A New Zamia Species from the Panama Canal Area
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There are four terrestrial, above-ground stemmed Zamia taxa in Panama, the species delimitations of which have been a matter of controversy or misplacement at one time or the other (Schutzman et. al., 1998; Stevenson, 1993; Taylor, 1999a, b, 2002). All are allopatrically distributed. Two are in western Panama in Chiriquí province. One of these, Z. pseudomonticola, is found in the northwest of the province at altitudes above 1000 m, while the other, Z. fairchildiana, is found in a relatively small patch of forest in southwestern Chiriquí province. The other two taxa are found around the Canal area or farther east. The species described in this paper is found near the Canal area, and the last of the group, Z. elegantissima, occurs north of the Canal area in the province of Colon and also some distance to the east, including part of the Dule or Kuna aboriginal homeland known as Kuna Yala. After 16 years of research on the new taxon, we have decided to describe it as a new species, pointing out its similarity to Z. elegantissima and its distinctness from Z. pseudomonticola and Z . fairchildiana. The two western species are more alike in structure compared with the eastern species, and the latter are more alike between themselves compared to the western taxa. Even so, there are differences in vegetative and reproductive structures to clearly separate each species. There are even differences in the pollinators, these being, in all cases found, species of the weevil genus Rhopalotria and the snubbed-nosed beetle Pharaxonotha.
KeywordsZamia Allopatry Pollen cones Leaflets Pollinators Hervibory Emergent leaves
The authors acknowledge the ongoing support of the University of Panama (President, Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies, and various deans of the Faculty of Natural and Exact Sciences and Technology) of the senior author as full-time research faculty and also for infrastructure where possible (e.g. space for a cycad garden of over 3000 plants, including germlings, young plants and mature coning and non-coning individuals). We are also grateful for the partial support of the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) for granting us permission to carry out research on Isthmian cycads in the national park where the populations of Z. stevensonii are found. We are also grateful for the most helpful reviews and suggestions of Dr. Dennis William Stevenson and Jody Haynes to better address the objectives of this work. Our thanks also go to Mr. Alberto Prado, graduate student at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, who went along with the senior author to look for and retrieve specimens of both the holotype and other individuals in the same population for this study. As usual, thanks go to Isabel Debora Herrera Antaneda, wife of the principal author and who has always been an advisor and supportive hand for his research.
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