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New Nematode Named After USGS Scientist

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Palau wrinkled ground frog (Platymantis pelewensis)
Above: Palau wrinkled ground frog (Platymantis pelewensis), host of a new species of nematode, Spinicauda fisheri, named for USGS research zoologist Robert N. Fisher, who discovered the nematode when he was a graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Photograph copyright © 2004 Chris Austin; used with permission. (View this and other frog photos on AmphibiaWeb.)

What's in a name? In 1991, Robert N. Fisher, now a research zoologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), visited the Palau Islands, Republic of Palau, as a graduate student conducting his Ph.D. research in population biology. During a routine examination for parasites in Palau wrinkled ground frogs (Platymantis pelewensis), a species endemic to the islands, he found an intestinal parasite new to science. He has been recognized in the naming of the new parasitic worm—Spinicauda fisheri—by colleagues Charles R. Bursey from the Pennsylvania State University and Stephen R. Goldberg from Whittier College, who described the new species in a recent issue of the Journal of Parasitology (v. 90, no. 6, p. 1428-1433).

S. fisheri is the 12th species in the Spinicauda genus of nematodes, and the first from Oceania. Spinicauda means “spiny tailed.” Nematodes in this genus have a tail that ends in a filament with tiny paired hairlike bristles. S. fisheri has five such spiny pairings, which distinguish it from the nearest species, with 12 pairs.

Fisher joined the USGS in 1998 at the Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)'s San Diego Field Station. He traveled to the Palau Islands as part of his ongoing study of the historical biogeography of the Pacific Basin islands, how different species were able to move to these islands, and the role the first humans to the region had in moving these species around. On November 10-11, 2004, Fisher and USGS scientist Stacie Hathaway (also from WERC) participated in an international workshop held at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji to help develop a comprehensive conservation plan for Fiji's native iguanas. For additional information about Fisher and his research, visit Robert Fisher's Web page.


Related Web Sites
Western Ecological Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
AmphibiaWeb
University of California, Berkeley

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USGS Scientist Interviewed About Hurricane Research

Researcher Shares Coral-Reef Expertise

Meetings Tampa Bay Study's 4th Annual Science Conference

Awards Coral-Reef Researcher Wins Prestigious Award

New Nematode Named After USGS Scientist

USGS Biologist Recognized by National Park Service

Staff & Center News CORE CEO Discusses Pew Ocean Commission Report

Publications April Publications List


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