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A new species of plant is registered in Ecuador, it is the Columnea fluidifolia, which is part of the diet of hummingbirds

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Columnea fluidifolia, of the Gesneriaceae family, is the new species of plant that is registered in Ecuador. It lives in the Chocó Andino region, within the Reserva Mashpi reserve, specifically on the northwestern slopes of the country, in the Mashpi-Pachijal conservation zone in the province of Pichincha.

The discovery was made thanks to the conservation effort of the Mashpi Lodge biologists and through the EPHI study (Ecology of Plant-Hummingbird Interactions), carried out between 2017 and 2019 by the WSL (Switzerland) and Aves & Conservation (Ecuador).

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‘Guardians of the forest’ protect species and help science to conserve part of the Chocó Andino in Ecuador

This plant differs from other Columnea above all by the unusual arrangement of its leaves; in the same shoot there are pairs of anisophilic leaves (of different sizes) and isophilic pairs (of the same size). On the other hand, like the vast majority of Columnea, it is an epiphytic, pendular, colorful and striking flower.

This finding adds to the more than 500 species of plants identified and cataloged in the Mashpi reserve, thanks to the hard work of the Mashpi Lodge Research and Biology team in alliance with botanists from several national and international universities, rescuing the scientific contribution to follow. expanding the biodiversity inventory of Ecuador, where this specimen is integrated into the almost 18,500 species of vascular plants in the country.

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The EPHI project sought to understand the interaction between plants and hummingbirds in order to know the vegetation that these birds prefer in their diet. Francisco Tobar, one of the biologists in charge, through photographs taken for the project, discovered the peculiar plant.

The study to determine if the species was unique in its kind, took several years, since the fact that the Chocó bioregion is distributed among several neighboring countries such as Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, makes it necessary to compare the characteristics of similar plants. It was then necessary to investigate the physical and digital archives of herbariums and samples in museums, in order to discard an already recognized specimen.

Mashpi Lodge reaches its first decade combining tourism and preservation of the fauna and flora of the Andean Chocó

This new discovery brings us a smile and the satisfaction of knowing that we protect this and hundreds of other species, but at the same time it is a call to urgent action to continue investigating and conserving larger areas of forest. The Columnea fluidifolia It was recently discovered and is already in critical danger of extinction, because it is only found in the Mashpi Reserve and it has not been possible to find more than 40 individuals.”, commented Mateo Roldán, Director of Research at Mashpi Lodge.

Recently, the Mashpi reserve has expanded its territory covering a total of 2,882 hectares of protected areas, in the middle of the tropical forest in the Chocó Andino Biosphere Reserve. This has been possible, among other factors, thanks to the sustainable tourism of Mashpi Lodge, a magical place visited by explorers from all over the world who come to discover the incredible wonders of this majestic garden in Quito, located just three hours from the Ecuadorian capital. . (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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