The role of museums in safeguarding biodiversity: A happy end of the century-long saga of Tritogenia zuluensis (Beddard, 1907) (Oligochaeta: Tritogeniidae)

J. D. Plisko

Abstract


Tritogenia zuluensis (Beddard, 1907) is re-described and the taxonomic position of this species is ve­rified. Limited knowledge of South African earthworms at the time of the original species description and a misleading specimen illustration led to difficulty in the establishment of its true identity. Thanks to protection of the type material at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Norway, this species can be re-described and illustrated, and its lectotype and paralectotype are designated. Types of Microchaetus zulu Michaelsen, 1907, a junior synonym of Tritogenia zuluensis, safely stored for more than a hundred years in the Göteborg Natural History Museum, Sweden, was most helpful in the process of re-description. The significant role played by museums and similar organizations in protecting past and present natural resource treasures for the future, is highlighted. The crucial function of natural history collections in supporting tra­ditional taxonomy, the key to understanding biodiversity, is clearly demonstrated.

To cite this paper: Plisko, J.D. 2013. The role of museums in safeguarding biodiversity: A happy end of the century-long saga of Tritogenia zuluensis (Beddard, 1907) (Oligochaeta: Tritogeniidae). African Invertebrates 54 (2): 477–489.

Published electronically: 19 November 2013
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:2A04AF71-6255-4F3B-91E0-BC62B61B9F27


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