There has only been one study on the ecology of testate amoebae from Amazonian peatlands, despite Amazonia being a biodiversity hotspot of global importance. During analysis of litter samples from Aucayacu peatland, western (Peruvian) Amazonia, we discovered a testate amoeba with a distinct morphology unlike any other species reported previously. We describe a new species, Arcella peruviana, based on its distinct morphology, compare it to morphologically similar species and provide information about its ecology. This new species is characterised by a distinct cruciform aperture (diameter ranges between 12 and 17μm) which is slightly invaginated. The test is small (height 43-57μm) and polygonal in cross-section. Our discovery suggests the existence of an unknown diversity of testate amoebae in Amazonia. The absence of the new Arcella species in more intensively-sampled regions supports the view that protists have restricted distributions.
Keywords: Microbial diversity; Peatlands; Protist distribution; Rainforest; Testate amoebae; Tropics.
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