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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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    Microhyla mihintalei 
    Wijayathilaka, Garg, Senevirathne, Karunarathna, Biju & Meegaskumbura, 2016

    FIGURE 3. A–G. Microhyla mihintalei sp. nov. in life. A–E. Holotype (DZ 1553, an adult male). A. dorsolateral view with a light-grey band extending from behind the eye to the groin; B. dorsal view showing the light reddish-brown dorsum; C. ventral view highlighting the dark blackish-brown calling patch; D. lateral view of thigh and groin; E. posterior view of thighs with irregular black markings; F. Paratype (DZ 1127, an adult male) in dorsal view; G. Paratype (DZ 1457, an adult male);
    H. Microhyla rubra in life (SDBDU 2559, an adult male), from Shivanahalli, Karnataka.

    Species boundaries of Microhyla rubra of India and Sri Lanka were assessed using the following criteria: genetic barcoding, morphology, and vocalization. We use a ca. 500 bp fragment of the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene and show that there is an uncorrected pairwise distance of 2.7−3.2% between the Indian and Sri Lankan populations of M. rubra. We show that they are different in several call characteristics such as, dominant frequency, call duration, call rise time and pulse rate. Morphologically, the Sri Lankan population can be distinguished from the typical M. rubra described from southern India, by a combination of characters: body size, skin texture, and feet dimensions. We recognize the population from Sri Lanka as a new species, Microhyla mihintaleisp. nov., a widely distributed lowland species with an elevational distribution of up to 500 m a.s.l.

    Keywords: Amphibia, taxonomy, barcoding, bioacoustics, multiple criteria, Sri Lanka

    Microhyla mihintalei sp. nov. (Figures 1–4; Table 1)
    Suggested common name. Mihintale Red Narrow-mouthed Frog.

    Etymology. The species is named after Mihintale, the point of unison for two ancient cultures when Mahinda Thero (Son of Indian Emperor, Asoka) met Dewanampiya Tissa (the king of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka) in 246 BC. Mihintale is also considered to be one of the world’s earliest sanctuaries. The species epithet mihintalei is a noun in apposition to the generic name.

    Holotype. Adult male (DZ 1553), Anuradhapura (8.3541°N, 80.3967°E, 90 m a.s.l) Anuradhapura Sri Lanka, collected by NW and team, 22 December 2014. 

    Distribution and Natural History. Microhyla mihintalei sp. nov. is found in the lowland dry zone (Fig. 4), mostly in shaded areas, often close to stream and river banks or regions that become fairly stable ephemeral pools during the rainy season. They were observed emerging from borrows in ground to call by around 7.30 PM, slightly after the initiation of calling of M. ornata, a smaller sympatric species. Compared to M. ornata, the abundance of M. mihintalei sp. much lower, and so are the corresponding numbers of tadpoles in pools. In captivity, M. mihintalei was  observed  digging  rapidly  into  soil  using  their  hind  feet.  This  indicates  that  they  are  active  borrowers, and not only ground-burrow utilizers. They lay eggs as loosely arranged sheets on the water surface, mainly in ephemeral pools and their tadpoles also form loose shoals. The tadpole of M. mihintalei was described by Bowatte and Meegaskumbura (2011), however, as M. rubra from Sri Lanka. 

     Nayana Wijayathilaka, Sonali Garg, Gayani Senevirathne, Nuwan Karunarathna, S. D. Biju and Madhava Meegaskumbura. 2016. A New Species of Microhyla (Anura: Microhylidae) from Sri Lanka: An Integrative Taxonomic Approach.
     Zootaxa. 4066(3): 331–342. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4066.3.9

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    Gloydius rickmersi 
    Wagner, Tiutenko, Borkin & Simonov, 2016

    During a scientific field expedition to the Alai-Pamir range five specimens of the genus Gloydius have been collected in the larger Alai. A morphological and genetical examination of the specimens has shown that they are part of the G. halys complex, but represent a new taxon which is characterized by the following unique character combination: It is a slender and moderately stout small snake, up to 479 mm total length. The head has nine symmetrical plates on the upper head, 7 supralabial and 8-9 infralabial scales. Body scales in 20-22 rows around midbody, 143-156 ventral and 35-45 usually paired subcaudal scales. The cloacal plate not divided. The general coloration consists of various different tones of olive, tan and brown, having a distinct head, but an indistinct body pattern with, excluding the tail, 26-29 transverse crossbands, which are not extending to the sides of the body. The haplotype network shows the new species within the G. halys complex and close related to both, G. h. halys and G. h. caraganus. So far the new described species is only known from the Alai range. However, various Gloydius specimens are found in Kyrgyzstan and because of the complicated taxonomy those specimens have to re-identified to clarify their status and the status of the new species.

    Keywords: Alai; Viperidae; Kyrgyzstan; Crotalinae; Central Asia; Gloydius sp. n.

     Philipp Wagner, Glib Mazepa, Arthur Tiutenko, Evgeniy Simonov and Leo J. Borkin. 2016. Alai! Alai! – A New Species of the Gloydius halys (Pallas, 1776) complex (Viperidae, Crotalinae), including a brief review of the complex. AMPHIBIA-REPTILIADOI: 10.1163/15685381-00003026

    Snake Roadkill Is New Species of High-Altitude Viper via @NatGeo

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    Hypancistrus inspector Armbruster, 2002

    Hypancistrus inspectora new species of suckermouth armored catfish from Venezuela, is described and compared to the only other species of HypancistrusHypancistrus zebra. The two species differ mainly in coloration with H. inspector dark brown to black with pale yellow to white spots and H. zebra with a boldly contrasting pattern of black and white stripes. Hypancistrus is diagnosed based on the unique presence of a sharply angled adductor palatini crest and two reversals: wide anterior separation of the metapterygoid and lateral ethmoid and the loss of the lateral wall of the metapterygoid channel. Specimens of H. inspector were found to have many seeds in the intestine suggesting that the species is at least partially granivorous.

    Range.— Known only from the upper río Orinoco and upper río Negro drainages, Amazonas, Venezuela (Fig. 4).

    Ecology.— Collected from rocks and rapids. Gut contents reveal that in addition to algae and detritus, H. inspector also consumes seeds. Dicotyledonous seeds were separated into the two cotyledons while monocotyledenous seeds were apparently crushed.

    Armbruster, J.W. 2002. Hypancistrus inspector: A New Species of Suckermouth Armored Catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae). Copeia, 2002 (1): 86–92. DOI: 10.1643/0045-8511(2002)002[0086:HIANSO]2.0.CO;2

    Armbruster, J.W., Lujan, N.K. and Taphorn, D.C. 2007. Four New Hypancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Amazonas, Venezuela. Copeia. (1): 62–79. DOI: 10.1643/0045-8511(2007)7[62:FNHSLF]2.0.CO;2

    Resumen: Hypancistrus inspector, una nueva especie de corroncho de Venezuela, se describe y compara con la única otra especie de Hypancistrus, Hypancistrus zebra. Las dos especies se diferencian principalmente en su coloración, con H. inspector de un color castaño obscuro a negro y con manchas de color amarillo claro a blanco, y H. zebra con lineas de color blanco y negro que contrastan. La diagnosticación de Hypancistrus se basa en la presencia única de una cresta adductora palatini de ángulo agudo y dos reversiones: una separación amplia anterior del metapterygoideo y el etmoideo lateral, y la pérdida de la pared lateral del canal metapterygoideo. En el intestino de los espécimenes de H. inspector se encontraron muchas semillas sugeriendo que los peces son granívoros por lo menos parcialmente.

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    Hypancistrus lunaorumH. furunculus, and Hdebilittera
    Armbruster, Lujan & Taphorn, 2007

    Hypancistrus contradens, H. debilittera, H. furunculus, and H. lunaorum are described based on specimens from the upper Río Orinoco of southern Venezuela. Hypancistrus furunculus differs from other Hypancistrus based on color pattern: distinct dark oblique stripes ending at posterior insertion of dorsal fin and vertical bands in caudal fin (vs. oblique stripes ending at end of caudal fin in H. zebra and thin, indistinct, light-colored bands and vermiculations on a dark background in H. debilittera) and color pattern dark with white spots in H. contradens, H. inspector, and H. lunaorum. Hypancistrus contradens and H. lunaorum differ from H. inspector by having the dorsal fin reaching the adipose fin when adpressed (vs. not reaching), having spots on the head the same size as the body or spots absent (vs. spots smaller on head) and by usually having 22–23 mid-ventral plates (vs. 24); and from H. debilittera, H. furunculus, and H. zebra by lacking bars, saddles, or stripes on the body and bands in the fins. Hypancistrus lunaorum differs from H. contradens by having white spots on the body smaller than nasal aperture diameter (vs. white spots larger than the nasal aperture diameter).

    Armbruster, J.W., Lujan, N.K. and Taphorn, D.C. 2007. Four New Hypancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Amazonas, Venezuela. Copeia. (1): 62–79.
    DOI: 10.1643/0045-8511(2007)7[62:FNHSLF]2.0.CO;2

    Se describen como especies nuevas a Hypancistrus contradens, H. debilittera, H. furunculus, e H. lunaorum sobre la base de especímenes provenientes de la cuenca alta del río Orinoco en el sur de Venezuela. Hypancistrus furunculus difiere de todas las demás especies de Hypancistrus por su patrón de coloración: barras oscuras oblicuas en el cuerpo que terminan al nivel del punto posterior de la base de la aleta dorsal y bandas verticales en la aleta caudal (vs. barras oblicuas oscuras terminando en el borde posterior de la aleta caudal en H. zebra y barras delgadas, indistintas y de color claro con manchas iregulares vermiformes sobre un color base oscuro en H. debilittera) y patrón de coloración con puntos blancos en H. contradens, H. inspector, e H. lunaorum. Hypancistrus contradens e H. lunaorum difieren de H. inspector en que la aleta dorsal alcanza la aleta adiposa cuando esta plegada contra el cuerpo (vs. aleta dorsal que no alcanza la adiposa), los puntos de la cabeza son del mismo tamaño de los puntos del cuerpo, o carece de puntos (vs. puntos de la cabeza mas pequeños que los puntos del cuerpo) y en tener usualmente 22–23 placas medioventrales (vs. 24); estas especies difieren de H. debilittera, H. furunculus, e H. zebra en que tienen barras, manchas en forma de silla de montar o franjas en el cuerpo y bandas en las aletas. Hypancistrus lunaorum difiere de H. contradens en que los puntos blancos del cuerpo son más pequeños que el diámetro de la apertura nasal (vs. puntos blancos más grandes que el diámetro de la apertura nasal).

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    Hypancistrus phantasma and Hypancistrus margaritatus
    Tan & Armbruster, 2016

    Two new speciesHypancistrus phantasma and Hypancistrus margaritatus, are described based on material from the Rio Negro drainage. Both species are distinguished from congeners by unique color patterns. Hypancistrus phantasma is described from the Rio Uaupes and differs from congeners by having a tan body with small dark spots (vs. dark with light spots or with saddles or stripes). Hypancistrus margaritatus is described from the Takutu River and differs from congeners by having densely-packed light spots on a dark brown background, with spots about the size of the nasal aperture (vs. sparse light spots either smaller or larger than the nasal aperture, or brown to black spots, saddles, or stripes).

    Keywords: Siluriformes, Guyana, Brazil, taxonomy, suckermouth armored catfish, Neotropics

    Milton Tan and Jonathan Armbruster. 2016. Two New Species of Spotted Hypancistrus from the Rio Negro drainage (Loricariidae, Hypostominae).  
    ZooKeys. 552: 123-135. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.552.5956

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    Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi 
    Riga, Lamanna, David, Calvo & Coria, 2016

    Titanosauria is an exceptionally diverse, globally-distributed clade of sauropod dinosaurs that includes the largest known land animals. Knowledge of titanosaurian pedal structure is critical to understanding the stance and locomotion of these enormous herbivores and, by extension, gigantic terrestrial vertebrates as a whole. However, completely preserved pedes are extremely rare among Titanosauria, especially as regards the truly giant members of the group. Here we describe Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza Province, Argentina. With a powerfully-constructed humerus 1.76 m in length, Notocolossus is one of the largest known dinosaurs. Furthermore, the complete pes of the new taxon exhibits a strikingly compact, homogeneous metatarsus—seemingly adapted for bearing extraordinary weight—and truncated unguals, morphologies that are otherwise unknown in Sauropoda. The pes underwent a near-progressive reduction in the number of phalanges along the line to derived titanosaurs, eventually resulting in the reduced hind foot of these sauropods.

    Systematic palaeontology
    Dinosauria Owen, 1842
    Saurischia Seeley, 1887

    Sauropoda Marsh, 1878

    Titanosauriformes Salgado, Coria, and Calvo, 1997
    Somphospondyli Wilson and Sereno, 1998

    Titanosauria Bonaparte and Coria, 1993
    Lithostrotia Upchurch, Barrett, and Dodson, 2004

    Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology: From the Greek notos (southern) and the Latin colossus, in reference to the gigantic size and Gondwanan provenance of the new taxon. Species name honours Dr. Jorge González Parejas, who has collaborated and provided legal guidance on the research, protection, and preservation of dinosaur fossils from Mendoza Province for nearly two decades. In so doing, he has advised researchers on the creation of a natural park that serves to protect dinosaur footprints in Mendoza.

    Figure 2: Vertebral morphology of Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi.
    Anterior (second or third) dorsal vertebra of the holotype (UNCUYO-LD 301) in (a) anterior and (b) left anterolateral views. Anterior caudal vertebra of the holotype (UNCUYO-LD 301) in (c) anterior, (d) posterior, and (e) right lateral views. Anterior caudal vertebra of the referred specimen (UNCUYO-LD 302) in (f) anterior, (g) posterior, and (h) left lateral views.
    Abbreviations: al1, ‘accessory’ lamina 1; al2, ‘accessory’ lamina 2; cd, condyle; ct, cotyle; dp, diapophysis; nc, neural canal; ns, neural spine; pacdf, parapophyseal centrodiapophyseal fossa; posl, postspinal lamina; poz, postzygapophysis; pp, parapophysis; ppdl, paradiapophyseal lamina; prdl, prezygodiapophyseal lamina; prpl, prezygoparapophyseal lamina; prsl, prespinal lamina; prz, prezygapophysis; spdl, spinodiapophyseal lamina; spol, spinopostzygapophyseal lamina; sprl, spinoprezygapophyseal lamina; tp, transverse process; tpol, intrapostzygapophyseal lamina; tprl, intraprezygapophyseal lamina; vasl, ‘V-shaped’ anterior spinal lamina. Scale bars, 20 cm (a,b), 10 cm (c–h).

    Holotype: UNCUYO-LD 301, an associated partial skeleton of a very large individual consisting of an anterior dorsal vertebra, an anterior caudal vertebra, the right humerus, and the proximal end of the left pubis (Figs 1b, 2a–e, 3a,c,e,g and 4a–c; Supplementary Figs S1, S3). We consider these elements to represent a single titanosaurian individual because they were found within an area of 8 m by 8 m at the same stratigraphic level and are of the appropriate size and morphology to have been derived from a single skeleton.

    Figure 4: Appendicular skeletal morphology of Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi.
    (a) Right humerus of the holotype (UNCUYO-LD 301) in anterior view. Proximal end of the left pubis of the holotype (UNCUYO-LD 301) in lateral (b) and proximal (c) views. Right tarsus and pes of the referred specimen (UNCUYO-LD 302) in (d) proximal (articulated, metatarsus only, dorsal [=anterior] to top), (e) dorsomedial (articulated), and (f) dorsal (disarticulated) views.
    Abbreviations: I–V, metatarsal/digit number; 1–2, phalanx number; ast, astragalus; cbf, coracobrachialis fossa; dpc, deltopectoral crest; hh, humeral head; ilped, iliac peduncle; of, obturator foramen; plp, proximolateral process; pmp, proximomedial process; rac, radial condyle; ulc, ulnar condyle. Scale bars, 20 cm (a–c), 10 cm (d–f).

    Type locality and horizon: Cerro Guillermo, Malargüe Department, southern-most Mendoza Province, Argentina (Fig. 1a; coordinates on file at UNCUYO-LD). The holotype and referred specimen were collected 403 m apart in the basal-most bed of the Upper Cretaceous (upper Coniacian–lower Santonian, ~86 Ma) Plottier Formation of the Neuquén Group (see Supplementary Information for details).

    Figure 5: Hypothesized phylogenetic position of Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi and pedal evolution of Sauropoda.
    (a) Time-calibrated hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships of Notocolossus with relevant clades labelled. Depicted topology is that of the single most parsimonious tree of 720 steps in length (Consistency Index = 0.52; Retention Index = 0.65). Stratigraphic ranges (indicated by coloured bars) for most taxa follow Lacovara et al.4: fig. 3 and references therein. Additional age sources are as follows: Apatosaurus, Cedarosaurus, Diamantinasaurus, Diplodocus, Europasaurus, Ligabuesaurus, Neuquensaurus, Omeisaurus, Saltasaurus, Shunosaurus, Trigonosaurus, Venenosaurus, Wintonotitan. Stratigraphic ranges are colour-coded to also indicate geographic provenance of each taxon: Africa (excluding Madagascar), light blue; Asia (excluding India), red; Australia, purple; Europe, light green; India, dark green; Madagascar, dark blue; North America, yellow; South America, orange. (b–h) Drawings of articulated or closely associated sauropod right pedes in dorsal (=anterior) view, with respective pedal phalangeal formulae and total number of phalanges per pes provided (the latter in parentheses). (b) Shunosaurus (ZDM T5402, reversed and redrawn from Zhang); (c) Apatosaurus (CM 89); (d) Camarasaurus (USNM 13786); (e) Cedarosaurus (FMNH PR 977, reversed from D’Emic32); (f) Epachthosaurus (UNPSJB-PV 920, redrawn and modified from Martínez et al.22); (g) Notocolossus; (h) Opisthocoelicaudia (ZPAL MgD-I-48). Note near-progressive decrease in total number of pedal phalanges and trend toward phalangeal reduction on pedal digits II–V throughout sauropod evolutionary history (culminating in phalangeal formula of 2-2-2-1-0 [seven total phalanges per pes] in the latest Cretaceous derived titanosaur Opisthocoelicaudia). Abbreviation: Mya, million years ago.

    Figure 1: Geographic provenance and speculative reconstruction of the gigantic titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov.
    (a) Type locality of Notocolossus (indicated by star) in southern-most Mendoza Province, Argentina. (b) Reconstructed skeleton and body silhouette in right lateral view, with preserved elements of the holotype (UNCUYO-LD 301) in light green and those of the referred specimen (UNCUYO-LD 302) in orange. Scale bar, 1 m. 
    (All images were hand drawn by the senior author [B.J.G.R.] and subsequently edited using Adobe Illustrator software.) DOI: 10.1038/srep19165

    Bernardo J. González Riga, Matthew C. Lamanna, Leonardo D. Ortiz David, Jorge O. Calvo and Juan P. Coria. 2016. A Gigantic New Dinosaur from Argentina and the Evolution of the Sauropod Hind Foot. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 19165. DOI: 10.1038/srep19165

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    Andaman Bush Toad |  Blythophryne beryet
     Chandramouli, Vasudevan, Harikrishnan, Dutta, Janani, Sharma, Das & Aggarwal, 2016

    A new bufonid amphibian, belonging to a new monotypic genus, is described from the Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, Republic of India, based on unique external morphological and skeletal characters which are compared with those of known Oriental and other relevant bufonid genera. Blythophryne gen. n. is distinguished from other bufonid genera by its small adult size (mean SVL 24.02 mm), the presence of six presacral vertebrae, an absence of coccygeal expansions, presence of an elongated pair of parotoid glands, expanded discs at digit tips and phytotelmonous tadpoles that lack oral denticles. The taxonomic and phylogenetic position of the new taxon (that we named as Blythophryneberyet gen. et sp. n.) was ascertained by comparing its 12S and 16S partial genes with those of Oriental and other relevant bufonid lineages. Resulting molecular phylogeny supports the erection of a novel monotypic genus for this lineage from the Andaman Islands of India.

    Keywords: Amphibian, bufonid, tadpole, rRNA, molecular phylogeny, skeletal characters

    Figure 1. Morphological characters of the Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n.: a dorso-lateral view b dorsal view c ventral view d ventral view of left palm e ventral view of left foot of the adult female holotype (ZSI_A-12521) in life f adult female holotype in preservation g dorsal view of the male paratype (ZSI_A-12529) in life showing inverted-V shaped markings and the inter-ocular band on the dorsum.


    Blythophryne gen. n.

    Type species: Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. by monotypy (Fig. 1, Table 4).

    Etymology: The generic name is a patronym, coined in appreciation of Edward Blyth (1810–1873), the first curator of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, who initiated herpetological studies in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, through his phenomenal, pioneering paper “Notes on the fauna of the Nicobar islands” (Blyth 1846). Das (1999) remarked, “Blyth is to be credited for the description of a large number of species from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are still valid. Blyth (1846) wrote the first account on the vertebrate fauna of these islands, and in 1863, compiled the first check-list”. Further details of Edward Blyth and his contributions to studies on Indian natural history are in Das (2004) and Sridharan (2013). The specific epithet ‘beryet’ (in Great Andamanese language; refers to ‘small frog’. We believe that the Great Andamanese knew of the existence of this small arboreal anuran that is here described as new species to science. We hope the name given here will also raise awareness about the dwindling, indigenous tribal populations in the Andamans, their culture and extinction of their tribal languages.

    Vernacular name:Andaman Bush Toad’ is proposed as the common English name for this new species, indicating its arboreal habit and restricted distribution as understood currently.

    Figure 5. a A live, uncollected specimen of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. showing milky white secretion from the parotoid gland b Amplecting pair (live, uncollected) of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. showing axillary amplexus.

    Figure 6. a Eggs and hatchling tadpoles of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n.  b, c endotrophic larvae of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. showing pale white abdominal yolk d Lateral view of a Stage 43 tadpole of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. e Oral disc of a Stage 35 larva of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n., showing absence of keratodont and the presence of keratinised jaw sheaths f a metamorph of Blythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. showing initiation of tail absorption.

    Distribution: This species has been documented from five islands of the Andaman archipelago, namely, the South Andaman (Mt. Harriet), Rutland, Little Andaman, Havelock Island in the Ritchie’s Archipelago and North Andaman (Saddle Peak) (Fig. 4).

    Figure 4. Map showing distribution ofBlythophryne beryet gen. et sp. n. in the Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal, India. Holotype collected from Mt Harriet (indicated with a red triangle).

    S. R. Chandramouli, Karthikeyan Vasudevan, S Harikrishnan, Sushil Kumar Dutta, S Jegath Janani, Richa Sharma, Indraneil Das and Ramesh Aggarwal. 2016. A New Genus and Species of Arboreal Toad with Phytotelmonous Larvae, from the Andaman Islands, India (Lissamphibia, Anura, Bufonidae). ZooKeys.555: 57-90. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.555.6522

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    Dracoraptor hanigani 
    Martill, Vidovic,  Howells & Nudds, 2016

    Artwork by Bob Nichols ( 


    Approximately 40% of a skeleton including cranial and postcranial remains representing a new genus and species of basal neotheropod dinosaur is described. It was collected from fallen blocks from a sea cliff that exposes Late Triassic and Early Jurassic marine and quasi marine strata on the south Wales coast near the city of Cardiff. Matrix comparisons indicate that the specimen is from the lithological Jurassic part of the sequence, below the first occurrence of the index ammonite Psiloceras planorbis and above the last occurrence of the Rhaetian conodont Chirodella verecunda. Associated fauna of echinoderms and bivalves indicate that the specimen had drifted out to sea, presumably from the nearby Welsh Massif and associated islands (St David’s Archipelago). Its occurrence close to the base of the Blue Lias Formation (Lower Jurassic, Hettangian) makes it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales. A cladistic analysis indicates basal neotheropodan affinities, but the specimen retains plesiomorphic characters which it shares with Tawa and Daemonosaurus.

    Systematic Palaeontology

    Dinosauria Owen, 1842
    Saurischia Seeley, 1888

    Theropoda Marsh, 1881
    Neotheropoda Bakker, 1986

    Dracoraptor gen. nov. DFD000B9-D42B-495D-B807-DCBA3B2C3745

    Dracoraptorhanigani sp. nov. 21D0AF91-5893-47D6-9C3B-EF985487C60B

    Holotype: NMW 2015.5G.1–2015.5G.11 is a disarticulated, but associated partial skeleton with elements of the skull, including both premaxillae, both maxillae, some teeth, a lacrimal, partial jugal, post orbital, squamosal, fragmentary lower jaws and a possible hyoid, and postcranial skeleton including two cervical vertebrae, posterior elements of the vertebral column (lumbar and caudal vertebrae), distal forelimb, ischium and pubis, hind limb with femur, and fragmentary tibia with proximal fibula. There are also cervical ribs, thoracic ribs and several unidentified fragments (Table 1, Fig 5).

    Fig 7. Left premaxilla in situ with tooth in lateral view.

    Fig 9. Tooth, assumed to be from right maxilla with which it lies adjacent.
    (A) Entire tooth with crown and root. Note that the tip is in good condition with minimal wear.

    Block containing the hip and leg bones of Dracoraptor hanigani
    photo: National Museum of Wales  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0145713

    Etymology: The genus name Dracoraptor is from Draco alluding to the dragon of Wales with raptor, meaning robber, a commonly employed suffix for theropod dinosaurs. The species name honours Nick and Rob Hanigan who discovered the skeleton and generously donated it to Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum of Wales.

    Locality and horizon: The new specimen was collected from several limestone and mudstone blocks among debris from a small rock fall at the base of the cliff on the east side of Lavernock Point (National Grid reference ST 187681). The cliff at this locality is ~7 m high and exposes the top of the Late Triassic Penarth Group on the east side, and the Blue Lias Formation of the Lower Lias Group forming the point. Structurally this is the southwest dipping limb of the Lavernock syncline in the Bristol Channel Basin (Figs 2–4). The cliff fall in which Dracoraptor was discovered comprises material restricted to the lowest two to three metres of the section and comprises debris mainly from the Bull Cliff Member of the Blue Lias Formation (see above for detailed discussion of the age of these strata). Lithological and bed thickness comparisons indicate that the dinosaur comes from either bed 7 or bed 9 (Fig 4), of the Bull Cliff Member, both of which contain a thin, but distinctive bed of broken calcitic shelly material.

    Diagnosis: A basal neotheropod with the following autapomorphies and unique combination of plesiomorphies: Three teeth in the premaxilla, slender maxillary process of jugal, large narial opening with slender subnarial bar, anteriorly directed pubis considerably longer than ischium, and large dorsal process on distal tarsal IV.


    Fig 29. Dracoraptorhanigani restored as a shoreline dwelling predator and scavenger.
    Artwork by Bob Nichols (


    Dracoraptor hanigani is clearly a saurischian dinosaur on account of its pelvic construction, while the possession of serrated, recurved laterally compressed teeth among other characters demonstrates its theropod affinities. The cladistic analysis finds Dracoraptor to lie within Neotheropoda, but is basal within the clade. Dracoraptor can be distinguished from other basal neotheropods from the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic on a variety of criteria, not necessarily apomorphic. However, Dracoraptor possesses a combination of basal characters that make it difficult to place phylogenetically. The shallow antorbital fossa of the maxilla, an anteriorly located pleurocoel on the cervical vertebrae and the presence of an obturator notch in the ischium indicates neotheropodan affinities, but many of the other neotheropodan synapomorphies cannot be identified in Dracoraptor. The cladistic analysis recovers Dracoraptor as the sister taxon to “Syntarsuskayentakatae and all other coelophysids placing it close to the base of Coelophysoidea (Fig 28). However, several of the synapomorphies of Coelophysoidea are coded ‘?’ for Dracoraptor. Notably the horizontal ridge of the maxilla parallel to the tooth row cannot be seen as both left and right maxillae expose their internal surface. The sublacrimal process of the jugal of Dracoraptor is certainly not pointed as it is in some non-coelophysoid theropods, but this process is slender, slightly damaged and it is ambiguous as to whether it is bluntly rounded which is typical for coelophysoids. Dracoraptor retains many basal features, and would appear to be very basal within Neotheropoda. It is likely that further preparation of the specimen will enable the identification of additional characters that may better resolve its phylogenetic affinities.

    The presence of Dracoraptor in marine strata may be of little significance with regard to the animal’s autecology, but we have restored it as a shore-line dwelling animal (Fig 29).

    David M. Martill, Steven U. Vidovic, Cindy Howells and John R. Nudds. 2016. The Oldest Jurassic Dinosaur: A Basal Neotheropod from the Hettangian of Great Britain.
    PLoS ONE. 11(1): e0145713.  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0145713

    Welsh dinosaur bones confirmed as new Jurassic species
    Named Dracoraptor hanigani, meaning ‘dragon robber’, the dog-sized meat-eating predator is ‘the best dinosaur fossil Wales has ever had’

    Dinosaur discovered: UK's oldest known species of Jurassic dinosaur found in Wales is a distant relative of the T Rex @IBTimesUK #walesdinosaur
    ‘Dragon thief’ dinosaur named | UoP News

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    คางคกต้นไม้ |  Rentapia hosii Pedostibes tuberculosus

    Fig 6. Color pattern and reproductive comparisons between Pedostibes tuberculosus from India and ‘P’. hosii from Southeast Asia.
    (A) ‘Pedostibes’. hosii female from Peninsular Malaysia; inset = vocalizing male from Borneo. (B) Amplectic pair of ‘P’, hosii from Peninsular Malaysia. (C) ‘P’. hosii from Peninsular Malaysia showing oviposition of clutch as strings
    . (D) Vocalizing male of P. tuberculosus from India. (E) Amplectic pair of P. tuberculosus engaged in oviposition. (F) Film of eggs of P. tuberculosus floating in a stream pool.


    The Asian Tree Toad genus Pedostibes, as currently understood, exhibits a conspicuously disjunct distribution, posing several immediate questions relating to the biogeography and taxonomy of this poorly known group. The type species, Pedostibes tuberculosus and P. kempi, are known only from India, whereas P. hosii, P. rugosus, and P. everetti are restricted to Southeast Asia. Several studies have shown that these allopatric groups are polyphyletic, with the Indian Pedostibes embedded within a primarily South Asian clade of toads, containing the genera Adenomus, Xanthophryne, and Duttaphrynus. Southeast Asian Pedostibes on the other hand, are nested within a Southeast Asian clade, which is the sister lineage to the Southeast Asian river toad genus Phrynoidis. We demonstrate that Indian and Southeast Asian Pedostibes are not only allopatric and polyphyletic, but also exhibit significant differences in morphology and reproductive mode, indicating that the Southeast Asian species’ are not congeneric with the true Pedostibes of India. As a taxonomic solution, we describe a new genus, Rentapia gen. nov. to accommodate the Southeast Asian species.

    Fig 1. Map showing distribution of species of Pedostibes and Rentapia gen. nov.

    Phylogenetic analysis
    Both ML and Bayesian phylogenies recovered similar topologies, with the ML tree providing better resolution at deeper nodes. Pedostibes tuberculosus was recovered as part of a primarily South Asian monophyletic clade, where it forms a sister lineage relationship to the clade that contains the genera Adenomus, Xanthophryne, and Duttaphrynus (Pedostibes + (Adenomus + (Xanthophryne + Duttaphrynus))). Males from this clade tend to be small in size with the exception of the genus Duttaphrynus. Southeast Asian ‘Pedostibes’ were reciprocally monophyletic with the genus Phrynoidis and represent a clade that exhibits the largest body size among all South and Southeast Asian toads (Fig 4; S2 Table). Uncorrected p-distances calculated from the mitochondrial alignment demonstrate that Southeast Asian ‘Pedostibes’ are 13–14% divergent from P.tuberculosus and 12–13% divergent from the genus Phrynoidis. These levels of divergences are consistent with other generic level divergences among South Asian, and Southeast Asian bufonids (Fig 5; S3 Table).

    Fig 4. Maximum likelihood phylogeny showing the polyphyletic relationship of Pedostibes and the proposed new genus among the South & Southeast Asian Bufonids.

    Distribution, morphological, natural history, phylogenetic relationships and genetic divergences and genetic data do not support the current taxonomy that unites South Asian and Southeast Asian tree toads under the common genus Pedostibes. Because the Indian species P. tuberculosus has priority as the type species, we propose that the Southeast Asian lineages (‘P’. hosii, and ‘P’. rugosus) be recognized as a separate genus. One remaining, unresolved issue concerns the generic status of P. kempi and ‘P.’ everetti. Pedostibes kempi has not been collected since its original description and no modern specimens or genetic samples are available for study. ‘Pedostibes’ everetti is phenotypically similar to ‘P’. rugosus and the only discrete morphological character differentiating ‘P’. everetti from ‘Prugosus is the absence (vs. presence) of a tarsal ridge. Furthermore, ‘P’. everetti is only known from one juvenile specimen. Based on these limited data, the taxonomic status of these species remains uncertain and additional data will be required to resolve their taxonomic placement. Thus, based on distribution, we tentatively assign P. kempi to the genus Pedostibes and ‘P.’ everetti to the new genus named below, with the caveat that these relationships may need to be re-evaluated when additional data become available. Because the earliest species description of the Southeast Asian group is ‘P.’ hosii, and its only generic synonym, Nectophryne is occupied by a distinct African tree toad lineage, we define and diagnose a new genus for the Southeast Asian clade as follows:

    Description of New Genus
    Rentapia gen. nov.

    Type species: Nectophryne hosii Boulenger, 1892; Holotype: BMNH

    Diagnosis: Large-bodied toads with a movable coccyx, eight pre-sacral vertebrae, a complete quadratojugal, and small, pigmented ova laid as strings. Interorbital cranial crests absent. Parotoid glands large, distinct; oval, circular or triangular in dorsal view. Fingers webbed at base, tips expanded into flat discs. Feet fully webbed on all toes except fourth. Nuptial pads present in males. Adults are primarily arboreal and inhabit riparian vegetation around small- to moderately-sized forest streams.

    Phylogenetic definition: Rentapia is a node-based name that refers to the clade originating from the most recent common ancestor of ‘Pedostibes’ (Rentapia) hosii and ‘P.’ rugosus (Fig 4).

    Content: The allopatric species of Pedostibes of Southeast Asia from the Isthmus of Kra, Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo: Rentapia hosii and R. rugosus. We also tentatively place ‘P.’ everetti in Rentapia because of its close geographic proximity with the two Southeast Asian taxa, as well as the character state similarities it shares with R. rugosus (webbed hands and feet, finger and toe tips dilated into truncate disks, movable coccyx, eight pre-sacral vertebrae, complete quadratojugal).

    Etymology: The Iban are a subgroup of the indigenous peoples of Borneo (collectively known as the Dayaks) and form the main ethnic group in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The generic epithet is selected to honor the legendary Iban warrior Libau Rentap, a great war chief, freedom fighter, and Malaysian national hero. Renowned for headhunting, the Iban were subjugated in Sarawak by the White Rajahs (English monarchy), who sought to confiscate land and impose taxes. Libau Rentap rose against the first of the White Rajahs, James Brooke, initiating a rebellion that eventually returned power to the people of Sarawak. The rule of the White Rajahs lasted from 1841 to 1946.

    Pedostibes is small in size and deposits medium-sized clutches of eggs that are laid as films. The combination of these traits differentiates it from Rentapia gen. nov., which is diagnosed by its larger body size and an oviposition mode characterized by a large clutch of eggs laid as strings. Given that individual egg sizes in both genera are comparatively similar, this agrees with past studies that show a close correlation of clutch size to female body size. There are also differences in sexually dimorphic traits. Both male and female Pedostibes have the same color pattern, whereas Rentapia hosii females are vividly colored with bright markings, as compared to the duller, uniformly colored males (Fig 6A–6C). However, this color dimorphism has so far been observed only in R. hosii and we do not have evidence for either R. rugosus or R. everetti having such color dimorphism.

    The most widespread Rentapia, R. hosii exhibits marked geographically based variation in female color pattern at different localities across its known distribution. Our analyses inferred a strongly supported genetic split between R. hosii populations from Peninsular Malaysia and those from Borneo. Additionally, females from these populations are phenotypically distinct. Females from Peninsular Malaysia are light green (dark gray when handled or stressed) with large, sparse, irregular yellow spots (Fig 6A–6C), whereas females from Borneo are purplish with yellow vermiculation or uniformly brown. Furthermore, a population from Danum Valley, Sabah, exhibits a phenotype that is distinct from populations from Peninsular Malaysia and the rest of Borneo. Females from Danum Valley have more dense dorsal vermiculations and broad, light-colored marbling on the flanks and posterior region of the thigh. The venter shows faint but distinct marbling whereas the venters of the former two populations are immaculate. However, the genetic divergences between Peninsular Malaysian and Bornean populations are low (2.6%) and more data are required to determine whether these populations represent distinct species.

    Since several recent studies have shown Pedostibes sensu lato to be a non-monophyletic genus within the family Bufonidae, suggested uniting Rentapia with its sister genus, the terrestrial river toad Phrynoidis, as a taxonomic solution. Although this suggestion would resolve the issue of monophyly, we find the recognition of the new genus to be a preferable solution based on several lines of reasoning. First, Rentapia and Phrynoidis exhibit striking morphological differences: Rentapia has expanded and flat finger discs (dilated into keratinized, bulbous tips in Phrynoidis); is considerably smaller in size (female Phrynoidis range from 120 mm to more than 200 mm SVL); lacks supernumerary palmar tubercles (present in Phrynoidis); possesses basal interphalangeal finger webbing (webbing absent in Phrynoidis); and the oral disk of Rentapia tadpoles is half the maximum width of the body (extends the entire width of the body in Phrynoidis). Striking ecological differences are equally apparent. Rentapia is an arboreal habitat specialist, whereas Phrynoidis are terrestrial riparian habitat generalists, that oviposits enormous clutches with an average size of 12,792 eggs per clutch; Finally, we note that genetic divergences of >12.0% (Fig 5) is consistent with other inter-generic divergences within Bufonidae, suggesting that our proposition is not discordant with other, accepted taxonomic arrangements. Although merging Rentapia and Phrynoidis would remedy the polyphyly of Pedostibes sensu lato, the preponderance of differences in morphology, reproductive characteristics, ecology, and molecular characters is best acknowledged by considering these two lineages as separate genera.

    Kin Onn Chan, L. Lee Grismer, Anil Zachariah, Rafe M. Brown and Robin Kurian Abraham. 2016. Polyphyly of Asian Tree Toads, Genus Pedostibes Günther, 1876 (Anura: Bufonidae), and the Description of A New Genus from Southeast Asia.
    PLOS ONE 11(1). DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0145903

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    Cyrtodactylus rufford
    Luu, Calame, Nguyen, Le, Bonkowski & Ziegler, 2016

    FIGURE 3. Dorsal view of the paratype of Cyrtodactylus rufford sp. nov. (IEBR R.2015.34) in life from Khammouane Province, central Laos. 
    Photo: V. Q. Luu.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4067.2.4


    We describe a new species of the gekkonid genus Cyrtodactylus from Khammouane Province, central Laos based on morphological and molecular data. Morphologically, Cyrtodactylus rufford sp. nov. differs from its congeners by a unique combination of the following characters: medium size, SVL reaching 72.5 mm; dorsal pattern with three or four light transverse bands between limb insertions; one intersupranasal; 14–16 irregular dorsal tubercle rows at midbody, weakly developed in the paravertebral region; 27–29 ventral scale rows between ventrolateral folds; 42–43 precloacal and femoral pores in a continuous row in males, enlarged femoral and precloacal scales present; 4 or 5 postcloacal tubercles on each side; dorsal tubercles present at base of tail; medial subcaudal scales enlarged. Molecular analyses show that the new species is closely related to C. khammouanensis, which was originally described from Khammouane Province.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus rufford sp. nov., Khammouane Province, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

    Etymology. The  new  species  is  named  in  honour  of  the Rufford  Foundation (UK)  for  its  support  to  herpetofaunal research and conservation in Laos. The species epithet is to be treated as a noun in apposition, invariable. As common names, we suggest Ki Chiem Rufford (Laotian) and Rufford Bent-toed Gecko (English).

    Natural history. The type series of the new species was found between 20:00 and 21:00, on a karst cliff near the entrance of Nang Log Cave, from 0.3 m to 2 m height above the forest floor, at elevations between 160 and 180 m a.s.l. Nang Log Cave is situated within an isolated karst mountain surrounded by secondary forest, plantations, and some huts for tourists. The cave is a tourism site, only 50 m distant from Road 12 and 64 km from the border of Vietnam. The humidity was approximately 80% and the air temperature ranged from 24 to 26°C (Fig. 5). Other species found on the same karst wall within a 300 meters range of the type locality were the lizard Gekko gecko (Linnaeus), and the tree frog species Rhacophorus spelaeusOrlov, Gnophanxay, Phimminith & Phomphoumy, as well  as  the  Huntsman  Spider  Heteropoda  maxima  Jaeger,  and  the  long-legged  cave  centipede  Thereuopoda longicornis (Fabricius). 

    Vinh Quang Luu, Thomas Calame, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le, Michael Bonkowski and Thomas Ziegler. 2016. Cyrtodactylusrufford, A New Cave-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos.
    Zootaxa. 4067(2);  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4067.2.4

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    Himalayan Forest Thrush | Zoothera salimalii
     Alström, Rasmussen, Zhao, Xu, Dalvi, Cai, Guan, Zhang, Kalyakin, Lei & Olsson, 2016
    photo: C. Brelsford    DOI:  10.1186/s40657-016-0037-2

    The Plain-backed Thrush Zoothera mollissima breeds in the Himalayas and mountains of central China. It was long considered conspecific with the Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni, until these were shown to be broadly sympatric.

    We revise the Z. mollissimaZ. dixoni complex by integrating morphological, acoustic, genetic (two mitochondrial and two nuclear markers), ecological and distributional datasets.

    In earlier field observations, we noted two very different song types of “Plain-backed” Thrush segregated by breeding habitat and elevation. Further integrative analyses congruently identify three groups: an alpine breeder in the Himalayas and Sichuan, China (“Alpine Thrush”); a forest breeder in the eastern Himalayas and northwest Yunnan (at least), China (“Himalayan Forest Thrush”); and a forest breeder in central Sichuan (“Sichuan Forest Thrush”). Alpine and Himalayan Forest Thrushes are broadly sympatric, but segregated by habitat and altitude, and the same is probably true also for Alpine and Sichuan Forest Thrushes. These three groups differ markedly in morphology and songs. In addition, DNA sequence data from three non-breeding specimens from Yunnan indicate that yet another lineage exists (“Yunnan Thrush”). However, we find no consistent morphological differences from Alpine Thrush, and its breeding range is unknown. Molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that all four groups diverged at least a few million years ago, and identify Alpine Thrush and the putative “Yunnan Thrush” as sisters, and the two forest taxa as sisters. Cytochrome b divergences among the four Z. mollissima sensu lato (s.l.) clades are similar to those between any of them and Z. dixoni, and exceed that between the two congeneric outgroup species. We lectotypify the name Oreocincla rostrata Hodgson, 1845 with the Z. mollissima sensu stricto (s.s.) specimen long considered its type. No available name unambiguously pertains to the Himalayan Forest Thrush.

    The Plain-backed Thrush Z. mollissima s.l. comprises at least three species: Alpine Thrush Z. mollissima s.s., with a widespread alpine breeding distribution; Sichuan Forest Thrush Z. griseiceps, breeding in central Sichuan forests; and Himalayan Forest Thrush, breeding in the eastern Himalayas and northwest Yunnan (at least), which is described herein as a new species. “Yunnan Thrush” requires further study.

    Keywords: Systematics, Morphology, Bioacoustics, Altitudinal distributions, Genetic distances, Undescribed taxa, Zoothera dixoni, Lectotypification, Holotype

    Fig. 5 Alpine Thrush Zoothera mollissima sensu stricto, Niubei Shan, Sichuan, China, mid June (Chao Zhao; same individual as in Figs. 6, 9, IOZ 20890 and probably also AV19499) (a, e, i, l); Himalayan Forest Thrush Z. salimalii, sp. nov., Dulongjiang, Yunnan, China, mid June (Per Alström; same individual as in Fig. 10, IOZ 19659 and AV19235) (b, f, j, m); Dulongjiang, Yunnan, China, mid June (Per Alström; same individual as in Fig. 10, IOZ 19658 and AV19240) (d, g); Sichuan Forest Thrush Z. griseiceps, Jiuding Shan, Sichuan, China, mid May (Per Alström; same individual as in Fig. 12, IOZ 20222 and AV19505) (c, h, k); Vietnam, 24 December 1929, holotype in BMNH (Per Alström) (n)

    Himalayan Forest Thrush Zoothera salimalii, sp. nov.,  Dulongjiang, Yunnan, mid June 
    photo: C. Brelsford    DOI:  10.1186/s40657-016-0037-2

    Etymology: We name this new species for Dr Sálim Ali, in honor of his huge contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and conservation.

    Status and conservation of all taxa: As the Alpine Thrush is widely distributed and its habitat is not under threat, it should be considered as being of least concern. Zoothera salimalii is locally common in West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, India, and locally abundant at Dulongjiang, Yunnan province, China. Because it is widely distributed and its habitat is not under any imminent threat (other than forest areas in general), it should be considered as being of least concern. Zoothera griseiceps is only known to breed in a rather small area in Sichuan province, China. However, as it is locally fairly common, and occurs in several protected areas, it is probably not under any imminent threat, at least not on its breeding grounds.

    Fig. 7 Himalayan Forest Thrush Zoothera salimalii, sp. nov., Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India (Subrato Sanyal) (a); Baihualing, Yunnan, China, early February (Craig Brelsford; same individual as in Fig. 4, but other side of head; the tail has apparently been accidentally lost and is growing) (b); Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India (Subrato Sanyal; different individual from a) (c); Dulongjiang, Yunnan, mid June (Craig Brelsford; same individual) (d–f)

    Based on analyses of plumage, morphometrics, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, song, breeding habitat and geographical distributions, we conclude that Zoothera mollissima s.l. should be split into at least three species, one of which is described here as a new species: Alpine Thrush Z. mollissima s.s., Himalayan Thrush Zoothera salimalii (sp. nov.) and Sichuan Forest Thrush Z. griseiceps, all monotypic. In addition, a distinct lineage, “Yunnan Thrush”, was identified genetically, but as we have no corroborating evidence that it is distinct from Alpine Thrush, we refrain from describing it here. Z. dixoni should be retained as a distinct species.

    Per Alström, Pamela C. Rasmussen, Chao Zhao, Jingzi Xu, Shashank Dalvi, Tianlong Cai, Yuyan Guan, Ruiying Zhang, Mikhail V. Kalyakin, Fumin Lei and Urban Olsson. 2016. Integrative Taxonomy of the Plain-backed Thrush (Zoothera mollissima) complex (Aves, Turdidae) reveals Cryptic Species, including A New Species.
    Avian Research. 20167:1. DOI:  10.1186/s40657-016-0037-2  

    New species of bird discovered in India, China by international team of scientists
    Bird has been named the Himalayan Forest Thrush
    : A new species of bird has been described in north-eastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists. The bird has been named the Himalayan Forest Thrush, Zoothera salimalii.

    Himalayan Forest Thrush: New Species of Bird Discovered via @SaevusWildlife

    Himalayan Forest Thrush — New Bird Species discovered in India and China
    New species of bird discovered in India and China via @physorg_com

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    Eotrachodon orientalis 
    Prieto-Márquez, Erickson & Ebersole, 2016

    Eotrachodonorientalis gen. et sp. nov. (latest Santonian of Alabama, southeastern U.S.A.) is one of the oldest and most basal hadrosaurid dinosaurs and the only hadrosaurid from Appalachia (present day eastern North America) with a preserved skull. This taxon possesses a relatively derived narial structure that was until now regarded as synapomorphic for saurolophine (solid-crested or crestless) hadrosaurids. Maximum parsimony analysis places E. orientalis as the sister taxon to Saurolophidae (Saurolophinae + Lambeosaurinae). Character optimization on the phylogeny indicates that the saurolophine-like circumnarial structure evolved by the Santonian following the split between saurolophines and lambeosaurines but prior to the major hadrosaurid radiation. Statistical dispersal-vicariance analysis posits an Appalachian ancestral area for Hadrosauridae and subsequent dispersal of their ancestors into Laramidia (present-day western North America) during the Cenomanian.

    Prieto-Márquez, A., G. M. Erickson, and J. A. Ebersole. 2016. A Primitive Hadrosaurid from southeastern North America and the Origin and Early Evolution of ‘Duck-billed’ Dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI:  10.1080/02724634.2015.1054495

    Research team identifies rare dinosaur from Appalachia via @physorg_com

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    Frankixalus jerdonii (Günther, 1876) 

    Genus Frankixalus [gen. nov.Biju, Senevirathne, Garg, Mahony, Kamei, Thomas, Shouche, Raxworthy, Meegaskumbura& Van Bocxlaer, 2016

     A male Frankixalus jerdonii emerges from a tree hole about 5 meters high. 

    PHOTOGRAPH BY S.D. Biju || DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145727

    Despite renewed interest in the biogeography and evolutionary history of Old World tree frogs (Rhacophoridae), this family still includes enigmatic frogs with ambiguous phylogenetic placement. During fieldwork in four northeastern states of India, we discovered several populations of tree hole breeding frogs with oophagous tadpoles. We used molecular data, consisting of two nuclear and three mitochondrial gene fragments for all known rhacophorid genera, to investigate the phylogenetic position of these new frogs. Our analyses identify a previously overlooked, yet distinct evolutionary lineage of frogs that warrants recognition as a new genus and is here described as Frankixalus gen. nov. This genus, which contains the enigmatic ‘Polypedatesjerdonii described by Günther in 1876, forms the sister group of a clade containing Kurixalus, Pseudophilautus, Raorchestes, Mercuranaand Beddomixalus. The distinctiveness of this evolutionary lineage is also corroborated by the external morphology of adults and tadpoles, adult osteology, breeding ecology, and life history features.

    Fig 1. Bayesian consensus phylogram showing phylogenetic relationships among 86 taxa representing all known rhacophorid genera and one outgroup species.
    Numbers above the branches represent Bayesian Posterior Probabilities, numbers below the branches represent Maximum Likelihood bootstrap values. Clade representing Frankixalus gen. nov. is shown in red. The specimen that was assigned to “Theloderma moloch” by Li et al. [2009] is indicated by an asterisk. Colors of taxa labels represent the reproductive modes: blue, terrestrial foam-nesting, exotrophic tadpoles; orange, terrestrial gel-nesting, exotrophic tadpoles; green, terrestrial direct-developing, endotrophic tadpoles; cyan, aquatic gel-nesting, exotrophic tadpoles. The new genus Frankixalus is also a terrestrial gel-nesting form.

    Fig 2. A–C, Frankixalus jerdonii in life.
    (A) dorsolateral view of an adult male (BNHS 5976), (B) an adult male (SDBDU 2009.271) emerging from a tree hole, (C) frontal view of an adult male (BNHS 5977). D–H, A composite showing the breeding habitat of Frankixalus jerdonii. (D) Evergreen forest at Mawphlang in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state, (E) close-up of a tree hole opening located 3.4 meters above the ground, (F) oviposition site with eggs adhered to the inner vertical walls of the tree hole above the water level, and arrow pointing towards an adult female found submerged about 1 cm below the water surface, (G) unpigmented gel-encapsulated eggs, (H) premetamorphic larva inside the water-filled tree hole.

    Taxonomic treatment

    Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758
    Anura Fischer von Waldheim, 1813

    Rhacophoridae Hoffman, 1932
    Rhacophorinae Hoffman, 1932

    Frankixalus gen. nov.

    Etymology: The genus is named after Prof. Franky Bossuyt of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), as a token of appreciation for his contribution to amphibian research and herpetology education, and in particular for the valuable role he played in the scientific career of SDB and IVB. The generic epithet is derived from the name ‘Franky’ (used as a noun in the nominative singular) in conjugation with the genus name ‘IxalusDuméril & Bibron, 1841, often used as a suffix in rhacophorid generic names. For the purposes of nomenclature, the gender of this genus is male.

    Suggested common name: Franky’s tree frogs

    Type species: Polypedates jerdonii Günther, 1876

    'Polypedates'jerdonii =  Frankixalus jerdonii (Günther, 1876)

    Boulenger, G. A. 1882. Catalogue of the Batrachia Salientia s. Ecaudata in the collection of the British Museum. 2d ed.

    Diagnosis: We consider Frankixalus to consist of the most inclusive clade that contains Frankixalus jerdonii comb. nov. but not Kurixaluseiffingeri. Frankixalus currently contains two species, F. jerdonii (Günther, 1876) and a currently unidentified species.

    Frankixalus can be distinguished from the other rhacophorid genera by the combination of the following characters: medium-sized adults (male SVL 37.1–42.1 mm, N = 11; female SVL 46.8 mm, N = 1), webbing medium (foot webbing: I2––2+II1+–21/4III1+–11/2IV11/2−1+V; hand webbing: I1–1+II1+–2+III2––1+IV); creamy-white, gel-encapsulated eggs without pigmentation are laid in tree holes (phytotelm-breeding) where they also undergo development. The tadpole is oophagous and lacks keratinized tooth rows. The two currently included species are geographically restricted to high altitudes (approximately 1100–1600 m asl) in Northeast India and adjoining regions in China.

    Fig 5. Geographic distribution of Frankixalus in Northeast India and China.
     Circle = Frankixalus jerdonii, square = Frankixalus sp.

    Fig 2. A–C, Frankixalus jerdonii in life. (A) dorsolateral view of an adult male (BNHS 5976), (B) an adult male (SDBDU 2009.271) emerging from a tree hole, (C) frontal view of an adult male (BNHS 5977). D–H, A composite showing the breeding habitat of Frankixalus jerdonii. (D) Evergreen forest at Mawphlang in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state, (E) close-up of a tree hole opening located 3.4 meters above the ground, (F) oviposition site with eggs adhered to the inner vertical walls of the tree hole above the water level, and arrow pointing towards an adult female found submerged about 1 cm below the water surface, (G) unpigmented gel-encapsulated eggs, (H) premetamorphic larva inside the water-filled tree hole.

    Description of the name-bearing type

    Frankixalus jerdonii (Günther, 1876) comb. nov.

    Common name: Jerdon’s tree frog

    Name-bearing type: Lectotype, NHM 1947.2.7.84 (ex BMNH, an adult female.

    Type locality: “Darjeeling”, West Bengal, India.

    Geographic distribution:Frankixalus jerdonii is widely distributed in three Northeast Indian states (Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland), and in the “Darjeeling” region of West Bengal. Meghalaya: East Khasi Hills district, Wahlynkien (Marai Kaphon), Cherrapunjee (1337 m asl), and Mawphlang forest (1577 m asl); Manipur: Churachandarpur district, Zaraengtung, Raenghzaeng village (1392 m asl); Nagaland: Kohima district, Sechüma village, Zubza (1470 m asl), Meriema village (1425 m asl), Seukwehii, Tseminyu village (1340 m asl); West Bengal: Darjeeling district, “Darjeeling” (1600 m asl) (Fig 5).

    Natural history and breeding ecology

    All males in our study were found on arboreal vegetation in montane evergreen forest (Mawphlang, Meghalaya), or secondary forests (Zaraengtung, Manipur and Zubza, Nagaland); males from Zubza were collected from inside bamboo poles with slits. Breeding activities of Frankixalus jerdonii take place between May–August. Males of F. jerdonii were heard calling at night (between 18:00–22:00 hours) from tree holes located at heights ranging from 0.8–5.5 m at Mawphlang forest, Meghalaya (in June 2009) soon after sporadic rain showers. The habitat at this locality is composed of an evergreen forest with sparse undergrowth, consisting of scattered shrubs and herbs (Fig 2D). The trunks of hardwood trees in these montane evergreen forests usually have large growths of bryophytes (Fig 2E). Amplexus was not observed. Freshly laid egg clutches (unpigmented, gel-encapsulated) were found adhering on the inner walls of a tree hole about 5 m above the ground (Fig 2F and 2G). In total, nine nest sites were observed in tree hollows, with tree diameters of about 10–30 cm (measured at the height of the hole). Occupied tree holes had openings oriented both horizontally (N = 5) and vertically (N = 4), usually with narrow openings, and contained water that ranged in depth from about 5–50 cm (volume of water contained ranging from 30–160 ml, N = 3). A deep layer of organic debris was observed at the bottom of some tree holes, and at two nest sites a dormant male was found submerged under water (Fig 2F). When disturbed, one male tightly wedged itself into a crevice in the bottom of the hollow. At another nest site, a female (not collected) was observed submerged in water. Eggs were observed between 0.3–10 cm above the water surface, were round, diameter measuring 2.0 ± 0.1 mm, N = 18, with a thick jelly layer of about 0.2–0.4 mm. Clutch size varied from 16–30 eggs per mass (2.5–5.6 cm, N = 7). During repeated surveys at the same site between 27–29 June 2009, we also observed tadpoles of various sizes (stages 10–44) inside the water-filled tree holes

    Tadepole of Frankixalus jerdonii, oral disc with papillae demarcating its margins, shown in frontal view of a stage 36 tadpole

    Fig 3. Various life history stages of Frankixalus jerdonii.
     (A) lateral, (B) dorsal, (C) ventral views of a preserved stage 36 tadpole, (D) unfertilised “nutritive” eggs found inside the dissected larval gut (mean diameter = 1.0 mm), (E) oral disc with papillae demarcating its margins, shown in frontal view of a stage 36 tadpole, (F) dextral vent tube, in ventral view of a stage 26 tadpole, (G) sinistral spiracular tube, in ventral view of a stage 36 tadpole, (H) gel-encapsulated eggs (mean diameter = 2.0 mm) found on the inside wall of a tree hole, (I) dorsolateral view of a stage 44 tadpole, (J) oral disc of a live stage 36 tadpole having a bifurcated muscular tongue, shown in frontal view, (K) dorsal, (L) ventral views of a live stage 35 tadpole, (M) serrated, inverted upper jaw of a stage 37 tadpole in ventral view, (N) serrated, V-shaped lower jaw of a stage 37 tadpole in ventral view.

    dorsal, ventral views of a preserved stage 36 tadpole of Frankixalus jerdonii,
    unfertilised “nutritive” eggs found inside the dissected larval gut (mean diameter = 1.0 mm)

    The major threat for amphibians in Northeast India is disturbance of primary and secondary forests by ‘jhumming’ (slash and burn) with the purpose of cultivating crops. Several localities where Frankixalus jerdonii is reported to occur are highly disturbed and fragmented habitats. The population at Cheerapunjee in Meghalaya state was recorded from a secondary forest adjacent to a highly polluted Wahlynkien stream, individuals from Manipur were from tree stumps within a jhum field, and those from Nagaland were from a secondary forest. These threats are alarming, especially for species that have very specialized habitat requirements, such as availability of small water collections in tree holes that are crucial for their survival and reproductive success.

    A male Frankixalus jerdonii emerges from a tree hole about 5 meters high. 
     PHOTOGRAPH BY S.D. Biju || DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145727


    Multiple lines of evidence from our study highlight the unique evolutionary position and life history features of Frankixalus. The description of this enigmatic lineage from the relatively unexplored northeast region of India not only emphasizes that part of this region’s biodiversity still remains poorly studied, but also underscores the need to replicate similar studies in other animal groups within this globally recognized biodiversity hotspot.

    The description of this new rhacophorid genus adds to our knowledge on reproductive diversification in one of the most specious groups of neobatrachian amphibians. Such information is essential in understanding the evolution of reproductive strategies that allowed amphibians to occupy a broad variety of ecological niches. 

    S. D. Biju, Gayani Senevirathne, Sonali Garg, Stephen Mahony, Rachunliu G. Kamei, Ashish Thomas, Yogesh Shouche, Christopher J. Raxworthy, Madhava Meegaskumbura and Ines Van Bocxlaer. 2016. Frankixalus, A New Rhacophorid Genus of Tree Hole Breeding Frogs with Oophagous Tadpoles. PLoS ONE. 11(1): e0145727. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145727

    'Extinct' Frog Rediscovered After 150 Years, Eats Mom's Eggs 

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    墨脱棱鼻树蛙 |  Nasutixalus medogensis
      Jiang, Yan, Wang & Che, 2016
    photo: Ke JIANG [蒋珂] || DOI: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.1.15

    A new genus and species of threefrog is described from Medog, southeastern Tibet, China based on morphological and phylogenetic data. The new genus can be distinguished from other treefrog genera by the following combination of characters: (1) body size moderate, 45.0 mm in male; (2) snout rounded; (3) canthus rostralis obtuse and raised prominently, forming a ridge from nostril to anterior corner of eyes; (4) web rudimentary on fingers; (5) web moderately developed on toes; (6) phalange "Y" shaped, visible from dorsal side of fingers and toes; (7) skin of dorsal surfaces relatively smooth, scatted with small tubercles; (8) iris with a pale yellow, "X" shaped pattern of pigmentation.

    Key words: Taxonomy, New genus, New species, Theloderma molochNasutixalus medogensis sp. nov.

    Phylogenetic analysis: Currently  recognized  genera  of  the  family  Rhacophoridae  were recovered  as  monophyletic  groups  in  our  phylogenetic  analysis  (Figure 1). However, similar to previous studies (Li et al., 2009), our data  cannot  resolve  phylogenetic  relationships  among  different  genera.   The Medog treefrog   was   clustered   and   share   the   haplotype  with  a  formerly  identified  T. moloch  (specimen  voucher  number  6255  RAO)  in  Li  et  al.  (2009),  and  both  of  them  form  a  distinct clade from all other species of genus Theloderma, including the  true T. moloch.  Such  result  is  similar  to  the  phylogenetic  topography recovered in Li et al. (2013) using more datasets. Therefore,   according   to   a   combination   of   morphological   characters  and  phylogenetic  data  of  mitochondrial  genes,  we  conclude that the male treefrog specimen (KIZ016395) consisted an  independent  evolutionary  lineage  and  concordant  evidence  confirm species status (Hou et al., 2014; Wu & Murphy, 2015), which is described as a new species and a new genus in family Rhacophoridae.  

    Nasutixalus gen. nov. Jiang, Yan, Wang and Che 

    Type species: Nasutixalus medogensis sp. nov. 

    Diagnosis: (1)  Body  size  moderate  (45.0  mm  in  male);  (2)  snout  rounded;  (3)  canthus  rostralis  obtuse  and  raised  prominently,  forming  a  ridge  from  nostril  to  anterior  corner  of  eyes;  (4)  web  rudimentary on fingers; (5) web moderately developed on toes; (6) phalange “Y” shaped, visible from dorsal side of fingers and toes;  (7)  skin  of  dorsal  surfaces  relatively  smooth,  scatted  with  small tubercles; (8) iris with a pale yellow, “X” shaped pattern of pigmentation, especially distinct in preservative. 

    Distribution: Currently   known   only   from   the   type   locality,   Medog, Tibet, China.

    Etymology: The generic nomen Nasutixalus is derived from the Latin adjective nasutus (“large-nosed” in English), means the prominent ridge from nostril to the anterior corner of eye, and ixalus, a common generic root for treefrogs. We suggest the common name of the new genus be “ridged-nose treefrog” in English, and “Leng Bi Shu Wa” (棱鼻树蛙) in Chinese.

    Content: The new genus currently contains a single species, Nasutixalus medogensis sp. nov. which is described below.

    Nasutixalus  medogensis  sp.  nov.  Jiang,  Wang,  Yan  and  Che (Figures 2-4) 
    Synonyms: Thermoderma moloch: Li et al., 2009 

    Holotype: KIZ 016395, adult male, collected from Gelin (N29.21665°, E95.17571°, elevation 1 619 m), Beibeng, Medog, southeastern Tibet, China, on 28 April  2015, by Ke JIANG.

    Etymology The species name “medogensis” is named after the type locality, Medog, Tibet, China. According to the Latin name, we suggest the  English  common  name  as  “Medog  Ridged-nose  Treefrog”,  and  the  Chinese  formal  name  as  “Muo  Tuo  Leng  Bi  Shu  Wa”  (墨脱棱鼻树蛙).

    Ke JIANG, Fang YAN, Kai WANG, Da-Hu ZOU, Cheng Land Jing CHE. 2016. A New Genus and Species of Treefrog from Medog, southeastern Tibet, China (Anura, Rhacophoridae).
    ZOOLOGICAL RESEARCH37(1); 15-20.  DOI: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.1.15


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    Murina lorelieae ngoclinhensis
    Tu & Hassanin, 2015


    In 2011, three specimens from an unknown species of tube-nosed bat (genus Murina) were collected in montane moist forest at altitudes between 1117 and 1682 m in the Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve of Vietnam. We sequenced the mitochondrial COI gene from Ngoc Linh bats and performed comparisons with Murina sequences available in the nucleotide databases. The results suggested that the three unidentified specimens belong to Murina lorelieae, a species recently described from a single specimen collected in southern China. Nucleotide distances between specimens from Ngoc Linh and southern China are exceptionally low for M. lorelieae (1.25%) in comparison with three other Murina species, i.e., Murina cyclotis, Murina feae, and Murina huttoni (3.9–5.5%). We suggest that M. lorelieae is adapted to montane forests, which may have facilitated long-distance dispersal events between southern China and Vietnam during glacial periods of the Pleistocene. Morphological comparisons based on body-size measurements and geometric morphometric analyses of the skulls showed differences between Vietnamese specimens and the Chinese holotype of M. lorelieae. We proposed that the Vietnamese specimens belong to a distinct subspecies, Murina lorelieae ngoclinhensis.

    Keywords: DNA barcode; morphology; Murininae; Southeast Asia; subspecies

     Vuong Tan Tu, Raphaël Cornette, Jose Utge and Alexandre Hassanin. 2015. First Records of Murina lorelieae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Vietnam.
    MAMMALIA. 79(2); 201–213 DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2013-0101

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    Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis
    Grismer, Wood, Anuar, Davis, Cobos & Murdoch, 2016


    A new species of Bent-toed Gecko, Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. of the sworderi complex, is described from Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia and is differentiated from all other species in the sworderi complex by having a unique combination of characters including a maximum SVL of 74.7 mm; low, rounded, weakly keeled, body tubercles; 34–40 paravertebral tubercles; weak ventrolateral body fold lacking tubercles; 38–41 ventral scales; an abrupt transition between the posterior and ventral femoral scales; 20–23 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe; enlarged femoral scales; no femoral or precloacal pores; no precloacal groove; wide caudal bands; and an evenly banded dorsal pattern. Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is a scansorial, karst forest-adapted specialist endemic to the karst ecosystem surrounding Gunung Senyum and occurs on the vertical walls of the limestone towers as well as the branches, trunks, and leaves of the vegetation in the associated karst forest. Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is the seventh species of karst forest-adapted Cyrtodactylus and the sixteenth endemic species of karst ecosystem reptile discovered in Peninsular Malaysia in the last seven years from only 12 different karst forests. This is a clear indication that many species remain to be discovered in the approximately 558 isolated karst ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia not yet surveyed. These data continue to underscore the importance of karst ecosystems as reservoirs of biodiversity and microendemism and that they constitute an important component of Peninsular Malaysia’s natural heritage and should be protected from the quarrying interests of foreign industrial companies.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus, Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, limestone forest, karst, Malaysia, new species, systematics, endemic, conservation

    FIGURE 3. Left: Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. Upper left: LSUHC 12200 subadult female; middle left: 12201 juvenile; lower left; LSUHC 12209 adult female.
    Right: Microhabitat of C. gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. at Gunung Senyum, Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.

    Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov.
    Gunung Senyum Bent-toed Gecko | Cicak Gunung Senyum

    Etymology. The specific epithet gunungsenyumensis refers to the type locality of Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia. It is hoped this name will underscore the importance of this Hutan Lipur as a sanctuary for this endemic species and keep it safe from the quarrying interests of foreign cement companies.

    Distribution. Currently, Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is known only from the type locality of Gunung Senyum, Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia (Fig. 1). Exploration of the adjacent karst towers of Gunung Jebak Puyoh and Bukit Terus (Fig. 5) to determine if this species occurs there as well is necessary.

    Natural history. Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum is a recreational area situated around three limestone hills: Gunung Senyum, Gunung Jebak Puyoh, and Bukit Terus (Fig. 5). The northernmost hill, Gunung Senyum, is the largest, reaching 525 m in elevation and covering 1.75 Several large, open chambers and cave systems deeply incise and sculpt the periphery of this limestone hill, which is surrounded by karst forest vegetation. All specimens of the type series and two additional specimens not collected were active at night on the limestone walls or the adjacent karst vegetation (Fig. 3). Lizards were observed at night between 01030 and 2400 hrs on the vertical trunks of small trees as well as on thin, horizontal branches of low-growing shrubs. Lizards only occurred in areas
    where karst rock-rubble had accumulated at the edge of the cliff faces and where the cliff faces were eroded and exfoliated, providing cracks and holes into which lizards were able to take refuge. This species is very wary and lizards would often flee during our approach. When captured, most quickly dropped their tails and only two specimens of the nine lizards observed had complete tails. This suggests this population may be under heavy predation. No gravid females or hatchlings were observed, indicating that the breeding season is not in March.

    Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is the seventh known species of Bent-toed Gecko in Peninsular Malaysia adapted to a karst ecosystem (Table 6). Fortunately some of these karst forest species such as C. astrumGrismer, Wood, Quah, Anuar, Muin, Sumontha, Norhayati, Bauer, Wangkulangkul, Grismer & Pauwels; C. langkawiensis Grismer, Wood, Quah, Anuar, Muin, Sumontha, Norhayati, Bauer, Wangkulangkul, Grismer & Pauwels; C. gunungsenyumensis sp. nov., and C. metropolisGrismer, Wood, Chan, Anuar, Muin are found in protected areas, thus far from the reach of quarrying interests of foreign investors (Grismer et al. 2014b,c). Unfortunately others, such as C. guakanthanensis, C. sharkariGrismer, Wood, Anuar, Quah, Muin, Mohamed, Chan, Sumarli, Loredo & Heinz; and Cyrtodactylus sp. nov. (Grismer et al. in prep.) remain highly threatened (Grismer 2014a,c). 

    The discovery of 16 new endemic species of karst ecosystem reptiles in only the last seven years (Grismer et al. 2008a,b, 2009, 2012, 2013a, 2014a,b,c,d,e) from only 12 different karst ecosystems (Table 1) is a strikingly clear indication that many other endemic species remain to be discovered in the approximately 558 isolated karst ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia (Price 2014) we have not yet surveyed. The extremely high degree of floral and invertebrate endemism in these ecosystems is well-documented (Kiew 1991; Vermeulen & Whitten 1999; Clements et al. 2006) and it is becoming apparent that endemic reptiles will rank as the most important component of vertebrate endemism (Grismer et al. 2014c). To date, 15 of approximately 32 species of Cyrtodactylus (47%) in Thailand, approximately one of seven species (14%) in Cambodia, 10 of approximately 14 species (71%) in Laos, nine of approximately 37 species (24%) in Vietnam, and seven of 31 species (23%) in Peninsular Malaysia are endemic, karst ecosystem specialists (Table 6). Data for Myanmar are lacking and Sumatra, Java, and Borneo still remain too unexplored. Allowing so many of these ecosystems to be converted into cement by foreign industrial companies is an affront on the natural heritage of these nations and is seriously eroding the herpetological biodiversity of Southeast Asia.

    Grismer, L. L., Wood, P. L., Jr., Anuar, S. Davis, H. R., Cobos, A. J., Murdoch, M. L. 2016. A New Species of Karst Forest Bent-toed Gecko (genus Cyrtodactylus Gray) not yet threatened by foreign cement companies and A Summary of Peninsular Malaysia’s Endemic Karst Forest Herpetofauna and the need for its conservation. 
    Zootaxa. 4061(1)4061(1): 001–017. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4061.1.1 

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    Chongmingia zhengi 
    Wang, Wang, Wang & Zhou, 2016 

    The Chinese Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group is the second oldest fossil bird-bearing deposit, only surpassed by Archaeopteryx from the German Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestones. Here we report a new bird, Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov., from the Jehol Biota. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that Chongmingia zhengi is basal to the dominant Mesozoic avian clades Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha, and represents a new basal avialan lineage. This new discovery adds to our knowledge regarding the phylogenetic differentiation and morphological diversity in early avian evolution. The furcula of Chongmingia is rigid (reducing its efficiency), consequently requiring more power for flight. However, the elongated forelimb and the large deltopectoral crest on the humerus might indicate that the power was available. The unique combination of features present in this species demonstrates that numerous evolutionary experimentations took place in the early evolution of powered flight. The occurrence of gastroliths further confirms that herbivory was common among basal birds. The Jehol birds faced competition with pterosaurs, and occupied sympatric habitats with non-avian theropods, some of which consumed birds. Thus, avialan herbivory may have reduced ecological competition from carnivorous close relatives and other volant vertebrates early in their evolutionary history.

    Systematic paleontology

    Aves Linnaeus, 1758 

    Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology: The generic name is from the Mandarin word Chongming, referring to a Chinese mythological bird. The specific epithet is in honour of Mr. Xiaoting Zheng for his generous contribution in the establishment of the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature.

    Holotype: STM (Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature) 9-9, a partial skeleton with associated soft tissues and gastroliths, missing the skull and most of the caudal vertebrae (Fig. 1).

    Locality and horizon: Dapingfang, Liaoning Province, China; Jiufotang Formation, Early Cretaceous (Aptian).

    Figure 1: Photograph and line drawing of the holotype of Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov. (STM9-9).

    Figure 7: Simplified Mesozoic avian cladogram showing the possible phylogenetic positions of Chongmingia zhengi.
    Analysis using the coelurosaurian matrix places Chongmingia within basal avialans and as the sister group to Ornithothoraces (p1), and analysis using the Mesozoic avian matrix resolves Chongmingia as the most basal avialan, except for Archaeopteryx (p2).
    See Supplementary Figs 2–4 for complete results. (The skeletal drawing and silhouettes were drawn by Min Wang).  doi:  10.1038/srep19700 

    Min Wang, Xiaoli Wang, Yan Wang and Zhonghe Zhou. 2016. A New Basal Bird from China with implications for Morphological Diversity in Early Birds.
    Scientific Reports. 6: 19700. DOI:  10.1038/srep19700

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    林芝湍蛙 | Amolops nyingchiensis
     Jiang, Wang, Xie, Jiang & Che, 2016

    A new species of the genus Amolops Cope, 1865 is described from Nyingchi, southeastern Tibet, China, based on morphological and molecular data. The new species, Amolops nyingchiensis sp. nov. is assigned to the Amolops monticola group based on its skin smooth, dorsolateral fold distinct, lateral side of head black, upper lip stripe white extending to the shoulder. Amolops nyingchiensis sp. nov. is distinguished from all other species of Amolops by the following combination of characters: (1) medium body size, SVL 48.5-58.3 mm in males, and 57.6-70.7 mm in females; (2) tympanum distinct, slightly larger than one third of the eye diameter; (3) a small tooth-like projection on anteromedial edge of mandible; (4) the absence of white spine on dorsal surface of body; (5) the presence of circummarginal groove on all fingers; (6) the presence of vomerine teeth; (7) background coloration of dorsal surface brown, lateral body gray with yellow; (8) the presence of transverse bands on the dorsal limbs; (9) the presence of nuptial pad on the first finger in males; (10) the absence of vocal sac in males. Taxonomic status of the populations that were previously identified to A. monticola from Tibet is also discussed.

    Key words:Amolops monticola group; Amolops nyingchiensis sp. nov.; DNA barcoding; Tibet

    Etymology: The species name “nyingchiensis” is the Latin form of name of Nyingchi Prefecture, which includes the two localities of the new species. According to the Latin name, we suggest the English common name as “Nyingchi Cascade Frog”, and the Chinese common name as “Lin Zhi Tuan Wa” (林芝湍蛙). 

    Ecological notes: The new species, A. nyinchiensis is found in the small to medium sized, fast flowing streams near mixed forest at relative high elevation (Figure 4). At the type locality (Gedang), the stream is much faster, and has rocky shores, while at the other locality (Zhibai) the stream is slower, and the shores are covered by vegetation and not rocky. Such distinct microhabitats suggest a wide ecological niche of the new species. In Gedang, only the new species was observed, and in Zhibai, one amphibian species, Nanorana parkeri (Stejneger, 1927) was co-distributed with the new species, and one reptile species Pseudoxenodon macrops (Blyth, 1854) was also observed. Reproductive season of the new species is unknown. 

    Figure 2 Different views of the male holotype (KIZ 016432) of Amolops nyingchiensis sp. nov. in life.  A: dorsolateral view; B: ventral view; C: dorsal view.
    Figure 3 Different views of the female paratopotypes in life, from Medog (KIZ016434)  A: dorsolateral view; B: ventral view; C: dorsolateral and ventral view from Mainling (KIZ012636)
    Figure 4 Habitat of Amolops nyingchiensis sp. nov. at Gelin, Medog (A) and Zhibai, Mainling (B), Tibet, China

    (Photos by Ke JIANG and Kai WANG)  || DOI: 10.13918/

    Ke JIANG, Kai WANG, Fang YAN, Jiang XIE, Da-Hu ZOU, Wu-Lin LIU, Jian-Ping JIANG, Cheng LI and Jing CHE. 2016. A New Species of the Genus Amolops (Amphibia: Ranidae) from southeastern Tibet, China. ZOOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 37(1); 31-40.  DOI: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.1.31   

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    Figure 3. Four Kurixalus species of Taiwan.
    Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. (holotype, adult, dark morph) BK. wangi sp. n. (holotype) CK. berylliniris sp. n. (sub-adult) DK. berylliniris sp. n. (adult, light morph) EK. eiffingeri FK. idiootocus.

    Two new species of rhacophorid tree frog were identified in Taiwan. In both new taxa, derived reproductive characteristics of laying eggs in tree holes and oophagous tadpoles are shared with Kurixalus eiffingeri, but they are divergent from each other in molecular genetics, mating calls, and tadpole and adult morphology. The morphological characteristics and the molecular phylogenetic evidence support the hypothesis that the two new speciesKurixalus berylliniris sp. n. and Kurixalus wangi sp. n., are both monophyletic lineages.

    Keywords: Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n., Kurixalus wangi sp. n., oophagous tadpoles

    Figure 1. Sampling localities of this study.
    Localities 1 through 22 are around Taiwan island, locality 23 from Iriomote isle, locality 24 from Ishigaki isle. The two isles belong to the southern end of Ryukyu archipelago. Color refers to the geographical distribution of the three Kurixalus species. Red: Kurixalus eiffingeri; Green: K. berylliniris sp. n. (Taxon 1); B: K. wangi sp. n. (Taxon 2). Loc. 20: Ligia, type locality of K. berylliniris sp. n.; Loc. 21: Shouka, type locality of K. wangi sp. n.

    Figure 10. Phylogenetic relationship of all Kurixalus species from Taiwan. A phylogram showing the phylogenetic relationships of the four Kurixalus species, obtained by a maximum likelihood search based on 1207 nucleotides from mtDNA CO1 and 16S rRNA genes. Feihyla palpebralis and Rhacophorus moltrechti were used as outgroups. The three values on each branch are maximum likelihood (ML), maximum parsimony (MP), and neighbor-joining (NJ) analyses with bootstrapping support based on 2000 replicates. Bootstrapping values below 50% are not shown. (JP: Ryukyu Islands of Japan; N. TW: northern Taiwan; C. TW: central Taiwan).

    Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n.

    Type locality: Ligia timber trail, 1250 meters above sea level, Taitung County, Taiwan, Republic of China (Fig. 1, Loc. 20, 22°49'26.79"N, 121°00'35.45"E).

    Diagnosis: A moderate-sized Kurixalus. Females average about 41 mm snout-vent length (range: 27.6–46.3 mm); males average about 35 mm (range: 29.0–42.3 mm). Iris emerald to light green. Two dark brown spots on eyelids, separated from each other and from X-shaped blotch on dorsum. Subarticular tubercles on foot rounded and flat. Belly and throat white or faintly-speckled. Prepollex in males squarish, compressed and expanded. About half-webbed between two outer toes. Anterior margin of tadpole dorsal fin extending to body. Tadpole heavily dark brown to black pigmented in gular region and on tail muscle. Upper lip of tadpole with deep transverse furrow, and prominent ridge extending from upper lip to anterior margin of nostril (key of tadpole, 3).

    Etymology: The epithet berylliniris is a compound word formed from beryllin (L.), green-colored, and from iris (L.), iris of the eye, and is treated as a noun in nominative singular in opposition to the generic name.

    Distribution and ecological notes: Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. occurs in eastern Taiwan (at 225 to 1250 meters above sea level). The highest recorded elevation was on the eastern slope of the Central Mountain Range (Taitung County, 1250 meters above sea level), and the lowest recorded elevation was on the western slope of the Coastal Range (Hwalien County, 225 meters above sea level). Specimens were collected near the canopy level in moist broad-leaf forests in Taitung and on forest edges in Hwalien. The northern border of the specimen’s distribution was near the Guangfu township of the central Hualien County (Fig. 1, Green stain).

    Kurixalus wangi sp. n.

    Type locality: Shouka timber trail, 400 meters above sea level, Pingtung County, Taiwan, Republic of China (Fig. 1, Loc. 21, 22°13'15.58"N, 120°49'21.92"E).

    Diagnosis: A small to moderate-sized Kurixalus. Females snout-vent length averaging about 34 mm (range: 30.8–37.1 mm); males averaging 30 mm (range: 28.6–31.6 mm). Iris golden-yellow. Two anterior horns of the X-shaped marking on back extending to eyelid. Webbing extensive on toes, extending to the toe disc on the inner margin of toe V. Belly and throat whitish. Anterior margin of tadpole dorsal fin extending to posterior body. Tadpole with almost no pigment on region of tail muscle. Upper lip of tadpole with shallow transverse furrow.

    Etymology: The epithet is named and dedicated to Mr. Ching-Shong Wang for his pioneering work and contributions to the herpetology of Taiwan (Wang 1962). Mr. Wang discovered two rhacophorid frogs (Rhacophorus taipeianus and K. idiootocus) (Liang and Wang 1963, Kuramoto and Wang 1987) in Taiwan and suggested, in the early 1980s, that some Kurixalus specimens collected near the type locality of this new species might be different from K. eiffingeri (personal communication). The name is used in the genitive case.

    Distribution and ecological notes: Kurixalus wangi sp. n. is distributed in the southern part of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan below 500 meters above sea level (Fig. 1, Blue dots). All specimens were collected in the shrubs of secondary forests or lowland broad-leaved forests at low altitudes.

    Figure 4. Nesting sites of three tree-hole breeding Kurixalus species (a nest is made by the animal).
    A eggs of Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. B eggs of K. wangi sp. n.; note that the parents were present with eggs C eggs of K.eiffingeri.

    Phylogenetic relationships

    As demonstrated by the high bootstrap support, the robustness of the phylogenetic relationship of the three rhacophorid genera is strong. Based on this robust phylogenetic tree, we found that the among-genera genetic distances were greater than the within-genus genetic distance (Fig. 10). Using the partial sequence of mtDNA CO1 gene as a molecular marker (Table S2), the genetic distances of the all pair-wise comparisons of the four Kurixalus species were all larger than 10% (Table S3). The phylogenetic trees constructed by Bayesian inference, NJ analysis, and MP methods showed the same topology (Fig. 10). The topology of branches was sufficiently supported by the posterior probabilities, bootstrap values, and branch lengths. The four Kurixalus species of Taiwan formed a well-structured monophyletic group with distinguishable branch length. Samples of K. eiffingeri collected from Iriomote Island, northern Taiwan, and central Taiwan were embedded in the same lineage and formed a monophyletic group (Fig. 11 below). Individuals from southern (Kurixalus wangi sp. n.) and eastern Taiwan (K. berylliniris sp. n.) were sister taxa of K. eiffingeri. Kurixalus idiootocus was phylogenetically distinct from the three Kurixalus species (Figs 10 and 11 below).

    Figure 11. Geographic distribution and genetic structures of Kurixalus eiffingeri and the two newly discovered cryptic species from Taiwan and its two adjacent islands. Red: K. eiffingeri; Green: K. berylliniris sp. n.; B: K. wangi sp. n. Bold lines mark the boundaries of each species’ distribution, dotted lines discriminate different genetic groups intra species. Below: a consensus ML tree to show the variation between haplotypes.

    Shu-Ping Wu, Chuan-Chin Huang, Chi-Li Tsai, Te-En Lin, Jhih-Jia Jhang and Sheng-Hai Wu. 2016. Systematic Revision of the Taiwanese Genus Kurixalus members with A Description of Two New Endemic Species (Anura, Rhacophoridae).
    ZooKeys. 557: 121-153. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.557.6131

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    Ptilocercus kylin 
     Li & Ni, 2016

    Treeshrews are widely considered a “living model” of an ancestral primate, and have long been called “living fossils”. Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

    Figure 1: Upper and lower dentition (in color) of Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov., compared with P. lowii (USNM 32409, in gray-scale).
    (A) Crown view of the upper dentition. Fossils include the lingual half of a left M1 (IVPP V20689, reversed), the buccal half of a right M1 (IVPP V20690), a complete right M2 (IVPP V20691), and the buccal half of a left M3 (IVPP V20692, reversed). I1-2, C, P2-4, and M1-3 are shown for P. lowii. (B) Crown view of the lower dentition. Fossils include an isolated right lower canine (IVPP V20693), a right jaw fragment preserving p3-4 and the alveoli for i2-3, c, and p2 (IVPP V20694), an isolated right m1 (IVPP V20695), and a right jaw fragment preserving m2-3 (IVPP V20696, holotype). The alignment of the fossils is based on a left lower jaw fragment retaining a small portion of the i2-3 alveoli, alveoli and roots of c and p2, and p3-m3 (IVPP V20699, Fig. 2 and Supplementary Information). The i1-3, c, p2-4, and m1-3 are shown for P. lowii. (C), Lingual view of the lower dentition ofP. kylin. (D), Buccal view of the dentition of P. kylin. Scale bar equals 5 mm.

    Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov.

    Etymology: Specific epithet is derived from the name of Qilin District, in Qujing City. Qilin is the pinyin for kylin, a hoofed dragon-like beast of Chinese myth.

    Holotype: IVPP V20696 (Fig. 1), a right mandibular fragment preserving m2 and m3.

    Locality and horizon: Lijiawa Mammalian Fossil locality, Yunnan Province, China. Earliest Oligocene, ~ 34 Ma.

    Figure 3: Summary phylogeny of treeshrews.

    Figure 4:Ptilocercus treeshrew distribution in the context of southern Asia’s modern geography and early Oligocene palaeogeography.
    (A) Fossil locality of Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov. (blue dot) and the distribution of the living species Ptilocercus lowii (pale reddish shading). The background map is from: (under the Creative Commons Share Alike license: (B) Fossil locality (blue dot) and reconstructed palaeogeographic distribution of the closed canopy of tropical rain forest and monsoonal forest (pale reddish shading) in the early Oligocene. The palaeogeographic reconstruction is from ref. 46 (Nature Publishing Group License: 3646200322068). The position of the fossil locality on the palaeogeographic reconstruction was estimated based on its distance from the Tibetan Plateau and the Sino-Burman Ranges (SBR).

    Qiang Li and Xijun Ni. 2016. An Early Oligocene Fossil Demonstrates Treeshrews are Slowly Evolving “Living Fossils”. Scientific Reports. 6; 18627. DOI: 10.1038/srep18627

    Earliest-known treeshrew fossil found in Yunnan, China via @physorg_com

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