|Potamophylax coronavirus Ibrahimi, Bilalli & Vitecek, |
in Ibrahimi, Bilalli, Vitecek, Pauls, ... et Kasumaj, 2021.
The Western Balkans are an important hotspot of caddisfly diversity in Europe, with several microscale endemics, many of which were discovered during the recent years. The genus Potamophylax Wallengren, 1891 likely originated and diversified in Europe, with the Balkan Peninsula being one of the most important diversity hotspots.
In this paper, we describe the new species Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n. from Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in the Republic of Kosovo. The new species belongs to the Potamophylax winneguthi species group and is morphologically most similar to Potamophylax juliani Kumanski, 1999, currently known only from Bulgaria and Potamophylax winneguthi Klapalek, 1902, known from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The male of the new species differs from its most similar congeners mainly in exhibiting: (1) elongated subrectangular superior appendages in lateral view; (2) hardly acuminate, almost rounded apex of intermediate appendages; (3) differently shaped, irregular and higher inferior appendages; (4) narrow spinate area, roughly rectangular in dorsal view, slightly wider at the base and (5) different paramere shape and/or spine pattern. The new species also differs by its considerably smaller size and association with open, high altitude eucrenal zones.
The uncorrected interspecific pairwise distance between P. coronavirus and other species of the P. winneguthi species group is on par with those amongst other recognised species in the group, as well as with the yet ambiguously identified taxa from the Sharr, Rila and Bajgorë Mountains.
The new species is most probably a microendemic of Bjeshkët e Nemuna, thus highlighting further this area as an important hotspot of caddisfly biodiversity in Europe.
Keywords: rare species, caddisflies, Balkans, Potamophylax winneguthi species group, microscale endemism
|Figure 3. Male adult of Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n.|
|Figure 2. Adults of Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n. in copulation.|
Potamophylax coronavirus Ibrahimi, Bilalli & Vitecek, sp. n.
Diagnosis: Males of the new species are most similar to Potamophylax juliani, currently known only from Bulgaria and Potamophylax winneguthi, known from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, but differ in exhibiting: (1) elongated subrectangular superior appendages in lateral view, slightly narrowing at their base, rounded at the apex; (2) hardly acuminate, almost rounded apex of intermediate appendages in lateral view; (3) differently shaped inferior appendages, bulging dorsally at the area between them and segment IX in lateral view, with high and broad upper protruding portion, with a narrow distance between dorsal and ventral corners of the upper portion, which are set parallel to each other and directed mesially; (4) spinate area narrow, roughly rectangular in dorsal view, only slightly wider at the base and (5) short stout parameres with base wider than the apex and short, very thick spines originating below the apex, only slightly reaching above the apex and few other smaller ones proximally. Potamophylax juliani males have: (1) small, laterally rounded, ovoid superior appendages; (2) long, slender intermediate appendages with sharply acuminate apex in lateral view; (3) rather short inferior appendages, with a shortened protruding upper portion as high as half of the entire appendage’s height, with a wide distance between dorsal and ventral corners, which are set parallel to each other and directed mesially; (4) spinate area in dorsal view narrow at the apex and almost three times wider at the base and (5) short stout parameres with very wide basal third and narrow apex, with 15 – 20 thick spines of medium length originating mostly from the tip. Potamophylax winneguthi males have: (1) small, laterally semicircular superior appendages; (2) long slender intermediate appendages with acuminate apex; (3) inferior appendages parallel-edged, dorsally truncated in a rectangular manner, longer on their ventral edge, directed dorsad; (4) spinate area wide, covering almost the entire width of the distal portion of segment VIII in dorsal view and (5) short stout parallel-edged parameres with almost same width along the entire length, only slightly narrower at their middle part, with 5-7 very long spines originating from distal half.
The new species also differs from both of its most similar congeners by its considerably smaller size and different type of habitat, inhabiting open high altitude eucrenal zones.
Etymology: The species epithet coronavirus relates to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which caused a global pandemia starting 2020. The current paper was written during the quarantine time due to the pandemics. The species epithet also emphasises figuratively another silent pandemic occurring on freshwater organisms in Kosovo rivers, due to the pollution and degradation of freshwater habitats, including particularly the increased activity of mismanaged hydropower plants.
Distribution: During the field survey in the Bjeshkët e Nemuna Mountains, we found Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n. at only two localities within a 3 km perimeter, although several other springs and brooks were sampled.
Halil Ibrahimi, Astrit Bilalli, Simon Vitecek, Steffen U. Pauls, Felicitas Erzinger, Agim Gashi, Linda Grapci Kotori, Donard Geci, Milaim Musliu and Edison Kasumaj. 2021. Potamophylax coronavirus sp. n. (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae), A New Species from Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in the Republic of Kosovo, with Molecular and Ecological Notes. Biodiversity Data Journal. 9: e64486. DOI: 10.3897/BDJ.9.e64486