The process of discovery in and new species from northern Peru, Cerro Colán, Department Amazonas, Province Bagua
A review of discoveries of plants and animals by a 1978 expedition from Louisiana State University to Peru is presented. Genesis of this study was owing to the senior author’s observation of unusually high species richness in Araceae among a collection of plants made in northern Peru. A subsequent review showed that the region was rich in many ways. Determinations to date include 983 species belonging to 513 genera and 145 families of which 81 species are endemic. Included are 59 plant taxa new to science described elsewhere. Eleven aroids (Araceae) from northern Peru are described and illustrated as new. Some records represent new taxa described from voucher specimens independently collected by botanists at prior or later dates and different localities. A collection was assigned the nov. sp. category of noteworthiness if Tropicos database (http://www.tropicos.org) showed either the Alwyn H. Gentry, et al. and or the Philip J. Barbour accession to be the first such collection known. Specimen searches in Tropicos by senior collector as Philip Barbour and separately by Gentry and constrained by appropriate dates revealed 1687 independent determined voucher specimens of which 1545 are noteworthy (92%) by the designated categories. Noteworthy categories are described and presented in appendices 2 and 3. Extralimital plant distribution records are not described here. Four new bird species/subspecies and seven new frog species were discovered on this expedition. It is important to note that after only 42 years much of the region where many of these discoveries were made is now largely devoid of natural vegetation. Appendix 4 provides detailed descriptions of habitat on Cerro Colán as recent as 2017. This study is a reminder that areas newly opened for exploration should be thoroughly and quickly studied to capture the greatest scientific benefit. It shows how much could be attained in a small span of time by a small but dedicated group of biologists.
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