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Morphology, biology and taxonomic revision of Exocnophila Zompro, 2001 (Insecta: Phasmatodea: Diapheromeridae)

Grant number: 21/03458-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Eliana Marques Cancello
Grantee:Victor Morais Ghirotto
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Insects of the order Phasmatodea are poorly sampled, little known and little studied in Brazil, and only recently this scenario is starting to change. There are few specialists in Phasmatodea in general, especially in Brazil. The situation portrays the need for more sampling and taxonomic studies with Brazilian stick insects. This project proposes to revise taxonomically the genus Exocnophila Zompro, 2001 (Diapheromeridae), native to the Southeastern Atlantic Forest, whose males are unknown. Although currently monotypic, it is hypothesized that some species described in other genera of the Diapheromeridae family should be transferred to Exocnophila. Besides, material identified as Exocnophila, with males, females and eggs, from different locations that seems different than the type species of the genus are present in the collection of the Zoology Museum of the University of São Paulo (MZUSP), where the study will be carried out. The morphology of these insects will be examined and described in detail to base the taxonomic revision, and specimens will be characterized by DNA barcoding. Additional material will be obtained through collections, raised in captivity and borrowed from other institutions. Observations on the biology of live insects in situ and in captivity will be carried out to complement the knowledge of the natural history of these stick insects. The student will also aim to add material through fieldtrips, and assist in curating the MZUSP Phasmatodea collection. Finally, research results will be disseminated through extension events, in addition to scientific dissemination, that is, through scientific events and publications in specialized journals.

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