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Diatom of the Month - June 2018: Achnanthes felinophila

by Rex Lowe*
The freshwater diatom flora of Hawaii has long been thought to be composed of cosmopolitan species, as demonstrated in the checklist produced by Sherwood (2004). We found it curious that remote islands, 1 to 5 million years old surrounded by a saltwater ocean would have an algal flora composed largely of European species. More recently the flora is being shown to contain many unique species, especially diatoms (Lowe et al. 2009; Lowe & Sherwood 2010; Kociolek et al. 2010; Graeff & Kociolek 2011). Perhaps the most distinctive species of freshwater diatom described from Hawaii is Diprora hanaensis Main, a monotypic genus described from a cave on the island of Kauai (Main 2003).

Figure 1. The Hawaii islands: Kauai is the first island from the top left.
The diatom genus Achnanthes, in the broad sense, included many species with one valve possessing a raphe and the other valve without a raphe (i.e. heterovalvar), Patrick and Reimer 1966). Achnanthes was distinguished from…

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