Nitzschia fenestralis: A new diatom species abundant in the holocene sediments of an eastern African crater lake

David Grady*, David G. Mann, Rosa Trobajo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Nitzschia is common in the phytoplankton of several East African lakes. A new species, Nitzschia fenestralis, sp. nov. D. Grady, D.G. Mann et Trobajo was encountered at numerous depths in a 16 m sediment core from Lake Babogaya, Ethiopia and is described using light and scanning electron microscopy. It is compared with several other morphologically similar taxa described from East and Central Africa (especially N. aequalis, N. mediocris, N. obsoleta and N. fabiennejansseniana), and from Europe (N. fruticosa). An unusual feature of some of these species (N. fenestralis, N. obsoleta and N. fabiennejansseniana) is that in the raphe canal each stria is represented by two narrower areolae (alternatively interpreted as a single subdivided areola). It is this feature that suggested the name of the new species (through the resemblance to a series of sash windows). Another characteristic of N. fenestralis and N. obsoleta, apparently never reported previously in any diatom, is that the more advalvar bands end approximately halfway along the frustules, rather than at the poles. In most respects (shape and size, stria and fibula densities, valve and girdle structure), N. fenestralis and N. obsoleta are very similar, but confusion is unlikely because they differ in whether central raphe endings are present (N. fenestralis) or absent (N. obsoleta). In Nitzschia fenestralis, and perhaps to a lesser extent in N. obsoleta, the striae usually become strongly radiate towards the poles. A preliminary assessment, based on the literature, suggests that N. fabiennejansseniana may be synonymous with N. obsoleta, which was described earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Early online date18 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2020


  • Africa
  • Girdle structure
  • Lake Babogaya
  • Morphology
  • New species
  • Nitzschia
  • Plankton
  • Taxonomy


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