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The freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii Lankester 1880 is a cryptic cosmopolitan invasive species, which occurs in all continents except Antarctica. Recent molecular studies suggest the existence of at least three very different genetic lineages of Craspedacusta: the “sowerbii”, the “kiatingi”, and the “sinensis” lineages. We report the presence of both medusae and polyps of this alien taxon in the Large Lake of Monticolo / Montiggl, a meso-eutrophic natural lake in the Province of Bolzano / Bozen in Northern Italy. Molecular analyses of mitochondrial 16S sequences showed that this population belongs to a different lineage than that recently described for Sicily (Southern Italy). Therefore, there are two different genetic lineages of C. sowerbii in Italy. In the Large Lake of Monticolo / Montiggl medusae were observed in 6 consecutive summers (2015–2020), from July to September. All the examined medusae were males. The stomach content analyses showed that zooplanktonic copepods and cladocerans with size range between 0.3 and 0.8 mm were the preferred prey of medusae. Polyps of C. sowerbii were recorded in the lake on the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha in shallow water and on the underside of artificial substrates. The analyses of zebra mussels would therefore be a simple method to check for the presence of the polyp stage of C. sowerbii in various aquatic environments.
The Carnian Pluvial Episode (Late Triassic) was a time of global environmental changes and possibly substantial coeval volcanism. The extent of the biological turnover in marine and terrestrial ecosystems is not well understood. Here, we present a meta-analysis of fossil data that suggests a substantial reduction in generic and species richness and the disappearance of 33% of marine genera. This crisis triggered major radiations. In the sea, the rise of the first scleractinian reefs and rock-forming calcareous nannofossils points to substantial changes in ocean chemistry. On land, there were major diversifications and originations of conifers, insects, dinosaurs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and mammals. Although there is uncertainty on the precise age of some of the recorded biological changes, these observations indicate that the Carnian Pluvial Episode was linked to a major extinction event and might have been the trigger of the spectacular radiation of many key groups that dominate modern ecosystems.
The partial skeleton of a small tetrapod, collected from the lower Buchenstein Formation (uppermost Illyrian, Anisian Middle Triassic) of Piz da Peres (Northern Dolomites, Italy) is described. Incomplete ossification of some bones indicate that the specimen is a juvenile. Its absolute size and proportions, along with several skeletal structures show striking similarities with a juvenile specimen of Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi from the slightly younger Prosanto Formation (Switzerland), a taxon known also from the Anisian/Ladinian Besano Formation (Italy and Switzerland). The finding may suggest that during the middle-late Anisian the basins of the Northern Dolomites, of the Besano Formation and Prosanto Formation shared not only several taxa of fishes but also the emerged lands nearby had a similar reptilian fauna.