Achnanthidium lucectorii sp. nov. and A. enigmaticum sp. nov., novel diatoms (Bacillariophyta, Achnanthidiaceae) from Texas, U.S.A.

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Two new species, Achnanthidium lucectorii sp. nov., belonging to the A. minutissimum complex (species with straight terminal raphe ends), and A. enigmaticum sp. nov., within the A. pyrenaicum complex (species with hooked terminal raphe fissures), are described from Texas, U.S.A. utilizing light and scanning electron microscopy. Achnanthidium lucectorii sp. nov. has a raphe valve with striae located toward the apices composed of polygonal areolae, a marked stauros, a non-expanded raphe fissure, with straight (non-dilated) proximal ends, and distal ends extending onto the valve mantle. Internally, its raphe valve is flat, the proximal ends of the raphe end in small capitate expansions, and the distal ends terminate in low helictoglossae that fuse with the apices by a low apical siliceous thickening. In turn, its sternum valve is unique in that it is mostly flat in inner view, except at the central nodule, which is slightly raised. In turn, A. enigmaticum sp. nov. externally has a raphe valve with raphe distal ends shaped like a closed hook, at these ends the raphe slit surfaces at the valve face/mantle junction; its axial area is raised in external and internal views, with the virgae and striae in a lower position. These and other traditionally considered features are compared in detail with taxa morphologically similar to each of the new species. The significance of these features is discussed based on a literature survey, and the implications of considering the valve surface topography and the external and internal details of the raphe and central area are assessed. The latter, in favor of a continued morphological exploration of Achnanthidium until molecular studies are appropriately integrated into current morphological approaches used in the taxonomy of the genus.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

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