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Exploring the Enchanting World of Callicostella paulensis: A Vital Player in Tropical Ecosystems

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Exploring the Fascinating World of Callicostella paulensis Broth. Moss


Mosses are often overlooked, but they play a vital role in many ecosystems around the world. One particularly interesting species is Callicostella paulensis Broth., a moss in the


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Pilotrichaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this fascinating plant and explore its unique features and ecological importance.


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Callicostella paulensis Broth., also known simply as Callicostella, is a species of moss that belongs to the


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Bryophyta division and Bryopsida class. It was first described by German botanist Viktor Ferdinand Brotherus in 1924 based on specimens collected in Brazil. Since then, it has been found in various tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

Morphology and Identification

Callicostella paulensis is a pleurocarpous moss, meaning it has a branching growth habit with sporophytes emerging from the sides of the stems. The leaves are ovate to oblong-lanceolate, with a rounded to acute apex. They have a single costa (midrib) that extends 1/2 to 3/4 the length of the leaf.
The leaf cells are elongate-hexagonal and often have a single papilla (protuberance) over the lumen. Sporophytes are common, with a long seta (stalk) and inclined to pendulous capsules. The peristome (tooth-like structures around the capsule opening) is double, with the exostome and endostome both well-developed.


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Global Distribution and Habitat

Callicostella paulensis has a wide distribution


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in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. It is found in lowland to montane forests, often growing on tree trunks, branches, and decaying logs. The moss prefers humid, shaded environments with high rainfall and moderate temperatures.
Some of the countries where Callicostella paulensis has been recorded include:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuela

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, Callicostella paulensis plays important ecological roles


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in the habitats where it occurs. It helps to:

  • Retain moisture in the ecosystem
  • Prevent soil erosion
  • Provide shelter and microhabitats for small invertebrates
  • Contribute to nutrient cycling through decomposition

Callicostella paulensis has several adaptations that allow it to thrive in its preferred environments:

  • Poikilohydry: the ability to tolerate desiccation and rehydrate when water becomes available again
  • Efficient water and nutrient uptake through its leaves and rhizoids
  • Asexual reproduction via fragmentation, allowing it to spread locally


Callicostella paulensis Broth. is a prime example of the incredible diversity and adaptability of mosses. From its distinct morphology to its widespread distribution and ecological importance, this small plant has a big story to tell. The next time you’re walking through a tropical forest, take a moment to appreciate the intricate world of mosses like Callicostella paulensis that thrive all around you. What other secrets might these ancient plants hold?


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