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Concept: Florianópolis

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Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is a remarkable genus of miniaturized frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Many of its species are highly endemic to cloud forests, being found only on one or a few mountaintops. Such level of microendemism might be caused by their climatic tolerance to a narrow set of environmental conditions found only in montane regions. This restriction severely limits the chance of discovery of new species, given the difficulty of exploring these inaccessible habitats. Following extensive fieldwork in montane areas of the southern portion of the Atlantic Rainforest, in this study we describe seven new species of Brachycephalus from the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. These species can be distinguished from one another based on coloration and the level of rugosity of the skin in different parts of their body. These discoveries increase considerably the number of described species of Brachycephalus in southern Brazil.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Atlantic Ocean, Forest, Brazil, Montane, Florianópolis, German Brazilian, Joinville

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A long held view about the occupation of southern proto-Jê pit house villages of the southern Brazilian highlands is that these sites represent cycles of long-term abandonment and reoccupation. However, this assumption is based on an insufficient number of radiocarbon dates for individual pit houses. To address this problem, we conducted a programme of comprehensive AMS radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling at the deeply stratified oversized pit House 1, Baggio I site (Cal. A.D. 1395-1650), Campo Belo do Sul, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. The stratigraphy of House 1 revealed an unparalleled sequence of twelve well preserved floors evidencing a major change in occupation dynamics including five completely burnt collapsed roofs. The results of the radiocarbon dating allowed us to understand for the first time the occupation dynamics of an oversized pit house in the southern Brazilian highlands. The Bayesian model demonstrates that House 1 was occupied for over two centuries with no evidence of major periods of abandonment, calling into question previous models of long-term abandonment. In addition, the House 1 sequence allowed us to tie transformations in ceramic style and lithic technology to an absolute chronology. Finally, we can provide new evidence that the emergence of oversized domestic structures is a relatively recent phenomenon among the southern proto-Jê. As monumental pit houses start to be built, small pit houses continue to be inhabited, evidencing emerging disparities in domestic architecture after AD 1000. Our research shows the importance of programmes of intensive dating of individual structures to understand occupation dynamics and site permanence, and challenges long held assumptions that the southern Brazilian highlands were home to marginal cultures in the context of lowland South America.

Concepts: Chronology, House, Radiocarbon dating, Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, German Brazilian, Joinville, Yaodong

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Sixty specimens of the “cururu” toad, Rhinella icterica (Spix 1824) (Bufonidae), were collected in Campo Belo do Sul, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, between May 2009 and January 2011, and were examined for the presence of helminth parasites. Nine species of adult helminths were found: Catadiscus cohni, Rudolphitrema rudolphii, Cylindrotaenia sp., Rhabdias fuelleborni, Strongyloides sp., Cosmocerca rara, Cosmocerca brasiliensis, Aplectana elenae, and Oxyascaris sp., in addition to an unidentified adult nematode species. Females of cosmocercid nematodes, proteocephalan plerocercoid, and acanthocephalan cystacanth were found but not identified for lack absolute of taxonomic characters. The sex of the anurans had no influence on prevalence, abundance, and richness of helminth species. Length and body mass of hosts did not influence the prevalence and richness of helminths, while the abundance of R. fuelleborni was significantly correlated with both parameters.

Concepts: Nematode, Amphibian, Florianópolis

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Three new species of Melanophryniscus are described from the Serra do Mar mountain range of the state of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. All species are found at intermediate to high altitudes and share phytotelm-breeding as their reproductive strategy. The new species are distinguished from other phytotelm-breeding Melanophryniscus based on different combinations of the following traits: snout-vent length, presence of white and/or yellow spots on forearms, mouth, belly and cloaca, pattern and arrangement of warts, and presence and number of corneous spines. The discovery of these species in a rather restricted geographical area suggests that the diversity of phytotelm-breeding species of Melanophryniscus might be severely underestimated. The conservation status of these species is of particular concern, given that one of them is at risk of extinction not only due to its restricted habitat, but also because of anthropogenic disturbances.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Organism, Atlantic Ocean, Endangered species, Brazil, Florianópolis, Joinville

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A new species of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is described from the Atlantic Forest of northeastern state of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. Nine specimens (eight adults and a juvenile) were collected from the leaf litter of montane forests 790-835 m above sea level (a.s.l.). The new species is a member of the pernix group by its bufoniform shape and the absence of dermal co-ossification and is distinguished from all its congeners by a combination of its general coloration (dorsal region of head, dorsum, legs, arms, and flanks light, brownish green to dark, olive green, with darker region in the middle of the dorsum and a white line along the vertebral column in most specimens) and by its smooth dorsum. The geographical distribution of the new species is highly reduced (extent of occurrence estimated as 25.04 ha, or possibly 34.37 ha). In addition, its habitat has experienced some level of degradation, raising concerns about the future conservation of the species. Preliminary density estimates suggest one calling individual every 3-4 m(2) at 815-835 m a.s.l. and every 100 m(2) at 790 m a.s.l. Together with the recently described B. boticario and B. fuscolineatus, the new species is among the southernmost species of Brachycephalus known to date.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Vertebral column, Atlantic Ocean, Forest, Brazil, Montane, Florianópolis, Joinville

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The Tuberculosis (TB) notification rates are 5 to 81 times higher in prisons worldwide when compared to the general population. The state of Santa Catarina (SC) has few epidemiological data regarding TB in prisons. The aim of this study was to evaluate the molecular epidemiology of circulating strains in prisons of SC. The study comprised 95 clinical samples from six prisons. Among the cases included, all subjects were male, predominantly caucasians, and young adults, with low education level. The positive smear in the TB diagnosis comprised 62.0% of cases. About 50% of subjects had some condition associated with TB. The Spoligotyping results showed that the most frequent lineages were LAM (50.7%), T (22.2%) and S (11.6%). The 12-loci MIRU generated 62 different genotypes. The MSTs showed evolutionary relationships between Mycobacterium tuberculosis spoligotypes from SC and evolutionary relationships between the prison isolates and studied parameters. This first study on TB in prison units of SC highlighted the predominance of SIT216/LAM5, and SIT34/S. Interestingly, his profile was found to be different from that observed in a previous study performed with the state’s general population. This data shows the need for continued surveillance of episodes of TB occurring among prison inmates in an emerging country like Brazil.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Biology, Demography, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Prison, Florianópolis, Joinville

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This article presents and describes Plantago humboldtiana, an extremely narrow endemic rheophytic new species from a waterfall in Corupá, Santa Catarina state, southern Brazil. The new species is unique in presenting a combination of type-G antrorse trichomes on scapes, pendulous inflorescences and 1-seeded pyxidia. Only one population is known to exist, despite intensive search efforts in nearby, similar environments. Its conservation status is assessed as critically endangered (CR) as the only known population is restricted to a dramatically small area, and is subject to extreme fluctuation due to occasional floods, and also to intense visitation by tourists, which can disturb its fragile habitat. We also present an updated identification key to the species of Plantago that occur in Santa Catarina. The recent description of three narrow endemic, threatened new species of Plantago in Santa Catarina, which is the Brazilian state with its flora best studied, highlights the need for more taxonomic research, especially in the neotropics.

Concepts: Endangered species, Brazil, German language, States of Brazil, Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, German Brazilian, Joinville

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Records of the occurrence of wild relatives of maize in South American lowlands are unprecedented, especially in sympatric coexistence with landraces. This fact is relevant, because regions of occurrence of wild relatives of cultivated plants should be a priority for conservation, even if they do not correspond to the center of origin of the species. The aim of this study was to identify and characterize the wild relatives of maize in the Far West of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. Therefore, phenotypic characterization was performed for five populations, based on 22 morphological traits deemed as fundamental for classifying the species of the genus Zea, and validated through the characterization of chromosomal knobs of two populations. The occurrence and distribution of teosinte populations were described through semi-structured interviews applied to a sample of 305 farmers. A total of 136 teosinte populations were identified; 75% of them occur spontaneously, 17% are cultivated populations, and 8% occur both ways, for the same farm. Populations that were characterized morphologically had trapezoidal fruits mostly, upright tassel branch (4-18), non-prominent main branch and glabrous glumes, with two protruding outer ribs and 8 inner ribs, on average. Cytogenetic analysis identified 10 pairs of homologous chromosomes (2n = 20) with 26 knobs, located in the terminal region of all chromosomes. The similarity of these results with the information reported in the literature indicates that the five populations of wild relatives of maize in this region of Santa Catarina belong to the botanical species Zea luxurians.

Concepts: Gene, Species, Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Maize, Zea, Florianópolis, Teosinte

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 To assess the effectiveness of metformin in the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in obese pregnant women attending a public maternity hospital in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Obstetrics, Gestational diabetes, Metformin, Florianópolis