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Thread: Mosses and the men who love them - Part X

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    Mosses and the men who love them - Part X

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    Hi, folks,

    This report consists of 3 chapters and they are:

    1. The mosses that Andrew (aka fish newb) found
    2. A common name for Fissidens fontanus
    3. The Fissidens that Ben (aka subzero) found
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Andrew Hill, a 14 year old boy who lives in the United States sent 13 bryophytes, 4 of which were aquarium mosses he got from other hobbyists and the rest plants he collected from the streams and creeks around his neighbourhood in New England. I must say Andrew did a wonderful job with the packing. Besides labelling the plastic bags clearly, he also included a note to describe where the bryophytes were collected.


    However, other than the 4 aquarium mosses and another one which is a species of Fontinalis, the bryophytes that Andrew sent are terrestrial in nature. In other words, they can't survive submersed conditions. This being the case, there's little point in learning their identities. There are thousands of species of mosses, mostly terrestrial but as aquaria hobbyists, we are interested only in those that can grow underwater.

    Having said that, however, we know Andrew went through a lot of trouble collecting and packing the mosses so the last thing we'll do is let him down The professor examined the mosses and these are the results:
    Moss number 1 - Taxiphyllum sp


    Moss number 2 - Leptodictyum riparium


    Moss number 3 - Vesicularia sp


    Moss number 4 - Taxiphyllum sp


    Moss number 5 - Fontinalis sp


    Moss number 6 - A leafy liverwort, Scapania sp


    Moss number 7 - Ptilium sp


    Moss number 8 - Pleurozium sp


    Moss number 9 - Hypnum sp


    Moss number 10 - Campylopus sp


    Moss number 11 - Leucobryum sp


    Moss number 12 - Hypnum sp


    Moss number 13 - Hypnum sp


    Andrew wanted to know what's a good book for someone like himself, a 14 year American boy who's passionate about mosses. This is what the professor recommends - Janice M. Glime. 1993. The Elfin World of Mosses and Liverworts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale. Isle Royale Natural History Association, Houghton, MI. 148 pp.. The professor said the book is written in layman's language and has many coloured photos of the mosses from Michigan State in Eastern United States, where the state of Massachusetts is and has a similar moss flora.

    By the way, Andrew, the professor also wants you to know that it isn't a nice thing to *drown* a terrestrial moss All the more so when in your part of the world, he said, there are many semi-aquatic to truly aquatic mosses that you can try to grow in your tanks. All you need to do is to and look for mosses growing in bogs, swamps, ponds, lake shores and stream banks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2. Among the many bryophytes in the aquaria scene today are 2 Fissidens, both extremely lovely, that were introduced to the hobby by members of this forum. One is the moss known as Fissidens fontanus which came from Tony Gomez (aka Gomer) who lives in the USA. Tony sent me this moss several months ago and after the professor has identified it, I gave a few strands to Bioplast fish shop. The good folks at Bioplast are good with aquatic plants and in just a few short months, they have lots of this moss. The moss is now well-established in Singapore and it will be just a matter of time before it makes its way into the tanks of hobbyists all over the world.
    Here are some pictures of this lovely moss:




    Presently, the moss is known in certain circles as US Fissidens. There must be scores, if not hundreds of species of Fissidens in North America. To call the F. fontanus US Fissidens is downright silly, if you ask me. It shows an utter lack of imagination and common sense. Albeit it's just a common name but surely, we can do better.

    I brought the F. fontanus to the professor again last week to try and find out more about this moss. It seems the moss was once known as Octodiceras fontanus. I took a picture of it through the professor's microscope:

    A picture of the same moss I lifted from the professor's book:

    I found out from the professor that the F. fontanus is a true aquatic moss. No wonder it grows so beautifully in Bioplast's tanks. I also learnt that the latin word "fontanu" means "fountain" or "spring". So, would "Fountain Moss" be a good common name for Fissidens fontanus? You decide.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. Before we knew of the F. fontanus, there was another Fissidens. More than a year ago, Ben Yau, a Singaporean gave me a rock which he picked up from a stream at Bukit Timah. I didn't think much of the rock at first. There were some mosses growing on it but they didn't look very impressive to me then. I put the rock in one of my tanks and this is how it looked after a while:

    A close-up:


    Not long after Ben gave me the moss, I took a few strands of it to the professor. The professor examined the moss and declared that it wasn't native to Singapore. He was sure the Fissidens couldn't possibly be taken from our local streams. He was sure because just a year or so earlier, he did a project with a team of students and they found 16 Fissidens in Singapore. Ben's Fissidens did not belong to any of the 16 on the professor's list.

    I tried to explain to the professor then that Ben couldn't possibly have given me the wrong information. There was absolutely no reason for Ben to lie. He gave the moss to me completely free of charge. And on top of that, he gave me the rock and not just the moss. If Ben had been pulling my leg and the moss had come from another country, it wouldn't make sense at all for the person sending the moss to send the rock as well.

    Anyway, the professor was adamant that the moss couldn't possibly be from Singapore. So the identity of the Fissidens became a mystery. Not long later, I gave a few strands of the Fissidens to Bioplast. The folks at Bioplast are accomplished aquatic gardeners. With just a few strands, they managed to grow heaps of the moss. Here are some pictures of the Fissidens in Bioplast's tanks:



    Last week, I took a few strands of the Fissidens from Bioplast to the professor. My intention was to ask the professor to examine the moss again to see if we can come up with a good common name for it. To my surprise, the professor said the Fissidens that I brought was different from the earlier one. Obviously, someone must have made a mistake somewhere along the line but I'm not sure who is at fault. This is the route the Fissidens took after Ben found it:

    Ben found the moss in a local stream ---> He gave me the moss ---> I grew them in my tanks for a while ---> Then I showed them to the professor ---> He said it couldn't be native to Singapore ---> I brought the moss home ---> Later, I gave some of it to Bioplast ---> Last week, I took a few strands back from Bioplast ---> I brought the moss to the professor again ---> He said it's different from the one I brought to him earlier.

    It's highly unlikely but it could be the moss got mixed up with another when it was in my tanks. I don't know but the good news is we now know the identity of the Fissidens that Ben found. The professor said it's Fissidens zippelianus, a moss native to Singapore. I'm glad that the mystery of the mosses' identity has been solved. I'm even more glad that Ben's integrity has been vindicated. I never doubted his honesty but still, it's good to know that the air has finally been cleared.

    The professor said one main characteristic of F. zippelianus is their swollen cells. Here's a diagram of how the swollen cells look like:

    Here's a picture of the moss through the microscope:


    The leaves of F. zippelianus are pointed at the ends:



    Now that we are aware of its identity and the fact that this Fissidens is fairly well-established in Singapore, it's time we give it a common name. The Fissidens is known as "Phoenix Moss" in some circles. If you ask me again, I think that's a rather lame common name. The moss deserves better.

    Please take a good look at a close-up picture of Fissidens zippelianus:

    What does it reminds you of? Does this comes to mind?


    Zippelianus, according to the professor is the name of the Dutch botanist who first described the moss more than 2 centuries ago. So, would Zipper Moss be a good name for Fissidens zippelianus? You decide.

    LoH K L

    <<-- Part IX......Part XI-->>

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    Informative on Fissidens

    Hi timebomb,

    Thank you for such an informative post on fissidens. i am beginning to love fissidens and am considering to start a fissiden only tank consisting of all the various fissidens. Hope to learn more from you.

    Regards,
    Jumali

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    Kwek Leong,
    I just remember I still have a rock with Fissidens given by Ben. I left it in my office tank and have forgotten about it. I 'll bring the rock to the professor the next time we visit him.

    I like the common name Fountain Moss and Zipper Moss.
    If you are into Nature, check out the new NSS Nature Forum.
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    Hi KL,

    I think the names sound apt, though i have a silly question to ask:
    Is it correct to call fissidens a moss?
    You can if you dare to fail - Stan Chung

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    Quote Originally Posted by stan chung
    Hi KL,

    I think the names sound apt, though i have a silly question to ask:
    Is it correct to call fissidens a moss?
    Yes, the term Moss is the commonly used to refer to plants in the Division Bryophyta which Fissidens and other aquatic mosses belong to.
    If you are into Nature, check out the new NSS Nature Forum.
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    I also like both of your proposed common names. For personal reasons, I'm particularly fond of Fissidens fontanus being referred to as fountain moss; one of the places I found it growing in the wild was a fountain where water emerges from an aquafier.

    I also like the use of the word "moss" in both of the common names. As Stan touched on, there seems to currently be a fairly widespread perception that Fissidens species are not moss. Using the word "moss" rather than "Fissidens" (i.e., "US Fissidens") in the common names may help to clear up this confusion.

    Thanks for another great post!

    -Chris

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    Re: Informative on Fissidens

    Quote Originally Posted by uorme99
    i am beginning to love fissidens and am considering to start a fissiden only tank consisting of all the various fissidens.
    Jumali, besides the 2 Fissidens mentioned in this post, the only other Fissidens' in the local aquaria scene are F. nobilis and F. splachnobryoides. The former has very large fronds while the latter grows into a dense mat. Here are some pictures:
    Fissidens nobilis


    Fissidens splachnobryoides


    You can find F. nobilis at Bioplast while Nature Aquarium sells F. splachnobryoides.

    Quote Originally Posted by tundrafour
    Using the word "moss" rather than "Fissidens" (i.e., "US Fissidens") in the common names may help to clear up this confusion.
    Besides what Chris said, there's also another reason why we shouldn't use the word "Fissidens" in the common name. The word "Fissidens" is latin. With common names, it's best if we stick to English.

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    Thank you LoH K L.

    This 'Mosses and the men who love them' thread is really informative and useful. Therefore to summarize it, is the below correct:

    1) Fissidens fontanus - alias as US Fissidens - well known

    2) Fissidens zippelianus - alias as Fissidens SP - native to singapore

    but there is this fissiden which i bought from NA. the uncle says that it is japan fissiden, link to pic: http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...ad.php?t=25182
    looks really like Fissiden SP. Is it of the same species?


    3) Fissidens nobilis - alias as Thai Fissiden - went to Bioplast, costly for just a small mesh

    and lastly

    4) Fissidens splachnobryoides - dunno the alias, first time seeing it (pics). havent seen it live before.

    Do correct me if i am wrong and if there are any updates on any other aquatic fissiden species hope could share the knowledge here or in this forum. Thank you to all. Have a great day.[/img]

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    Hi KL,

    Thank you for giving the Zipper Moss to Bioplast for propagating. Without Bioplast, no one will know how beautify they are in the tank. Without your Killifish.com no one will know their existance.

    I like the common name Fountain Moss and Zipper Moss too, I'll vote for that!
    Ben Yau
    Hexazona

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    Quote Originally Posted by uorme99
    Thank you LoH K L.

    This 'Mosses and the men who love them' thread is really informative and useful. Therefore to summarize it, is the below correct:

    1) Fissidens fontanus - alias as US Fissidens - well known

    2) Fissidens zippelianus - alias as Fissidens SP - native to singapore

    but there is this fissiden which i bought from NA. the uncle says that it is japan fissiden, link to pic: http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...ad.php?t=25182
    looks really like Fissiden SP. Is it of the same species?


    3) Fissidens nobilis - alias as Thai Fissiden - went to Bioplast, costly for just a small mesh

    and lastly

    4) Fissidens splachnobryoides - dunno the alias, first time seeing it (pics). havent seen it live before.

    Do correct me if i am wrong and if there are any updates on any other aquatic fissiden species hope could share the knowledge here or in this forum. Thank you to all. Have a great day.[/img]
    Hi all, anyone can help me with my point 2). are they of the same species? Thank you.

    Jumali

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    The one sold by NA looks like Zipper Moss to me.

    Kwek leong,
    I just examined the rock which Ben gave me and the Fissidens does not look like Fissidens zippelianus.
    If you are into Nature, check out the new NSS Nature Forum.
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    I think if you read the earlier "Mosses and the men..." posts, you will realise that the naked eye isn't very reliable at identifying many moss species, because:
    1 - a single moss species can exhibit different growth forms, frond shapes etc.. depending on condition, population origin and other factors; and
    2 - many mosses may look similar or alike (e.g. various Taxiphyllums) but can only be differentiated under the microscope.
    So, we can make as many guesses (and not unintelligent ones) as we want but without the aid of the learned eye of a bryologist, my guess is as good as yours.

    The genus Fissidens has something like 900+ species from all over the world, so I second Kwek Leong's point that the popular common names used (e.g. Thai fissidens, Japan fissidens, US fissidens) aren't very helpful, given that there are probably more than a few different species of Fissidens mosses found in each country. A common name that harks back to the moss's unique scientific name (e.g. F. zippelianus>>zipper moss) makes more sense, both descriptively and for the purposes of practical identification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GanCW
    The one sold by NA looks like Zipper Moss to me.

    Kwek leong,
    I just examined the rock which Ben gave me and the Fissidens does not look like Fissidens zippelianus.
    Hi Gan CW,
    Thanks for the reply. so i guess my jap fissiden is the zipper moss (Fissidens zippelianus).

    one more thing, my assumption that: Fissidens zippelianus - is it alias as the Fissidens SP - which is native to singapore, is this correct?
    Thank you all

    Jumali

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    Quote Originally Posted by GanCW
    Kwek leong,
    I just examined the rock which Ben gave me and the Fissidens does not look like Fissidens zippelianus.
    Now you're getting me worried, Gan Although (as Budak has pointed out) observations made with the naked eye tend to be unreliable, I do believe in your powers of observation. Let's arrange another meeting with the professor to clarify things. I do believe, however, that the F. zippelianus is the same Fissidens that Ben found. After our last meeting with the professor, I asked Bioplast and they said it's highly unlikely they got the Fissidens mixed up because they do not have any other Fissidens that looks like the one Ben found. They have F. nobilis and F. fontanus but these are easily distinguishable from F. zippelianus.

    By the way, folks, whether you like it or not , Bioplast fish shop are happy with the common names suggested in this thread. They will start calling the F. fontanus Fountain Moss and the F. zippelianus Zipper Moss.

    What we have to do now is come up with an appropriate common name for the Fern Gametophtye which is rapidly becoming widespread in the hobby. I saw on aquabid.com some jokers selling this fern and they call it "Round Pellia". The plant is not a Pellia, not even a liverwort. We have to come up with a better name before this silly one becomes widely accepted.

    Loh K L

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    Quote Originally Posted by uorme99
    one more thing, my assumption that: Fissidens zippelianus - is it alias as the Fissidens SP - which is native to singapore, is this correct?
    Jumali,

    Don't get yourself confused. It's best if you read up a bit more on scientific names and how they are given to living organisms to understand the situation better. This article is about fish but it will give you an idea of how scientific names work.

    The F. zippelianus is a moss that is native to Singapore. Before we knew it was F. zippelianus, we call it Fissidens sp. When we know only the genus but not the species, we use "sp" in the scientific name. Genus names always start with a capital but species names should be in small letters.

    Loh K L

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    Thank you once again Loh K L. just bought thai fissiden from a fellow aquarist today. i did went to see the F. nobilis at Bioplast. it really looks similar to the thai fissiden which i bought, only much bigger in size. would like to get some from Bioplast but the price deterred me. need to save up for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timebomb
    Quote Originally Posted by uorme99
    one more thing, my assumption that: Fissidens zippelianus - is it alias as the Fissidens SP - which is native to singapore, is this correct?
    Jumali,

    Don't get yourself confused. It's best if you read up a bit more on scientific names and how they are given to living organisms to understand the situation better. This article is about fish but it will give you an idea of how scientific names work.

    The F. zippelianus is a moss that is native to Singapore. Before we knew it was F. zippelianus, we call it Fissidens sp. When we know only the genus but not the species, we use "sp" in the scientific name. Genus names always start with a capital but species names should be in small letters.

    Loh K L
    Great article. i now understand the concept for scientific names. i guess its really confusing to stick/named the fissidens with either 'US' or 'Thai' or etc. (But that is what people normally called them).

    Fellow friends, please help me get things straight, as of now i have in my collection: Fissidens fontanus(fountain moss), Fissidens zippelianus (zipper moss, which was named as jap fissiden when i bought it from NA) and i just bought a Fissidens in which was named as 'thai' Fissidens yesterday. its leaves looks like Fissidens nobilis (which i've seen at Bioplast but quite expensive), but much smaller in size compared to Fissidens nobilis. i did took a picture but it is kind of blur i guess it wont be able to help that much. hope others have a similar specimen and help to eleborate more on it.

    As for Fissidens splachnobryoides (Doormat Fissidens), i have not yet have the chance to see how it looks like in real life.

    Lastly, any fellow aquarist with Fissidens splachnobryoides and Fissidens nobilis could sell me at an afforble price. just enough to cover a 3cm by 5cm wire mess.

    Thank you for reading.
    Good Day!
    Jumali

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    Quote Originally Posted by timebomb
    The plant is not a Pellia, not even a liverwort. We have to come up with a better name before this silly one becomes widely accepted.

    Loh K L
    Hi KL,

    Is it the one refered to as subwassertang?
    You can if you dare to fail - Stan Chung

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    Quote Originally Posted by stan chung
    Is it the one refered to as subwassertang?
    I believe you're correct, Stan; the fern gameophyte referred to as SŁŖwassertang is the same as what is being sold as "round Pellia."

    It's too bad that both of the common names being used for the fern gametophyte are quite innacurate. "SŁŖwassertang," after all, means "freshwater seaweed" in English! Since the gametophyte is neither a Pellia nor seaweed, it really is in need of a new, more accurate common name. Having never seen it in real life, though, I'll hold off on suggesting one for it.

    -Chris

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    I have some that I bought a year ago from a hobbyist in Jakarta. He called it Timmika.
    He said it originated from Timmika, Papua New Guinea, hence the name.
    Since I don't know how true this is till I saw it posted here and on Vic's website as Subwassertang. Maybe somebody reading can help join the dots.
    You can if you dare to fail - Stan Chung

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