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Nova espécie de orquídea de Madagáscar, denominada solenangis-gigante (Solenangis impraedicta)

General view of the solenangis-gigante (Solenangis impraedicta)
© Marie_Savignac2

TERRA Researcher João Farminhão leads discovery of new orchid species from Madagascar

João Farminhão, a researcher from the TERRA Associate Laboratory and the Centre for Functional Ecology (CFE) at the University of Coimbra, led an international study that unveils a new orchid species from Madagascar, named Solenangis impraedicta.

This new orchid species from Madagascar has a nectar tube that reaches 33 centimeters (cm) in length. “With its small flowers measuring 2 cm in length, it proportionally presents the largest floral tube among the approximately 370 thousand species of flowering plants, constituting a new paradigm of ecological hyperspecialization, with great value for the teaching of evolution,” disclosed researcher João Farminhão.

João Farminhão explained that the scientific name Solenangis impraedicta, unexpected in Latin, “is an allusion to the unlikely discovery of a new case of independent evolution of an oversized spur and a nod to Darwin’s prediction, which took 130 years to confirm”.

In order to protect this species, the exact coordinates of the locations where it occurs in nature have not been disclosed. “Unfortunately, this species is threatened with extinction due to the destruction of its habitat associated with mining exploration and, potentially, illegal harvesting of plants for the lucrative international orchid trade,” clarified the researcher.

This research was published in the journal Current Biology. The full article can be found here.

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