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new & recent described Flora & Fauna species from all over the World esp. Asia, Oriental, Indomalayan & Malesiana region

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    Cirrophorus nikebianchii  Langeneck, Barbieri, Maltagliati & Castelli, 2017


    This paper deals with specimens of Cirrophorus collected from the depths ranging from 3 to 500 m in 2012 and 2013 in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey. Among the material, one new species and two already known species were found. The new species is mainly characterized by having long and clavate notopodial postchaetal lobes in the branchial region; red speckles near nuchal organs; and a very long branch of lyrate chaetae (4 times longer than the shorter one). A recently described species, Cirrophorus nikebianchii, was found at the majority of soft-bottom stations. All species found in the area were described and discussed.

     Keywords: Annelida, Paraonidae, new species, Cirrophorus, Sea of Marmara

      Deniz Erdoğan-Dereli, Melih Ertan Çınar and Ertan Dağlı. 2017. Cirrophorus species (Annelida: Polychaeta: Paraonidae) in the Sea of Marmara, with Description of A New Species. Zootaxa. 4347(1); 137–150. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4347.1.8

    Joachim Langeneck, Michele Barbieri, Ferruccio Maltagliati and Alberto Castelli. 2017.  A new species of Cirrophorus (Annelida: Paraonidae) from Mediterranean organically enriched coastal environments, with taxonomic notes on the family. Journal of the Marine Biological Associations of the United Kingdom. 97; 871–880.   DOI:  10.1017/S0025315417000935

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    Nothobranchius cooperi 
     Nagy, Watters & Bellstedt, 2017

    Nothobranchius cooperi, Nagy, Watters and Bellstedt, new species, is described from seasonal streams and ephemeral pools associated with the upper Mansa River system in the middle Luapula drainage and systems draining into the low-lying area marginal to the southwestern part of Lake Bangweulu, in the Luapula province of northern Zambia. It belongs to the N. brieni species group. Males of Nothobranchius cooperi are distinguished from congeners by the following unique combination of characters: body scales with broad orange posterior margin, forming a highly irregular cross-barred pattern; anal fin fairly uniform orange-red with irregular to regular, light blue-green zone close to the base; caudal peduncle length 1.2–1.3 times its depth; prepelvic length 48.8–51.9% SL; and head depth 75–77% of head length. Genetic divergence of the mitochondrial COI and ND2 genes and nuclear S7 gene support the distinction of the new species from its closest known relative, N. rosenstocki and confirms its position in the N. brieni species group.

    Keywords: Mansa River, mtDNA analyses, nDNA analyses, Nothobranchiidae, Nothobranchius rosenstocki, taxonomy

    Figure 6: Nothobranchius cooperi, wild-caught male, not preserved. From the easternmost known location, about 11 km west of Samfya, in a drainage system flowing into the low-lying area marginal to the southwestern part of Lake Bangweulu.
    Figure 8: Nothobranchius cooperi, wild-caught female, not preserved. Location: type locality, about 20 km east of the town of Mansa, upper Mansa River system Luapula Province, middle Luapula River drainage.

    Figure 10: Type locality for Nothobranchius cooperi. ... the upper Mansa River system, Luapula Province, middle Luapula River drainage. Habitat comprised a densely vegetated seasonal stream and associated roadside ditches and pools within a broad shallow valley. Photograph taken 28 March, 1997.

    Etymology: The specific epithet is given in honour of Barry J. Cooper, renowned collector and breeder of killifish, for his significant contributions to the field study of Nothobranchius and to the killifish hobby in general. A noun in genitive.

    B. Nagy, B. R. Watters, P. D. W. van der Merwe, F. P. D. Cotterill and D. U. Bellstedt. 2017. 
    Nothobranchius cooperi (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes): A New Species of Annual Killifish from the Luapula River Drainage, northern Zambia. African Journal of Aquatic Science. 42(3); 201-218.  DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2017.1372270   

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    Rafflesia kemumu  Susatya, Hidayati & Riki


    Rafflesia kemumu is a new species described from Northern Bengkulu in Sumatra, Indonesia. The species resembles R. gadutensis in size of the open flower, but differs from it with regard to the color and wart ornamentation on the upper surface of the perigone lobes, color and presence/absence of warts on the upper surface of the diaphragm, blots pattern on the two concentric rings of windows near the diaphragm opening, types and distribution of ramenta, number and shapes of processes, and number of anthers. The new species has orange to dark orange perigone lobes with warts of two sizes, in which smaller warts are often merged, and surround larger ones, and 23 slender, conical processes with rounded apex, arranged in two concentric rings (15 and 7 processes each) and a single process in the center of the disc. Rafflesia kemumu has no warts at its upper surface of diaphragm, simple and compound toadstool ramenta on its upper perigone tube and the lower part of the lower surface of its diaphragm and broccoli-like ramenta distributed from the base to the upper part of the perigone tube.

    Keywords: Bengkulu, processes, Rafflesia, ramenta, Sumatra, Eudicots

     The color of perigone lobes and their wart patterns on the first day of flowering for Rafflesia kemumu.
    Photo by S. Riki.  

    Rafflesia kemumu Susatya, Hidayati & Riki, spec. nov.

    Differs from a related species R. gadutensis by the absence of warts on the upper surface of the diaphragm, the pattern and arrangement of warts of windows near the diaphragm opening, and the presence of compound toadstool ramenta on the upper part of the perigone tube. 

    Etymology:— The specific epithet is named after a village near the location where the holotype specimen was collected, Kemumu. The people of Kemumu rely on the continuity of a water supply from the Palak Siring watershed for their rice fields.

    Agus Susatyaม Siti Nur Hidayati and Septian Riki. 2017. Rafflesia kemumu (Rafflesiaceae), A New Species from Northern Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia. Phytotaxa. 326(3); 211–220. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.326.3.5  

    Rafflesia kemumu (Rafflesiaceae), e new species from Northern Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
     Ditjen Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam dan Ekosistem

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    S. angeluciS. huwei, S. iharanaS. larinki, S. maledicta, S. mamitikaS. sorata, S. yannikiS. meikeaeS. obscoenaS. davidattenboroughi,  S. nigrorubraS. achilleiS. diutissimaS. pardus, S. edmondsiS. fuscaS. jeannoeliS. spandeiS. garraffoiSanalanjirofoS. miovaova, S. makiraSbetamponaSdolchi & Scontumelia 

    Rakotoarison, Scherz, Glaw, Köhler, Andreone, Franzen, Glos, Hawlitschek, Jono, Mori, Ndriantsoa, Raminosoa, Riemann, Rödel, Rosa, Vieites, Crottini & Vences. 2017

      Vertebrate Zoology. 67(3); 271–398.   

     The genus Stumpffia Boettger, 1881 currently contains 15 named, small to miniaturized frog species, classified in the endemic Malagasy subfamily Cophylinae of the family Microhylidae. Stumpffia are terrestrial frogs with a largely unknown biology, probably due to their small size and secretive habits. Previous studies have suggested a large proportion of undescribed diversity in the genus. We revise the genus on the basis of a combination of molecular, bioacoustic, and morphological data and describe 26 new species that are all genetically divergent, almost all of them with high pairwise genetic divergences > 4% p-distance in a segment of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene and concordant differentiation in a segment of the nuclear Rag-1 gene. The majority of the new species can also be distinguished by the structure of their advertisement calls (where bioacoustic data are available), and in most comparisons the species can also be distinguished morphologically. Furthermore, a molecular phylogeny reconstructed from DNA sequences of one nuclear and four mitochondrial gene segments revealed that in many cases, morphologically similar species are not each other’s closest relatives, thus confirming their identity as independent evolutionary lineages and revealing repeated phenotypic divergence and convergence among and within clades. The phylogeny distinguishes four main clades in the genus: Clade A containing 17 species (Stumpffia be, S. hara, S. megsoni, S. staffordi, S. psologlossa, S. analamaina, S. gimmeli, S. madagascariensis, S. pygmaea, S. angeluci sp. nov.S. huwei sp. nov., S. iharana sp. nov.S. larinki sp. nov., S. maledicta sp. nov., S. mamitika sp. nov.S. sorata sp. nov., and S. yanniki sp. nov.) mostly from northern and northwestern Madagascar, generally characterized by limited digital reduction and divided in subclades of comparatively large, small, and miniaturized body size, respectively; Clade B with four species (S. mieryS. meikeae sp. nov.S. obscoena sp. nov., and S. davidattenboroughi sp. nov.) morphologically ranging from miniaturized with strong digital reduction to comparatively large-sized; Clade C with 18 species (S. grandis, S. kibomena, S. roseifemoralis, S. tetradactyla, S. nigrorubra sp. nov.S. achillei sp. nov.S. diutissima sp. nov.S. pardus sp. nov., S. edmondsi sp. nov., S. fusca sp. nov., S. jeannoeli sp. nov., S. spandei sp. nov., S. garraffoi sp. nov., S. analanjirofo sp. nov., S. miovaova sp. nov., S. makira sp. nov., S. betampona sp. nov., and S. dolchi sp. nov.) mostly distributed in eastern and northeastern Madagascar, containing species of comparatively large size as well as small-sized species, many of which are characterized by a moderate degree of digital reduction; and Clade D with two miniaturized species (S. tridactyla and S. contumelia sp. nov.) with strong digital reduction, which form the sister group of all other Stumpffia. Two of the newly described species (S. angeluci and S. maledicta) are not separated by the 4% threshold in the 16S gene but occur in sympatry and do not share Rag-1 haplotypes. To achieve a comprehensive review of this species-rich genus, we provide simplified differential diagnoses and descriptions and abbreviated descriptions of morphological variation. Despite the large number of Stumpffia species newly described herein, we identify several additional candidate species with currently insufficient data to warrant formal description, and highlight that some species such as S. analanjirofo, S. gimmeli, S. kibomena, S. madagascariensis, S. roseifemoralis and S. obscoena are composed of two or more deep mitochondrial lineages that might also turn out to be distinct taxa after in-depth study. We confirm Stumpffia as a genus of highly microendemic frogs with many species apparently restricted to very small ranges, and provide evidence that two of the new species (S. achillei and S. davidattenboroughi) do not construct foam nests but lay their eggs in wet places in the leaf litter, or in cavities such as empty snail shells. We propose a conservation status for all the described species according to IUCN Red List Criteria, but also discuss several problems applying these criteria to such microendemic and poorly known frogs. 

    Key words: Amphibia; Anura; Microhylidae; diversity; systematics; bioacoustics; molecular genetics; morphology; microendemism

     Andolalao Rakotoarison, Mark D. Scherz, Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Franco Andreone, Michael Franzen, Julian Glos, Oliver Hawlitschek, Teppei Jono, Akira Mori, Serge H. Ndriantsoa, Noromalala Rasoamampionona Raminosoa, Jana C. Riemann, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Gonçalo M. Rosa, David R. Vieites, Angelica Crottini and Miguel Vences. 2017. Describing the Smaller Majority: Integrative Taxonomy Reveals Twenty-Six New Species of Tiny Microhylid Frogs (Genus Stumpffia) from Madagascar.   Vertebrate Zoology. 67(3); 271–398.  

    A swathe of Stumpffia: 26 new frog species @MarkScherz


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     Aspidura ravanai
    Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana, Kandambi, Pyron & Wickramasinghe, 2017


    We describe a new speciesAspidura ravanai sp. nov., representing the eighth species of the genus known from Sri Lanka. The new species is readily distinguished from all other congeners by its colour pattern, scalation, and genetic distinctiveness. Our molecular results indicated that Aspidura began diversifying in the Miocene approximately 18 Ma, and A. ravanai sp. nov. diverged from its likely sister lineage A. trachyprocta at least 6.2 Ma. The species is currently known only from the type locality, on the western slopes of Sri Pada Peak in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Aspidura trachyprocta, divergence dating, Ravana, rough-side snakes, new taxa, Sabaragamuwa province, South Asia, systematics

      L. J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana, H. K. Dushantha Kandambi, R. Alexander Pyron and Nethu Wickramasinghe. 2017. A New Species of Aspidura Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Sri Pada Sanctuary (Peak Wilderness), Sri Lanka. Zootaxa. 4347(2); 275–292.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.4


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    Navigobius kaguya
    Gill, Tea& Senou, 2017


    Navigobius kaguya is described on the basis of two specimens from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and Luzon, Philippines. It differs from other described species of the genus in live coloration, and in having: second dorsal-fin rays I,16; anal-fin rays I,16; pectoral-fin rays 21–22; gill rakers 5–6 + 17; and first dorsal fin weakly to moderately incised between spines, taller than second dorsal. It closely resembles an undescribed species from Bali and the Maldives, but differs in lacking an orange-red mid-lateral stripe. The possible placement of Navigobius khanhoa in Oxymetapon is discussed.

    Keywords: Pisces, ichthyology, taxonomy, Japan, Philippines

    FIGURE 3. Navigobius kaguya, aquarium specimen (not retained, sex not determined) from Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Photo by Y.K. Tea.
    FIGURE 4. Navigobius kaguya, KPM-NR 32379B, underwater photo in 36 m, Nakanose, between Ie-jima Island and Okinawa-jima Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan, 22 June 1998. Photo by H. Kodato.

    Navigobius kaguya new species
     New standard Japanese name: Kaguyahime-haze 
    English common name: Kaguya’s dartfish

    Diagnosis. Navigobius kaguya differs from congeners in the following: second dorsal-fin rays I,16; anal-fin rays I,16; pectoral-fin rays 21–22; gill rakers 5–6 + 17; first dorsal fin weakly to moderately incised between spines, taller than second dorsal; and live coloration (first dorsal fin yellow-grey to yellow, basally purple with 1-4 rows of yellow spots; sides of body without orange-red lateral stripe).

    Etymology. Named after the Moon Princess Kaguya from the Japanese folk tale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter). It alludes to the small spots on the first dorsal fin, which resemble the graphics used in moon phase charts, and acknowledges that the species occurs in Japanese waters. The name was selected by school students at education workshops associated with University of Sydney performances of 2071: A Performance about Climate Change. 

    Habitat and distribution. Navigobius kaguya is known only from Sagami Bay and the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and the west coast of Luzon, Philippines (Figure 7). It appears to occur singly or in small groups in silty areas, with sand or mud-bottom or low-relief reef at depths ranging from 30–60 m. 

    Anthony C. Gill, Yi-Kai Tea and Hiroshi Senou. 2017. Navigobius kaguya, New Species of Ptereleotrine Goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the West Pacific. Zootaxa. 4347(2); 371–380. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.11

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    Trimeresurus (Popeia) collected from the Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar

    Mulcahy,Lee,Miller & Zug, 2017


    The taxonomic identity of the Trimeresurus (Popeia) popeiorum complex from the Isthmus of Kra and to the north was investigated. Several studies over the last decade have produced several specimens and associated mtDNA sequence data for a variety of individuals of the T. popeiorum and “T. sabahi” complexes. Here, we combine four mitochondrial genes (12S, 16S, ND4, and CytB) from all available specimens in GenBank with the addition of five new specimens collected from the mainland, Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar. Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses identified that T. popeiorum sensu lato is paraphyletic with two geographically distinct clades: a northern clade representing populations from northern Myanmar, Laos and northern Thailand and a southern clade representing samples from the Tanintharyi Region and adjacent west Thailand. While the two clades have considerable genetic distance, they appear to be morphologically identical, leading to the hypothesis that the southern clade represents a cryptic, undescribed species. Because they appear to be cryptic species and the limitation of only five specimens from the southern lineage, this does not permit us to formally describe the new species. In accordance to past molecular studies, we uncovered paraphyly and lack of genetic support for the validity of taxa within the T. sabahi complex. However, we suggest recognizing these populations as subspecies within T. sabahi.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Cryptic speciation, Myanmar, Southeast Asia, Subspecies, Tanintharyi Region, Thailand, Trimeresurus

    FIGURE 2. Live specimens of Trimeresurus (Popeia) collected from the Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar examined in our study.
    (A) Adult female specimen ofTrimeresurus (Popeia) sp. nov. from Lenya, Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar (USNM 587588). (B-C) Adult female specimen of Trimeresurus (Popeia) sp. nov. from Ywahilu, Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar (USNM 587919). Photographs by Daniel G. Mulcahy.

    Daniel G. Mulcahy,Justin L. Lee,Aryeh H. Miller and George R. Zug. 2017. Troublesome Trimes: Potential Cryptic Speciation of the Trimeresurus (Popeiapopeiorum complex (Serpentes: Crotalidae) around the Isthmus of Kra (Myanmar and Thailand). Zootaxa. 4347(2); 301–315. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.6


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    Gephyromantis (Duboimantis) tohatra
    Scherz, Razafindrabe, Rakotoarison, Dixit, Bletz, Glaw & Vences, 2017


    Madagascar hosts a high diversity of small brown frogs. In this paper, we add another one by describing Gephyromantis (Duboimantistohatra sp. nov. The new species is a small brown mantellid frog discovered on a recent expedition to Marojejy National Park in northeastern Madagascar. It is characterised, among other things, by its small size (snout-vent length ~33 mm), an orange to yellowish belly, two dorsolateral ridges, and a distinctive call composed of 7–10 pulsed notes. The new species occurs sympatrically with other members of the subgenus Duboimantis at high altitude (~1700 m above sea level), including its sister species G. schilfi from which it radically differs by advertisement call and by a substantial genetic divergence of 4.3% uncorrected pairwise distance in the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene. It thus joins the diverse assemblage of Gephyromantis species known from high altitudes on the mountain massifs of northern Madagascar.

    Keywords: Amphibia, Anura, Mantellidae, Gephyromantis, Gephyromantis tohatra sp. nov., Gephyromantis schilfi, Gephyromantis tandroka

    Mark D. Scherz, Jary H. Razafindrabe, Andolalao Rakotoarison, Nadi M. Dixit, Molly C. Bletz, Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences. 2017.  Yet Another Small Brown Frog from High Altitude on the Marojejy Massif, northeastern Madagascar (Anura: Mantellidae). Zootaxa. 4347(3); 572–582. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.3.9

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     Dendrobium bannaense
    Tian, Li, Yang & Huang, 2017


    A new species, Dendrobium bannaense, is described from Yunnan, China, based on the molecular and morphological evidence. It belongs to section Dendrobium according to analysis of combined nrITS and plastid datasets (matK, rbcL, trnH-psbA, and trnL intron). Morphological analysis reveals that D. bannaense is similar to D. parishii, but differs in having a white lip with purplish stripes and without a deep purple blotch on either side; the disk is with 3 longitudinal ridges, extending from base to upper-middle part, and lower-middle part is thickened and swell as callus shape at the joint of lip and claw.

    Keywords: Asian orchids, Dendrobiinae, Malaxideae, orchid flora of China, phylogeny, Monocots

    Ying-Qiu Tian, Ling Li, Yu-Ying Yang and Yu-Bi Huang. 2017. Molecular and  Morphological Evidence for Dendrobiumbannaense (Orchidaceae; Epidendroideae), A New Species from China.  Phytotaxa. 328(1); 67–76. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.328.1.3

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    Phyllanthus kaweesakii  Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn.

     Pornpongrungrueng, Parnell, Hodkinson & Chantaranothai, 2017
    มะยมผา || DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2016-0298 


    Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. sp. nov. is newly described from the limestone mountain ridges in the northeast of Thailand. Comparison of morphology, anatomy, pollen morphology, and DNA sequences of this species with the most similar existing species P. mirabilis Müll.Arg. was undertaken. The results indicated that the two taxa are different in morphology, especially habit, stem base, and inflorescence, but that their pollen morphology and anatomy are similar. The molecular phylogenetic analysis, based on sequences of the plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal ITS regions, supported separation of the two taxa. This new species is described and illustrated, and its conservation status is discussed.

    Keywords: Euphorbiaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Phyllanthodendron, Phyllanthus

    Fig. 1. Phyllanthus kaweesakii sp. nov. (A–D): (A) Habit. (C) Nonswollen stem base and orthotropic branches. (D) Deciduous plagiotropic branches with inflorescences of axillary bisexual and unisexual cymules.
    Phyllanthus mirabilis: (E) swollen stem base. 


    Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. sp. nov.

    ETYMOLOGY: The name of this species honours the Thai biologist, Kaweesak Keeratikiat, who first discovered the plants.
    VERNACULAR: Ma Yom Pha, มะยมผา

    DISTRIBUTION: Currently known only from the type location; North-eastern THAILAND. 

    ECOLOGY: On open limestone ridges, ca. 440 m a.s.l. Flowering period June to September, fruiting period August to September. 

    Pimwadee Pornpongrungrueng, John A.N. Parnell, Trevor R. Hodkinson and Pranom Chantaranothai. 2017.  Phyllanthus kaweesakii (Phyllanthaceae), A New Species from Thailand. Botany. 95(6): 567-577: DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2016-0298

    มะยมหินชนิดใหม่ของโลก Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. (Phyllanthaceae), a new species from Thailand ตั้งชื่อชนิดเป็นเกียรติให้แก่ผู้ค้นพบและเก็บตัวอย่าง นายกวีศักดิ์ กีรติเกียรติ ประกาศตีพิมพ์เป็นพืชชนิดใหม่ ปี 2017
    ลักษณะ เป็นพืชอวบน้ำ Succulent มีโขดลำต้นอวบอ้วนสะสมอาหาร ทนแล้งได้มาก มีลักษณะแตกต่างกับมะยมหินชนิดดั้งเดิม Phyllanthus mirabilis Müll.Arg. คือ จะกิ่งก้านเล็กและแตกกิ่งก้านเยอะกว่ามาก ใบมีขนาดเล็ก ทรงกลมมน มีคู่ใบน้อย 6-10 คู่ใบ ใบมีแว็กซ์สีเขียวอมฟ้าเล็กน้อย ออกดอกช่อสั้น ติดเมล็ดปลายยอด 

    Photos by Disapol Rattasi

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    Spiranthes himalayensis Survesw., Kumar & Mei Sun

     Surveswaran, Kumar & Sun, 2017 

    Spiranthes himalayensis is described here as a new species based primarily on molecular phylogenetic evidence followed by morphological comparison with other Asian Spiranthes species. It is distributed widely from southern India to tropical China. Phylogenetic analysis shows its close affinity to S. nivea which is endemic to Taiwan. Morphologically, the new species looks close to S. sinensis and S. hongkongensis. S. himalayensis is an allogamous species which can be differentiated from its allies on the basis of pubescent plant body, floral bract longer or of the same length as that of ovary, petals with blunt apex, labellum width around hypochile same as the width of epichile, epichile widely flabellate or semi-tunicate, column length equal to or more than 1.5 mm, clavate operculum attached to the column on the broader part by an arm-like extension emerging from the upper part of column and a well developed rostellum partitioning the stigma and pollinarium.

    Keywords: Karnataka, Manipur, Orchid, Spiranthes hongkongensis, Spiranthes nivea, Spiranthes sinensis, Tamil Nadu, Yunnan, India, China

    Spiranthes himalayensis Survesw., Kumar & Mei Sun, sp. nov.

    Diagnosis: Spiranthes himalayensis Survesw., Kumar & Mei Sun sp. nov. is similar to S. hongkongensis, S. nivea and S. sinensis, but can be differentiated on the basis of its allogamous mode of reproduction from S. hongkongensis and S. nivea which are both autogamous. It can also be easily separated from S. nivea by its pubescent body. Other morphological distinctions separating this new species from S. hongkongensis, S. nivea and allogamous S. sinensis include: floral bract longer or of the same length as the ovary, petals with blunt apex, labellum width around hypochile is same as the width of epichile, epichile widely flabellate or semi-tunicate, column length equal to or more than 1.5 mm, clavate operculum attached to the column on the broader part by an arm-like extension emerging from the upper part of column and a well-developed rostellum separating the stigma from the pollinarium.

    Habitat: Marshy areas near mountain streams or on bunds of paddy fields (Fig. 2A) where water is stagnant. Plants were usually found growing on clayey soil along with grasses.

    Etymology: The specific name refers to the mighty Himalayan mountain range which is an important geographical feature in Asia. The samples collected for this study were not from the Himalayas. However, based on herbarium records and communication with other researchers, it is believed that this species is widespread in the lower altitudes of Himalayas. The evolutionary origin of this species and other Asian Spiranthes are to be further elucidated.

    Currently known locations of distribution: India (Karnataka, Manipur & Tamil Nadu) & China (Yunnan and most likely Hainan (see taxonomic notes for details)).

    Figure 2. Habitat and habit of Spiranthes himalayensis Survesw., Kumar & Mei Sun, sp. nov.
    Habitat (type location) - along the bunds of paddy fields B Habit of S. himalayensis C Close-up of the inflorescence showing white coloured flowers with densely covered glandular hairs.

    Figure 3. Spiranthes himalayensis Survesw., Kumar & Mei Sun, sp. nov.
    Complete plant B Inflorescence C Floral bract D Dorsal sepal E Lateral sepal F Petal G Ovary with column and labellum H Close-up showing the glandular hairs on flower and ovary I Side view of labellum J Top view of labellum K Side view of ovary with column L Front view of ovary and column M Front view of pollinarium N Side view of pollinarium.
    Note: The pinkish/bluish hue on petals of S. himalayensis is due to the black background in the plates while the flowers appear fully white in natural light. 

    Figure 4. Comparison of morphological characters of allied species.
    A Spiranthes himalayensis: 1 Close-up of inflorescence 2 A flower 3 Floral bract 4 Dorsal sepal 5 Lateral sepal 6 Petal 7 Ovary with column and labellum 8 Labellum (side view) 9 Labellum (top view) 10 Close-up showing glandular hairs on labellum and ovary 11 Ovary with column (side view) 12 Ovary with column (ventral view)
    B S. sinensis: 1 Close-up of inflorescence 2 A flower 3 Floral bract 4 Dorsal sepal 5 Lateral sepal 6 Petal 7 Ovary with column and labellum 8 Labellum (side view) 9 Labellum (top view) 10 Ovary with column (side view) 11 Ovary with column (ventral view)
     C S. hongkongensis: 1 Close-up of inflorescence 2 A flower 3 Floral bract 4 Dorsal sepal 5 Lateral sepal 6 Petal 7 Ovary with column and labellum; 8. Labellum (side view) 9 Labellum (top view) 10 Close-up showing glandular hairs on labellum and ovary 11 Ovary with column (side view) 12 Ovary with column (ventral view)
    D S. nivea: 1. Close-up of inflorescence; 2. A flower 3 Floral bract 4 Dorsal sepal 5 Lateral sepal 6 Petal 7 Ovary with column and labellum 8 Labellum (side view) 9 Labellum (top view) 10 Close-up showing glandular hairs on labellum and ovary 11 Ovary with column (side view) 12 Ovary with column (ventral view).
    Note: The pinkish/bluish hue on petals of S. himalayensis, S. nivea and S. hongkongensis is due to the black background in the plates while the flowers appear fully white in natural light.

     Siddharthan Surveswaran, Pankaj Kumar, Mei Sun. 2017. Spiranthes himalayensis (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae) A New Species from Asia. PhytoKeys. 89; 115-128.  DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.89.19978

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    Latonia nigriventer (Mendelssohn & Steinitz, 1943)

    photo: @Roll_Ur   || DOI:  10.1111/mec.14420 

    One of the greatest challenges of effective conservation measures is the correct identification of sites where rare and elusive organisms reside. The recently rediscovered Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) has not been seen for many decades, and was therefore categorized extinct. Since its rediscovery in 2011, individuals from the critically endangered species have been found, with great effort, only in four restricted sites. We applied the environmental DNA (eDNA) approach to search for new populations of the Hula painted frog in suitable aquatic habitats. We further used the eDNA data to classify the landscape factors associated with the species distribution and to predict its suitable habitats. We sampled 52 aquatic sites in the Hula valley during the spring of 2015 and 2016, and amplified the samples with a species-specific qPCR assay. DNA of the Hula painted frog was detected in 22 of the sites, all of which clustered within three main areas. A boosting classification model showed that soil type, vegetation cover, and the current and former habitats are all key predictors of the frog's current distribution. Intriguingly, the habitat suitability models reveal a high affinity of the species to its long-lost habitat of the historical wetlands. Our findings encourage a series of informed searches for new populations of this threatened frog, and provide guidance for future conservation management programs. In the era of global conservation crisis of amphibians, developing the eDNA approach, a reliable detection method for many critically endangered and elusive amphibians, is of particularly importance.

    Keywords: Conservation genetics; Genetic monitoring; Amphibians; Species distribution modelling (SDM)

    Sharon Renan, Sarig Gafny, R. G. Bina Perl, Uri Roll, Yoram Malka, Miguel Vences and Eli Geffen. 2017. Living Quarters of A Living Fossil - Uncovering the Current Distribution Pattern of the Rediscovered Hula Painted Frog (Latonia nigriventer) using Environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology. DOI:  10.1111/mec.14420 

     Using #eDNA analysis we were able to map suitable habitats for the newly re-discovered #Living_fossil -the Hula_painted_frog, and see that it retains its affinity to the now drained Hula lake and swamp. #Molecular_Ecology  || Detection of Hula painted frogs using eDNA

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    Cephennodes popeye  Jałoszyński. 2017


    The tribe Cephenniini is for the first time reported to occur in the Himalaya Mountains, and 58 species are described: Cephennomicrus arunensis sp. n., Cm. acupunctatus sp. n.,Cm. taplejungensis sp. n., Hlavaciellus primitivus sp. n., Cephennodes(s. str.)cavifrons sp. n.C. (s. str.) pampinosus sp. n., C. C. (s. str.) bagmatianus sp. n.C. (s. str.) popeye sp. n., C. C. (s. str.) clavodentatus sp. n.C. (s. str.) meredaranus sp. n.C. (s. str.) yangrianus sp. n.C. (s. str.) suturalis sp. n.C. (s. str.) karnaliensis sp. n.C. (s. str.) churtanus sp. n.C. (s. str.) sermathangensis sp. n.C. (s. str.) tipulipes sp. n., C. (s. str.) yeti sp. n., C. (s. str.) inflaticornis sp. n., C. (s. str.) dolakhanus sp. n., C. (s. str.) manangensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) martensi sp. n., C. (s. str.) paramartensi sp. n., C. (s. str.) monolaminatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) thakanus sp. n., C. (s. str.) annapurnaensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) parbatensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) letheanus sp. n., C. (s. str.) myagdiensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) malla sp. n., C. (s. str.) gorkha sp. n., C. (s. str.) tharepatianus sp. n., C. (s. str.) minisulcatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) mustangensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) lalitpuranus sp. n., C. (s. str.) paralalitpuranus sp. n., C. (s. str.) bahrabisensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) bilaminatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) ghorepanianus sp. n., C. (s. str.) cordilaminatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) str.) mangmayanus sp. n. C. (s. str.) bilobatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) gokarnaensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) pseudogokarnaensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) mahisapala sp. n., C. (s. str.) licchavi sp. n., C. (s. str.) gopala sp. n., C. (s. str.) paniporuanus sp. n., C. (s. str.) brachyclavatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) phulchokianus sp. n., C. (s. str.) pokharensis sp. n., C. (s. str.) newar sp. n., C. (s. str.) kusunda sp. n., C. (s. str.) sindhupalchowk sp. n., C. (s. str.) furcatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) penicillipes sp. n., C. (s. str.) sulcatus sp. n., C. (s. str.) kalopanianus sp. n., and C. (s. str.) poonensis sp. n. Cephennodes popeye occurs in Bhutan; all remaining species inhabit Nepal. Four new species groups are established in Cephennodes, and a checklist of all Cephennodes species placed in species groups is given. The presumably plesiomorphic morphological structures of H. primitivus are discussed, and comparative notes on the Himalayan Cephenniini fauna are presented.

    Keywords: Insecta, Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Scydmaeninae, Cephenniini, Cephennodes, Cephennomicrus, Hlavaciellus, Nepal, Bhutan, Himalaya, taxonomy

    Paweł Jałoszyński. 2017. Ant-like Stone Beetles on the Roof of the World. Cephenniini of Nepal and Bhutan (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Scydmaeninae).  Zootaxa. 4349(1); 1–120. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4349.1.1

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     Brontopodus plagnensis 
    Mazin, Hantzpergue & Olivier, 2017  

    The trackway of a huge sauropod, and the longest sauropod trackway currently known, reaching 155 m in length, has been excavated in Eastern France, alongside a shorter theropod trackway. They have been precisely dated to the early Tithonian (Late Jurassic), when the trackway site was located at the southeastern margin of the carbonate-dominated Jura platform, in a protected littoral mudflat environment. The footprints are preserved to various degrees along the trackways, depending on the initial condition of the sediment of various competences. The best-preserved section of the sauropod trackway allows this specimen to be attributed to Brontopodus plagnensis nov. isp. This new trackway site, alongside other Early Jurassic Swiss and French tracksites yielding thousands of sauropod and theropod tracks, can be considered as being the largest dinosaur megatracksite in Europe.

    Keywords: Sauropod, Theropod, Trackway, Early Tithonian, Jura, France

    The sauropod trackway, Brontopodus plagnensis
    photo: P. Dumas 

    Sauropoda Marsh, 1878
    Titanosauriformes Salgado, Coria & Calvo, 1997

    Ichnogenus Brontopodus Farlow, Pittman & Hawthorne, 1989

    Brontopodus plagnensis nov. isp.

    Derivation of the name: from the village of Plagne (Department of the Ain, Jura Mountains, Eastern France).

    Horizon: Late Jurassic, early Tithonian, Gigas Zone, Gravesiana Subzone.

    Plagne sauropod superimposed on its tracks.

    Drawing: A. Bénéteau; photo: Dinojura.

     Jean-Michel Mazin, Pierre Hantzpergue and Nicolas Olivier. 2017. The Dinosaur Tracksite of Plagne (early Tithonian, Late Jurassic; Jura Mountains, France): The Longest Known Sauropod Trackway. Geobios. 50(4); 279-301.  DOI: 10.1016/j.geobios.2017.06.004

    World's longest sauropod dinosaur trackway brought to light
    World's longest sauropod dinosaur trackway brought to light via @physorg_com

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    Albertocetus meffordorum   Uhen, 2008 

    Boessenecker, Ahmed & Geisler, 2017


    We report five new specimens of xenorophid dolphins from North and South Carolina. Four of the specimens represent the xenorophid Albertocetus meffordorum, previously only known from the holotype skull. The other is a fragmentary petrosal from the upper Oligocene Belgrade Formation that we refer to Echovenatorsp, indicating at least two xenorophids from that unit. Two of the Albertocetus meffordorum specimens are from the lower Oligocene Ashley Formation: 1) a partial skeleton with neurocranium, fragmentary mandible, ribs, vertebrae, and chevrons, and 2) an isolated braincase. The partial vertebral column indicates that Albertocetus retained the ancestral morphology and locomotory capabilities of basilosaurid archaeocetes, toothed mysticetes, and physeteroids, and caudal vertebrae that are as wide as tall suggest that the caudal peduncle, which occurs in all extant Cetacea, was either wide or lacking. CT data from the isolated braincase were used to generate a digital endocast of the cranial cavity. The estimated EQ of this specimen is relatively high for an Oligocene odontocete, and other aspects of the brain, such as its anteroposterior length and relative size of the temporal lobe, are intermediate in morphology between those of extant cetaceans and terrestrial artiodactyls. Ethmoturbinals are also preserved, and are similar in morphology and number to those described for the Miocene odontocete Squalodon. These fossils extend the temporal range of Albertocetus meffordorum into the early Oligocene, its geographic range into South Carolina, and expand our paleobiological understanding of the Xenorophidae.

    Fig 1. Locality map of occurrences of Albertocetus meffordorum in North and South Carolina. (A) and a geologic map of Charleston, South Carolina (B), skeletal reconstruction of Albertocetus meffordorum with preserved elements in red (C), generalized stratigraphy at Belgrade Quarry (D)  and generalized Paleogene stratigraphy of the Charleston area (E). Gray in geologic map denotes Ashley Formation and black denotes Chandler Bridge Formation. 

    Systematic paleontology

    Cetacea Brisson, 1762
    Pelagiceti Uhen, 2008

    Odontoceti Flower, 1867
    Xenorophidae Uhen, 2008

    Albertocetus Uhen, 2008
    Albertocetus meffordorum Uhen, 2008



    1. New odontocete specimens from the lower Oligocene Ashley Formation of South Carolina include an isolated cranium and a partial skeleton including incomplete cranium with petrotympanics and fragmentary mandible, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and caudal vertebrae, ribs, and a chevron. These specimens extend the range of Albertocetus meffordorum into the early Oligocene.

    2. Well-preserved petrosals permit more refined identification of a recently reported petrosal from the upper Oligocene Belgrade Formation of North Carolina as Echovenator sp., and permit referral of two additional Belgrade Formation petrosals to Albertocetus meffordorum and Echovenator sp. Future collecting efforts in North Carolina are expected to yield other cetaceans conspecific with those from the contemporaneous Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina.

    3. The endocast of Albertocetus meffordorum is intermediate in morphology between extant odontocetes and archaeocete whales. Endocast volume indicates that Albertocetus meffordorum is the most highly encephalized odontocete from the early Oligocene (EQ = 2.586), well within the range of extant delphinoids, and chronicling a drastic jump in EQ across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Further study of appropriate body size estimation is needed to investigate the proposed Eocene-Oligocene explosion in odontocete encephalization.

    4. The sample size of Albertocetus meffordorum permits the first basic examination of ontogenetic trends in stem Odontoceti. Ontogenetic study of Albertocetus meffordorum identifies several sutures of the dorsal braincase and facial region of interest for assessing ontogenetic status in stem Odontoceti (e.g. median parietal suture, frontoparietal suture, frontonasal suture, parieto-occipital suture), to be confirmed with larger samples of undescribed xenorophids (e.g. Echovenator, Xenorophus). Postcranial epiphyseal fusion is achieved earlier in ontogeny than cranial suture closure in A. meffordorum.

    5. Vertebral proportions indicate that Albertocetus meffordorum, like basilosaurids, Mysticeti, and sperm whales, is a "pattern 1" species with no anteroposterior specialization of the vertebral column. This indicates that dorsoventral undulation occurred through the entire flexible lumbocaudal series; this appears to characterize stem odontocetes. Rectangular caudal vertebrae indicate the presence of caudal flukes. Surprisingly, no caudal vertebrae are transversely narrower than tall, suggesting the absence of a transversely narrowed peduncle as in all extant Mysticeti and Odontoceti. Such a feature would imply that the narrow peduncle evolved independently. However, skeletons of stem odontocetes and mysticetes with a more complete caudal series are required to further evaluate this hypothesis.

    Robert W. Boessenecker,  Erum Ahmed and  Jonathan H. Geisler. 2017. New Records of the Dolphin Albertocetus meffordorum (Odontoceti: Xenorophidae) from the lower Oligocene of South Carolina: Encephalization, Sensory Anatomy, Postcranial Morphology, and Ontogeny of early Odontocetes. PLoS ONE. 12(11); e0186476.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186476

    New postcranial skeleton of ancient dolphin Albertocetus meffordum found in South Carolina via @physorg_com
    Fossils in @CofCNatHistory collections @CofC


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    Pristimantis muranunka 
    Brito M., Almendáriz C., Batallas R. & Ron, 2017 


    We describe a small frog of the genus Pristimantis inhabiting bromeliads (snout-vent length 20.3‑23.3 mm in females, 16.1‑17.4 mm in males), from a remote sandstone plateau of the Cordillera del Condor, in southeastern Ecuador, with an altitudinal range of 2,045‑2,860 m. A phylogeny based on sequences of DNA (mitochondrial and nuclear genes) supports inclusion in the P. orestes group and suggests an undescribed Pristimantis from the southern slope of eastern Ecuador as the closest taxon. The new species differs from its congeners in Ecuador by having predominantly black dorsal and ventral coloration; comprehensive and robust palmar surface with stubby fingers; presence of a deep and wide groove from the anterior base of finger I to the rear base of the palmar tubercle; subarticular divided tubers, enlarged supernumerary small granules and tubercles. All individuals were found in terrestrial bromeliads. The calls are short, frequency modulated, comprising of a note 5‑15 ms in duration. Insects represented 80% of the diet of the new species.

    Keywords: Craugastoridae; Sandstone plateau; Cordillera del Cóndor; Pristimantis muranunka sp. nov.

    FIGURA 5: Pristimantis muranunka sp. nov., en preservado. A = vista dorsal y B = vista ventral del holotipo MEPN 14721, hembra adulta, LRC = 22.0 mm. Fotografías: J. Brito.

    Etimología: El nombre especifico muranunka hace referencia a los vocablos de la etnia Shuar: Mura = vegetación bambosa (vegetación achaparrada con abundancia de musgos) que crece sobre la meseta de arenisca, Nunka = región o territorio. “Mura nunka” llaman los Shuar a las mesetas de arenisca de la Cordillera del Cóndor de donde nacen las fuentes de agua.

    Nombre propuesto en español: Cutín de Mura nunka.
    Proposed English name: Mura nunka Rainfrog.

    Etymology: The specific name muranunka refers to the words of the Shuar ethnic group: Mura bamboo vegetation (squat vegetation with an abundance of moss) that grows on the sandstone plateau, Nunka = region or territory. "Mura nunka" the Shuar call the sandstone plateaus of the Cordillera del Cóndor from where the water sources are born.

    Jorge Brito M., Ana Almendáriz C., Diego Batallas R. and Santiago R. Ron. 2017. Nueva especie de rana bromelícola del género Pristimantis (Amphibia: Craugastoridae), meseta de la Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador [New Species of Bromeliad Frog of the Genus Pristimantis (Amphibia: Craugastoridae) from Plateau of the Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador].  PAPÉIS AVULSOS DE ZOOLOGIA. 57(15); 177-195. DOI: 10.11606/0031-1049.2017.57.15

    Ecuador: las nuevas especies de ranas en la Cordillera del Cóndor y las amenazas a las que se enfrentan via @Mongabay

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    Lepidodactylus pantai
    Stubbs, Karin, Arifin, Iskandar, Arida, Reilly, Block, Kusnadi & McGuire, 2017


    Lepidodactylus pantai is a new species of gecko from the Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia that is closely associated with intertidal habitats. This species does not fit cleanly into any of the three species groups described for the genus because it possesses the unique combination of both divided terminal scansors on all toes and a nearly completely cylindrical tail without fringes or evidence of dorsoventral compression. A phylogenetic analysis including this species demonstrates that it is the sister taxon of a population from Palau, and that this clade is sister to the clade containing Group III species for which we have molecular data.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Wallacea, Phylogenetics, Gecko, Luperosaurus, Pseudogekko, Moluccas, intertidal, pantai

    Alexander L. Stubbs, Benjamin R. Karin, Umilaela Arifin, Djoko T. Iskandar, Evy Arida, Sean B. Reilly, Luke M. Block, Agus Kusnadi and Jimmy A. McGuire. 2017. A New Species of Lepidodactylus (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia. Zootaxa. 4350(1); 91–105. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4350.1.5

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    Diversity of flowers in coppery-lepidote tree species of Croton from Madagascar that are vegetatively very similar.
    Croton argyrodaphne, with leaves that are similar to those of several other species Part of an inflorescence of Croton nobilis showing pistillate flower (below) with thick, reduplicate sepals and no petals, and staminate flower (above) with an intermediate number of stamens (ca. 18) Staminate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with numerous (ca. 40) stamens and the unusual feature of ten (vs. normally five) petals Pistillate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with patent, slender bifurcating styles and no petals Staminate flowers of Cargyrodaphne, with only 11 stamens Pistillate flower of C. argyrodaphne, with a stylar column topped by tightly bunched, short stigmas and also with recurved petals between the sepals (typically the pistillate flowers of this species are apetalous) Base of an inflorescence of C. multicostatus showing three open pistillate flowers at the base (with well-developed, ligulate petals) and several open staminate flowers showing a low stamen number of 10 or 11.

    Berry, Kainulainen & van Ee, 2017  
     Photos by P. Berry. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.90.20586 

    All published names of Croton from Madagascar, the Comoros, and the Mascarenes are treated here. We indicate which names are currently accepted (123 native species and 1 introduced), which ones we consider to be heterotypic synonyms (188), which ones are doubtful (25), and which ones should be excluded (5). We newly designate lectotypes for 108 names, and epitypes for C. anisatus Baill., C. nobilis Baill., and C. submetallicus Baill. A total of 133 names are newly treated as synonyms. One new combination is made, Croton basaltorum (Leandri) P.E.Berry for C. antanosiensis var. basaltorum Leandri, and one new name is proposed, Croton toliarensis B.W.vanEe & Kainul. for C. tranomarensis var. rosmarinifolius Radcl.-Sm.

    Keywords: Euphorbiaceae, Croton, Madagascar, Comoros, Mascarenes, nomenclator, synonymy

    Figure 1. Diversity of flowers in coppery-lepidote tree species of Croton from Madagascar that are vegetatively very similar.
    A Croton argyrodaphne, with leaves that are similar to those of several other species B Part of an inflorescence of Croton nobilis showing pistillate flower (below) with thick, reduplicate sepals and no petals, and staminate flower (above) with an intermediate number of stamens (ca. 18) C Staminate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with numerous (ca. 40) stamens and the unusual feature of ten (vs. normally five) petals D Pistillate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with patent, slender bifurcating styles and no petals E Staminate flowers of C. argyrodaphne, with only 11 stamens F Pistillate flower of C. argyrodaphne, with a stylar column topped by tightly bunched, short stigmas and also with recurved petals between the sepals (typically the pistillate flowers of this species are apetalous) G Base of an inflorescence of C. multicostatus showing three open pistillate flowers at the base (with well-developed, ligulate petals) and several open staminate flowers showing a low stamen number of 10 or 11. Photos by P. Berry.

     Paul E. Berry, Kent Kainulainen and Benjamin W. van Ee. 2017. A Nomenclator of Croton (Euphorbiaceae) in Madagascar, the Comoros Archipelago, and the Mascarene Islands. PhytoKeys. 90; 1-87.  DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.90.20586

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    Gephyromantis (Asperomantis angano 
     Scherz, Vences, Borrell, Ball, Nomenjanahary, Parker, Rakotondratsima, Razafimandimby, Starnes, Rabearivony & Glaw, 2017

    A recent study on a group of rough-skinned Gephyromantis frogs from Madagascar (Anura: Mantellidae: Mantellinae) established a new subgenus, Asperomantis, with five described species and one undescribed candidate species. Based on newly collected material from the Bealanana District, we address the taxonomy of this candidate species, and reveal that it consists of two populations with low genetic and morphological divergence but considerable bioacoustic differences that are obvious to the human ear. As a result, we describe some of the specimens formerly assigned to Gephyromantis sp. Ca28 as Gephyromantis angano sp. n. and assign the remaining specimens from a locality between Bealanana and Antsohihy to a new Unconfirmed Candidate Species, G. sp. Ca29. Gephyromantis angano sp. n. is a small species that strongly resembles G. asper and G. ceratophrys, but it differs from these and all other Gephyromantis species by a unique, clinking advertisement call. The new species may be highly threatened by habitat fragmentation, but at present we recommend it be treated as Data Deficient until more data are available to assess its distribution. We discuss the curious relationship between G. angano sp. n. and G. sp. Ca29, which we suspect may represent a case of incipient speciation. We also identify two additional new Unconfirmed Candidate Species of Gephyromantis based on sequence data from other specimens collected during our surveys in the Bealanana District.

    Key Words: Amphibia, Bioacoustics, Incipient speciation, Candidate species, Mantellinae

    Figure 5. The holotype of Gephyromantis angano sp. n., ZSM 68/2016 (MSZC 0172) in life in
     (a) dorsal, (b) ventral, and (c) lateral view. Scale bars indicate 10 mm.

    Gephyromantis (Asperomantisangano sp. n.
    Gephyromantis sp. Ca28 — Perl et al. (2014)

    Diagnosis: Gephyromantis species assigned to the subgenus Asperomantis based on the presence of small dermal spines on the elbow and heel, presence of inner and outer dorsal ridges as defined by Vences and Glaw (2001), Type 2 femoral glands sensu Glaw et al. (2000)Glaw et al. (2000), moderately enlarged finger and toe tips, absence of webbing between fingers, moderate webbing between toes, presence of paired blackish sub-gular vocal sacs in males, and a distinct whitish spot in the middle of the tympanic field (Vences et al. 2017). DNA sequence data from a fragment of the 16S gene supports this assignment. Gephyromantis angano sp. n. is characterized by the following suite of morphological characters: (1) adult SVL 29.1–30.5 mm, (2) TD/ED 0.61–0.71, (3) small supraocular spines, (4) large femoral glands consisting of numerous small granules, (5) moderately raised dorsal ridges, (6) granular dorsal skin, (7) relatively short hindlimbs (HIL/SVL 1.73–1.81 in males), and (7) its unique call (see above).

    Within the subgenus AsperomantisGephyromantis angano sp. n. can be distinguished from G. ambohitra, G. spinifer, and G. tahotra by its smaller size (male SVL < 30 mm, vs. >31 mm, female SVL up to 30.5 mm vs. >32 mm); from G. spinifer by its less granular dorsal skin and smaller supraocular spines; from G. asper and G. ceratophrys by its generally shorter hindlimbs in males (HIL/SVL 1.73–1.81 vs. 1.77–2.11); and from G. ceratophrys by more granules per femoral gland (26–69 vs. 14–20). Bioacoustically, it is distinguished from all of these species by its call duration (41–98 ms vs. 5–44 ms in G. asper and G. ceratophrys, and 98–274 ms in Gambohitra and Gtahotra), unpulsed calls (vs. pulsed in G. ambohitra and G. tahotra), calls repeated faster than in Gceratophrys, and dominant frequency (3703–3875 Hz vs. 1435–3366 Hz in G. ambohitra, and G. tahotra).

    Figure 6. Variation in Gephyromantis angano sp. n.
    (a) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0032), adult male (FGG = 69/56), (b) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0053), juvenile, (c) ZSM 67/2016 (MSZC 0021), adult male (FGG = 30/26), (d) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0091), adult male (FGG = 57/55), (e) Université d’Antsiranana uncatalogued (MSZC 0088), adult female (not in the type series), (f) ZSM 69/2016 (MSZC 0112), adult female. Insets show specimens in ventral view. Not to scale. 

    Figure 7. Map of northern Madagascar indicating the known distribution of Asperomantis species. Colours correspond to species in Fig. 4. Three arc second SRTM basemap from Jarvis et al. (2008).

    Etymology: Angano is a Malagasy word meaning ‘fable’. The new material for this species was collected on Expedition Angano, a research expedition to the Bealanana District of northern Madagascar to assess the impacts of forest fragmentation on the reptiles and amphibians. The epithet is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the genus name.

    Natural history and distribution: One specimen of this species has been collected in Antsahan’i Ledy, and numerous specimens of this species were encountered during fieldwork on the Ampotsidy mountains (Fig. 7). Calling males were generally found in association with slow flowing water, in the case of the holotype at the source of a spring, in close syntopy with Boophis madagascariensis and a Mantidactylus (Brygoomantis) species. Males called up to 1 m above the ground from fern fronds and other low foliage. Females were found both near to and away from water, during the day and at night, but were less commonly encountered. No eggs were observed, but highly ovigerous females were found in January (e.g. Fig. 6e). The call of the species is loud and carries over long distances, so that it can be heard alongside the calls of Boophis madagascariensis from well outside of some small forest fragments in the vicinity of Ampotsidy. In a small forest fragment where vouchers of Gephyromantis (Asperomantis) tahotra were collected (1368 m a.s.l.), G. angano sp. n. could also be heard; this appears to be the first ever record of any two Asperomantis species occurring in close syntopy (Vences et al. 2017).

     Mark D. Scherz, Miguel Vences, James Borrell, Lawrence Ball, Denise Herizo Nomenjanahary, Duncan Parker, Marius Rakotondratsima, Elidiot Razafimandimby, Thomas Starnes, Jeanneney Rabearivony, Frank Glaw. 2017. A New Frog Species of the Subgenus Asperomantis (Anura, Mantellidae, Gephyromantis) from the Bealanana District of northern Madagascar. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 93(2); 451-466.  DOI:  10.3897/zse.93.14906


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    Ototylomys chiapensis
     Porter, Beasley, Ordóñez-Garza, Lindsey, Rogers, Lewis-Rogers, Sites, & Bradley, 2017

    La Pera Big-eared Climbing Rat; Rata orejuda trepadora de La Pera  ||  DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx096 

    An allopatric population of big-eared climbing rats (Ototylomys) from the Northern Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, is described as a new species. The new taxon is part of a unique montane rainforest community that includes several other endemic species in the limited geographic range between the Río Grijalva and the Central Depression of Chiapas. Several cranial, external, and molecular characters distinguish this new species of big-eared climbing rat from its more widely distributed congener, Ototylomys phyllotis. We performed principal component and discriminate function analyses of cranial measurements, and found that specimens of the new species consistently could be distinguished from other Ototylomys with strong statistical support. Compared with exemplars of Ototylomys from elsewhere in their range, the new species possesses a karyotype that differs by 3 additional biarmed chromosome pairs, is fixed or nearly fixed for distinct electromorphs at 12 allozyme loci, and the mean genetic distance exceeds 14%, based on comparisons of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene between the new species of Ototylomys and representatives of O. phyllotis. The restricted distribution in montane karst rainforest suggests that the species and its habitat may be a matter of conservation concern.


    Family Cricetidae Fischer, 1817
    Subfamily Tylomyinae Reig, 1984

    Tribe Tylomyini Reig, 1984

    Genus Ototylomys Merriam, 1901

    Ototylomys chiapensis, new species
    La Pera Big-eared Climbing Rat; Rata orejuda trepadora de La Pera

    Ototylomys phyllotis connectens: Baker et al. 1971 [1973]:82 (part, faunal report based on a specimen collected in 1969, here reidentified as O. chiapensis).
    Ototylomys phyllotis connectens: Hall 1981:629 (part, marginal locality record based on Baker et al. 1971 [1973]).
    Ototylomys phyllotis: Lawlor 1982:3 (part, karyotypic report based on Engstrom and Tucker, cited as in litt.).
    Ototylomys sp.: Rogers, Engstrom, and Arellano 2004:439 (allozyme data from 2 specimens included in the present study).
    Ototylomys sp. nov.: Dudley and Parish 2006:4 (referenced as endemic to El Pozo [= La Pera]).

    Ototylomys chiapensis paratype (MVZ 161246).
    Photograph by Duke S. Rogers.

    Etymology: The specific name refers to the species distribution in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

    Distribution: Known only from the type locality and from 26 km N Ocozocoautla, both in the Mexican state of Chiapas (Figs. 1 and 2). The latter locality is in the municipality of Ocozocoautla de Espinoza at ca. 760 m elevation in the Reserva de la Biosféra Selva El Ocote, and is measured along the “old road” northwest of the city of Ocozocoautla de Espinoza (Johnson et al. 1976; Johnson and Savage 1995; Lamoreux et al. 2015).

    Calvin A. Porter, Nia E. Beasley, Nicté Ordóñez-Garza, Laramie L. Lindsey, Duke S. Rogers, Nicole Lewis-Rogers, Jack W. Sites, Jr. and Robert D. Bradley. 2017. A New Species of Big-eared Climbing Rat, Genus Ototylomys (Cricetidae: Tylomyinae), from Chiapas, Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 98(5); 1310–1329.  DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx096

    Una población alopátrica de rata orejuda trepadora (Ototylomys) de las Tierras Altas del Norte de Chiapas, México se describe como una nueva especie. El nuevo taxón es parte de una comunidad única de bosque lluvioso montano que incluye varias especies endémicas en el área de distribución geográfica limitada entre el Río Grijalva y la Depresión Central de Chiapas. Varios caracteres craneales, externos, y moleculares distinguen la nueva rata orejuda trepadora de su congénere más ampliamente distribuido, Ototylomys phyllotis. Se realizaron análisis de componentes principales y de función discriminante de los caracteres craneales, y se encontró que los especímenes de La Pera fueron consistentemente distinguidos de otros Ototylomys con un fuerte soporte estadístico. En comparación con ejemplares de Ototylomys del rango, la nueva especie posee un cariotipo que difiere por 3 pares adicionales de cromosomas biarmados, está fijo o casi fijo por distintos electromorfos en 12 loci alozímicos. Adicionalmente, la media de la distancia genética comparada del gen mitochondrial citocromo b entre la nueva especie de Ototylomys y representantes de O. phyllotis, excede el 14%. La distribución restringida en el bosque lluvioso montano kárstico sugiere que la especie y su hábitat pueden ser de importancia para la conservación.

    New rat species discovered, named at Sternberg via @hayspost

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