they usually remain hidden underground.
All three snakes were named in honor of institutions or people supporting the exploration and conservation of remote cloud forests in the tropics. Atractus zgap, pictured here, was named in honor of theZoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP), a program seeking to conserve unknown but highly endangered species and their natural habitats throughout the world.
However, the majority of the native habitat of these new snakes has already been destroyed. As a result of the retreating forest line, the ground snakes find themselves in the need to take refuge in spaces used by humans (both dead and alive), where they usually end up being killed on sight.
Unlike some other participants in this list, this one took a while before it was confirmed as a new species: “We did not discover that it was a new species overnight,” says Oscar Lasso-Alcalá, one of the people behind its discovery.
A. mikoljii is a new species for science, but it is not a “new species” for people who already knew it locally under the name of Pavona, Vieja, or Cupaneca in Venezuela or Pavo Real, Carabazú, Mojarra and Mojarra Negra in Colombia. Nor for the aquarium trade, where it is highly appreciated and has been known by the common name of Oscar.
Moreover, the species has been of great food importance for thousands of years for at least nine indigenous ethnic groups, and for more than 500 years to the hundreds of human communities of locals who inhabit the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia. In the plains of Orinoco, it is considered a delicacy “due to its pleasant taste and enhanced texture”.
Oscar Lasso-Alcalá has a special relationship with this fish. “It is more than just a fish in an aquarium since it is considered a true pet,” he says.
Recently, Javier Lobon-Rovira, one of the people behind the discovery of this new gecko, told us what it was like to find this exciting new species: “That night we were tired, so we decided to have a short walk around the camp. And… there it was…! Like a ghost, this small, cryptic, and elusive gecko started showing up in every big rock boulder.”
Kolekanos spinicaudusis part of Kolekanos, a unique and iconic gecko genus that is only known from southwestern Angola.
Until this discovery, Kolekanos only had one species in the genus, known only from ~200km south of the new discovery, but that species had feathers on its tail, not spines like K. spinicaudus. Immediately, the researchers knew they were dealing with a Kolekanos… but they were astonished to see the spines.
The scientific name “spinicaudus” refers to the unique appearance of the tail of this new species.
K. spinicaudus’s home in southern Angola remains poorly explored, even as it has been considered as an important source of diversification and endemism in West Africa.
“Insects in general are so diverse and so important, yet we don’t have scientific descriptions or names for so many of them,” says Dr Kit Prendergast, from the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences.
The new bee species she discovered, Leioproctus zephyris excellent proof that we still have a lot to learn about bee biodiversity.
The story behind L. zephyr’s name is quite interesting – it was named after Zephyr the Maremma dog, Dr Prendergast’s fellow companion. The researcher says Zephyr played an important role in providing emotional support during her PhD. The name also references the dog-like “snout” in the bee’s anatomy that she found rather unusual.
The bee species was in fact first collected in 1979, but it had to wait until 2022 to be officially described.
However, Dr Prendergast says its future remains uncertain, as it is highly specialised, and has a very restricted, fragmented distribution.
“The Leioproctus zephyr has a highly restricted distribution, only occurring in seven locations across the southwest WA to date, and have not been collected from their original location. They were entirely absent from residential gardens and only present at five urban bushland remnants that I surveyed, where they foraged on two plant species of Jacksonia.”
Honorable mention: Two scorpion species described by high-school citizen scientists
In 2019, California teenagers Harper Forbes and Prakrit Jain were looking at entries on the naturalist social network iNaturalist, when they noticed a mysterious scorpion that a citizen scientist had encountered near a lake in theMojave Desert. The species had remained unidentified since it was uploaded six years earlier.
The entry that they were looking at was a yet undescribed scorpion species whose name they would add to the fauna of California. Shortly after, they found another entry on iNaturalist that also appeared to be an unknown scorpion species.
The new species, Paruroctonus soda and Paruroctonus conclusus, are playa scorpions, meaning they can only be found around dry lake beds, or playas, from the deserts of Central and Southern California.
“These kids can find anything,” Dr Esposito told The Guardian. “You set them out in a landscape and they’re like: ‘Here’s every species of snake, here’s every scorpion, every butterfly,’ and it’s kind of incredible.”
Forbes and Jain were still in high school when they made their groundbreaking discoveries. Now they are in college: Forbes at the University of Arizona studying evolutionary biology and Jain at the University of California, Berkeley, for integrative biology.
All journals published by Pensoft – each using the publisher’s self-developed ARPHA Platform – provide extensive and transparent information about their costs and services in line with the Plan S principles.
In support of transparency and openness in scholarly publishing and academia, the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft joined the Journal Comparison Service (JCS) initiative by cOAlition S, an alliance of national funders and charitable bodies working to increase the volume of free-to-read research.
As a result, all journals published by Pensoft – each using the publisher’s self-developed ARPHA Platform – provide extensive and transparent information about their costs and services in line with the Plan S principles.
The JCS was launched to aid libraries and library consortia – the ones negotiating and participating in Open Access agreements with publishers – by providing them with everything they need to know in order to determine whether the prices charged by a certain journal are fair and corresponding to the quality of the service.
According to cOAlition S, an increasing number of libraries and library consortia from Europe, Africa, North America, and Australia have registered with the JCS over the past year since the launch of the portal in September 2021.
While access to the JCS is only open to librarians, individual researchers may also make use of the data provided by the participating publishers and their journals.
This is possible through an integration with the Journal Checker Tool, where researchers can simply enter the name of the journal of interest, their funder and affiliation (if applicable) to check whether the scholarly outlet complies with the Open Access policy of the author’s funder. A full list of all academic titles that provide data to the JCS is also publicly available. By being on the list means a journal and its publisher do not only support cOAlition S, but they also demonstrate that they stand for openness and transparency in scholarly publishing.
“We are delighted that Pensoft, along with a number of other publishers, have shared their price and service data through the Journal Comparison Service. Not only are such publishers demonstrating their commitment to open business models and cultures but are also helping to build understanding and trust within the research community.”
said Robert Kiley, Head of Strategy at cOAlition S.
About cOAlition S:
On 4 September 2018, a group of national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles. Read more on the cOAlition S website.
About Plan S:
Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations. Plan S requires that, from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. Read more on the cOAlition S website.
In Europe, the Asian (or “Yellow-legged”) Hornet (Vespa velutina) is a predator of insects such as honeybees, hoverflies, and other wasps, and poses serious risks to apiculture, biodiversity and pollination services. This hornet can measure up to 4cm in length and, like all other social wasps, is capable of delivering a painful sting, although it is not aggressive by nature. Thought to have been introduced into Europe from China in 2004, the Asian Hornet has rapidly spread across the continent. While it has been thus far controlled in Britain, the hornet is well established across mainland Europe and the Channel Islands. In April 2021, the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed that a single specimen had been found, ‘alive but dying’ in a private dwelling in Dublin, marking the first Irish record of this species.
The circumstances of how the specimen arrived in the Irish capital are not known, but with the area’s extensive regional, national and international connectivity, there can be many possible pathways of introduction. In an Irish context, it was of particular interest to determine whether this individual originated in Europe/Britain or represented a potential new invasion source from within its native range in Southeast Asia.
The specimen was deposited in the National Museum of Ireland and identified by Dr. Aidan O’Hanlon, who suggested performing genetic analysis to determine its provenance. In collaboration with scientists from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, and partners on the EU Atlantic Positive Project (which aims to establish Europe-wide methodologies for the control of the Asian hornet), genetic analysis was performed and data were compared with those from specimens provided from several other locations across Europe. The researchers then published their findings in Journal of Hymenoptera Research.
“Earlier work had demonstrated that Asian hornets in Europe apparently shared the same genetic lineage, based on studies of a single gene. We took this a step further and looked at two additional genes which would be more sensitive in detecting variation within the invasive population”, explains Dr. Eileen Dillane of BEES.
Data from all three genetic markers confirmed that not only are Asian hornets in Europe of a single pedigree, but are likely descended from a single mated queen hornet that somehow arrived in France in 2004. Furthermore, this lineage has not yet been described within the native range.
“Our research has revealed the remarkable potential for population expansion of eusocial insects in invaded areas, even when original genetic diversity is extremely low”, says Dr. Simon Harrison, who is part of the research team .
These findings are both bad news and good news for the control of the Asian hornet in Europe. Whilst single mated queens can evidently rapidly re-colonise areas from where hornets have been eradicated (for example, where intensive efforts have destroyed all nests in an area), the close relatedness of all individuals of the Asian hornet in Europe offers hope for eradication methods based on biological control.
In the Irish context, it is unlikely that this is the beginning of a larger-scale invasion, as the climate and habitat landscape of Ireland is likely less than ideal for the Asian hornet, which requires higher summer temperatures and a greater supply of energy-rich food. “Nonetheless, climate change is likely to increase the threat of a successful invasion in the future, so vigilance against this species must be maintained”, the authors of the study advise.
Dillane E, Hayden R, O’Hanlon A, Butler F, Harrison S (2022) The first recorded occurrence of the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) in Ireland, genetic evidence for a continued single invasion across Europe. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 93: 131-138. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.93.91209
A new native bee species with a dog-like “snout” has been discovered in Perth bushland though Curtin-led research that sheds new light on our most important pollinators.
Published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, author Dr Kit Prendergast, from the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences, has named the new species after her pet dog Zephyr after noticing a protruding part of the insect’s face looked similar to a dog’s snout, and to acknowledge the role her dog played in providing emotional support during her PhD.
Dr Prendergast said the rare and remarkable finding would add to existing knowledge about our evolving biodiversity and ensure the bees, named Leioproctus zephyr, were protected by conservation efforts.
“When I first examined the specimens that I collected during my PhD surveys discovering the biodiversity of native bees in urbanised regions of the southwest WA biodiversity hotspot, I was instantly intrigued by the bee’s very unusual face,” Dr Prendergast said.
“When I went to identify it, I found it matched no described species, and I was sure that if it was a known species, it would be quite easy to identify given how unusual it was in appearance.
“You can only confirm a particular species once you look at them under a microscope and go through the long process of trying to match their characteristics against other identified species, then going through museum collections.
“When perusing the WA Museum’s Entomology collection, I discovered that a few specimens of Leioproctus zephyrus had first been collected in 1979, but it had never been scientifically described.”
Dr Prendergast said she was excited to play a role in making this species known and officially naming them.
“Insects in general are so diverse and so important, yet we don’t have scientific descriptions or names for so many of them,” Dr Prendergast said.
“The Leioproctus zephyr has a highly restricted distribution, only occurring in seven locations across the southwest WA to date, and have not been collected from their original location. They were entirely absent from residential gardens and only present at five urban bushland remnants that I surveyed, where they foraged on two plant species of Jacksonia.
“Not only is this species fussy, they also have a clypeus that looks like a snout. Hence, I named them after my dog Zephyr. She has been so important to my mental health and wellbeing during the challenging period of doing a PhD and beyond.”
Through DNA barcoding, Dr Prendergast was able to confirm that the new species was most closely related to other species of unidentified Leioproctus.
By the time authors – who have acknowledged third-party financial support in their research papers submitted to a journal using the Pensoft-developed publishing platform: ARPHA – open their inboxes to the congratulatory message that their work has just been published and made available to the wide world, a similar notification will have also reached their research funder.
This automated workflow is already in effect at all journals (co-)published by Pensoft and those published under their own imprint on the ARPHA Platform, as a result of the new partnership with the OA Switchboard: a community-driven initiative with the mission to serve as a central information exchange hub between stakeholders about open access publications, while making things simpler for everyone involved.
All the submitting author needs to do to ensure that their research funder receives a notification about the publication is to select the supporting agency or the scientific project (e.g. a project supported by Horizon Europe) in the manuscript submission form, using a handy drop-down menu. In either case, the message will be sent to the funding body as soon as the paper is published in the respective journal.
“At Pensoft, we are delighted to announce our integration with the OA Switchboard, as this workflow is yet another excellent practice in scholarly publishing that supports transparency in research. Needless to say, funding and financing are cornerstones in scientific work and scholarship, so it is equally important to ensure funding bodies are provided with full, prompt and convenient reports about their own input.”
comments Prof Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft and ARPHA.
“Research funders are one of the three key stakeholder groups in OA Switchboard and are represented in our founding partners. They seek support in demonstrating the extent and impact of their research funding and delivering on their commitment to OA. It is great to see Pensoft has started their integration with OA Switchboard with a focus on this specific group, fulfilling an important need,”
adds Yvonne Campfens, Executive Director of the OA Switchboard.
About the OA Switchboard:
A global not-for-profit and independent intermediary established in 2020, the OA Switchboard provides a central hub for research funders, institutions and publishers to exchange OA-related publication-level information. Connecting parties and systems, and streamlining communication and the neutral exchange of metadata, the OA Switchboard provides direct, indirect and community benefits: simplicity and transparency, collaboration and interoperability, and efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company, well known worldwide for its novel cutting-edge publishing tools, workflows and methods for text and data publishing of journals, books and conference materials.
All journals (co-)published by Pensoft are hosted on Pensoft’s full-featured ARPHA Publishing Platform and published in a way that ensures their content is as FAIR as possible, meaning that it is effortlessly readable, discoverable, harvestable, citable and reusable by both humans and machines.