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Scientists discover new acarian species naming it Vanuatu

June 14, 2016, 15:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In total, scientists have discovered 37 acarian species, of which 11 have been found for the first time in the Pacific Republic of Vanuatu

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. An international group of scientists researching the fauna of the Pacific Republic of Vanuatu, discovered a new and previously unknown species of acari.

The finding has been reported by Tyumen State University (TyumSU), which took part in organizing the data from the expedition. The new acari species was named Mixacarus vanuatuensis after the Republic of Vanuatu. In total, scientists have discovered 37 acarian species, of which 11 have been found for the first time in this region.

The scientific expedition was coordinated by France’s National Museum of Natural History, the Paris-based environmental NGO, Pro Natura International, and the French Research Institute for Development in collaboration with the Vanuatu’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. The field data was given to Oribatid systematists at TyumSU - considered a world leader in the classification of free-living acari - for the further study. During their research, acarologists employed the comparative morphological analysis.

The scientists have emphasized how outstanding and vitally important the study was. "Researching the island’s fauna is the key to the understanding essential factors governing the formation and dynamics of the isolated areas’ biodiversity, as described by the MacArthur and Wilson theory of the island’s biogeography," said Andrei Tolstikov, Vice Rector for Research and International Communications of TyumSU. "This theory explains, for instance, why the island has less biodiversity than those of the continental regions in the same area."

Recording the Pacific region’s biodiversity is a very crucial task, according to experts from the United Nations. Moreover, Vanuatu faces the persistent threat of geophysical convulsions, making it extremely dangerous. In April 2016, this region was rocked by three earthquakes. It is situated on 83 islands of the New Hebrides archipelago in the South Pacific. The archipelago belongs to the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the world’s most world active volcanoes are located.

Due to global climate change, the Pacific islands have seen changes in soil, flora, and fauna. Additionally, the experts warn that rising ocean levels caused by melting polar ice could flood island states such as Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Tuvalu.

The article providing the details of the research was published in the Systematic and Applied Acarology.

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