Sunday, 27 May 2018

Vansoniella chirindensis: A new species of Slug Moth from Zimbabwe.

Slug Moths, Limacodidae, are small, typically hairy, Moths which get their common name from the Slug-like appearance of their caterpillars. They have a global distribution, but are most common and diverse in the tropics, with over 270 species described from sub-Saharan Africa.

In a paper published in the journal Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift on 16 March 2018, Wolfram Mey of the Museum für Naturkunde describes a new species of Slug Moth from Zimbabwe.

The new species is placed in a new genus, Vansoniella, in honour of George van Son (1898–1967), the former Curator of Lepidoptera of the Transvaal Museum (now part of the Ditsong Museums), who collected the specimen from which the species is described, and given the specific name chirindensis, meaning 'from Chirinda' in reference to the Chirinda Forest Mount Selinda, in what is now eastern Zimbabwe. The species is described from a single male specimen collected by van Son in 1937. It has a wingspan of 16 mm and translucent wings, distinctly unusual in a Slug Moth, and is otherwise golden brown in colour, with a body covered in dense fur.

Vansoniella chirindensis, male specimen in dorsal view. Mey (2018).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/thaumetopoea-processionea-warnings.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/ephysteris-kullbergi-ephysteris.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/phyllocnistis-indistincta-phyllocnistis.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/dahlica-somae-dahlica-ochrostigma-two.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/elcysma-ziroensis-new-species-of-burnet.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/lactura-rubritegula-new-species-of.html
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Parababinskaia makarkini: A new species of Babinskaiid Lacewing from Cretaceous Burmese Amber.

The Babinskaiidae are an extinct family of Lacewings (Neuroptera) best known from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil, as well as from the Zaza Formation of southern Siberia and Burmese Amber deposits from Kachin State, Myanmar. They are small Lacewings, with forewings 9-12.7 mm in length, differentiated from other groups by the venation of their forewings (very few specimens have preserved hindwings). To date only nine species of Babinskaiid have been described, from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil and Zaza Formation of Russia, and from Middle Cretaceous Burmese Amber.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 4 April 2018, Jiahui Hu and Xiumei Lu of the Department of Entomology at the China Agricultural University, Bo Wang of the State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Xingyue Liu, also of the Department of Entomology at the China Agricultural University, describe a new species of Babinskaiid Lacewing from Cretaceous Burmese Amber.

Cretaceous ‘Burmese Amber’ has been extensively worked at several sites across northern Myanmar (though mostly in Kachin State) in the last 20 years. The amber is fairly clear, and often found in large chunks, providing an exceptional window into the Middle Cretaceous Insect fauna. This amber is thought to have started out as the resin of a Coniferous Tree, possibly a Cypress or an Araucaria, growing in a moist tropical forest. This amber has been dated to between 105 and 95 million years old, based upon pollen inclusions, and to about 98.8 million years by uranium/lead dating of ash inclusions in the amber. 

The new species is placed in the genus Parababinskaia, which contains only one previously described species, from the Crato Formation of Brazil, and given the specific name makarkini, in honour of the entomologist Vladimir Makarkin, for his work on fossil Neuroptera. The new species is described from two specimens, a male and a female, in separate pieces of clear amber.

Parabinskaia makarkini, male specimen in dorsal view. Scale bar is 1.0 mm. Hu et al. (2018).

The male has a body length of 11.20 mm, and a forewing length of 11.11 mm, the female has a bodylength of 10.68 mm and a forewing length of 13.05 mm. Both have Both sexes have large, semi-globular compound eyes and two domed areas on the head. The thorax is robust, the legs long and the forewing broader than the hindwing.

Parabinskaia makarkini, female specimen in dorsal view. Scale bar is 1.0 mm. Hu et al. (2018).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/stictosisyra-pennyi-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/spilosmylus-spilopteryx-spilosmylus.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/lithochrysa-borealis-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/cretaconiopteryx-grandis-new-species-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/parababinskaia-elegans-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/lasiosmylus-longus-new-species-of.html
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Pair of Earthquakes to the east of the Mayotte Islands.

The United States Geological Survey recorded two Earthquakes to the east of Grande-Terre (or Maore) Island in the Mayotte Archipelago, an overseas Department of France in the Mozambique Channel between the Comoros Islands and Madagascar, on Saturday 26 May 2018. The first had a Magnitude of 4.9 and occurred at depth of about 10 km roughly 48 km to the east of the island slightly after 2.30 am local time, and the second had a Magnitude of 5.2 and occurred at a similar depth about 31 km to the east of the island slightly after 11.30 am local time (slightly after 9.30 am local time). Both were felt on the island, but neither caused any damage or casualties.

The approximate location of the 26 May 2018 Mayotte Earthquakes. USGS.

Geologically Mayotte forms the oldest part of the Comoros Island Chain, which are hotspot volcanoes, located over a magma plume which originated deep in the Earth's mantle which is rising through the overlying African Plate, though they may be connected to the East African Rift Zone, which extends from the Red Sea to the coast of Mozambique, roughly a thousand kilometres southwest of the Comoros. Volcanism is thought to have first started beneath what is now Mayotte about 15 000 years ago, and persisted until about 5000 years ago, with the islands rising above sealevel about 7000 years ago, and continuing to grow after the cessation of volcanism due to the accretion of Coral reefs. Although all volcanic activity on the islands ceased thousands of years ago, the islands are still subject to occasional seismic events (Earthquakes), associated with the movement of magma deep beneath the hotspot. These can be potentially hazardous, due to the nature of the rock which makes up the island, mostly poorly consolidated volcanic ash, which is prone to liquefaction when sufficiently shaken; a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in 1993 is thought to have caused about €1.7 million in damage, mostly to privately owned homes.
 
This year has seen a series (or swarm) of Earthquakes in the area to the east and southeast of Mayotte, which may indicate the movement of magma beneath the surface, and possibly a future eruption somewhere in the Commoros. Such an eruption would not necessarily occur in the area where the Earthquakes are happening, as magma can migrate significant distances horizontally as well as vertically before erupting or becoming emplaced beneath the surface (i.e. setting to become hard rock without ever erupting).
 
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt these events; if you felt the first quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here, and if you felt the second you cab report it here.
 
See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/magnitude-45-earthquake-to-southeast-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/eruption-on-piton-de-la-fournaise.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/volcanic-activity-on-reunion-island.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/magnitude-earthquake-in-zambezia.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/plague-outbreak-kills-at-least-30-in.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/pneumonic-plague-outbreak-kills-at.html
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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Eruptions on Mount Langila, New Britain.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has reported a pair of Eruptions on the Mount Langila Volcanic Complex on New Britain, Papua New Guinea, this month. The first occurred on Thursday 17-Friday 18 May, and the second on Monday 21-Tuesday 22 May 2018. Both eruptions produced ash columns that rose to 2.1-2.4 km above sealevel and drifted to the west.

The approximate location of the Langila Volcanic Complex. Google Maps.

Mount Langila is an active complex volcano comprised of four overlapping craters emerging from the northeast flank of the extinct Talawe Volcano on Cape Gloucester at the western tip of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The volcano has produced numerous explosive eruptions ever since it was first recorded in the mid-nineteenth century, and is flanked to the northeast by a lava field which runs to the sea. The newest crater was created during an explosive eruption in 1960 that produced 10 000 cubic meters of lava.

New Britain lies on the boundary between the South Bismarck and Solomon Sea tectonic plates. The Solomon Sea Plate is being subducted beneath the South Bismarck Plate, which causes friction as the plates rub together, occasionally leading to Earthquakes. As the Solomon Sea Plate sinks into the Earth it is melted by the heat of the planets interior. Some of the melted material then rises through the overlying South Bismarck Plate, fuelling the volcanoes of New Britain.

The subduction of the Solomon Sea Plate beneath New Britain. Oregon State University.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/magnitude-69-earthquake-beneath-western.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/magnitude-75-earthquake-off-east-coast.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/eruptions-on-mount-tavurvur.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/magnitude-65-earthquake-beneath-western.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/eruption-on-mount-langila.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/major-earthquake-shakes-new-ireland-new.html
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Asteroid 2018 KF1 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2018 KF1 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 861 400 km (2.24 times the average  distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.58% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after midnight GMT on Monday 21 May 2018. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would not have presented a significant threat. 2018 KF1 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 13-41 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 13-41 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere between 28 and 10 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2018 KF1. Minor Planet Center.

2018 KF1 was discovered on 19 May 2018 (two days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, which is located in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2018 KF1 implies that it was the 31st asteroid (asteroid F1) discovered in the second half of May 2018 (period 2018 K).

2018 KF1 has a 1284 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 6.01° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 1.01 AU from the Sun (i.e. 101% of he average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 3.61 AU from the Sun (i.e. 361% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and more than twice as far from the Sun as the planet Mars). It is therefore classed as an Amor Group Asteroid (an asteroid which comes close to the Earth, but which is never closer to the Sun than the Earth is). This means that the asteroid has occasional close encounters with the Earth, with the last thought to have happened in April 2011 and the next predicted in April 2025. The asteroid also has occasional close encounters with the planet Jupiter, with the last thought to have happened in February 2013.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/asteroid-2018-gj1-passes-earth.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/asteroid-2018-hl2-passes-earth.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/asteroid-2018-jg3-passes-earth.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/asteroid-2017-wy14-passes-earth.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/comet-c2016-r2-panstarrs-reaches.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/asteroid-2018-hv-passes-earth.html
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Cylindrocladiella spp,: Five new species of soil-dwelling Ascomycote Fungi from Vietnam and Malaysia.

Ascomycete Fungi of the genus Cylindrocladiella are found in tropical, subtropical and temperate soils around the world, though they are at their most diverse in the tropics. They are primarily saprophytes (organisms that obtain energy by breaking down decaying dean matter), but several species have been shown to cause plant diseases at least opportunistically, and their role as pathogens may be greater than is currently understood.

In a paper published in the journal MycoKeys on 15 March 2018, Nam Pham of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria, Irene Barnes of the Department of Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, also at the University of Pretoria, ShuaiFei Chen of the China Eucalypt Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, Thu Pham of the Forest Protection Research Centre of the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences, Lorenzo Lombard of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Pedro Crous, also of the Department of Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Pretoria, and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, and Michael Wingfield, also of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria, describe five new species of Cylindrocladiella from Vietnam and Malaysia.

The first new species described is named Cylindrocladiella arbusta, in reference to the plantation where it was discovered, in Nghe An Province, Vietnam. The Fnngus was isolated from soil in a Black Wattle, Acacia mangium, plantation, and formed white or buff colonies in culture.

Cylindrocladiella arbusta. (A)–(C) Penicillate conidiophores. (D)–(F) Obpyriform to lanceolate vesicles. (G) & (H) Penicillate conidiogenous apparatus. (I) & (J) Subverticillate conidiophores. (K) Conidia. Scale bars: (A) = 20 μm (apply to (B) & (C)); (D) = 10 μm (apply to (E) & (F)); (G) = 10 μm (apply to (H) – (K)). Pham et al. (2018).

The second new species described is named Cylindrocladiella malesiana, in reference to Malaysia. as it was first discovered in Sabah State in Malaysian Borneo. This species was also isolated from soil in a Black Wattle, Acacia mangium, plantation, and formed buff to hazel colonies in culture.

Cylindrocladiella malesiana. (A)–(C) Penicillate conidiophores. (D)–(F) Fusoid to lanceolate vesicles. (G) & (H) Penicillate conidiogenous apparatus. (I) & (J) Subverticillate conidiophores. (K) Conidia. Scale bars: (A) = 20 μm (apply to (B) & (C)); (D) = 10 μm (apply to (E) & (F)); (G) = 10 μm (apply to (H)–(K)). Pham et al. (2018).

The third new species described is named Cylindrocladiella obpyriformis in reference to the terminating vesicles (cells at the tips of the hyphae) which are Pear shaped (obpyriform). This species was isolated from soil from a hybrid Acacia plantation in Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam, and forms buff to yellow-grey colonies in cultivation.

Cylindrocladiella obpyriformis. (A)–(C) Penicillate conidiophores. (D)–(F) Obpyriform vesicles (G) & (H) Penicillate conidiogenous apparatus. (I) & (J) Subverticillate conidiophores. (K) Conidia. Scale bars: (A) = 20 μm (apply to (B) & (C)); (D) = 10 μm (apply to (E) & (F)); (G) = 10 μm (apply to (H)–(K)). Pham et al. (2018).

The fourth new species is named Cylindrocladiella parvispora, in reference to the small conidia (spore-producing bodies) of the species. This species was also isolated from soil from a hybrid Acacia plantation in Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam, and forms buff to honey colonies in cultivation.

Cylindrocladiella parvispora). (A)–(C) Penicillate conidiophores. (D)–(F) Fusoid to cylindrical vesicles. (G) & (H) Penicillate conidiogenous apparatus. (I) & (J) Subverticillate conidiophores. (K) Conidia. Scale bars: (A) = 20 μm (apply to (B) & (C)); (D) = 10 μm (apply to (E) & (F)); G = 10 μm (apply to (H)–(K)). Pham et al. (2018).

The final new species described is named Cylindrocladiella solicola, in reference to the soil where it was found. This species was also isolated from soil from a hybrid Acacia plantation in Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam, and forms buff to yellow-grey colonies in cultivation.

 Cylindrocladiella solicola. (A)–(C) Penicillate conidiophores. (D)–(F) Broadly clavate to lanceolate to fusiform vesicles. (G) & (H) Penicillate conidiogenous apparatus. (I) & (J) Subverticillate conidiophores. (K) Conidia. Scale bars: (A) = 20 μm (apply to (B) & (C)); (D) = 10 μm (apply to (E) & (F)); (G) = 10 μm (apply to (H)–(K)). Pham et al. (2018).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/stamnaria-yugrana-new-species-of-cup.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/beauveria-araneola-araneogenous-fungus.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/lecanicillium-araneogenum-new-species.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/chrysosporium-guizhouense-chrysosporium.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/jahnula-purpurea-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/two-new-species-of-amphisphaerid-fungi.html
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Homes evacuated due to wildfires in British Colombia.

 A number of homes have been evacuated due to a series of wildfires raging in British Colombia this week. Over a dozen homes have been evacuated and more than 50 more placed on standby for further evacuations, in the Allie Lake area, north of Kamloops, where a fire expanded from covering an area of 10 km² on Thursday 24 May 2018, to over 20 km² the following day. Another two properties have been evacuated and 29 placed on alert in the Xusum Creek area, where a fire has reached over 4 km² in size. Another six fires are burning elsewhere in the province, five of them between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.

 A wildfire to the southwest of Fort Nelson in British Colombia on Friday 25 May 2018.
Shelby Clemmer/Alaska Highway News.

Wildfires are a common problem in British Colombia in the summer, when warm dry conditions allow them to propagate easily, but this year has seen an exceptional number of fires early in the season, raising concerns about how the year may progress.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/canadian-couple-survive-being-swept-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/avalanche-kills-skier-in-british.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/british-colombia-avalache-victim-dies.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/homes-evacuated-after-landslide-in.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/magnitude-62-earthquake-in-northwest.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/magnitude-44-earthquake-off-coast-of.html
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