Kunstidamaeus nivalis,

Miko, L., 2010, Taxonomy of European Damaeidae (Acari: Oribatida) III. Species of the Kunstidamaeus tenuipes (Michael, 1885) group, with a description of Kunstidamaeus fraterculus n. sp. from East Slovakia, Zootaxa 2327, pp. 51-64: 56-60

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Kunstidamaeus nivalis


Kunstidamaeus nivalis  (Kulczynski, 1902) Figs. 5-7

Synonymy. Oribata nivalis Kulczynski  , 1902 Syn.: Damaeus nivalis  (Schatz 1983).

Diagnosis. Kunstidamaeus  with shortened, club-shaped sensillus with head covered by spinuli. Distinct perpendicular propodolateral apophysis P and strongly developed prodorsal tubercles Ba and La present. Spinae adnatae long and strongly curved, notogastral setae quite long anteriorly and diminishing posteriad.

Tectum of podocephalic fossa with strong and sharp, backwards oriented tip. Ventral tubercles E2a, E2p and Va distinct, tubercular, Vp shaped as transversal ridge bearing epimeral seta 3b; ventral setae quite long.

Material examined. Dr. Josef Starý kindly provided one individual of this very rarely collected species, found during his studies in Tatra Mountains, East Slovakia ( Starý, 1996). The individual (female), labelled "SK-07, 299-3b" (Fig 5A,B) was collected 22.6.1988 in limestone ridge of Belanské Tatry, in rhizosphere of Salix reticulata  growth on the slopes of Zadne Jatky (2030 m).  In addition, one slide comprising 2 specimens of the species was studied in Willmann's collection in Zoologische Staatsammlung in Munich. Slide is labelled "36., Karpathen, Frenzel, Belba nivalis  Kulcz., B. Montana Kulcz., Det. C. Willmann". The specimens are well observable, but with crushed bodies which do not allow for some measurements (eg. total length of body). These individuals may be the ones collected by Frenzel in Western part of Tatra Mountains, on the Mt. Placlivo (in mountain range of Roháče, ca 2000 m).  All the known findings are therefore from the High Tatra Mountains range, and suggest potential endemic character of the species.

Redescription of adult. Description is based on the Slovak specimen collected by J. Starý, which corresponds very well both to Frenzel's material as well as with original description of Kulczynski. Body medium sized, about 650-750 µm long (Kulczynski gives 670 to 750 µm, measured individual was 701 µm long, Frenzel's specimens (Fig. 6 A-D) are clearly somewhat smaller, but crashed body does not allow precise measurement). Body surface with fine granulation, well visible eg. on parastigmatic apophyses or ventrally. Sejugal area covered by filamentous cerotegument.

Prodorsum broadly triangular, about 250-260 µm long, and 270 µm broad (from tip to tip of propodolateral apophysis P). Propodolateral apophysis (Fig. 5A, 6B,D) developed as distinct, tubercular or pointed perpendicular tip. Bothridiae (bo, Fig. 7D) large, funnel-like, with expanded rim and almost circular opening, their mutual distance is ca 120 µm. They are positioned on the edges of an elevated part of prodorsum. Anterior edge of this elevated area, especially in the lateral parts close to the bothridiae, falls more suddenly down, appearing from dorsal view as short, distinct rib-like structure, bent inwards, resembling lamellar ribs. In postbothridial area, typical set of two well developed, very distinctly protruding tubercles (Ba, La) present (Fig. 6D). Short, slightly thickened transversal ridges may be seen on posterior part of dorsosejugal groove, opposite to tubercles Ba, but without protruding tubercles. Parastigmatic apophyses strong and unequal in development. Anterior apophyse Sa longer, perpendicular, straight or slightly curved forwards, with a sharp tip. Posterior apophyse Sp shorter, without elongated tip, blunt and oblique. Sensillus of very typical shape, relatively short (108-118 µm, in distal third slightly thickened and club-shaped, with head covered by dense spinuli, with blunt or slightly sharpened tip (Fig. 7D). Prodorsal setae (Fig. 7C) relatively long with lamellar setae le almost reaching the length of sensillus (102-108 µm) and longer than other prodorsal setae, with a few short spinuli present. Rostral setae ro slightly longer or almost as long as interlamellar setae in (ro: 75-79 µm; in: 55-75 µm). Exobothridial setae ex shortest of all (27-37 µm), finer, curved.

Notogaster (Fig. 5A, 6C) almost circular, 435 µm long and 425 µm broad if measured in dorsal view. Spinae adnatae (Fig. 6C) strongly curved outwards and backwards, spiniform and quite long (about 80 µm in total), with broader base and quite slender, elongated and sharp tip. Anterior notogastral setae quite long, posterior being shorter, finer and diminishing backwards. Lengths of notogastral setae (Fig. 7C) on studied individual as follows, with the same seta length of Frenzel´s individuals whenever available and measurable in parenthesis: c1 75 µm (73 µm), c2 75 µm (73,5 µm), la 78 µm (61,5 µm), lm 72 µm (75 µm), lp 72 µm, h3 42 µm (43 µm), h2 39 µm (?25 µm, identity of seta uncertain), h1 33 µm, ps1 30 µm (27 µm), ps2 27 µm (29-39 µm), ps3 30 µm (29 µm). All setae appearing smooth, but when closer observed, the longer ones (c1-lp) with a row of short, sparse hairs or spinuli.

Ventral side (Fig. 7B) of the body with very distinct, well developed tubercles, connected with distinct ventrolateral longitudinal ridges. E2a and E2p present as blunt or slightly sharpened and protruding angular thickenings, Va strong, dentiform, Vp developed as a flat transversal ridge. Anterior tectum of podocephalic fossa with strong and sharp tip oriented backwards. Medial pit cp on coxisternum I present, well developed. Discidium (dis, Fig. 5A,B) protruding, perpendicular to body, finger-like or ceratiform, with a blunt tip. Ventral setae rather long (Fig. 5B), longest epimeral setae (1b, 3b, 4b) up to 70-75 µm, shortest (2a) only 27 µm long. Seta 1c inserted on the edge of lateral longitudinal ridge, seta 3b inserted on posterior ventrosejugal ridge (Vp). Anal and genital openings of about same length (ca 135 µm), but genital opening broader (135 µm) than anal opening at broadest place (115 µm). Triangular postanal sclerit (pas) present in caudal part of ventral plate (Fig. 5B). Standard numbers of smooth genital, anal, adanal and adgenital setae, all relatively long - from 35 µm (ad1) to 55-57 µm (ad2, ad3).

Legs (Fig. 7A,B) comparatively shorter than in K. tenuipes  , leg I about as long as body length, leg IV 1,3- 1,4 times longer. Setation of legs as usual in Kunstidamaeus  .

Remarks. The individuals examined fit very well with description of Kulczynski (1902), even if he brings slightly higher values for length of anterior notogastral setae (90-110 µm). Interestingly, already Kulczynski considered similarity with K. tenuipes  , which should differ (accordingly with our material) besides the absence of tip on the place of apophysis P by longer legs, more clearly dilated head of sensillus and slightly longer notogastral setae. Given the restricted findings in very small area, K. nivalis  may be an endemic of highest alpine and subnival zone of Slovak Tatra Mountains (Western Carpathians).