Rare footage of a new clearwing moth species from Malaysia reveals its behavior

Unique footage of a new species of clearwing moth has been recorded in a primeval rainforest in Peninsular Malaysia revealing the behaviour of this elusive insect.

Clearwing moths, which are day-flying insects belonging to the Sesiidae family, imitate bees and wasps. Apart from the common species considered as agricultural pests, these moths are known mainly from old museum specimens, stored on pins in forgotten drawers. In the wild, they are elusive creatures, rarely spotted and, hence, poorly studied.

Marta Skowron Volponi from the University of Gdansk, Poland, a PhD student specialising in entomology, teamed up with nature filmmaker and photographer Paolo Volponi, associated with the ClearWing Foundation for Biodiversity, to find these intriguing insects. The results of their studies were recently published in ZooKeys.

In their search for clearwing moths, they went deep into the virgin Malaysian jungle, where elephants, tigers, tapirs and other charismatic Southeast Asian animals roam, while dealing with the intense heat, humidity and countless blood-suckers.

In the end, however, their effort was worth it: on a bank of a crystal clear river, during the hottest hours of the day, the researchers discovered a new species of clearwing moth displaying behaviour known as mud-puddling.

“Mud-puddling is the process of sucking-up liquids in order to gain essential nutrients, such as salt or proteins”, explains Marta. “It has only recently been observed in clearwing moths and, similarly as in other Lepidopterans, it seems to be restricted to males”.

The newly discovered species was named Pyrophleps ellawi in honour of Marta and Paolo’s Malaysian friend EL Law who supported the team during their expeditions and who has a deep affinity for nature.

Curiously, rather than resembling a butterfly’s relative, the new moth looks like an insect from a whole different order. It mimics potter wasps.

“It has a slender body, long legs and transparent wings with a blue sheen in sunlight, similarly to some species of potter wasps”, says Marta.

Furthermore, while observing the moth in the wild, the authors noticed that it does not only look like a wasp – it also flies like one.

“There were potter wasps in the same area. In flight, the two insects were impossible to distinguish, they would always confuse us!”

The new species seems to be quite rare. During the authors’ three expeditions to Malaysia, they managed to see only eight individuals with each of them seen on a different day.

“So there we were: on our knees on a sandy beach, in the middle of the jungle, trying to film the 1.5 cm moth”, Marta recalls. “We didn’t have much time: a single clearwing would come around 2:00 PM and stay for several minutes only. We knew that once it flew away, we would not get another shot”.

“Could it be that their rarity is the reason why the behaviour of clearwing moths is practically unknown and why there are still new species waiting to be discovered?” the researchers wonder.

###

Original source:

Skowron Volponi MA, Volponi P (2017) A new species of wasp-mimicking clearwing moth from Peninsular Malaysia with DNA barcode and behavioural notes (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae). ZooKeys692: 129-139. Doi: 10.3897/zookeys.692.13587

 

Gender dictates camouflage strategy in this newly identified praying mantis group

Adult females and males in a newly identified genus of Latin American praying mantises have evolved sharply different camouflage strategies, according to a Cleveland Museum of Natural History-led study published in the journal ZooKeys.

Adult males of the new genus retain the stubby, stick-like body configuration and brown coloration they have used as nymphs, whereas adult females, whose bodies grow to be considerably larger to maximize egg production, transform their appearance to mimic a leaf. They change to green, while their forewings become larger and more rounded compared to the male’s, with veins that simulate a leaf structure.

Image 1 Adult Female

Although adult females are nearly two inches long, the members of this new mantis genus had escaped scientific recognition until recently, in part because the disparity in camouflage tactics made classification difficult.

This shrewdness inspired the name for the new mantis species: Hondurantemna chespiritoi. The genus name (Hondurantemna) derives from Honduras, where the first female specimen was found, in combination with Antemna, a Neotropical mantis to which the new lineage is closely related.

Meanwhile, the species name, chespiritoi, is a nod to the late Mexican comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños, known as Chespirito, or Little Shakespeare. One of Bolaños’ TV characters, a goofy superhero called the Red Grasshopper, was fond of saying “¡No contaban con mi astucia!” — Spanish for “They didn’t count on my cleverness!” — when he defeated bad guys.

“I grew up watching that TV show in Brazil”, says the study’s lead author, Cleveland Museum of Natural History entomologist and Case Western Reserve University biology Ph.D. candidate Henrique Rodrigues.

“The first male specimen of the new mantis species was from Mexico, like Bolaños,” he explains. “And the signature line of Bolaños’ Red Grasshopper character kind of reminded me of the fact that you had this pretty large species of praying mantis that no one had found for many years.”Image 2 Adult Male dorsal view Credit Henrique Rodrigues

Adult female and male specimens of the mantis species were in separate museum collections in Paris, France and San Francisco, California, but had remained unidentified and their relationship unrecognized for more than two decades because of their dissimilar appearances.

Entomologist Julio Rivera, Ph.D., spotted the large green female mantis in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris and brought it to the attention of Cleveland Museum of Natural History Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Gavin Svenson, Ph.D., an international expert on praying mantises. Dr. Svenson later saw the small brown male mantis in the California Academy of Sciences and noted that the two insects, though dissimilar in color and size, had body features that hinted they might be members of the same Antemninae sub-family.

Yet, adaptation to similar environments can cause unrelated organisms to develop similar features. This phenomenon, called convergent evolution, can complicate the process of sorting out connections on the praying mantis family tree.

Dr. Svenson is leading a research project to more accurately reclassify the massive praying mantis family tree using DNA testing and insights from the insects’ body form and features – their morphology. He has consolidated many of the country’s major mantis collections at the Cleveland museum, thus building the Western Hemisphere’s largest assemblage of the insects to aid this effort.

The final pieces of the puzzle that allowed the Cleveland researchers to identify the new mantis lineage arrived by chance. Neil Reid, Ph.D., a lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, contacted Dr. Svenson, wondering if he wanted to examine a group of unknown praying mantises that Dr. Reid had gathered in a Honduran cloud forest.

The specimens Dr. Reid provided included two adult females and some male and female nymphs in various stages of development. The adult females looked the same as the female from the Paris museum. The male nymphs closely resembled the adult male from San Francisco. Having the nymphs let the researchers see the separate camouflage strategies the male and female mantises adopted as they matured.

Blog

Rodrigues conducted DNA tests that confirmed the mantises all represented the same genus and species, which had not been recognized before. The analysis also showed where this new mantis group, or taxon, fit on the complex mantis family tree: verifying that it belonged in the Antemninae subfamily.

“The recognition of H. chespiritoi shows the important role genetics can play in classifying insect relationships. It also highlights the value of museum collections,” Dr. Svenson says.

“When people ask us, ‘Why do you collect things?’, it’s because we still have a shockingly small concept of the biodiversity that’s out there,” Dr. Svenson says. “Museums are the places that hold that biological knowledge, and we’re pulling information out of them all the time.”

 

Original Source

Rodrigues HR, Rivera J, Reid N, Svenson GJ (2017) An elusive Neotropical giant, Hondurantemna chespiritoi gen. n. & sp. n. (Antemninae, Mantidae): a new lineage of mantises exhibiting an ontogenetic change in cryptic strategy. ZooKeys 680: 73-104. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.680.11162

Origins of an enigmatic genus of Asian butterflies carrying mythological names decoded

A group of rare Asian butterflies which have once inspired an association with Hindu mythological creatures have been quite a chaos for the experts. In fact, their systematics turned out so confusing that in order to decode their taxonomic placement, scientists had to dig up their roots some 43 million years back.

Now, having shed new light on their ancestors, a team of researchers from the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at University of Guelph, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and University of Vienna, published their findings in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

CalinagaTogether, Drs. Valentina Todisco, Vazrick Nazari and Paul Hebert arrived at the conclusion that the enigmatic genus (Calinaga) originated in southeast Tibet in the Eocene as a result of the immense geological and environmental impact caused by the collision between the Indian and Asian subcontinents. However, the diversification within the lineage was far from over at that point. In the following epochs, the butterflies had to adapt to major changes when Indochina drifted away, leading to the isolation of numerous populations; and then again, when the Pleistocene climatic changes took their own toll.

To make their conclusions, the scientists studied 51 specimens collected from a wide range of localities spanning across India, South China, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand. For the first time for the genus, the authors conducted molecular data and combined it with an examination of both genitalia and wing patterns – distinct morphological characters in butterflies. While previous estimates had reported existence of anywhere between one and eleven species in the genus, the present study identified only four, while confirming how easy it is to mislabel samples based on earlier descriptions.

However, the researchers note that they have not sampled specimens from all species listed throughout the years under the name of the genus, so they need additional data to confirm the actual number of valid Calinaga species. The authors are to enrich this preliminary study in the near future, analysing both a larger dataset and type specimens in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of London that holds the largest Calinaga collection.

Despite being beautiful butterflies, the examined species belong to a genus whose name derives from the Hindu mythical reptilian creatures Nāga and a particular one of them – Kaliya, which is believed to live in Yamuna river, Uttar Pradesh, and is notorious for its poison. According to the Hindu myths, no sooner than Kaliya was confronted by the major deity Krishna, did it surrender.

“It seems that the modern taxonomy of Calinaga is in need of a Krishna to conquer these superfluous names and cleanse its taxonomy albeit after careful examination of the types and sequencing of additional material,” comment the authors.

###

Original source:

Todisco V, Nazari V, Hebert PDN (2017) Preliminary molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the monobasic subfamily Calinaginae (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(2): 255-264. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.93.10744

New species of Brazilian copepod suggests ancient species diversification and distribution

A new species of groundwater copepod has been discovered in the rocky savannas of Brazil – an ecosystem suffering from heavy anthropogenic impact. Upon description, the tiny crustacean turned out to also represent a previously unknown genus. It is described by Dr. Paulo H. C. Corgosinho, Montes Claros State University, Brazil, and his team in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

Prior to the discovery of the new species, named Eirinicaris antonioi, only one genus of its subfamily (Parastenocaridinae) had been recorded in the Neotropical region, which comes to show that related species had already spread across a huge range when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana split apart.

The new copepod measures about 0,300 mm and can be told apart by its morphological characteristics, including unusual sensorial structures at the rear part of the body, as well as unique sexual dimorphism.

The copepods of the family Parastenocarididae are adapted to life in groundwater, where they thrive between sand grains. These tiny creatures measure less than 1 mm, ranging between 0,200 and 0,400 mm in length. They can be found in various microbiotopes along rivers, lakes and human-made structures, such as dug or artesian wells. Alternatively, these copepods might be associated with mosses and other semi-terrestrial environments.

“This is the first species described from Goiás state, Central Brazil,” explain the authors. “With the discovery of this new species our knowledge about the geographical distribution of the copepod family Parastenocarididae is increased. Our project highlights the vast amounts of undiscovered biodiversity of the Brazilian rocky savannas, which are under high anthropogenic threat.”

###

Original source:

Corgosinho PHC, Schizas NV, Previattelli D, Falavigna da Rocha CE, Santos-Silva EN (2017) A new genus of Parastenocarididae (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) from the Tocantins River basin (Goiás, Brazil), and a phylogenetic analysis of the Parastenocaridinae. Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(1): 167-187. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.93.11602

Rarely-seen event of ant brood parasitism by scuttle flies video-documented

While many species of scuttle flies are associated with ants, their specific interactions with their hosts are largely unknown. Brood parasitism (attacking the immature stages, rather than the adult ants), for example, is an extremely rarely observed and little-studied phenomenon. However, a research team from the USA and Brazil, led by Dr. Brian Brown, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, have recently video-documented two such occasions. The observations are published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal.

One of the videos, taken in Brazil, shows female scuttle flies attacking ants evacuating their nest. Having had their colony exposed, worker ants try to carry the brood to the nearest shelter. The flies follow these workers on foot, and bump into them in attempt to make them drop the larvae. The scientists have provided a video of an ant which, when harassed, left a larva in a partially exposed position and fled. Immediately, the fly attacked the larva, laying an egg inside its body. The fact that the flies attack the relatively soft-bodied larvae explains the puzzling structure of the ovipositor (egg-layer) of this species (Ceratoconus setipennis), which appears much less hardened than the ovipositor of species attacking adult ants. As a result of the present observation, however, their association with ants is no longer a mystery.

The second footage, filmed in Costa Rica, shows an undescribed species of scuttle fly (genus Apocephalus) that fly above the ants. When they spot a worker carrying brood, it would plunge down to it, approach the ant from behind and land on the (in this case) pupa. Then, it flips over onto its back, keeping the pupa between itself and the ant, while it lays an egg into the pupa from an upside-down position.

“The video documentation of two very different types of brood parasitism of ant species by scuttle flies was recorded in two countries within just a few months of one another,” conclude the authors. “This hints at the many remarkable behaviors of phorid flies that may still await discovery by the patient observer. It appears brood parasitism may not be as rare as was once assumed, and that there may be a tremendous amount of information to uncover about these behaviors.”

###

Original source:

Brown B, Hash J, Hartop E, Porras W, Amorim D (2017) Baby Killers: Documentation and Evolution of Scuttle Fly (Diptera: Phoridae) Parasitism of Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Brood. Biodiversity Data Journal 5: e11277. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.5.e11277

American scientists discover the first Antarctic ground beetle

Fossilised forewings from two individuals, discovered on the Beardmore Glacier, revealed the first ground beetle known from the southernmost continent. It is also the second beetle for the Antarctic insect fauna with living descendants. The new species, which for now is also the sole representative of a new genus, is to be commonly known as Ball’s Antarctic Tundra Beetle. Scientists Dr Allan Ashworth, North Dakota State University, and Dr Terry Erwin, Smithsonian Institution, published their findings in the open access journal ZooKeys.10535_image-3

The insect fauna in Antarctica is so poor that today it consists of only three species of flightless midges, with one of them having been probably introduced from the subantarctic island of South Georgia. The absence of biodiversity is considered to be a result of lack of moisture, vegetation and low temperatures.

10535_image-2Following their study, the authors conclude that the beetle must have inhabited the sparsely-vegetated sand and gravel banks of a meltwater-fed stream that was once part of an outwash plain at the head of a fjord in the Transantarctic Mountains. Plants associated with the extinct beetle include southern beech, buttercup, moss mats, and cushion plants, all typical for a tundra ecosystem. The species may or may not have been able to fly.

The closest modern relatives to the extinct species live in South America, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Tasmania and Australia. Tracking the ancient lineage of this group of beetles, known as the carabid beetle tribe Trechini, confirms that they were once widely distributed in Gondwana, the supercontinent that used to unite what today we recognise as Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, Australia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent. Ball’s Antarctic Tundra Beetle is also an evidence that even after Gondwana broke apart, the tundra ecosystem persevered in Antarctica for millions of years.

“The conflicting signals both in anatomical attributes and biogeography, and in ecological setting as well, leave open the question of relationships, thus giving us no alternative but to flag the species represented by fossil evidence through erection of new genus status, hence drawing attention to it and the need for further paleontological studies in Antarctica,” speak of their discovery the authors.

The new Ball’s Antarctic Tundra Beetle is scientifically identified as Antarctotrechus balli, where the genus name (Antarctotrechus) refers to its being related to the tribe Trechini, and the species name (balli) honours distinct expert of ground beetles Dr. George E. Ball, who celebrated his 90th birthday on 26th September, 2016.

###

Original source:

Ashworth AC, Erwin TL (2016) Antarctotrechus balli sp. n. (Carabidae, Trechini): the first ground beetle from Antarctica. ZooKeys 635: 109-122. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.635.10535

The Caucasus as an ‘island’ in the ‘sea’ of steppes: New insights in mosquito evolution

From a geographical point of view, the Caucasus is far from an island or even a peninsula, being a relatively big mountainous region appearing as a fence at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. However, a study into the chromosome structure of mosquito larvae of the species Glyptotendipes salinus, living by a saltwater lake in the foothills of the Caucasus, suggests that the region could be imagined as an “island” in the “sea” of steppes.

Scientists Dr Mukhamed Karmokov, Tembotov Institute of Ecology of Mountain territories, Russian Academy of Science, and Dr Azamat Akkizov, Institute of Biomedical Problems, RAS, and Center of Medico-Ecological Researches, have their paper, where they describe the Caucasian population of the species, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

Earlier, it has been known that in the Tambukan Lake, located at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, lives at least one of the representatives of the genus Glyptotendipes, more precisely, the species G. salinus. Actually, the process of studying the fauna of the genus in the Caucasus region has just began and many questions have remained unclear.

During their research, the authors collected a sufficient amount of larvae of G. salinus that made it possible to study the chromosome structure, rearrangements and peculiarities of the Caucasian population of the species. In addition, the authors tried to understand how the population relates to the previously studied ones, living in the Altai region of Russia and Kazakhstan.

Researchers found interesting, some of them even striking, peculiarities in the chromosome structure and morphology of the larvae from Caucasus. Namely, they found four new chromosome rearrangements, likely unique for the Caucasus. Also, some of the chromosome characters were most similar to the mosquitoes from Altai, while others — to the population in Kazakhstan. The most curious difference of the Caucasian larvae in comparison to data from earlier studies was that they were twice as short.

In conclusion, the authors note that from the obtained data it could be deduced that that the Caucasian population had undergone a significant divergence, or even that it represents a subspecies.

Also, it turns out that the Caucasus itself is a relatively isolated and complex region in terms of microevolution. “The Caucasus, in some sense, can be imagined as a relatively isolated territory, a special place, where evolution has made some unexpected twists,” they say.

###

Original source:

Karmokov MKh, Akkizov AY (2016) Karyotype characteristics, larval morphology and chromosomal polymorphism peculiarities of Glyptotendipes salinus Michailova, 1983 (Diptera, Chironomidae) from Tambukan Lake, Central Caucasus. Comparative Cytogenetics 10(4): 571-585. https://doi.org/10.3897/compcytogen.v10i4.9400

New Chinese leaf-roller weevil does not know how to roll leaves

A long-term project on insect-seed interactions, currently being carried out by researchers of the Institute of Zoology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) in a subtropical forest near Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, China, revealed the presence of larvae of an unknown weevil species eating the seeds in the pods of a shrubby legume.

Scientists from the Institute of Zoology, China, Xiangyang Lv, Zhishu Xiao, Zhiliang Wang, Runzhi Zhang, and Miguel A. Alonso-Zarazaga, also affiliated with the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Spain, published the description of the new genus and species, named Evemphyron sinense, and added data on its biology in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Because of its peculiar features, it was difficult to locate the closest relatives of this new species. However, a few characteristic traits of the body and genitalia, strongly pointed to its placement within the tribe Deporaini.

The closest, although seemingly rather far-related to the new species, beetles are considered to be a genus with scattered distribution, stretching from the Russian Far East to the Indian Himalaya.

However, they are smaller weevils whose females cut shoots to lay their eggs. On the other hand, the males in both genera share a peculiar patch of hairs, probably related to pheromone dispersal. Likewise, each species is associated with legumes.

The curious feature of this weevil group (Deporaini) is that the vast majority of its species are leaf-rollers. The females cut a hardwood leaf in a peculiar and mathematical way and roll it, laying one egg inside each one. This behaviour, which is known in other far-related weevils of the same family, seems to have appeared independently in different evolutionary branches. In the case of Deporaini, this behavioural trait evolved after the new genus became a distinct one.Figure 5 large

As a result, the new genus is considered to be one of the two most primitive within the tribe. In fact, it might be the most primitive one, taking into account a number of morphological traits as well.

It could be that the new beetle never knew how to roll a leaf to make nests and shelter its offspring.

###

Original source:

Lv X, Alonso-Zarazaga MA, Xiao Z, Wang Z, Zhang R (2016) Evemphyron sinense, a new genus and species infesting legume seedpods in China (Coleoptera, Attelabidae, Rhynchitinae).ZooKeys 600: 89-101. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.600.6709

New immigrant: Shiny Cowbirds noted from a recording altitude of 2,800 m in Ecuador

Two juveniles of Shiny Cowbird, a parasitic bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, were spotted in the Andean city of Quito, Ecuador, for the first time. This finding represents an altitudinal expansion of approximately 500 m.

Breeding populations might have been prompted by forest fragmentation and/or climate change, suggest the research team, led by Dr Verónica Crespo-Pérez, professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE). Resultingly, the ‘immigrants’ could be threatening native birds. The study is published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal.

“The Shiny Cowbird is native to the lowlands of South America but within the last 100 years, it has been expanding its distribution to higher altitudes and latitudes” says the lead author.

The bird had already been noted from high altitudes in Bolivia and Perú, and in some localities in the Ecuadorian Andes. Since 2000, Juan Manuel Carrión, co-author and director of the Zoo in Quito, recalls observing Shiny cowbirds near his home in a valley near Quito at 2,300 m above sea level (asl). However, one has never before been reported from an altitude as high as 2,800 m asl.

Moreover, the fact that the observed individuals were juveniles means that the species is already breeding in the city.

“Such a significant expansion of reproductive birds, of approximately 500 m, could be related to human disturbances, like forest fragmentation or climate change,” adds Crespo-Pérez.

The observations took place at the PUCE campus about a year ago. Two juvenile Shiny cowbirds were seen parasitizing two different pairs of Rufous-collared Sparrow, one of the most common birds in Quito. The cowbirds displayed food-begging behaviors to adult sparrows, including chasing the sparrows on the ground and chanting intensely on bushes and tree branches.

“These observations mean that the birth mother of the cowbird laid her eggs in the nests of the sparrows, who inadvertently, became the cowbird’s foster parents and incubated, fed and cared for the it as if it were its own, even though the cowbird is almost twice as big,” says Miguel Pinto, co-author and professor at Escuela Politécnica Nacional, and former postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution.

“The sparrows were not feeding fledglings of their own species, which suggests that the Cowbird could be having some negative effect on the Sparrow, at least on their ability to reproduce,” points out Tjitte de Vries, co-author and professor at PUCE.

There are several published reports of negative effects of Cowbirds on other birds, especially on species that are already endangered or have restricted distribution ranges. Therefore, this report of an expansion of the Shiny Cowbird towards higher altitudes may be of concern, mainly for native, endemic or endangered bird species.

###

Original source:

Crespo-Pérez V, Pinto C, Carrión J, Jarrín E R, Poveda C, de Vries T (2016) The Shiny Cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis (Gmelin, 1789) (Aves: Icteridae), at 2,800 m asl in Quito, Ecuador.Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e8184. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.4.e8184

Critically Endangered and ancient Himalayan wolf needs global conservation attention

Although the Himalayan wolf is visibly distinct from its European cousin, its current distribution has mostly been a matter of assumption, rather than evident truth. The most ancient wolf lineage, known to science, has been listed as Critically Endangered in the National Red List.

Now, an international research team, led by Madhu Chetri, graduate student at the Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, Norway, report the wolf from Nepal’s largest protected area, thus confirming its existence in the country. Their findings are published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

When compared to the European wolf, this one stands out with its smaller size, unusually longer muzzle and stumpy legs. Another clearly distinctive feature is the white colouration around the throat, chest, belly and inner part of the limbs. On the other hand, its characteristic woolly body fur has given the subspecies the common name ‘woolly wolf’.

However, the distinctiveness of the Himalayan wolf is far more than skin-deep. The authors note that recent studies have already revealed that these wolves have split as a separate branch within the ‘tree of life’ so long ago that they are divergent from the whole globally distributed wolf-dog clade. Having undergone such an isolated evolution, the Himalayan wolf is considered of particular conservation concern.

However, the populations are still suffering heavy mortality. As a part of their research, the authors conducted both formal and informal interviews with about four hundred local herders, livestock owners, nomads and village elite to find out more about the status of the human-wolf conflict, as well as their attitudes and perceptions. As a result, they found out that the wolves are considered to pose a threat for the local livelihoods. They were persecuted and killed as a means of depredation.5966_Himalayan ancient wolf

“These genetically distinct Himalayan wolves deserve special conservation attention, at the same time that the conservation of this species in a context of human-wildlife conflict is challenging,” conclude the scientists. “A species action plan needs be formulated that develops mechanisms to minimize conflict, and strategies for motivating local communities towards wolf conservation.”

Original source:

Chetri M, Jhala YV, Jnawali SR, Subedi N, Dhakal M, Yumnam B (2016) Ancient Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) lineage in Upper Mustang of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. ZooKeys 582: 143-156. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.582.5966