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Babalean, A. (2018). Platybunus Species Diversity in the Opiliones (Arachnida) Collection Dan Dumitrescu of the Grigore Antipa Museum (Preliminary Data, Part I). PHILICA.COM Article number 1231.

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Platybunus Species Diversity in the Opiliones (Arachnida) Collection Dan Dumitrescu of the Grigore Antipa Museum (Preliminary Data, Part I)

Anda Felicia Babaleanunconfirmed user (University “Politehnica” of Timisoara)

Published in bio.philica.com

Abstract
The paper presents preliminary data on the Platybunus species diversity in the Opiliones collection Dan Dumitrescu of the Museum of Natural History Grigore Antipa.

Article body

Platybunus Species Diversity in the Opiliones (Arachnida) Collection – Dan Dumitrescu – of the Grigore Antipa Museum – Preliminary Data – Part I

Author

Anda Felicia Babalean

University of Craiova, Faculty of Horticulture, Department of Biology and Environmental Engineering, 13 A. I. Cuza Street, 200583, Craiova, Romania, anda_babalean@yahoo.com

Abstract

The paper presents preliminary data on the Platybunus species diversity in the Opiliones collection – Dan Dumitrescu – of the Museum of Natural History Grigore Antipa. The inventory of the investigated samples comprises the following species:

1. Platybunus decui Avram, 1968 (Latoriței Mts., Puru, 11 VII 1966, female – collection no. 41/63),

2. Platybunus jeporum Avram, 1968 (Bucegi Mts., Jepi, 7-13 VIII 1960),

3. Platybunus juvarae Avram, 1968 (Făgăraș Mts., Avrig Lake, 30 VIII 1964),

4. Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 (CSSR, Babia Góra, 1960, collection no. 612075; Ceahlău Mts., VIII 1960, male – collection no. 389/60, female - collection no. 390/60; Călimani Mts., 26 VIII 1976 – 1650 m. and 1700 m. altitude),

5. Platybunus pinetorum (C. L. Koch, 1839) (Cozia, 8 VI 1972, 20 VIII 1975; Scropoasa Lake – Dobrești, Dâmbovița, 3 X 1978; Cabana Sebeșel, 24-25 VI 1972),

6. Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) (Parâng Mts., Corneșu Mare, 20-24 VIII 1970, collection no. 327/95),

Platybunus silhavyi n. sp. Dumitrescu (unpublished) (samples: a) Parâng Mts., Corneșu Mare, 20-24 VIII 1970, collection no. 327/95; b) Rarău Mts., Codrul Secular Slătioara, 29 VI, 1967, 1 male – paratype, collection no. 469; c) Bucegi Mts., Sinaia, 1968, 1 male) is identified as Platybunus bucephalus.

Introduction

The instructive and scientific role of the museums’ collections it is very well known. Not few times, important specimens are lost or become invisible because of numerous factors: physical loss, partial or total deterioration of the labels or of the biological material, misidentification or the impossibility to identify species, etc. The maintenance of the scientific collections in a good state is therefore an objective necessity and an obligation for both group specialists and museum staff as well.

The final purpose of this study is a catalogue of the Platybunus species in the collection “Dan Dumitrescu” of the “Grigore Antipa” Museum, aiming at: 1) the identification of the Platybunus species of all the samples, 2) a thorough inventory (including the vials' content) and label/re-label of all the samples.

Material and method

The specimens have been identified using the main morphological characters – habitus, chelicerae, pedipalps, ocular tubercle, penis and seminal receptacles which have been compared with the data of the literature. The study was hindered by the lack of mini-vials usually used to separate small pieces (ovipositor, penis, chelicerae,…..). The photos were taken with a Sony Cyber-shot camera.

Abbreviations: Ap – apophysis, ch – chelicerae, Fe – femur,  Pp – pedipalp, Pt – Patella, Ta – tarsus, Ti – tibia, To – ocular tuberculum; “D.D.”collection – collection “Dan Dumitrescu” – “Grigore Antipa” Museum.

Results

In certain cases un-conformity of the vials’ labels and content has been noticed, for instance P. juvarae…….

The investigated samples comprise the following species:

1. Platybunus decui Avram, 1968 – Fig. 1

Sample state: 1 vial with: a) 1 ♀ - slit genital operculum, ovipositor absent and b) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch, 1 Pp. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus decui Avram ♀, M. Latoriței, Puru, 11.VII. 1966, leg. M. Vasiliu, det. D. Dumitrescu 1967, 41/63”.

Habitus: yellow-brown dorsum with small light brown spots; slightly visible saddle; yellow-brown coxae, chelicerae and pedipalps; To – with a simple or a double row of denticles; ch – the proximal (basal) article with few dorsal spiniform denticles or double denticles; Pp: Fe – with 2-3 tubercles in the apical medial position (near the junction Fe-Pt) and one ventral row of black-tipped tubercles; Ap-Pt with 2 medial conspicuous tubercles; Ti – with 2 unequal tubercles; Ta – with a ventral row of conspicuous spine-tipped tubercles.

 

 

Fig. 1 Platybunus decui Avram, 1968: a – sample vial; b – female habitus; c – Ap-Pt-Pp; d – Pp lateral extern; e - chelicera

 

 

2. Platybunus jeporum Avram, 1968 – Fig. 2

Sample no. 1 state: 1 vial with: a) 3 ♂♂ (1 ♂ - slit genital operculum, penis absent; 2 intact ♂♂) and b) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch, 1 Pt-Ti-Ta, 1 Ti-Ta, 1 Tr-Fe. Two original labels in black pencil: the first label – “Platybunus jeporum n.sp. 7 ♂♂”, the second label – “Mts. Bucegi - Jepi, 7-13 VIII 1960”

Sample no. 2 state: 1 vial with a) 1 vial with 1 intact ♂, penis visible by tegument transparency. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus jeporum Avram ♂ Munții Bucegi; Jepi, 7.13. VIII. 1960, leg. I. Fuhn”.

Male: habitus – light brown to yellow dorsum with small brown spots, saddle – merely visible; light brown coxae, chelicerae and pedipalps; ch – the proximal (basal) article with dorsal denticles; the distal article with a triangular apophysis and setae; the claws with blackish margins; Pp: Fe: without apical medial tubercles, with a ventral row of denticles and tubercles of moderate size; Pt – with ventral-external denticulation,  Ap-Pt – triangular shape, with 2 medial spine-tipped denticles; Ti – with 2 unequal denticles, Ap-Ti – elongated, cylindrical; Ta – with a basal protuberance and with a ventral row of tubercles of moderate size.

 

 

Fig. 2 Platybunus jeporum Avram, 1968: a – sample vial; b – male habitus; c – chelicera; d – Ap-Pt-Pp; e – Pt-Ti-Ta-Pp; f – Fe-Pp 

 

 

3. Platybunus juvarae Avram, 1968 – Fig. 3 (♂), Fig. 4 (♀)

Sample no. 1 state: 1 vial with: a) 3 ♀♀ (2 ♀♀ - slit genital opercula, absent ovipositors, 1 intact ♀), b) 4 legs and c) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch and 1 Pp. Two original labels: the first label – black pencil: “Platybunus juvarae n. sp. 5 ♀♀ Lacul Avrig, Făgăraș 30 VIII 64 Leg. I. Juvara”, the second label – China ink: “Platybunus juvarae Avram ♀ lacul Avrig. Mas. Făgăraș 30 VIII 1964. leg. I. Juvara”

Sample no. 2 state: 1 vial with: a) 1 ♂ and b) 1 mini-vial with the penis. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus juvarae Avram ♂ Lacul Avrig; Mas. Făgăraș, 30 VIII 1964 leg. Ilinca Juvara”.

Male: habitus – light brown to yellow dorsum with small brown spots, saddle – merely visible; ch – with prominent denticles on the basal article; Pp: Ap-Pt with 2 medial very low denticles, similar to Platybunus pallidus; Ta – with a very low basal protuberance and with a ventral row of denticles (or very short tubercles). Penis – thick body, ventrally bend into a groove near the junction body-gland.

Female: habitus – yellow to light brown dorsum, with small brown spots, saddle – merely visible; ch – with few and very small denticles on the basal article; Pp – resembles the Pp of Platybunus pallidus: Fe – with a ventral row of conspicuous spine-tipped tubercles and an apical-medial protuberance with 1-2 denticles (tubercles of moderate size); Ap-Pt – with 2 medial conspicuous spine-tipped tubercles; Ta – with a ventral row of conspicuous spine-tipped tubercles. The ovipositor and seminal receptacles were not investigated because on the one the hand, despite the label (5 ♀♀), the sample includes only 3 females of which only one intact, and on the other hand because of the lack of mini-vials to separate the ovipositors.

 

 

Fig. 3 Platybunus juvarae Avram 1968, b - h – male: a – vials; b – male habitus; c – Pp – lateral extern; d – Ti and Ta-Pp – dorsal; e – Ap-Pt-Pp – dorsal, f – chelicera; g – penis; h – the distal part of the penis with the gland.

 

 

 

Fig. 4 Platybunus juvarae Avram, 1968, female: a – female habitus; b – Pp – lateral extern; c – Ap-Pt-Pp – dorsal; d – chelicera

 

 

4. Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – Fig. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sample no. 1 state: 1 vial with: a) 1 vial with 1 ♂, b) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch and 1 Pp and c) 1 mini-vial with the penis. Original label – China ink and printed: one side – “Platybunus pallidus Šilh. 1938 V. Šilhavý determ. ex. 612075”, back side – “CSSR, Babia Góra, 1960, Vyslouzìl leg. (name – indecipherable).

Sample no. 2 state: 1 vial with: a) 1 ♂ and b) 1 mini-vial with the penis. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus pallidus Šilh. ♂ Mas. Ceahlău, VIII. 1960, det. D. Dumitrescu 1969, 389/60”.

Sample no. 3 state: 1 vial with:  a) 1 ♀ and b) 1 mini-vial with the ovipositor. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus pallidus Šilh. ♀ Mas. Ceahlău, VIII. 1960, det. D. Dumitrescu 1969, 390/60”.

Sample no. 4 state: 1 vial with 4 unidentified Platybunus specimens. Original label – China ink: “Mts. Călimani (C. Or.) 1650 m. 26. VIII. 1976 capcane Barber don. Ing. S. Ceianu”. Identified: Platybunus pallidus – 2 ♂♂, 2 ♀♀ - det. A.F. Babalean 2016.

Sample no. 5 state: 1 vial with 5 unidentified Platybunus specimens. Original label – China ink: “M. Călimani (Carp. Orient.) 26. VIII. 1976, 1700 m. lat. Capcane Barber don. Ing. I. Ceianu”. Identified: Platybunus pallidus – 3 ♂♂, 2 ♀♀; 2 ♂♂ separated in different vials – det. A.F. Babalean 2016.

Male: the habitus shows variability, from a pale dorsum – yellow-brown to a melanic one – dark brown, distinct saddle; Pp: Fe – with a ventral row of spiniform tubercles, no apical medial spiniform tubercle; Ap-Pt with 2 medial denticles; Ti – variable, with 2 unequal tubercles/denticles; Ta – variable, without a basal protuberance and with a ventral row of denticles/tubercles. Samples b) sample Călimani Mts., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean and c) sample 389/60, Ceahlău Mts., VIII 1960, det. D. Dumitrescu show a mark of a basal protuberance. The penis showed morphological identity in all studied specimens, also showed identity with the specimen identified by Šilhavý and with Šilhavý's description (1956).

Female – not studied.

 

Fig. 5 Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – sample vials

 

 

 

Fig. 6 Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – male habitus variability: a – sample 612075 – V. Šilhavý determ.; b – ♂ no. 1-sample Călimani Mt., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; c - ♂ no. 1, sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; d – ♂ no. 2, sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

 

Fig. 7 Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – male Pp lateral extern: a – sample 612075 – V. Šilhavý determ.; b - ♂ no. 1-sample Călimani Mt., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; c - ♂ no. 1, sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; d – ♂ no. 3. sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

 

Fig. 8 Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – Ap-Pt-Pp: a – sample 612075 – V. Šilhavý determ.; b - ♂ no. 1-sample Călimani Mt., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; c - ♂ no. 1, sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; d – ♂ no. 3. sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

 

Fig. 9 Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938 – Pp dorsal – Pt-Ti-Ta (Ta – see the absence of a basal protuberance): a – sample 612075 – V. Šilhavý determ.; b - sample Călimani Mt., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean; c – sample 389/60, Ceahlău Mt., VIII 1960, det. D. Dumitrescu; d – ♂ no. 3. sample Călimani Mt. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. - det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

5. Platybunus pinetorum (C. L. Koch, 1839) – Fig. 10

Sample no. 1 state: 1 vial with 20 unidentified opilionids. Original label – black pencil: “Arachnide, vârf Cozia, 20 august 1975”. Identified: Platybunus pinetorum – 2 ♂♂, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 2 state: 1 vial with 20 unidentified opilionids. Original label – China ink: “ Malul L. Scropoasa – Dobrești (DB) 3 X 1978 leg. D.D.”. Identified: Platybunus pinetorum – 1 ♂, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 3 state: 1 vial with 7 unidentified opilionids. Original label – black pencil: “Dragan V. Cabana Sebeșel 1976 VI 24, 25”. Identified: Platybunus pinetorum – 3 ♂♂, 3 ♀♀, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 4 state: 1 vial with 2 unidentified opilionids and 1 unidentified pseudoscorpion. Original label – black pencil: “Cozia 72. VI. 8”. Identified: Platybunus pinetorum – 1, det. A.F. Babalean.

 

 

Fig. 10 sample vials with Platybunus pinetorum (C. L. Koch, 1839) – det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

6. Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) – Fig. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Sample no. 1 state: 1 vial with a) 1 ♂- slit genital operculum and b) 1 mini-vial with the penis. Original label – China ink: “PLATYBUNUS SILHAVYI Dumitrescu ♂ 29.VI. 1967, Mas. Rarău (Codrul Secular SLĂTIOARA); pe trunchiuri de molid, leg. C. Oltean; det. D. Dumitrescu PARATIP 469”. Identified: Platybunus bucephalus – 1 ♂, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 2 state: 1 vial with 4 ♂♂ and 1 ♀. Original label – “Platybunus silhavyi Dum. 4 ♂♂, 1 ♀, România, Mas. Parâng (Mts. Corneșu Mare) alt. 1600 m., sub trunchiuri căzute pe sol, pe trunchiuri de brad, molid, în padure, 20-24 VIII 1970 leg. et det. D. Dumitrescu 327/95”. Identified: Platybunus bucephalus – 4 ♂♂, 1 ♀, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 3 state: 1 vial with a) 1 ♂ - slit genital operculum and b) 1 mini-vial with the penis. Original label – China ink: “Platybunus silhavyi n. sp. ♂, Mții. Bucegi Sinaia, 1968, leg. C. Oltean”. Identified: Platybunus bucephalus – 1 ♂, det. A.F. Babalean.

Sample no. 4 state: 1 vial with: a) 1 ♀ - ovipositor absent and b) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch and 1 Pp. Original label – China ink: “PLATYBUNUS SILHAVYI Dumitrescu 27. VII.1967; Depresiunea Dornei (Poiana Stampei) = ALOTIP = leg. C. Oltean, det. D. Dumitrescu, 343.

Sample no. 5 state: 1 vial with: a) 1 ♀ - ovipositor absent and b) 1 mini-vial with 1 ch and 1 Pp. Original label – China ink: “PLATYBUNUS SILHAVYI Dumitrescu ♀ 29. VI. 1969; Masiv Rarău (Codrul Secular Slătioara; pe trunchiuri de molid; leg. C. Oltean; det. D. Dumitrescu 344”.

Male: the habitus shows to be different with respect to the shape of the body and the colour of the dorsum in the male specimens of the 3 male samples (Rarău, Corneșu Mare-Parâng, Sinaia-Bucegi) – Fig. 11 a, b, c; Pp: the armature of the pedipalp, the apopysis of the Pt and Ti are almost identical in the males of the 3 samples and are Platybunus bucephalus specific. The Ap-Pt-Pp presents 2 medial denticles. The basal protuberance on the Ta is a constant character and is Platybunus bucephalus specific. The penis is almost identical in the specimens of the 3 samples (Fig.15): the distal part of the body (near the junction with the gland) is rather flat than convex (inflated).

Female: not studied.

 

 

Fig. 11 Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) – male habitus variability; chelicera: a – sample 469 PARATIP P. silhavyi, Rarău Mt. (Codrul Secular Slătioara), 29. VI. 1967, det. A.F. Babalean; b – sample 327/95 P. silhavyi, Parâng Mt.-Corneșu Mare, 20-24. VIII. 1970, det. A.F. Babalean; c – sample P. silhavyi 1 ♂ Bucegi Mt., Sinaia, 1968, det. A.F. Babalean; d – chelicera.

 

 

 

Fig. 12 Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) – male Pp – a, b – lateral-extern, c - dorsal: a – sample 469 PARATIP P. silhavyi, Rarău Mt. (Codrul Secular Slătioara), 29. VI. 1967, det. A.F. Babalean; b – sample 327/95 P. silhavyi, Parâng Mt.-Corneșu Mare, 20-24. VIII. 1970, det. A.F. Babalean; c – comparative paratype-up, Parâng-Corneșu-down.

 

 

 

Fig. 13 Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) – Ap-Pt-Pp: a – sample 469 PARATIP P. silhavyi, Rarău Mt. (Codrul Secular Slătioara), 29. VI. 1967, det. A.F. Babalean; b – sample 327/95 P. silhavyi, Parâng Mt.-Corneșu Mare, 20-24. VIII. 1970, det. A.F. Babalean; c – sample P. silhavyi 1 ♂ Bucegi Mt., Sinaia, 1968, det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

 

Fig. 14 Platybunus bucephalus (C. L. Koch, 1835) – Pp-Ti-Ta (see the basal protuberance on the tarsi): a – sample 469 PARATIP P. silhavyi, Rarău Mt. (Codrul Secular Slătioara), 29. VI. 1967, det. A.F. Babalean; b – sample 327/95 P. silhavyi, Parâng Mt.-Corneșu Mare, 20-24. VIII. 1970, det. A.F. Babalean; c – sample P. silhavyi 1 ♂ Bucegi Mt., Sinaia, 1968, det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

 

Fig. 15 Platybunus bucephalus – the penis: a - sample 327/95 P. silhavyi, Parâng Mt.-Corneșu Mare, 20-24. VIII. 1970, det. A.F. Babalean (left) and sample 469 PARATIP P. silhavyi, Rarău Mt. (Codrul Secular Slătioara), 29. VI. 1967, det. A.F. Babalean (right); b - sample P. silhavyi 1 ♂ Bucegi Mt., Sinaia, 1968, det. A.F. Babalean

 

 

Discussions

The species of the genus Platybunus show a certain degree of variability of some morphological features – habitus, pedipalp; some features are shared by many species (are common for many species) – for instance, the presence of 2 denticles on the male Ap-Pt-Pp is a Platybunus pallidus specific character but is also present in: Platybunus pinetorum and Platybunus bucephalus (Babalean 2016). Related to these morphological aspects, the following discussions can be developed for the Platybunus species present in the opilionid collection “Dan Dumitrescu”:

1. Platybunus decui Avram, 1968 – sample “Platybunus decui Avram ♀, M. Latoriței, Puru, 11.VII. 1966, leg. M. Vasiliu, det. D. Dumitrescu 1967, 41/63”.

The presence of 2 conspicuous spiniform tubercles on Ap-Pt-Pp might fall within the variability ranges of Platybunus bucephalus. The literature reports the presence of a variable (inconstant) number (1 - 3) of denticles/tubercles on Ap-Pt-Pp (Iorio & Delfosse 2016, Babalean 2016). The seminal receptacles as drawn by Dumitrescu (Dumitrescu, 1968) – 2 unequal vesicles are similar to those of Platybunus bucephalus. The above mentioned female specimen sample might actually belong to Platybunus bucephalus.

 

2. Platybunus juvarae Avram, 1968 – samples “Platybunus juvarae n. sp. 5 ♀♀ Lacul Avrig, Făgăraș 30 VIII 64 Leg. I. Juvara” and “Platybunus juvarae Avram ♂ Lacul Avrig; Mas. Făgăraș, 30 VIII 1964 leg. Ilinca Juvara”

Most of the morphological characters of both male and female specimens of Platybunus juvarae of the 2 samples correspond to Platybunus pallidus. The very low protuberance on the Ta-Pp is in agreement with Marten's figure (Martens, 1978) and also with some Platybunus pallidus specimens in “DD” collection which show a mark of basal protuberance (see the next paragraph, sample Călimani Mts. and sample Ceahlău Mts.). Instead, the penis body is thick and inflated in the distal part, slightly resembling the penis of Platybunus bucephalus (Fig. 3h). The ovipositor and the seminal receptacles were not investigated because of the above mentioned objective reasons. One must notice that the seminal receptacles drawn by Avram (1968) for Platybunus juvarae are distinct. They are different from those photographed by Babalean (2016) for Platybunus pallidus, from those drawn by Šilhavý for Platybunus pallidus (Šilhavý, 1956 – tab. XXXI-fig.417) and from those drawn by Martens for both Platybunus pallidus and Platybunus bucephalus (Martens, 1978-fig. 463, 464) with respect to the shape of the upper vesicle.

 

3. Platybunus pallidus Šilhavý, 1938

The male Platybunus pallidus specimens of the analysed samples fall within the variability ranges of this species. The habitus variability, namely the presence of pale and melanic (darker) specimens has been recorded in Platybunus pallidus in Parâng Mountains (Babalean, 2016). By its features, the pedipalp shows to be a constant character. Some aspects must be noticed:

A) The Ta of the male specimen no. 3 of the sample Călimani Mts. 26 VIII 1976, 1700 m. alt. (Fig. 9d) is identical with the Ta of the male specimen of the sample 612075 – V. Šilhavý determ. (det. V. Šilhavý) (Fig. 9a), showing the lack of the basal protuberance.

B) The Ta of the specimens of the samples Călimani Mts., 26.VIII.1976, 1650 m. alt. - det. A. F. Babalean (Fig. 9b) and 389/60, Ceahlău Mts., VIII 1960, det. D. Dumitrescu (Fig. 9c) presents a merely developed basal protuberance. A moderate basal protuberance on Ta-Pp in Platybunus pallidus is also figured by Martens (1978). The presence of a basal protuberance on the male Ta-Pp in Platybunus pallidus might indicate that this character is subjected to clinal variation.

 

4. Platybunus silhavyi Dumitrescu, unpublished

Considering the Pp, the male specimens of the 3 analysed samples            (PARATIP 469 – Mas. Rarău (Codrul Secular Slătioara); 327/95 – Mas. Parâng-Corneșu Mare; Mții. Bucegi-Sinaia) belong to Platybunus bucephalus. Considering the flat distal part of the penis body (Fig. 15), the male specimens of the 3 analysed samples seem to be closer to Platybunus pallidus. The literature reports a flat distal part of the penis body in Platybunus pallidus (Šilhavý, 1956 – tab. XXXI-fig. 416; Martens, 1978 – fig. 475) and convex (inflated) in Platybunus bucephalus (Šilhavý, 1956 – tab. XXXI-fig. 413; Martens, 1978 – fig. 473).  Considering the habitus, the male specimens of the 3 analysed samples seem to belong to 2 morphological species (morphological varieties): Platybunus bucephalus – specimens from Parâng – Corneșu Mare and “Platybunus silhavyi” – specimens from Rarău and Bucegi Mts. which show a distinct habitus, different from Platybunus bucephalus (Fig. 11).  The penis is almost identical in the specimens of the 3 samples (Fig.15) and closer to Platybunus pallidus with respect to the flat aspect of the distal part of the penis body.

Most probably, the reasons for which the males of these three samples have been considered as belonging to a new species are the similarities and the differences with / from Platybunus jeporum. Similarities Platybunus jeporum – “Platybunus silhavyi”: Ta-Pp with a basal protuberance, similar habitus. Differences Platybunus jeporum – “Platybunus silhavyi”: Ap-Ti-Pp cylindrical, thicker in Platybunus jeporum, thinner in “Platybunus silhavyi”; chelicerae with apophysis in Platybunus jeporum, without apophysis in “Platybunus silhavyi”.

Other objective reasons that led Dan Dumitrescu to consider the males of the 3 samples as belonging to a new species are: the time span between the collecting moment and the comparison moment, the scarce literature for the Platybunus species and the fact that the types considered P. silhavyi n. sp. have been collected from three far off mountainous areas. Platybunus jeporum (chelicerae with apophysis) was collected in august 1960 from Bucegi-Jepi and published in 1968 by Avram. The paratype of “Platybunus silhavyi” (chelicerae without apophysis) was collected in June 1967; considering the chelicerae and the Pp aspect, the specimen of this sample belongs to Platybunus bucephalus, but because the male sample was collected in June its habitus differs from the adult habitus of Platybunus bucephalus; accordingly it is considered to belong to a new species. A male sample was collected from Bucegi (leg. C. Oltean) in 1968; its chelicerae lack the apophysis and its habitus differs considerably from that of Platybunus bucephalus. Being collected from the same location as Platybunus jeporum it was expected to belong to Platybunus jeporum. The lack of the chelicera apophysis and the completely different habitus (different from Platybunus bucephalus) led Dumitrescu to consider this type to belong to a new species.

In some opilionid species, including Platybunus pinetorum, the facultative parthenogenesis was reported (Tsurusaki, 1986). Some invertebrates with parthenogenetic reproduction show a periodical variation of the morphological characters, for example cyclomorphosis in Rotifera (Firă & Năstăsescu 1977).

We must take into account that the only “Platybunus silhavyi” specimen found in Bucegi was collected in 1968, and the  type specimens on which the description  of Platybunus jeporum  was made (holotype, alotype, paratypes), as well as the specimens of Platybunus jeporum in the  collection “Dan Dumitrescu” of the Antipa  Museum were collected from  Bucegi Mts. in  1960. Unfortunately, only one specimen belonging to the genus Platybunus was collected in 1968 from Bucegi Mts. The fauna of the Platybunus species in Bucegi Mts. in that year is therefore unknown and thus, we cannot make any comparison. The lack of data only allows us to make suppositions: i) Platybunus jeporum and Platybunus bucephalus coexist, fact that cannot be proved because of insufficient samples; ii) Platybunus jeporum was replaced by Platybunus bucephalus; iii) Platybunus jeporum and the morphological variety “Platybunus silhavyi” belong to only one species which optionally breeds by parthenogenesis and presents a periodical variability of the morphological characters.

Conclusions

1. Most of the morphological characters, including those considered of a high taxonomical value (penis, seminal receptacles) proved to be variable and present in more than one species. They might indicate a clinal variation or a variation in time. The identification of the Platybunus species based only on the morphological characters is difficult and subjected to error.

2. A systematic revision of the Platybunus species is imposed with: i) the analysis of the species morphological characters in space (the entire spreading area of each species) and time; ii) molecular and genetic data; iii) the finding out of the evolutionary meaning of parthenogenesis for the species of the genus Platybunus.

Acknowlegments

A. F. Babalean is deeply grateful to Dr. Dan Dumitrescu for entrusting the study of the Opiliones, to Dr. Melanya Stan for the access to “Dan Dumitrescu” opilionid collection, to Mrs. Iulia Călin and Dr. Andreea Bratu for precious help in English translation of a former draft of the manuscript and to all those who facilitated the access to literature.

References

Avram, Ș. (1968). Contribuție la cunoașterea speciilor genului Platybunus din România (Opiliones, Phalangiidae): Platybunus juvarae n.sp., P. decui n. sp., P. jeporum n. sp. Lucrările Institutului de Speologie “Emil Racoviță”, 8, 163-185.

Babalean, A. F. (2016). Species diversity of the genus Platybunus (Arachnida, Opiliones) in Rânca – Mohorul area (Parâng Mts., Romania) – a morphological approach. Annals of the University of Craiova, 21, 429- 446.

Babalean, A. F. (2016). Platybunus species diversity in the Opiliones (Arachnida) collection ”Dan Dumitrescu” at ”Grigore Antipa” Museum – preliminary data. Paper presented at the International Congress of Zoology-CZGA, Bucharest, Romania, November 2016.

Dumitrescu, D. (1968). Sur Platybunus decui Avram 1968 (Arach. Phalangiidae). Travaux du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle Grigore Antipa, 8, 1021-1027.

Firă, V. & Năstăsescu, M. (1977). Zoologia nevertebratelor. EDP – București.

Iorio, É. & Delfosse, E. (2016). Les opilions de la moitié nord de la France (Arachnida: Opiliones). Mémoires de la Société Linnéenne de Bordeaux 17, 3-72.

Martens, J. (1978). Spinnentiere, Arachnida Weberknechte, Opiliones. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands, Veb Gustav Fischer Verlag Jena, 64 Teil.

Šilhavý, V. (1938). Les Opilions de la chaine de montagnes Jeseníky. Sborník Klubu Přirodovědeckého V Brně Za Rok, 20, 68-74.

Šilhavý, V. (1956). Sekáči-Opilionidea. Fauna ČSR 7.

Tsurusaki, N. (1986). Parthenogenesis and Geographic Variation of Sex Ratio in Two Species of Leiobunum (Arachnida, Opiliones). Zoological Science 3, 517-532.


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Babalean, A. (2018). Platybunus Species Diversity in the Opiliones (Arachnida) Collection Dan Dumitrescu of the Grigore Antipa Museum (Preliminary Data, Part I). PHILICA.COM Article number 1231.


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