Nebela kivuense Gauthier-Lièvre et Thomas, 1961 (Amoebozoa, Arcellinida), Missing for a Half-century; Found 11,500 km from “home”

Kenneth H. Nicholls


In 1961, the testate amoeba Nebela kivuense Gauthier-Lièvre et Thomas, 1961 was described for the first and only time from an area near Lake Edward in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (at 0.002° N Latitude). The lack of recent reports of this species, despite exhaustive surveys of the testate amoebae fauna of the major continents of the world, suggested that N. kivuense was a rare species perhaps endemic to a small, local equatorial region of the African continent. This paper reports its rediscovery from two wetland-conifer forest ecosystems in southern Ontario, Canada (at 44° N Latitude), thus changing dramatically our previous perception of its very restricted global distribution. This has implications for the idea held by many students of biogeography that there is a special category of microscopic protists that contains truly rare species and their rarity, perhaps together with specific habitat requirements and tolerances, limits opportunities for dispersal around the world. The N. kivuense story is a clear example of the dangers of inferring endemism from rarity.

Słowa kluczowe: Nebela, testate amoeba, Hyalospheniidae, protist biogeography

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