Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Concepts about biodiversity, including numbers of species, is under continual revision based on biological collections in museums that have been assembled over the past century. Archives of specimens and information provide a basis for understanding how the biosphere has been assembled and structured in space and time. Thus, specimens tell us about the past and future of ecosystems and constitute a pathway for identifying how complex biological systems respond to change. Studies of archival specimens held in the US National parasite Collection, ARS, USDA and in the Harold W. Manter Laboratory, Nebraska State Museum revealed unknown species of tapeworms (species of Arostrilepis) in rodents of the families Cricetidae (Neotominae) and Geomyidae. This discovery has contributed to the recognition of a large complex of cryptic species (species that are morphologically similar and difficult to differentiate) in rodents and indicates a long and convoluted history for host associations and species origins for the fauna in North America and the generality of processes for evolution of parasites and hosts. In the absence of museum collections, this study would not have been possible. These studies emphasize the need for routine deposition of archival specimens and information, from survey, ecological and biogeographic studies, in museum collections to serve as self correcting records for biodiversity at local, regional and continental scales.
Specimens originally identified as Arostrilepis horrida from the Nearctic are revised, contributing to the recognition of a complex of cryptic species distributed across the Holarctic region. Previously unrecognized species are described based on specimens in rodents of the families Cricetidae (Neotominae), and Geomyidae. Arostrilepis mariettavogae sp. n. in Peromyscus californicus from Monterey County, California, USA and A. schilleri sp. n. in Thomomys bulbivorus from Corvallis, Oregon, USA are characterized. Consistent with recent studies defining diversity in the genus, the form, size and spination (pattern, shape and size) of the cirrus are diagnostic; species are further distinguished by the relative position and length of the cirrus sac, and arrangement for the testes. Species of Arostrilepis have not previously been described in rodents outside of the Arvicolinae, nor from localities in the Nearctic. These studies emphasize the need for routine deposition of archival specimens and information, from survey, ecological and biogeographic studies, in museum collections to serve as self correcting records for biodiversity at local, regional and continental scales.