|Braccini JAL, Amaral SV, Leal-Zanchet AM (2016)
Microturbellarians (Platyhelminthes and Acoelomorpha) in Brazil: invisible organisms?
Brazilian Journal of Biology, 76(2): 476-494
Abstract / Notes"Microturbellarians typically belong to the benthos and may occur in a wide variety of environments. They are abundant in freshwater and marine ecosystems and may occur in moist terrestrial habitats. However, turbellarians are seldom taken into account in studies of biodiversity. Most studies on Brazilian microturbellarians had taxonomical purposes and were done in the years 1940-1950. Thus, information on their occurrence and ecological aspects are dispersed throughout several papers. We intend here to summarize the biogeographical distribution and ecological aspects of microturbellarians recorded for Brazil, indicating the main gaps in their knowledge and possible actions to enhance studies on this group. There are 239 species of microturbellarians registered for Brazil, with records distributed in 12 states. However, just three states located in southern Brazil have records of 94% of microturbellarian species. Thus, knowledge on the systematics and geographical distribution of Brazilian microturbellarians clearly reflect the scientific activity over many years or decades in two states of southeastern and southern Brazil. Considering the scant information on this group in Brazil, which is also the situation of the Neotropical microturbellarians in general, some actions should be proposed. First, it would be necessary to sample in the diverse biomes, as well as in the various river and sea basins, based on standardized sampling protocols. Second, it would be necessary to encourage diverse research groups to include microturbellarians and/or turbellarians in general into biodiversity inventories and studies on community structure of invertebrates. Third, it is necessary to increase the number of research groups on microturbellarians, in order to augment the studies on their morphology, systematics, and ecology. Considering their abundance, species richness and ecological importance in aquatic environments, despite some peculiarities regarding their sampling, sorting and identification procedures, the challenge to study microturbellarians and enhance knowledge about them in Brazilian ecosystems should be faced."
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