I am always surprised and puzzled by the world of systematic. Of course I know that it is very important to name another living creature. We need an inventory of life on Earth. We need to have common language. We need system to find out regularities. Etc… What is always surprise me – how fragile and, from my point of view, sometimes subjective the descriptive systematic looks like. I understand that those who spend years with microscopes can distinguish tiny differences between species. But still I am amazed how they judge about new species without genetic analysis and ecological studies.
Nevertheless, hundreds of papers describing new species are published every year. Actually the new species is not the reason for the post – this is just another new species. But the context of new result is sometimes more interesting (and important) than the result itself.
I would probably neglect paper describing “a new species of Cladocera, Extremalona timmsi that was found in acid saline lakes in the southwest of Western Australia” if not the familiar name of the new species.
I know Brian Timms as an enthusiast of Australian salt lakes for many years. He is a man who always wants to sample. When I met him last time in Argentina we made a joke on him. We went to the hills and found small pools in rocks. We made photos of these pools and told Brian that there were some small crustaceans in pools. His first reaction was to go and sample. When we add that each small crustacean carried small nameplate with the species name he was a bit disappointed…:)
Well, let us go back to new species of Cladocera. The paper starts just perfectly to attract my attention: “During a survey of more than 40 acid saline lakes in the Esperance region, Dr Brian Timms found two populations of alonine chydorids in adjacent lakes and forwarded individuals to us for taxonomic determination”. It seems that I can imagine how Brian was sampling these lakes thoroughly inspecting each net. And the result met his expectations. Every naturalist wants that new species will be given his name. Finally, I don not know whether the species described is indeed new species or may be this is just the result of cyclomorphosis (I know that this is the statement which is prohibited in the scientific world). Nevertheless, what is important is that there are hundreds and thousands of new species around the world and to discover them before extinction we need such an enthusiastic naturalists as Brian Timms.
Artem Y. Sinev & Russell J. Shiel (2012). Extremalona timmsi gen. nov., sp. nov., a new cladoceran (Cladocera: Anomopoda: Chydoridae) from an acid saline lake in southwest Western Australia Journal of Natural History, 46 (45-46), 2845-2864 : 10.1080/00222933.2012.727215