Romolo Fochetti

Tuscia University, Viterbo, Latium, Italy

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Publications (39)80.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Some aspects of the life history of a population of Dinocras cephalotes inhabiting a Mediterranean river in Southern Spain were studied over a year (2012–2013). The life cycle of this population seems to be semivoltine, of approximately two years of duration, and with an asynchronous egg hatching period. The comparison of these data with those of an unpublished study carried out in the same population almost a decade before (2004–2005) shows the existence of no differences between years. The nymphal feeding study revealed that the main prey of these organisms are Chironomidae, Psychomyiidae and Baetidae, but some of them, usually the smallest, also had non-animal matter in their guts, mainly detritus, coarse particulate organic matter and algae. So, an onthogenetic shift in feeding was detected. This feeding confirms broadly what was already reported in previous studies in the same and other populations. Finally, and for the first time for this species, the secondary production was estimated. Due to differences in hatching, and so development, among nymphs, annual secondary production was calculated both assuming a CPI of 20 months and a CPI of 14 months. In both cases this value was relatively high, 2854.46 and 4077.80 mg DW m–2 year–1, respectively. These results were compared with those of other predators, and particularly with a stonefly predator with a similar life cycle and from a nearby temporal river.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Annales- Societe Entomologique de France
  • José Manuel Tierno De Figueroa · Romolo Fochetti
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    ABSTRACT: Tyrrhenoleuctra lusohispanica sp. n., a new species of the leuctrid genus Tyrrhenoleuctra from the southern Iberian Peninsula (southern Portugal and Spain) is described solely on molecular characters. Molecular analyses clearly indicated the distinctness of this species and demonstrated the presence of cryptic species in the genus Tyrrhenoleuctra. We also describe the systematic affinities of T. lusohispanica sp. n. to other species in the genus. With all Tyrrhenoleuctra species, T. lusohispanica sp. n. exhibits marked phenotypic variability.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Zootaxa
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    ABSTRACT: We review the diversity of freshwater organisms in the Mediterranean Basin (hereafter Med), particularly from streams and rivers. We present available information on the richness, endemicity, and distribution of each freshwater organism group within the Med, and make a comparison with Palearctic diversity. Approximately 35% of known Palearctic freshwater species and more than 6% of the World’s freshwater species are present in the Med. A high degree of endemicity is found in the Med freshwater biota. These data, together with the degree to which many freshwater species are threatened, support the inclusion of the Med among World biodiversity hotspots. Nevertheless, knowledge of Med biodiversity is still incomplete, particularly for some taxa. Regarding to the spatial distribution of species within the Med, the richest area is the North, although patterns differ among groups. A comparison of the ecological and biological traits of endemic and non-endemic species of three riverine groups (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) revealed that endemic species have several strategies and mechanisms to face typical mediterranean-climate conditions, such as drought, when compared to non-endemic species. We briefly analyse the conservation status of the region’s biodiversity. Finally, we present some future challenges regarding the knowledge and protection of Med freshwater biodiversity.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Hydrobiologia
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    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: In this work we present the results of a one-year study on the macroinvertebrate community in an intermittent stream in southern Spain. We have studied the taxonomic composition, diversity and food web monthly in order to consider temporal variability in these parameters. More than 60 macroinvertebrate taxa have been recorded in the stream, but they do not cohabit at the same time. Many of them join the community at the beginning of the wet period. Afterwards, some new taxa incorporate but some others disappear. This leads to huge fluctuations in the diversity of the community and in the food web of different sampling dates. These variations are linked to environmental disturbances, mainly to flow peaks and minimums. From a relatively well structured, but simple, food web at the beginning of the wet period, it can be seen how several trophic levels disappear with time, and how several organisms change or extend their trophic function within it. We relate these variations to the intermediate disturbance hypothesis and discuss the resilience of the community of this intermittent stream (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · International Review of Hydrobiology
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    ABSTRACT: The number of described species on the planet is about 1.9 million, with ca. 17,000 new species described annually, mostly from the tropics. However, taxonomy is usually described as a science in crisis, lacking manpower and funding, a politically acknowledged problem known as the Taxonomic Impediment. Using data from the Fauna Europaea database and the Zoological Record, we show that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species. In Europe, new species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals are being discovered and named at an unprecedented rate: since the 1950s, more than 770 new species are on average described each year from Europe, which add to the 125,000 terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species already known in this region. There is no sign of having reached a plateau that would allow for the assessment of the magnitude of European biodiversity. More remarkably, over 60% of these new species are described by non-professional taxonomists. Amateurs are recognized as an essential part of the workforce in ecology and astronomy, but the magnitude of non-professional taxonomist contributions to alpha-taxonomy has not been fully realized until now. Our results stress the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce, as we seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The specific role of hemocyanin in Plecoptera (stoneflies) is still not completely understood, since none of the hypotheses advanced have proven fully convincing. Previous data show that mRNA hemocyanin sequences are not present in all Plecoptera, and that hemocyanin does not seem to be uniformly distributed within the order. All species possess hexamerins, which are multifunction proteins that probably originated from hemocyanin. In order to obtain an increasingly detailed picture on the presence and distribution of hemocyanin across the order, this study presents new data regarding nymphs and adults of selected Plecoptera species. Results confirm that the hemocyanin expression differs among nymphs in the studied stonefly species. Even though previous studies have found hemocyanin in adults of two stonefly species it was not detected in the present study, even in species where nymphs show hemocyanin, suggesting that the physiological need of this protein can change during life cycle. The phylogenetic pattern obtained using hemocyanin sequences matches the accepted scheme of traditional phylogeny based on morphology, anatomy, and biology. It is remarkable to note that the hemocyanin conserved region acts like a phylogenetic molecular marker within Plecoptera.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Insect Science
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    ABSTRACT: The Central-Southern European genus Besdolus was reinstated and revised by Zwick and Weinzierl (1995), and includes five species: B. imhoffi (Pictet), B. ventralis (Pictet), B. bicolor (Navás), B. ravizzarum Zwick & Weinzierl, and B. illyricus Kovács & Zwick. Overall, these species are rarely collected and have apparent relictual distributions. From the ecological point of view, B. bicolor, B. ravizzarum and B. illyricus seem to be more orophilic whereas B. imhoffi and B. ventralis are associated to lowland rivers. These species are sensitive to the environmental perturbations and are endangered taxa, threatened with extinction. Species identifications are difficult using available morphological characters. We sequenced a fragment of the mitochondrial gene COI to better understand the systematics and biogeography of this genus and to evaluate the molecular intra-and interspecific distances. Specific boundaries, species relationships, degree of isolation and molecular similarity are also presented. The molecular data do not fully support the validity of the five species. Molecular distances between B. bicolor and B. ventralis and between B. imhoffi and B. illyricus are similar to what has been previously reported for conspecific stonefly taxa. In this study, the results of the molecular approach are not congruent with the traditional morphological arrangement. Biogeographically, we hypothesize that a Central European stem species dispersing westward and southward diverged into two lineages, then differentiated on the three European main peninsulas.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Zootaxa
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    ABSTRACT: The identity of Isoperla curtata Navás, 1924, an Iberian endemic, has been questioned since its description. Marked variability in pigmentation, wing length, penial armature and ecology of populations have been noted. To clarify the taxonomic status of I. curtata we examined variation in mating calls and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences for two populations from north-central and southern Spain. Results of both approaches support the presence of two species. The north-central population corresponds to the nominal taxon, I. curtata, while southern populations represent a new species, Isoperla morenica, described herein.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Zootaxa
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    ABSTRACT: Hemocyanins are large oligomeric respiratory proteins found in many arthropods and mollusks. The overall expression of hemocyanin mRNA, revealed by studies on Plecoptera hemocyanin sequencing, has raised the question of whether the protein is expressed or not. In fact, the presence of expressed hemocyanin has only been reported in the literature for one species, Perla marginata (Panzer, 1799). In this paper, we report the presence of hemocyanin and hexamerin proteins in Dinocras cephalotes (Curtis, 1827), a species closely related to P. marginata. To assess the presence of hemocyanin, we used a reproducible and highly sensitive method based on liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. We conclude that regardless of its putative function (respiratory, immune defense, storage protein), the hemocyanin is actually expressed in species in which its mRNA is present.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Environmental Entomology
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    R. Fochetti
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    ABSTRACT: Freshwater makes up 3% of the planet's water, 67% of which is ‘trapped’ in glaciers and polar caps. Lakes, ponds, streams, etc. (excluding subterranean waters) constitute approximately 6.5% of freshwater, which is less than 0.2% of the earth water and 0.8% of its surface. Nevertheless, beyond supporting the livelihood of billions of people, especially in poor countries, according to the different estimates 100,000/126,000 animal species are known for inland waters, from 6 to 9.5% of the total animal described. As far as Italy is concerned, there are 5496 freshwater animal species out of 55,732 total; that is, around 10% of its fauna (terrestrial species are 41,923, while marine are 8330, several eurialine species being considered as present in both marine and freshwater environments). This fauna is highly specific: we can estimate a percentage of Italian freshwater endemics that could exceed 10%. Unfortunately, freshwater species are extinct or at risk with loss rates which could be of the same extent of those of previous transitions between geological epochs like the Pleistocene-to-Holocene. In Italy it is difficult to evaluate the conservation status and trends of aquatic faunas due to the lack of previous studies. The analysis of selected taxa seems to depict a critical situation. Besides, inland waters only recently have been addressed by conservation politics and only a reduced part of their fauna is involved in preservation measures. As regards protection politics in Italy, we can safely say that those regarding freshwater animals are badly addressed: out of 841 protected species only 100 are from inland waters, and only 15 of them are invertebrates.Proposals and priorities for conservation and management of Italian freshwaters are discussed.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Italian Journal of Zoology
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    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2011
  • Valentina Amore · Brunella Gaetani · Romolo Fochetti
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    ABSTRACT: Thus far, data on the hemocyanin are available only for European Plecoptera, present study reports on this from the Oriental fauna. Six species of the family Perlidae and one species of Peltoperlidae from Thailand studied did not reveal mRNA hemocyanin sequences, confirming that not all Plecoptera species universally have mRNA hemocyanin sequences. All species show hexamerins similar to the ones previously found in European species of the same families. Results also suggest that the presence of hemocyanins, at least in quantitative terms, does not depend on the body size, life cycle or trophic role, as had been hypothesized in the past. Also, the specific role of this protein in Plecoptera is yet to be completely understood. The hemocyanin expression pattern obtained across the entire order could be explained also by hypothesizing its other functions besides respiratory.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Oriental insects
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    ABSTRACT: Non-professional taxonomists have been responsible for describing more than half of the animal species discovered in Europe from 1998 to 2007 (see also Nature 467, 788; 2010). The extraordinary current rate of description of new species makes Europe an unexpected frontier for biodiversity exploration. The Fauna Europaea database (www.faunaeur.org), released in 2004, lists more than 125,000 European species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals. More than 700 new species are described each year in Europe — four times the rate of two centuries ago. However, we have not yet reached saturation in the inventory of European fauna, and we cannot accurately estimate the total number of species living in the continent's ecosystems. The unprecedented rate of species description has depended heavily on the scientific contribution of unpaid scientists (non-professional and retired professional taxonomists). More attention should be given to ways of enhancing this formidable workforce. There is an urgent need for an effective policy-supported business plan to complete the biodiversity inventory at European and national levels, preferably targeting species-rich and less-charismatic groups such as mites, rove beetles, micro-wasps and nematodes. Amateurs could be readily integrated into such a framework of defined and coordinated objectives. The future of amateur taxonomy also depends on incorporating molecular techniques, either through formal training or through collaboration between molecular-oriented Misreporting: a glowing report As a former science writer for several UK national newspapers, I commend Simon Lewis for his balanced and valuable analysis of how to deal with misreporting (Nature 468, 7; 2010). Lewis avoids the common error of assuming that the bylined journalist was responsible for the headline or the final text. As I know all too well, stories can be extensively rewritten without being referred back to the named author. Complaining about this practice is regarded as naive and career-limiting. His experiences show how one can use the rivalries that exist between newspapers to obtain some redress for misreporting.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Nature
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    Romolo Fochetti · Erminia Sezzi
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    ABSTRACT: Mesonemoura sbordonii, a new species of Nemouridae (Plecoptera) from Yunnan (China) is described. Remarks on its relationships with the closest species, M. vaillanti, are given.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2010 · Aquatic Insects
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    José Manuel Tierno de Figueroa · Romolo Fochetti
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    ABSTRACT: Protonemura aroania sp. n. and the unknown male of Leuctra moreae are described from Greece. The first country record of Perlodes dispar and some new findings for the Peloponnes region (Amphinemura quadrangularis, Nemoura apollo, Leuctra olympia) are presented. L. moreae, previously known from the Peloponnes, is cited for the first time from the Parnassos. An updated list of the stoneflies of Greece is also given.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2010 · Aquatic Insects
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    Valentina Amore · Romolo Fochetti
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    ABSTRACT: Hemocyanin is a respiratory protein that occurs in the main lineages of Arthropoda. In insects hemocyanin is presently known in many orders. Recently, a functional hemocyanin has also been found in the Plecoptera. Further studies have revealed that hemocyanin seems to be not uniformly distributed within this order. In this paper we report additional data, obtained with RT-PCR sequencing, on the presence of hemocyanin in different stonefly species. In addition, we summarise the present knowledge about the distribution of hemocyanin in the Plecoptera. Biological aspects such as larval size, life cycle length, trophic roles and environmental induction are discussed as possible factors that may be correlated with the presence or absence of hemocyanin in the studied species.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Aquatic Insects
  • Romolo Fochetti · Jose Manuel Tierno De Figueroa
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    ABSTRACT: A new species of Tyrrhenoleuctra from the Balearic Islands, T. antoninoi sp. n., is described on the basis of molecular and biochemical characters. Recent biochemical and molecular analysis clearly demonstrates the distinctness of this species. We describe its relatedness to other species in the genus. We also refer all specimens from the Balearic Islands previously assigned to T. minuta to T. antoninoi. As with all Tyrrhenoleuctra species, T. antoninoi shows marked phenotypic plasticity, presumably due to the variability inherent in temporary streams in which it inhabits.
    No preview · Article · May 2009 · Zootaxa
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    ABSTRACT: Contrary to what was assumed regarding the presence of respiratory proteins in insects, a functional hemocyanin was recently found in larvae and adults of the stoneflies species Perla marginata, whereas in the close species Perla grandis, hemocyanin functionality was deduced from sequence data. In order to verify if the presence of this ancient trait is widespread within the order and to investigate why stoneflies have maintained it, we have extended the search for hemocyanin to species of other Plecoptera families. In particular, we assessed the presence of hemocyanin in the larval stage of nine Plecoptera species, belonging to six of the seven families of the European stonefly-fauna, and analyzed its potential functionality as deduced by sequence data. We cloned and sequenced the corresponding cDNAs and studied their expression with RT-PCR technique. Moreover, we performed homology studies using the deduced amino acid sequences. On the basis of our analysis, we hypothesized a functional role of the hemocyanin only for two species: Dinocras cephalotes and Isoperla grammatica (Perloidea). In all the investigated Nemouroidea and in Siphonoperla torrentium (Perloidea), this protein may have been lost. Larval size, life-cycle length, trophic role and environmental induction are discussed as possible explanations of these different physiological requirements.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Insect Molecular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The stonefly genus Tyrrhenoleuctra includes species living in western Mediterranean temporary freshwater streams, sometimes also at sea level, a very unusual habitat for most Plecoptera. Traditional morphological approaches proved unsuccessful in drawing both taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns, thus hampering discussion of biogeographical patterns for this interesting group. We aimed at: (a) assessing the taxonomic status of populations of Tyrrhenoleuctra covering the geographic range of the genus; (b) studying the phylogenetic relationships among the recognized species; and (c) describing biogeographic patterns. We used phylogenetic analyses to infer the phylogenetic history of this group of stoneflies based on a combined data set of 1666 bp including fragments of the 12S ribosomal (12S) and cytochrome oxidase I (CO-I) mtDNA genes, with maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. Two main clades have been identified: a Sardo-Corsican one, including Tyrrhenoleuctra zavattarii, and an Ibero-Maghrebian one including four lineages of unkown taxonomic rank from the Balearic Islands (Maiorca), from northern Africa (Ceuta) and southernmost Spain (Algeciras), and a complex preliminarily referred herein to T. minuta (Klapálek, 1901), which includes two lineages, one from Cordoba, and one from Sierra de Grazalema (El Cerro) and Portugal (Tellhares) respectively. Dating the nodes by fixing the split of the Ibero-Maghrebian clade from the Sardo-Corsican one at 29 million years ago (Mya), yielded dates referring to the major geological events in the Mediterranean basin. Estimated molecular evolutionary rates ranged from 0.02–0.09% per million years (my) in the T. zavattarii lineages, to 0.2–0.7% per MY in the Ibero-Maghrebian clade. The phylogenetic pattern emerged from the present study is congruent with the known paleo-history of the western Mediterranean basin, with the divergence of the two main Tyrrhenoleuctra lineages corresponding to the split of the Sardo-Corsican microplate from the Iberian block. Vicariance events have characterized the history of this stonefly group along its entire biogeographical history. Surprisingly low evolutionary rates, previously supposed by Fochetti (1991, 1994) and Fochetti et al. (2004) based on nuclear markers (allozymes), have been herein found also in mitochondrial markers. Il genere Tyrrhenoleuctra comprende specie di plecotteri del Mediterraneo occidentale, viventi normalmente in corsi d’acqua temporanei, anche a livello del mare (un habitat inusuale per la maggior parte dei plecotteri). Approcci tradizionali morfologici si sono dimostrati inefficaci per delineare pattern tassonomici e filogenetici, impedendo così qualunque discussione biogeografica su questo interessante gruppo. Gli obiettici di questo studio sono quindi stati: a) definire lo status tassonomico di popolazioni di Tyrrhenoleuctra rappresentanti l’areale del genere; b) studiare le relazioni filogenetiche tra le specie così identificate; d) descrivere i pattern biogeografici emergenti. Abbiamo utilizzato un data set combinato di 1666 bp derivate da porzioni dei geni mitocondriali 12S (12S) e citocromo ossidasi I (CO-I). Tali sequenze sono state analizzate filogeneticamente (maximum likelihood e inferenza Bayesiana) per desumere la storia genealogica di questo gruppo di plecotteri. Sono così stati identificati due cladi principali: un clade Sardo-Corso, comprendente popolazioni ascrivibili a Tyrrhenoleuctra zavattarii, ed uno Ibero-Magrebino, comprendente quattro linee filetiche di rango tassonomico non-definito, 1) dalle Baleari (Maiorca), 2) dal Nord Africa (Ceuta) e Spagna meridionale (Algeciras), ed un complesso preliminarmente identificato come T. minuta (Klapálek, 1901)-complex, comprendente le rimanenti due linee 3) da Cordoba, e 4) dalla Sierra de Grazalema (El Cerro) e dal Portugal (Tellhares). La datazione dei nodi principali, fissando la separazione del clade Ibero-Magrebino da quello Sardo-Corso a 29 MY, ha restituito date in buona correlazione coi maggiori eventi geologici del bacino del Mediterraneo. I tassi di evoluzione molecolare stimati sul nostro data set vanno da 0.02–0.09% per MY in T. zavattarii, a 0.2–0.7% per MY nel clade Ibero-Magrebino. Il pattern filogenetico emerso dal nostro è congruente con la storia paleogeografica del Mediterraneo occidentale, e la divergenza dei due cladi principali di Tyrrhenoleuctra corrsiponderebbe alla separazione della microplacca Sardo-Corsa dal blocco iberico. Eventi di vicarianza hanno quindi caratterizzato la storia di questo gruppo di plecotteri lungo la sua intera storia biogeografica. Tassi di evoluzione molecolare sorprendentemente bassi, precedentemente supposti da Fochetti (1991, 1994) e da Fochetti et al. (2004) sulla base di marcatori nucleari (allozimi), sono stati qui osservati anche in marcatori mitocondriali.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research

Publication Stats

378 Citations
80.39 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995-2014
    • Tuscia University
      • • Department of Innovation of Biological Systems, Food and Forestry DIBAF
      • • Department of Biological and Ecological Sciences DEB
      Viterbo, Latium, Italy
  • 2003-2011
    • Viterbo University
      Italy, Texas, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Murcia
      • Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física
      Murcia, Murcia, Spain
  • 2002
    • University of Granada
      • Department of Animal Biology
      Granata, Andalusia, Spain