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Expanding the territorial limits of Pleroma caatingae, a threatened species from the Brazilian semiarid
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  • Luis Henrique Ximenes Portela,
  • Rodrigo César Gonçalves-Oliveira,
  • Juliana Gomes Freitas,
  • Elnatan Bezerra de Souza
Luis Henrique Ximenes Portela
State University of Acaraú Valley

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Rodrigo César Gonçalves-Oliveira
Universidade de Pernambuco - Campus de Petrolina
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Juliana Gomes Freitas
Semi-Arid National Institute
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Elnatan Bezerra de Souza
State University of Acaraú Valley
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Abstract

Melastomataceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants, comprising approximately 5,858 species distributed across 173 genera worldwide. Brazil excels as the country with the highest diversity of Melastomataceae in the neotropical Americas, boasting 1,453 species with a significant number of endemisms. The Caatinga, a phytogeographic domain in Brazil, holds a prominent position as the core area of Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests and Shrubs and Woodlands (SDTFSW) in South America and exhibits remarkable environmental heterogeneity, featuring various phytophysiognomies associated with both crystalline and sedimentary terrains. Within this domain, rock outcrops support endemic and rare species, further enhancing the ecological value of this region. Although Melastomataceae has limited representation in the Caatinga, the colonization of xeric environments by select species of this family has attracted attention. Notably, the discovery of Pleroma caatingae stands out, an endangered species previously thought to be endemic to the state of Bahia, and recently collected outside the state. This paper presents the first record of the species outside Bahia. After acquiring further morphological data, an adapted description of this species is offered, incorporating information from these peripheral occurrence points. To enhance understanding of the potential distribution and conservation status of the species, a conducted predictive species distribution model (SDM) that provides an updated account of its geographical range is presented. Furthermore, comprehensive insights regarding phenology and conservation status are provided. Additionally, conclusions are drawn pertaining to the remaining knowledge gaps surrounding the distribution of neotropical species and their interrelationships with both their counterparts and their surroundings and provides innovative insights and outlooks regarding the preservation of arid habitats, which are typically overlooked but hold intriguing discoveries for biodiversity.