The Taxonomists Association for Freshwater Animals, Japan (TAFA), was organized in 2000 by taxonomists specializing in freshwater invertebrates of Japan. Activities of the TAFA cover integration and public opening of bibliographic and systematic information, and improvement of maintenance for specimens used in taxonomic works of Japanese freshwater invertebrates. Various problems regarding social needs and public interests for freshwater invertebrates are discussed at the several scientific meetings.
I introduce the trend and relationships of taxonomy, ecology and civil engineering of streams and rivers in Japan. The 15 years history of "River Organism Census" conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation is provided. The census provided the first comprehensive list of riverine organisms including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, macroscopic benthic invertebrates, terrestrial insects, plants and vegetation. I also introduce some movement of rapid assessments of river environment using organisms, such as ASPT (average score per taxon) and IBI (integrated biotic indices).
Difficulties of identification by using illustrated book and dichotomous key, and problems of tabulating identified taxa are discussed. In many cases, information about diagnoses which discriminate a species from its relatives is not provided well in illustrated books. In dichotomous keys, on the other hand, discriminating characters are summarized tersely for each species but diagnostic characters tend to be subtle and judgment of them are often puzzling for beginner taxonomists. Use of matrix (or tabular) key, which avoid these difficulties, is recom mended. In the case that identification of a specimen does not reach species level, it is placed in a higher taxonomic group, which may contain various entities. Annotations for higher taxa may reduce problems caused by heteroge neity of higher groups.
Biodiversity concept for government and citizen is somewhat different from that for taxonomists. Taxonomists provide many information about biodiversity as the theoretical basis. However, people often can not evaluate importance of the taxonomic works for biodiversity. Some ideas are proposed to fulfill the concept gap between taxonomists and citizen and their mutual understandings.
Small deep-sea arthropods have been collected during the surveys of benthic fauna of the Japanese waters. The gears for the collections and detailed procedure for processing sediments on board are described herein. As main gears for the collection, beam trawls of 3 m or 4 m span and biological dredge of 1 m span were used. Small ring nets attached inside to the beam trawl net were found effective to collect small animals. A large amount of the sediment, usually collected together with animals, was removed by gentle washing using a sieve of 0.5 mm nylon mesh to isolate specimens. The arthropod specimens will be examined for taxonomic, zoogeographical and ecological studies in the future.
An overview of the taxonomy of the stenopodidean shrimp family, Spongicolidae Schram, 1986 (Crustacea: De capoda) is provided. The family contains 34 described species of 6 genera: Globospongicola Komai and Saito, 2006, Microprosthema Stimpson, 1860, Paraspongicola de Saint Laurent and Cleva, 1981, Spongicola de Haan, 1844, Spongicoloides Hansen, 1908 and Spongiocaris Bruce and Baba, 1973. Only Microprosthema comprises free-living species in shallow rocky reefs, while shrimps of the other genera are primarily obligate symbionts of deep-water hexactinellid sponges, living in the atrium of hosts. Some of recent taxonomic studies are presented here. Larval development and geographic and bathymetric distributions of species are briefly discussed. The phylogenetic study clarified Microprosthema as the most basal genus, and Spongicoloides and Spongiocaris as the most derived genera among spongicolids. Decrease in number of gills and that of exopods on the second and third maxillipeds, and the loss of spiniation on carapace, pereopods and abdomen in the spongicolids (except for Microprosthema) were considered secondarily derived in relation to their sponge-associated habitat.