Páigina percipal

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Coincer l Biquispeces

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Colaboraçon cun ZooKeys

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Ua colaboraçon antre l Biquispeces i ZooKeys (ambora an anglés) fui anunciada. PhytoKeys juntou-se tamien a la colaboraçon an nobembre de 2010. Las eimaiges de speces de l ZooKeys i PhytoKeys seran ambiadas ne l Wikimedia Commons i outelizadas ne l Biquispeces.



Outor çtinguido

Doctor Francesco Redi.jpg

Francesco Redi
1626–1697. Standard IPNI form: Redi

Francesco Redi was an Italian entomologist, parasitologist and toxicologist, sometimes referred to as the "founder of experimental biology" and the "father of modern parasitology". Having a doctoral degree and in both medicine and philosophy from the University of Pisa at the age of 21, he worked in various cities of Italy.

Redi is best known for his series of experiments, published in 1668 as Esperienze Intorno alla Generazione degli Insetti ("Experiments on the Generation of Insects"), which is regarded as his masterpiece and a milestone in the history of modern science. The book is one of the first steps in refuting "spontaneous generation", a theory also known as "Aristotelian abiogenesis". At the time, prevailing theory was that maggots arose spontaneously from rotting meat, which Redi was able to disprove. In an experiment, He used samples of rotting meat that were either fully exposed to the air, partially exposed to the air, or not exposed to air at all. Redi showed that both fully and partially exposed rotting meat developed fly maggots, whereas rotting meat that was not exposed to air did not develop maggots. This discovery completely changed the way people viewed the decomposition of organisms and prompted further investigations into insect life cycles and into entomology in general. It is also an early example of forensic entomology.

In Esperienze Intorno alla Generazione degli Insetti Redi was the first to describe ectoparasites, such as lice (Phthiraptera), fleas (Siphonaptera), and some mites (Acari). His next treatise in 1684, titled Osservazioni intorno agli animali viventi che si trovano negli animali viventi ("Observations on Living Animals, that are in Living Animals") recorded the descriptions and the illustrations of more than 100 parasites. In it he also differentiates the earthworm (generally regarded as a helminth) and Ascaris lumbricoides, the human roundworm. An important innovation from the book is his experiments in chemotherapy in which he employed what is now called "scientific control", the basis of experimental design in modern biological research. Perhaps, his most significant observation was that parasites produce eggs and develop from them, which contradicted the prevailing opinion that they are produced spontaneously. Altogether he is known to have described some 180 species of parasites.

See also: Distinguished authors of previous months.

Species of the month

Cocoa Tree

Theobroma cacao

Theobroma cacao

Some facts on this tree:

Tree height: 4-8 meters.

Flower: 1–2 cm. in diameter, with pink calyx.

Fruit, called also Pod: Up to 30cm long, yellow, brown and even purple in colour, usually with 10 ribs. Each pod contains 20 to 60 beans up to 3 cm long, which are usually arranged in five rows surrounded by a sugary pulp.

Range: Native to the deep tropical region of the Americas. Cultivated also in Africa and Asia between ±15° latitude.

Life-span: Up to 100 years, but cultivated trees are considered economically productive for only about 60 years.

First described: By Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in 1753.


Take some Theobroma cacao seeds, grind them to a smooth butter, add a sweetener and other flavorings, such as vanilla, and what do you get? You probably guessed: it's the beloved chocolate. This tree grows all over the tropics, especially in Western Africa where 70% of the cocoa world production is made in countries such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Cacao trees are quite picky about their environment. They require moist, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and partial sunlight. The plant is also sensitive to pests and scientists are crossing West African cocoa trees with their wild South American ancestors to create disease-resistant trees, which will lead to fewer chemicals. Currently, 4 million metric tons of beans worth more than $4 billion are produced each year. The meaning of the scientific name is 'food of the gods' in Greek. Mayan and Aztec nobles drank their cocoa beans ground and brewed with chillies and in the Aztec empire the beans were used as money. It arrived in Spain in the 16th century, and gradually grew in popularity especially with the ladies of the Spanish court. The cacao tree is a member of the Malvaceae or mallow family which contains over 200 genera with close to 2300 species including the kapok, mallow, cola and hibiscus.

See also: Species of previous months

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