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Wikispecies

The free species directory that anyone can edit.

It covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and all other forms of life.

So far we have 716,317 articles

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A collaboration between Wikispecies and ZooKeys has been announced. PhytoKeys also joined the collaboration in November 2010. Images of species from ZooKeys and PhytoKeys will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and used in Wikispecies.



Distinguished author

Mary Agnes Chase Collecting Plants, Brazil, Image ID 96-548.tif

Mary Agnes Chase
1869–1963. Standard IPNI form: Chase

Mary Agnes Chase, née Merrill, was an American botanist who worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution. She is considered one of the world's outstanding agrostologists and is known for her work on the study of grasses, and also for her work as a suffragist. Chase was born in Iroquois County, Illinois and held no formal education beyond grammar school. That aside, she made significant contributions to the field of botany, authored over 70 scientific publications, and was conferred with an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Illinois. She specialized in the study of grasses and conducted extensive field work in North- as well as and South America. Her Smithsonian Field Books collection from 1897 to 1959 is archived in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

In 1901, Chase became a botanical assistant at the Field Museum of Natural History under Charles Frederick Millspaugh, where her work was featured in two museum publications: Plantae Utowanae (1900) and Plantae Yucatanae (1904). Two years later, Chase joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a botanical illustrator and eventually became a scientific assistant in systematic agrostology (1907), assistant botanist (1923), and associate botanist (1925), all under Albert Spear Hitchcock. Chase worked with Hitchcock for almost twenty years, collaborating closely and also publishing, for instance The North American Species of Panicum (1910).

Following Hitchcock's death in 1936, Chase succeeded him to become senior botanist in charge of systematic agrostology and custodian of the Section of Grasses, Division of Plants at the United States National Museum (USNM). Chase retired from the USDA in 1939, but continued her work as custodian of the USNM grass herbarium until her death in 1963. She was an Honorary Fellow of the Smithsonian Institution (1959) and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (1961). Agnesia is named in her honour (a monotypic genus of herbaceous South American bamboo in the grass family).

Chase experienced discrimination based on her gender in the scientific field, for example, being excluded from expeditions to Panama in 1911 and 1912 because the expedition's benefactors feared the presence of women researchers would distract men. During World War I, Chase marched with Alice Paul and was jailed several times for her activities. In 1918, she was arrested at the Silent Sentinels rally picketing the White House; she refused bail and was held for 10 days, where she instigated a hunger-strike and was force-fed. The USDA accused her of "conduct unbecoming a government employee," but Hitchcock helped her keep her job. Chase was also an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

See also: Distinguished authors of previous months.

Species of the month

Carpathian Blue Slug

Bielzia coerulans

Bielzia coerulans Bielz, 1851

Some facts about this shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc:

Size and coloration: Juveniles are yellowish brown with dark lateral bands. Adult slugs turn blue and becomes 100–140 mm in length.
Distribution: Endemic to the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, however it is not evenly distributed over the entire range and is often not present in habitats that seem to be suitable. According to the IUCN it is native to the Czech Republic (only in Moravia), Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland and the Ukraine. The species has the potential to be invasive as demonstrated by introduced populations in Kiev and western Germany. For example it was found in 2012 in Germany (presumed introduction in Westerwald, Rhineland-Palatinate).
Protection status: IUCN: Bielzia coerulans Bielz, 1851 (Least Concern). Last assessed by German malacologist Frank Walther in June 20, 2016. There are no conservation measures in place (nor are they needed) however the species is protected in Hungary.
Etymology: Its generic name Bielzia is an eponym of the German malacologist Michael Bielz. Its specific name is the Latin word coerulans meaning "turning blue".

The Carpathian Blue Slug (Bielzia coerulans) is also known simply as Blue Slug. It is the only known species within the Bielzia genus. The species is found in both deciduous forests and coniferous forests. The slug prefers rich structured habitats, but if a minimum of shelter such as dead wood and ground vegetation is available it can also be found in pine- and spruce monocultures. The slugs mature in June to July and after copulation lay 30–80 eggs in one single clutch. After egg deposition the adults then die. Half grown juveniles hibernate during the winter, and a new generation of fully grown slugs appear in May the next year.

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