Second of its kind ‘sharpshooter’ leafhopper from Brazil ‘strikes’ with its colouration

When, in 2014, Brazilian researchers stumbled across a never-before-seen red-eyed leafhopper feeding inside the rosettes of bromeliads, growing in the restingas of southeastern Brazil, they were certain it was a one-of-a-kind discovery. Described as new-to-science species, as well as genus (Cavichiana bromelicola) and added to the sharpshooter tribe Cicadellini, it became the first known case of a leafhopper feeding on otherwise nutrition-poor bromeliads in their natural habitat. 

Newly described sharpshooter species Cavichiana alpina (left) and the only other leafhopper (Cavichiana bromelicola, right) known to feed on bromeliads
Photo by Gabriel Mejdalani

Several years later, however, a team of entomologists from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro carried out fieldwork in a mountainous area of southeastern Brazil and, as a result, another bromelicolous leafhopper species of the genus was discovered: Cavichiana alpina. Only, the new one appeared even more spectacular. 

The new species, described and illustrated in the open-access journal Zoologia, is known from Itatiaia National Park (southeastern Brazil), where it can be found at altitudes above 1,800 m a.s.l. In fact, its characteristic mountainous habitat came to determine its species name (alpina). In contrast, its relative was originally described exclusively from sea level regions, even though the latest field trips have recorded it from a site located at 1,250 m a.s.l. 

Slightly larger than the previously known C. bromelicola and similarly red-eyed, what most remarkably sets apart the newly-described species is its colouration. Rather than a single large yellow blotch contrasting against the dark-brown to black back of the insect, this sharpshooter sports a motley amalgam of red and blue covering most of its upper side.

In conclusion, the researchers explain that the peculiarity of the two known Cavichiana species is best attributed to a putative common ancestor that had likely once been widely distributed in southeastern and southern Brazil. Later, they speculate, a vicariant event, such as the uplift of the southeastern Brazilian mountain ranges during the latest Eocene and Oligocene, might have caused its diversification into two separate species.

Newly described sharpshooter species Cavichiana alpina (top) and the only other leafhopper (Cavichiana bromelicola, bottom) known to feed on bromeliads in their natural habitat
Photo by Gabriel Mejdalani

Original source: 
Quintas V, Takiya DM, Côrte I, Mejdalani G (2020) A remarkable new species of Cavichiana (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae) from southeastern Brazil. Zoologia 37: 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3897/zoologia.37.e38783

Brazilian Zoologia joins Pensoft’s portfolio of open access journals

In a new partnership between Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia (Brazilian Society of Zoology) and the academic publisher Pensoft, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in South America, Zoologia joins Pensoft’s portfolio of open access peer-reviewed journals.

In 1982, Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia‘s launched the Revista Brasileira de Zoologiajournal, which resulted in 25 volumes published bimonthly. Then, to broaden its visibility and step on the international stage, the journal broaden its scope to cover zoological research from outside the county, and changed its name to Zoologia in 2009 and completed 33 volumes this year.

The next step forward for Zoologia is the recently signed partnership with Pensoft, which makes it the first South American journal published by Pensoft – known for its innovations in scholarly publishing. The collaboration will provide a brand new, modern and technologically advanced look and feel for Zoologia, following the already successful format, provided by Pensoft’s publishing platform ARPHA (abbreviation standing for Authoring, Reviewing, Publishing, Hosting and Archiving).

webdesignZoologia will not only be smooth and nice to look at and navigate around, but will also provide high-tech perks, ensuring that the user experience for all authors, readers and editors remains as immaculate as possible at all times. Fast-track and convenient publishing is provided thanks to ARPHA, which takes care of a manuscript through all stages from authoring and reviewing to dissemination and archiving, as well as publications in three formats (PDF, XML, HTML) and full of semantic enhancements.

Having been completely revamped on the outside, Zoologia keeps its academic excellence and well-deserved reputation. The journal’s scientific scope covers various areas of original zoological research, including systematics, evolution, taxonomy, nomenclature, biogeography, biology, ecology, conservation, applied zoology, and others, published by both Brazilian and international authors. Extensive reviews or articles on current topics in zoology are published by invitation in the Invited Review section. Zoologia is to continue issuing at least six volumes a year on a bimonthly basis.

“I am truly delighted to welcome Zoologia to Pensoft’s family,” says Pensoft’s founder and CEO Prof. Lyubomir Penev. “With a strong background in zoological sciences, we have been looking forward to extending our outreach to South America, a well-known home to numerous biodiversity hotspots and excellent taxonomic traditions. It is a great success that this is now happening thanks to our partnership with no other but Zoologia.”

“This is an important step in the efforts to further professionalize and increase worldwide visibility of Zoologia that has been underway since 2008,” says Walter Boeger, the Editor-in-chief of the journal.

“Brazil is one of the hotspots in animal diversity in the world and the research in zoology is exceptional and of international excellence. The Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia would like Zoologia to be the main gateway for these studies and other, of similar profile, performed with animals from all parts of the world,” proposes Luciane Marinoni, the president of SBZ. “We predict that this will happen in the near future following this important partnership.”

The first batch of research papers published in the revamped Zoologia are now available on the new website.

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