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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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    Fig 9. Time calibrated phylogenetic tree of the Gavialoidea and relevant paleogeographic distributions associated with the evolution and diversification of gavialoids in marine and freshwater settings. 
    During the Late Paleocene-Early Eocene interval, peaks of sea surface temperature (SST) and global sea surface level (GSL) occurred together with tropical marine connections through the Tethys Ocean and Caribbean Sea [59,60]. During the Neogene, distinct biomes dominated tropical South America: (A) Acre Phase, after the onset of the eastern-draining Amazon and northward-draining Orinoco river systems; and (B) Pebas Mega-Wetland System, with its drainage northward to the Caribbean Sea.
    Abbreviations: Olig., Oligocene; Ple., Pleistocene; Pli., Pliocene. Global and South American schematic paleogeography adapted from Blakey [60] and Hoorn et al. [61], respectively.   DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152453


    Gavialoid crocodylians are the archetypal longirostrine archosaurs and, as such, understanding their patterns of evolution is fundamental to recognizing cranial rearrangements and reconstructing adaptive pathways associated with elongation of the rostrum (longirostry). The living Indian gharial Gavialis gangeticus is the sole survivor of the group, thus providing unique evidence on the distinctive biology of its fossil kin. Yet phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary ecology spanning ~70 million-years of longirostrine crocodylian diversification remain unclear. Analysis of cranial anatomy of a new proto-Amazonian gavialoid, Gryposuchuspachakamue sp. nov., from the Miocene lakes and swamps of the Pebas Mega-Wetland System reveals that acquisition of both widely separated and protruding eyes (telescoped orbits) and riverine ecology within South American and Indian gavialoids is the result of parallel evolution. Phylogenetic and morphometric analyses show that, in association with longirostry, circumorbital bone configuration can evolve rapidly for coping with trends in environmental conditions and may reflect shifts in feeding strategy. Our results support a long-term radiation of the South American forms, with taxa occupying either extreme of the gavialoid morphospace showing preferences for coastal marine versus fluvial environments. The early biogeographic history of South American gavialoids was strongly linked to the northward drainage system connecting proto-Amazonian wetlands to the Caribbean region.

    Systematic paleontology

    Crocodyliformes Hay, 1930 
    Eusuchia Huxley, 1875 
    Crocodylia Gmelin, 1789 

    Gavialoidea Hay, 1930 
    Gryposuchinae Vélez-Juarbe et al., 2007 

    Gryposuchus Gürich, 1912 

    Gryposuchus pachakamue sp. nov.

    ZooBank life science identifier (LSID) for species.

    Etymology: The Pebasian Gryposuchus species is named after the Quechua word “pachakamue”, primordial pre-Columbian god and first “storyteller” who preserved ancient knowledge about the origin of living things in Amazonia.

    Holotype: MUSM 1981, nearly complete skull (Fig 1A–1C).

    Locality and Horizon: Locality IQ114, Iquitos area, Peru; Pebas Formation, late Middle Miocene, approx. 13 Ma; Mollusc Zone 8 (MZ8; Fig 1).


    Gavialoid history exhibits independent acquisitions of the “telescoped” orbits condition. Analyses of the new Pebasian species Gryposuchuspachakamue and other South American fossil gavialoids document high plasticity in orbital anatomy, which appears to have been strongly correlated with a visually enhanced feeding strategy and environmental circumstances. Morphospaces occupied by fluvial and coastal marine specialists are identified by quantitative analysis of orbital and circumorbital shape variation. In light of the phylogenetic history, a fluvial habitus in South American gharials is derived from ancestral lacustrine-deltaic forms with incipient development of protruding eyes or telescoped orbits. The circumorbital region of coastal marine gavialoids is closer in morphology to that of brevirostrine crocodylians. Identifying morphological steps of parallel evolution and ancestral ecological habitus in gavialoids provides models for reconstructing puzzling phylogenetic histories and adaptive radiations within extinct crocodylomorphs clades with elongated rostrums, such as thalattosuchians, dyrosaurids, and pholidosaurids. Proto-Amazonian connections with the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the subsequent onset of the transcontinental Amazon River System draining eastward, provided multiple habitats and conditions for gavialoid colonizations of new areas and extensive morphological diversification in South America throughout the mid-late Cenozoic.

    Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, John J. Flynn, Patrice Baby, Julia V. Tejada-Lara, Julien Claude and Pierre-Olivier Antoine. 2016. A New 13 Million Year Old Gavialoid Crocodylian from Proto-Amazonian Mega-Wetlands Reveals Parallel Evolutionary Trends in Skull Shape Linked to Longirostry.  PLoS ONE. 11(4): e0152453. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152453

    13 million-year-old crocodile offers insight into evolution via @TIME

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    Two small, ground and litter-dwelling pholcid species from northern Borneo are described as representatives of a new genus, Hantu gen. nov.: H. kapit gen. et sp. nov. and H. niah gen. et sp. nov. Previous cladistic analyses suggested a closer relationship with the genera Savarna Huber, 2005 and Khorata Huber, 2005 (mainland Southeast Asia) than with the geographically closer genus Aetana Huber, 2005 (Borneo and Philippines to Fiji). Since the two species do not share any of the synapomorphies of Khorata and Savarna while having several synapomorphies on their own (ventral apophysis on male palpal coxa; male palpal trochanter apophysis with small teeth or scales; spines on male femora 1; high density of vertical hairs on male femora; presence of scape on epigynum), they are here proposed as representing a new genus.

    Keywords. Borneo, Sarawak, endemism, taxonomy, Pholcidae. 

    Class Arachnida Cuvier, 1812
    Order Araneae Clerck, 1757
    Family Pholcidae C.L. Koch, 1851

    Hantu gen. nov.

    Type species: Hantu kapit gen. et sp. nov.

    Diagnosis: Small, six-eyed, dark, ground and litter-dwelling pholcids with dark (usually black) sternum, with thoracic furrow extending over entire length of carapace, and without epiandrous spigots. Distinguished from putatively closest known relatives (Khorata, Savarna) by ventral apophysis on male palpal coxa (arrows in Figs 9, 19, 27), by scales or teeth on male palpal trochanter (Fig. 16), by spines on male femora 1 (~10–25 in single ventral row), by short vertical hairs in high density on male femora (in two dorsal rows), and by scape on female external genitalia (Figs 40–45); from Savarna also by presence of distal cheliceral apophyses (Figs 11, 28) and by male palpal trochanter apophysis not fused to femur (Figs 9, 27); from Khorata also by absence of sclerotized ledges laterally on male chelicerae (Figs 11, 28) and by absence of retrolateral process on male palpal femur (Figs 9, 27).

    Etymology: Named for the Hantu Rimba, deep-forest ghosts in traditional Malaysian mythology. Gender masculine.


    Pholcid spiders are widely known for their long-legged representatives, some of which are synanthropic, but a large number of species in a range of genera are actually relatively short-legged ground and litterdwellers. About half of all currently recognized genera either include or consist entirely of such shortlegged species (e.g., Huber 2005a, 2005b, 2011, 2013, 2015; Huber et al. 2005). This suggests multiple convergent shifts among microhabitats; in fact, molecular data support the notion that such shifts have occurred repeatedly in various directions (Huber et al. 2010; Dimitrov etal. 2013; see also Huber & Dimitrov 2014).

    Ground and litter-dwelling pholcids share a similar habitus to a degree that allows reasonable predictions even for museum specimens without microhabitat information. They are small (body size ~1–3 mm), relatively short legged (leg 1 length < 30 mm), rather dark (brown), and have a globular or oval abdomen. This combination seems to be extremely rare in pholcids living in other microhabitats. The only apparent exception known to me are West and Central African representatives of the genus Anansus Huber, 2007 that were collected by canopy fogging (Huber 2007).

    In Southeast Asia, at least seven pholcid genera other than Hantu gen. nov. include ground and litterdwelling representatives: Aetana Huber, 2005; Belisana Thorell, 1898; Holocneminus Berland, 1942; Pholcus Walckenaer, 1805; Savarna Huber, 2005; Spermophora Hentz, 1841; and Wugigarra Huber, 2001.

    Bernhard A. Huber. 2016. A New Genus of Ground and Litter-Dwelling Pholcine Spiders from Sarawak (Araneae, Pholcidae). European Journal of Taxonomy. 186: 1–15. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2016.186

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    Baby Rapetosaurus were only dog-sized a few weeks after hatching.
    Scientists have found an adorable fossil: a baby dinosaur. It would've been gargantuan had it lived, but at its death at age two or three months, it was only the size of a golden retriever. It is the only one of its kind, and it promises to shed new light on dinosaur growth rates and parenting.
    Photo: R. Martin and K. Curry Rogers |
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1509 

    Sauropod dinosaurs exhibit the largest ontogenetic size range among terrestrial vertebrates, but a dearth of very young individuals has hindered understanding of the beginning of their growth trajectory. A new specimen of Rapetosaurus krausei sheds light on early life in the smallest stage of one of the largest dinosaurs. Bones record rapid growth rates and hatching lines, indicating that this individual weighed ~3.4 kilograms at hatching. Just several weeks later, when it likely succumbed to starvation in a drought-stressed ecosystem, it had reached a mass of ~40 kilograms and was ~35 centimeters tall at the hip. Unexpectedly, Rapetosaurus limb bones grew isometrically throughout their development. Cortical remodeling, limb isometry, and thin calcified hypertrophic metaphyseal cartilages indicate an active, precocial growth strategy.

    Tiny giant
    Titanosaurs were the largest land vertebrates to have evolved, but even they had to start small. Curry-Rogers et al. describe a baby Rapetosaurus only 35 cm at the hip at death. Histological and limb analysis suggest that this tiny giant had a much greater range of movement than it would have had as an adult. Furthermore, the work confirms hypotheses that these largest of dinosaurs were precocial, being able to move independently immediately after birth. This pattern differs from that seen in many contemporary dinosaur groups, such as theropods and ornithischians, for which increasing evidence suggests that parental care was important.

    K. Curry Rogers, M. Whitney, M. DEmic, B. Bagley. Precocity in A Tiny Titanosaur from the Cretaceous of Madagascar. Science. 2016; 352 (6284): 450 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1509

    How to raise a dinosaur? Tiny fossil may tell us via @usatoday
    Tiny dinosaur skeleton reveals babies lived on their own from birth via  @HuffPostScience
    Rapetosaurus krausei: Tiny titanosaurus was just a few weeks old, scientists say

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    Paleontological and neontological systematics seek to answer evolutionary questions with different datasets. Phylogenies inferred for combined extant and extinct taxa provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of life. Primates have an extensive, diverse fossil record and molecular data for living and extinct taxa are rapidly becoming available. We used two models to infer the phylogeny and divergence times for living and fossil primates, the tip-dating (TD) and fossilized birth-death process (FBD). We collected new morphological data, especially on the living and extinct endemic lemurs of Madagascar. We combined the morphological data with published DNA sequences to infer near-complete (88% of lemurs) time-calibrated phylogenies. The results suggest that primates originated around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, slightly earlier than indicated by the fossil record and later than previously inferred from molecular data alone. We infer novel relationships among extinct lemurs, and strong support for relationships that were previously unresolved. Dates inferred with TD were significantly older than those inferred with FBD, most likely related to an assumption of a uniform branching process in the TD compared to a birth-death process assumed in the FBD. This is the first study to combine morphological and DNA sequence data from extinct and extant primates to infer evolutionary relationships and divergence times, and our results shed new light on the tempo of lemur evolution and the efficacy of combined phylogenetic analyses.

    Key words: total evidence; primatology; Bayesian phylogenetics; calibration; chronogram

    James P. Herrera and Liliana M. Dávalos. 2016. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Lemurs inferred with Recent and Ancient Fossils in the Tree. Syst Biol. (2016). DOI:  10.1093/sysbio/syw035

    An exhaustive lemur family tree sheds new light on these threatened primates via @HuffPostScience

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    Cyrtodactylus hidupselamanya 
     Grismer, Wood, Anuar, Grismer, Quah, Murdock, Muin, Davis, Aguilar, Klabacka,
    Cobos, Aowphol & Sites, 2016  
    DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4105.5.1  


    A new species of limestone cave-adapted gecko of the Cyrtodactylus pulchellus complex, Cyrtodactylus hidupselamanya sp. nov., is described from an isolated karst formation at Felda Chiku 7, Kelantan, Peninsular Malaysia. This formation is scheduled to be completely quarried for its mineral content. From what we know about the life history of C. hidupselamanya sp. nov., this will result in its extinction. A new limestone forest-adapted species, Cyrtodactylus lenggongensis sp. nov., from the Lenggong Valley, Perak was previously considered to be conspecific with C. bintangrendah but a re-evaluation of morphological, color pattern, molecular, and habitat preference indicates that it too is a unique lineage worthy of specific recognition. Fortunately C. lenggongensis sp. nov. is not facing extinction because its habitat is protected by the UNESCO Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley due to the archaeological significance of that region. Both new species can be distinguished from all other species of Cyrtodactylus based on molecular evidence from the mitochondrial gene ND2 and its flanking tRNAs as well as having unique combinations of morphological and color pattern characteristics. Using a time-calibrated BEAST analysis we inferred that the evolution of a limestone habitat preference and its apparently attendant morphological and color pattern adaptations evolved independently at least four times in the C. pulchellus complex between 26.1 and 0.78 mya.

    Keywords: Karst, new species, convergent evolution, conservation, extinction, Cyrtodactylus, Peninsular Malaysia, Thai-Malay Peninsula, Reptilia

    L. Lee Grismer, Perry L. Wood Jr, Shahrul Anuar, Marta S. Grismer, Evan S. H. Quah, 
    Matthew L. Murdock, Mohd Abdul Muin, Hayden R. Davis, César Aguilar, Randy Klabacka, Anthony J. Cobos, Anchalee Aowphol and Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2016. Two New Bent-toed Geckos of the Cyrtodactylus pulchellus complex from Peninsular Malaysia and Multiple Instances of Convergent Adaptation to Limestone Forest Ecosystems.
     Zootaxa. 4105(5);  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4105.5.1

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    สายน้ำหยด | Rhynchoglossum mirabilis Patthar. 


    The genus Rhynchoglossum Blume in Thailand is revised. Three species are recognised, R. obliquum Blume, R. mirabilisPatthar. and R. saccatum Patthar., the latter two newly described here and endemic to Thailand. A key to the species and illustrations are provided.

    Keywords: Taxonomy; Rhynchoglossum; new species; Thailand

    Nannapat Pattharahirantricin. 2014. The Genus Rhynchoglossum Blume (Gesneriaceae) in Thailand.
    Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany). 42: 24–34.

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    Nigrimacula xizangensis 
    Jiao & Shi, 2013


    Based on the collections of the Museum of Hebei University, the paper comments Xiphidiopsis quadrinotata Bey-Bienko, 1971 status and reinstates Xizicus (Axizicus) xizangensis Jiao & Shi, 2013 as a valid species. Meanwhile, Alloteratura (Meconemopsis) Karny, 1924 is redefined and one new genus of Meconematinae, Nigrimacula Shi, Bian & Zhou gen. nov., mainly distributed in South China, is erected. The new genus includes three previously known species: Xiphidiopsis quadrinotata Bey-Bienko, 1971, Xizicus (Axizicus) xizangensis Jiao & Shi, 2013 and Meconemopsis paraquadrinotata Wang, Liu & Li, 2015 and one new species, Nigrimacula binotata Shi, Bian & Zhou sp. nov. The male of Xiphidiopsis quadrinotata Bey-Bienko, 1971 and female of Xizicus (Axizicus) xizangensis Jiao & Shi, 2013 are described for the first time. A key to the species based on the morphology and a distribution map are included.

    Keywords: Meconematinae, Xiphidiopsis quadrinotata and related species, Alloteratura (Meconemopsis), new genus, new species, China, Orthoptera

    Fuming Shi, Xun Bian and  Zhijun Zhou. 2016. Comments on the Status of Xiphidiopsis quadrinotata Bey-Bienko, 1971 and related species with One New Genus and Species (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Meconematinae). Zootaxa. 4105(4); DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4105.4.4

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    A phylogenetic hypothesis for the frogs of the genus Telmatobius that includes a comprehensive sample of the morphological and geographical variation is lacking. Obtaining such a hypothesis constitutes the main focus of this contribution. A phylogenetic matrix was generated based on 97 phenotypic characters and 56 terminals. A parsimony analysis of this matrix was performed with TNT. Telmatobius is found to be monophyletic and well supported by 11 synapomorphies. Although the consensus tree shows several polytomies, four main groups have been recovered. The well-supported T. verrucosus Group includes forest and sub-paramo species from Bolivia and Peru, and is the sister group of the remaining species. The T. bolivianus Group includes forest and inter-Andean valley species from Argentina and Bolivia but it is poorly supported. Two supported high-altitude groups have been recovered, the T. macrostomus Group from the Central Andes of Peru, and the T. marmoratus Group from the Altiplano- Puna Plateau of Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chile and its adjacent Pacific and Northern slopes. The synapomorphies proposed for Telmatobius are discussed as well as the evolution of some of these synapomorphies and other characters within the genus.

    Telmatobius is a monophyletic genus that has evolved in relation to water ecosystems of the Andes and its precursor mountain ranges. The species groups recovered in the present phylogenetic hypothesis are congruent with previous hypotheses (Aguilar and Valencia, 2009; De la Riva et al., 2010). The taxonomic distribution of some osteological characters shows that the states resembling an immature morphological configuration are more common among species of the T. marmoratus and T. macrostomus Groups. This suggests that heterochronies in osteological development could explain part of the interspecific variation in the morphology of the skeleton. The species belonging to those two groups live at higher altitudes and are in general more aquatic than there maining species living at lower altitudes. Further-more, the occurrence of morphological characters associated with inertial suction feeding in the species of the T. marmoratus Group suggests that suction would have evolved in this highland aquatic group. It is noteworthy that this mode of underwater prey capture has no precedents in Neobatrachia, the group containing 96% of frogs and toads. The present analysis is the most comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of Telmatobius to date and a total evidence analysis is the immediate next step

     Sebastián Barrionuevo. 2016. Frogs at the Summits: Phylogeny of the Andean Frogs of the Genus Telmatobius (Anura, Telmatobiidae) based on Phenotypic Characters.  Cladistics.  DOI:  10.1111/cla.12158

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    Sarmientosaurus musacchioi
    Martínez, Lamanna, Novas, Ridgely, Casal, Martínez, Vita & Witmer, 2016
     Life reconstruction of two individuals of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi in their ~95 million-year-old habitat in southern Chubut Province, central Patagonia, Argentina, with a digital rendering of the skull in the same position as the head of the foreground individual.

    life reconstruction & skull by Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and WitmerLab, Ohio University   DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151661


    We describe Sarmientosaurus musacchioi gen. et sp. nov., a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian—Turonian) Lower Member of the Bajo Barreal Formation of southern Chubut Province in central Patagonia, Argentina. The holotypic and only known specimen consists of an articulated, virtually complete skull and part of the cranial and middle cervical series. Sarmientosaurus exhibits the following distinctive features that we interpret as autapomorphies: (1) maximum diameter of orbit nearly 40% rostrocaudal length of cranium; (2) complex maxilla—lacrimal articulation, in which the lacrimal clasps the ascending ramus of the maxilla; (3) medial edge of caudal sector of maxillary ascending ramus bordering bony nasal aperture with low but distinct ridge; (4) ‘tongue-like’ ventral process of quadratojugal that overlaps quadrate caudally; (5) separate foramina for all three branches of the trigeminal nerve; (6) absence of median venous canal connecting infundibular region to ventral part of brainstem; (7) subvertical premaxillary, procumbent maxillary, and recumbent dentary teeth; (8) cervical vertebrae with ‘strut-like’ centroprezygapophyseal laminae; (9) extremely elongate and slender ossified tendon positioned ventrolateral to cervical vertebrae and ribs. The cranial endocast of Sarmientosaurus preserves some of the most complete information obtained to date regarding the brain and sensory systems of sauropods. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as a basal member of Lithostrotia, as the most plesiomorphic titanosaurian to be preserved with a complete skull. Sarmientosaurus provides a wealth of new cranial evidence that reaffirms the close relationship of titanosaurs to Brachiosauridae. Moreover, the presence of the relatively derived lithostrotian Tapuiasaurus in Aptian deposits indicates that the new Patagonian genus represents a ‘ghost lineage’ with a comparatively plesiomorphic craniodental form, the evolutionary history of which is missing for at least 13 million years of the Cretaceous. The skull anatomy of Sarmientosaurus suggests that multiple titanosaurian species with dissimilar cranial structures coexisted in the early Late Cretaceous of southern South America. Furthermore, the new taxon possesses a number of distinctive morphologies—such as the ossified cervical tendon, extremely pneumatized cervical vertebrae, and a habitually downward-facing snout—that have rarely, if ever, been documented in other titanosaurs, thus broadening our understanding of the anatomical diversity of this remarkable sauropod clade. The latter two features were convergently acquired by at least one penecontemporaneous diplodocoid, and may represent mutual specializations for consuming low-growing vegetation.

    Systematic Paleontology

    Saurischia Seeley 1887 
    Sauropodomorpha Huene 1932 

    Sauropoda Marsh 1878 
    Titanosauriformes Salgado, Coria, and Calvo 1997 

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

    Sarmientosaurus gen. nov.

    Sarmientosaurus musacchioi sp. nov.

    Sarmientosaurus head posture, brain & eye: Digital renderings of the skull and reconstructed brain endocast and eye of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi.
    At left is the skull rendered semi-transparent in left side view, showing the relative size and position of the brain endocast (in blue, pink, yellow, and red) and the inferred habitual head posture. At center is the isolated brain endocast in left side view, and at right is a left/front view of the skull showing the reconstructed eyeball and its associated musculature. Scale bar equals five centimeters.
    Credit: WitmerLab, Ohio University.  

    Holotype. MDT-PV 2, an originally articulated cranial and cervical skeleton consisting of the nearly complete skull, the partial axis associated with its rib from the right side and articulated with the cranial part of the third cervical vertebra, a fragment of the fifth cervical vertebra, the nearly complete sixth cervical vertebra and its right rib, the partial seventh cervical vertebra, and a section of ossified cervical tendon.

    Diagnosis.  Basal lithostrotian titanosaurian sauropod diagnosed by the following autapomorphies: (1) maximum (rostroventral—caudodorsal) diameter of orbit nearly 40% rostrocaudal length of cranium (as measured from tip of snout to occipital condyle); (2) complex maxilla—lacrimal articulation, with ascending ramus of maxilla embedded in and bordered laterally and medially by lacrimal dorsal process; (3) medial edge of caudal sector of maxillary ascending ramus bordering bony nasal aperture with low but well-defined ridge; (4) ‘tongue-like’ ventral process of quadratojugal that overlaps quadrate caudally; (5) separate foramina for all three branches of the trigeminal nerve; (6) absence of median venous canal connecting infundibular region to ventral part of brainstem; (7) premaxillary teeth subvertical, maxillary teeth procumbent, and dentary teeth recumbent; (8) middle cervical vertebrae with ‘strut-like’ (as opposed to ‘sheet-like’) centroprezygapophyseal laminae; (9) extremely elongate and slender ossified tendon extending along cervical series ventrolateral to vertebrae and ribs.

    Etymology. Sarmiento, for the Patagonian town and the administrative department in which it is located, the latter of which has yielded numerous Cretaceous dinosaur fossils; saurus, Greek, ‘lizard.’ The specific name honors the late Dr. Eduardo Musacchio, a model scientist and educator at the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina.

    Locality and horizon. Estancia Laguna Palacios (44°54'11.6'' S, 69°22'56.7'' W), Sierra Nevada Anticline, Golfo San Jorge Basin, south-central Chubut Province, central Patagonia, Argentina (Fig 1). Uppermost section of the Lower Member of the Upper Cretaceous Bajo Barreal Formation, Chubut Group. The specimen was found in situ in a tuffaceous sandstone that is regarded as Cenomanian—Turonian in age.

    Fig 33. Comparison of titanosauriform sauropod dinosaur skulls in right lateral view.
    (A) Giraffatitan brancai (redrawn and modified from Wilson and Sereno [103]). (B) Abydosaurus mcintoshi (redrawn and modified from Chure et al. [98]). (C) Sarmientosaurus musacchioi gen. et sp. nov. (D) Nemegtosaurus mongoliensis (redrawn and modified from Wilson [11]). (E) Rapetosaurus krausei (redrawn from Curry Rogers and Forster [13]). (F) Tapuiasaurus macedoi (redrawn from Zaher et al. [14]). Not to scale.

    Sarmientosaurus musacchioi is the first titanosaurian sauropod from southern South America for which an articulated, virtually complete adult skull has been discovered. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that the new taxon is an archaic member of the titanosaurian subclade Lithostrotia, occupying a position more derived than Malawisaurus but more basal than taxa frequently regarded as nemegtosaurids (Nemegtosaurus, Rapetosaurus, and Tapuiasaurus) and saltasaurid titanosaurs such as Alamosaurus, Neuquensaurus, and Saltasaurus. As such, Sarmientosaurus is the most basal known titanosaur to be represented by a well-preserved skull. The new taxon exhibits a previously-undocumented cranial form that consists of an amalgam of plesiomorphic titanosauriform features such as a comparatively broad snout with a large narial fossa and a deep mandibular adductor chamber with more derived morphologies such as an elongate rostral process of the prefrontal (Figs 33 and 34). These characters offer novel cranial support for the phylogenetic hypothesis that titanosaurians are closely related to Brachiosauridae and other titanosauriforms—a hypothesis that, although now well-established, had previously been based primarily on evidence from the postcranial skeleton. Furthermore, the occurrence of the more derived lithostrotian Tapuiasaurus in the Aptian of Brazil raises the possibility that the new Patagonian taxon represents a titanosaurian ‘ghost lineage,’ the evolutionary history of which remains undocumented for almost all of the mid-Cretaceous.

    Rubén D. F. Martínez , Matthew C. Lamanna, Fernando E. Novas, Ryan C. Ridgely, Gabriel A. Casal, Javier E. Martínez, Javier R. Vita and Lawrence M. Witmer. 2016. A Basal Lithostrotian Titanosaur (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) with a Complete Skull: Implications for the Evolution and Paleobiology of Titanosauria.  PLoS ONE. 11(4): e0151661. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151661

    Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus via @physorg_com
    Intact skull sheds light on Sarmientosaurus | The London Free Press

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    Pygmy Bushtit Psaltria exilis 

    James Eaton / Birdtour Asia |    DOI:  10.1111/ibi.12377

    The Pygmy Bushtit is confined to the montane forests of Java. It is the world's smallest passerine and morphologically resembles a small, drab long-tailed tit or bushtit (Aegithalidae). In its behaviour the Pygmy Bushtit show similarities with the members of the Aegithalidae, but owing to its small size and isolated geographical distribution relative to the other members of the Aegithalidae, it has always been placed in a monotypic genus within the family. The affinities of the Pygmy Bushtit have never been tested in a phylogenetic context and the species has to date not been included in any molecular studies. In this study we use sequence data from four different genetic markers to place it in the passerine phylogenetic tree. Our results confirm the inclusion of the Pygmy Bushtit in the Aegithalidae, but rather than being an isolated lineage, our results strongly suggest that it is nested in the Aegithalos clade, and most closely related to the Black-throated Bushtit A. concinnus. The range of the Black-throated Bushtit extends south into subtropical Indochina, with an isolated subspecies occurring in southern Vietnam. The Black-throated Bushtit contains several morphologically and genetically distinct lineages, which could represent distinct species, but the phylogenetic relationships within this complex are poorly resolved and partly in conflict with current taxonomic treatment based on morphology.

    Keywords: Aves; Passeriformes; Aegithalidae; Phylogeny; Biogeography

    Ulf S. Johansson, Per G.P. Ericson, Jon Fjeldså and Martin Irestedt. 2016. The Phylogenetic Position of the World's Smallest Passerine, the Pygmy Bushtit Psaltria exilis. Ibis. DOI:  10.1111/ibi.12377

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    Miliusa malnadense

    Within Magnoliales, Annonaceae is the most species-rich family (Chatrou et al. 2012). Miliusa Leschenault ex De Candolle (1832: 213) is placed in tribe Miliusae, subfamily Malmeoideae, according to the recent infrafamilial classification (Chatrou et al. 2012). Chaowasku et al. (2014) provided insights into the evolutionary relationships of tribe Miliusae, and Chaowasku & Keßler (2013) reconstructed the phylogeny of Miliusa with four well-supported clades. Miliusa is distributed across the Austro-Malesian region with most species exhibiting a restricted distribution to certain areas (Mols & Kessler 2003). Species known from India exhibit a high degree of endemism (Kundu 2006).


    FIGURE 2. Miliusa malnadense.
    . Twig showing new foliage and bud. B. Leaf. C. Monocarps. D. Lateral section of mature flower. E. Mature flower.
    Photographs by Navendu Page.

    Miliusa malnadensePage & Nerlekar, sp. nov., 
    This species can be distinguished by the presence of pubescent young branches, coppery red young leaves, inner petals glabrous outside, apices and margins densely puberulous inside and purple coloured, carpels elongated, curved and pubescent throughout its length, ovoid-oblong stigma and globose monocarps 

    Etymology:— The specific epithet ‘‘malnadense’’ refers to the Kartanaka part of the Western Ghats from Shimoga to Kodagu which is the currently known distribution range of this species.

    Distribution and associated species :— Miliusa malnadense is so far known only from the Kudremukh national park in the Western Ghats mountain range which is one of the global biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000). Miliusa malnadenseis  probably  restricted  to  forests  at  elevations  above  1000  m  in  the  Shola-Grassland  ecosystem  that  harbor  significant proportion of endemic taxa (Robin & Nandini 2012). Associated species observed in the type locality were species of the genus Ochlandra Thwaites, Lasianthus Jack, Cinnamomum Schaeffer, Myristica dactyloides Gaertner, Euonymus indicus B.Heyne ex Wall. and Schefflera micrantha (C.B.Clarke) Gamble.

    Conservation status:— Data Deficient.

     Navendu Page and Ashish Nerlekar. 2016. A New Species of Miliusa (Annonaceae) from the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Phytotaxa. 245(1):79-83 .  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.245.1.10

    New species of evergreen tree for India  

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    Gehyra kimberleyi 
    Börner & Schüttler, 1983  


    Ongoing fieldwork and molecular research continues to reveal that the monsoonal tropics of northern Australia contain more vertebrate species than currently recognised. Here we focus on two morphologically distinctive, yet unrecognised forms in the genus Gehyra from the southern Kimberley region and surrounding deserts. We base our descriptions on a combination of unpublished genetic data and a morphological examination of voucher specimens. We recognise and redescribe G. kimberleyi, a species with a broad distribution extending over most of the south-west Kimberley, across the Great Sandy Desert and into the far northern Pilbara. This species has been previously assigned to G. pilbara owing to its frequent occurrence on termite mounds and short snout, but can be distinguished from G. pilbara and other regionally sympatric Gehyra by its moderate body size, moderate number of pre-cloacal pores in males (12–17) and aspects of dorsal colouration. We also describe Gehyra girloorloo sp. nov., a small rock-dwelling species with a short snout, low number of pre-cloacal pores in males (8–11) and pinkish-grey dorsal colouration with alternating series of indistinct pale spots and irregular transversely-aligned dark blotches. The new species appears to be restricted to a relatively small region of exposed limestone karst in the south-west Kimberley and is entirely circumscribed by morphologically similar congeners.

    Keywords: Australian Monsoonal Tropics, biodiversity, endemism, gecko, limestone, lizard, short range endemic, Reptilia

    Paul M. Oliver, Gayleen Bourke, Renae C. Pratt, Paul Doughty and Craig Moritz. 2016. Systematics of Small Gehyra (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia: Redescription of G. kimberleyi Börner & Schüttler, 1983 and Description of A New Restricted Range Species. Zootaxa. 4107(1); DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.1.2

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    Rhapis kebangensis Henderson sp. nov.
    Phong Nga-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh, VIETNAM

    A revision of the Asian palm genus Rhapis is given based on study of 167 herbarium specimens of wild origin from A, AAU, BH, BK, BKF, GH, HN, HNU, HPNP, IBSC, K, KUN, L, MO, NY, P, SYS, US and application of the Phylogenetic Species Concept to a database comprising 13 qualitative and 16 quantitative variables. Eleven species are recognized, including two new ones. Two species are divided into subspecies.

    Keywords: dioecy, Palmae, Vietnam, China

    Rhapis is the name given to small, clustering, fan-leaved, dioecious palms that can form large colonies by rhizomes in the understory of tropical and subtropical Asian forests, often on limestone soils. The species are distributed from southern China through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, with an outlying population in western Sumatra. The first revision of the genus was that of Beccari (1931), where five species were recognized. Bailey (1939) recognized nine species, and in the most recent revision, Hastings (2003) recognized eight species. 


    Rhapis Linnaeus f. in Aiton (1789)

    1.Rhapis evansiiHenderson sp. nov.
    Type:— LAOS. Vientiane: Vangvieng district, Ban Nathong, Tham Poukham, 250–350 m,
    1 August 1999, T. Evans 56 (holotype K!, barcode K000462531). (Fig. 1)

    2.Rhapis excelsa (Thunberg) Henry in Rehder (1930: 153).
    Chamaerops excelsa Thunberg (1784: 130).
    Trachycarpus excelsus (Thunberg) Wendland in Gay (1861: 429).
    Lectotype (designated by Hastings 2003):— JAPAN. No locality, no date, C. Thunberg sheet number 24386 (lectotype UPS n.v., UPS image!)

    3.Rhapis gracilis Burret (1930: 883).
    Lectotype (here designated):— CHINA. Prov. Kwangtung: Win Foo, 180 m, 3 October 1928, S. Sin 5338 (lectotype IBSC!) (the holotype at B was destroyed)

    4.Rhapis humilis Blume (1836: 54).
    Lectotype (designated here):— JAPAN. No locality, no date, C. Thunberg sheet number 24385 (lectotype UPS n.v., UPS image!)

    5.Rhapis kebangensis Henderson sp. nov.
    Type:—VIETNAM. Quang Binh: Ba Trach district, Phong Nga-Ke Bang National Park.
    20 October 2015, A. Henderson & Nguyen Quoc Dung 4048 (holotype FIPI!, isotype NY!). (Fig. 3)

    6. Rhapis laosensis Beccari (1910: 225).
    Lectotype (designated by Hastings 2003):—LAOS. Saraburi, no date, C. Thorel 3154 (lectotype P!, isolectotype FI!)

    6a.Rhapis laosensis subsp. laosensis 
    6b.Rhapis laosensis subsp. macrantha (Gagnepain) Henderson comb. & stat. nov.
     Basionym: Rhapis macrantha Gagnepain (1937: 160). 
    Type:—VIETNAM. Nord-Annam, Province de Nghe-An (Vinh), Réserve forestière de Co Ba (Ke-Nhe), 15 May 1914, F. Fleury 32535 (holotype P!)

    7. Rhapis micrantha Beccari (1910: 220). 
    Lectotype (designated by Hastings 2003):—VIETNAM. Dong Ban mountains, Kien Khe 19 April 1884, H.-F. Bon 2345 (lectotype P!, isolectotype FI!)

    8. Rhapis puhuongensis Trudgen, Tran Thi Phuong Anh & Henderson (2008: 182). 
    Type:—VIETNAM. Nghe An: Quy Hop district, Pu Huong Nature Reserve, behind Reserve office, 300 m, 19°20’N, 105°10’E, 18 March 2007, X. P. Vu, V. D. Nguyen, H. Q. Bui, C. T. Nguyen R. de Kok, T. Utteridge, A. Moore, M. Briggs, M. Trudgen, V. C. Nguyen & D. D. Tran HNK 1748 (holotype HN n.v., isotypes AAU!, K!, NY!, P!)

    9. Rhapis robusta Burret (1937: 587).
    Lectotype (here designated):— CHINA. Kwangsi: Lungchow, 7 July 1935, S. Ko 55429 (lectotype IBSC!)(the holotype at B was destroyed)

    10.Rhapis subtilis Beccari (1910: 227). 
    Type:— LAOS. Lakon, 1866–1868, C. Thorel 3099 (holotype P!, isotype FI!)
    10a. Rhapis subtilis subsp. subtilis 
    10b.Rhapis subtilis subsp. siamensis Henderson comb. & stat. nov. 
    Basionym: Rhapis siamensis Hodel (1997: 19). 
    Type:—THAILAND. Phatthalung: 13 km N of Phatthalung and 5 km E of main road along side road to coast, 25 April 1997, D. Hodel & P. Vatcharakorn 1652 (holotype BK n.v., isotypes BH!, MO!)

     11. Rhapis vidalii Averyanov, Nguyen Tien Hiep & Phan Ke Loc (2006: 12). 
    Type:—VIETNAM. Hoa Binh: Mai Chau district, Van Mai municipality, highway 7, 15 km post, between 20°35’N, 105°02’E and 20°34’N, 105°02’E, 300–350 m, 12 December 2002, D. Harder, N. T. Hiep, L. Averyanov, DKH 8123 (holotype HN n.v., isotype LE n.v.)

    Andrew HENDERSON. 2016. A Revision of Rhapis (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa. 258(2): 137–152. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.258.2.3

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    A Sapayoa Sapayoa aenigma emerges from its nest in the Panamanian rainforest.  

    photos: J.M. Hite

    The Sapayoa (Sapayoa aenigma), a low-density resident of Chocó rainforests from Panama to Ecuador, has long perplexed ornithologists. It was originally described as a manakin (Pipridae), but molecular work has revealed its closest living relatives to be Old World suboscines (Eurylaimides) and supported its placement in the monotypic family of Sapayoidae. Despite such phylogenetic intrigue, little is known about the Sapayoa's general life history or reproductive biology; only one nest has been described. We present information on 2 actively attended and 13 inactive Sapayoa nests in Darién National Park, Panama. We provide the first detailed description of individual effort at an active nest, family group dynamics during the nesting period, the plumage of immature birds, and the range of vocalizations produced. We also present the first documentation of cooperative breeding and compile several recent nesting observations, extending the published Sapayoa breeding period by several months. Furthermore, we describe unusual behaviors among provisioning birds, including mounting between individuals of the same sex and mounting of a female by immature male helpers during chick provisioning. The receiving individual gave a conspicuous solicitation display before each mounting. Finally, we highlight elements of the Sapayoa's natural history that echo its Old World relatives and contrast with members of the New World Tyranni. For example, the Sapayoa resembles the eurylaimid broadbills—and differs starkly from the manakins—in diet, nest structure, breeding system, and mode of parental care.

    Keywords: cooperative breeding, helpers, mounting, Old World suboscines, Sapayoa aenigma, Sapayoidae

    Sapayoa aenigma, Nusagandi, Panama 
    photo: Jan Axel 

    Sarah A. Dzielski, Benjamin M. Van Doren, Jack P. Hruska, and Justin M. Hite. 2016. Reproductive Biology of the Sapayoa (Sapayoa aenigma), the “Old World suboscine” of the New World [Biología reproductiva de Sapayoa aenigma, el “suboscín del Viejo Mundo” que habita el Nuevo Mundo]. The Auk. 133(3); 347-363. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-16-5.1

    Field Study Helps Confirm The Sapayoa Is Like No Other Bird In The New World
    An Old World bird in a New World rainforest via @physorg_com

    The Sapayoa, a rainforest bird from Central and South America, is an evolutionary enigma—genetic analysis shows that its closest relatives are bird species living across the ocean in Asia and Africa. Now, new research in The Auk: Ornithological Advances demonstrates for the first time that its natural history links it to its evolutionary relatives thousands of miles away.

    How the Sapayoa ended up so far from other members of its lineage remains a mystery, and little is known about its reproductive biology or social behavior. However, new field work in Panama by Sarah Dzielski and Benjamin Van Doren of Cornell University and their colleagues reveals that Sapayoas consistently build nests that hang over the water along ravine-bottom streams. One of the active nests they observed was attended by a family group comprised of an adult male and female and two immature males, all four of which brought food to the two chicks. The researchers were surprised by the social behavior they observed, which included mounting between individuals of the same sex, possibly to establish dominance and maintain social cohesion.
    These are the first extended observations of Sapayoa breeding behavior, and they provide hints at how this unusual bird is connected with its roots. Many of the Sapayoa's Old World relatives are cooperative breeders, getting help from family groups, and the pear-shaped hanging nest also is consistent with Old World "suboscines," the group of birds to which Sapayoas belong.
    Dzielski, Van Doren, and their colleagues Jack Hruska and Justin Hite searched for Sapayoa nests as part of an expedition to Panama's Darién National Park in summer 2014, observing the family group at their focal nest for more than 70 hours over ten days. "Nest searching was always an adventure," says Dzielski. "We found countless abandoned nests, and while checking inside for eggs or evidence that the nest was active, we found all sorts of surprises. In a few instances, a large grasshopper the size of a mouse hopped out from under the flap and scared the daylights out of us!"
    "The Sapayoa is so different from other passerine birds that it is currently placed in its own family, Sapayoidae, but relatively little is known about its natural history," adds Van Doren. "This gap in scientific knowledge was the reason we traveled to eastern Panama to learn about this enigmatic species. We hoped that more information about the Sapayoa's natural history would cast its surprising evolutionary relationships in a new and clearer light."
    "The Sapayoa has long been a mystery bird. When my colleagues and I identified it as the only Old World suboscine in the New World in 2003, it only became more mysterious," says Jon Fjeldså of the University of Copenhagen, who led the research team that first identified the Sapayoa's unusual origins. "How did it arrive in South America? Why does it resemble a manakin? And does it still behave like an Old World suboscine? I am excited to learn that it indeed does!"

    Sapayoa aenigma, un ave residente en bajas densidades en los bosques húmedos del Chocó desde Panamá hasta Ecuador, ha confundido a los ornitólogos por bastante tiempo. Aunque la especie originalmente fue descrita como un saltarín (Pipridae), estudios moleculares recientes revelaron que sus parientes más cercanos son los suboscinos del viejo mundo (Eurylaimides) y sustentan su ubicación en la familia monotípica Sapayoidae. A pesar de esta intriga filogenética se sabe muy poco sobre la historia de vida o la biología reproductiva de Sapayoa; sólo se ha descrito un nido. En este trabajo presentamos información de 2 nidos activos y 13 nidos inactivos de Sapayoa encontrados en el Parque Nacional Darién, Panamá. Presentamos la primera descripción detallada del esfuerzo individual en un nido activo, la dinámica del grupo familiar durante el periodo de anidación, el plumaje de las aves inmaduras y el repertorio de vocalizaciones. También presentamos la primera evidencia de cría cooperativa y recopilamos varias observaciones recientes de anidación que extienden el periodo reproductivo conocido de Sapayoa en varios meses. Además describimos comportamientos inusuales entre las aves que proveen alimento a sus crías, incluyendo la monta entre individuos del mismo sexo y entre un individuo joven y una hembra adulta durante la alimentación de los polluelos. El individuo que recibía la monta ejecutaba antes un despliegue para solicitarla. Finalmente, resaltamos elementos de la historia natural de Sapayoa que se asemejan a las de sus parientes del Viejo Mundo y contrastan con las de miembros de Tyranni en el Nuevo Mundo. Por ejemplo, Sapayoa se asemeja a los Eurylaimidae (y difiere drásticamente de los Pipridae) en dieta, estructura de los nidos, sistema reproductivo y modo de cuidado parental.

    Palabras clave: ayudantes del nido, cría cooperativa, monta, Sapayoa aenigma, Sapayoidae, suboscines del viejo mundo

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    Orientothele alyratus  
    Mirza, Sanap & Kunte, 2016

    A new diplurid genus and species is described from northeast India based on a single female specimen from Jampui hills. Orientothele gen. nov. is placed in the subfamily Diplurinae based on the presence of one row of teeth on the chelicerae. The new genus and species can be diagnosed from most diplurid genera in lacking lyra on the prolateral face of maxilla, paired claw with one row of teeth, maxilla with numerous cuspules, scopulae absent on all legs, and spermathecae consisting of two elongate stalks with bulbous receptacles at their tips which are bent inwards. Ischnothele indicola Tikader, 1969 is here treated as incertae sedis with regards to its generic placement in light of the discovery of Orientothele gen. nov.

    Keywords: mygalomorphae; new genus; northeast India; Orientothele gen. nov.; Orientothele alyratus sp. nov.

    Taxonomic accounts

    Family Dipluridae Simon, 1889
    Subfamily Diplurinae Simon, 1889
    Orientothele gen. nov.

    Type species: Orientothele alyratus gen. et. sp. nov.

    Diagnosis.Orientothele gen. nov. is here placed in the subfamily Diplurinae based on the presence of one row of teeth on the chelicerae. The new genus and species can be diagnosed from most diplurid genera in lacking lyra on the prolateral face of the maxilla, paired claw with one row of teeth, maxilla with numerous cuspules, scopulae absent on all legs, and spermathecae consists of two elongate stalks with bulbous receptacles at their tips which are bent inwards. Male unknown.

    Description. A medium sized spider in relation to members of this family reaching a total length of 17.2 mm excluding chelicerae length. All legs bearing three claws, superior tarsal claws with a single row of sigmoid dentition and inferior tarsal claw with three dentitions. Scopulae absent. Two pairs of spinnerets and the posterior lateral spinneret long and widely spaced. Apical segment of posterior lateral spinnerets entire, no pseudosegmentation seen. Metatarsi of all legs with distal preening combs. Chelicerae with 13 promarginal teeth in a row of teeth and with 28 basosomal teeth. Maxillary and labial cuspules present. Labio-sternal collar well developed. Sternum cordate and the posterior edge nearly separating coxa IV. Carapace smooth, glabrous, with soft golden setae. Caput low. Fovea transverse, short. Spermathecae consists of two elongate stalks with bulbous receptacles at their tips which are bent inwards. Spigots on posterior lateral spinnerets fused and flagelliform. Base of spigot smooth with undulating grooved surface. Filiform trichobothria 13–20 present in a row on tarsi of all legs and palp. Spines present on all legs including tarsi of all legs.

    Distribution. Presently known from borders of Tripura and Mizoram in northeast India

    Comparisons. The new genus cannot be placed in the known subfamilies following diagnosis provided by Raven (1985). However, with an amended diagnosis by Drolshagen and Bäckstam (2009) the new genus may be placed in the subfamily Diplurinae in bearing the synapomorphy of a single row of teeth on chelicerae. Within Diplurinae the Orientothele gen. nov. differs from Metriura in bearing a single row of teeth on superior tarsal claws (vs. 2 in Metriura), from Diplura, Trechona, and Harmonicon in lacking prolateral maxillary lyra (vs. absent in Diplura, Trechona, and Harmonicon).

    Etymology. The proposed generic name is a compound work formed by the word ‘Oriento’ = Oriental referring to the location of the type locality and the later word is a term assigned to members of the family Dipluridae. The sex of the proposed name is masculine.

    Orientothele alyratus sp. nov.

    Type. Holotype:♀, NCBS AR142 collected from Belianchip, Jampui Hills in North Tripura district, Tripura, India (23.968854°, 92.277980°; elevation 644 m). Collected by Rajesh Sanap and Zeeshan Mirza on November 30, 2014.

    Diagnosis. As for the genus

    Description of holotype female NCBS AR142 ( Figure 1). Holotype in general good condition with an exposed ventral cavity from a dissection to retrieve spermathecae. The abdomen is laterally compressed likely an artifact of preservation. The posterior lateral spinnerets lack the apical segment which has been removed for scanning electron imaging.

    Etymology. The specific epithet is a Latinized compound word for “alyrate” with a Latin suffix ‘us’ referring to the absence of lyra on the prolateral face of maxilla.

    Zeeshan A. Mirza, Rajesh V. Sanap and Krushnamegh Kunte. 2016. A New Genus and New Species of Diplurid Spider (Araneae: Mygalomorphae: Dipluridae) from northeast India. Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity.  DOI:  10.1016/j.japb.2016.03.013

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    Dendropsophus mapinguari
    Peloso, Orrico, Haddad, Lima-Filho & Sturaro, 2016

    We describe a new species of Dendropsophus (Anura: Hylidae: Hylinae: Dendropsophini) from the Amazon river (= Rio Amazonas) basin, state of Amazonas, northern Brazil. The new taxon is included in the D. leucophyllatus group based on its phylogenetic position and on the presence of a pair of pectoral glands (a likely synapomorphy of the group). The species is distinguished from other species in the group by its color pattern and the morphology of hand and feet tubercles. In order to assess the phylogenetic relationships of the new taxon, we compiled a dataset including mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data for all but one species in the D. leucophyllatus group, plus a series of hylid outgroups. A tree-alignment (direct optimization) parsimony analysis firmly support the new species as the sister taxon of D. sarayacuensis. The monophyly of the D. leucophyllatus species group is not recovered in our analysis and the issue is discussed further.

    Keywords: Amazon, Amphibia, Biodiversity, Hylinae, Phylogeny, Systematics, Taxonomy 

    The newfound frog gets its name from a legendary rain forest beast called the mapinguari.

    Pedro L.V. Peloso, Victor G.D. Orrico, Célio F.B. Haddad, Geraldo R. Lima-Filho and Marcelo J. Sturaro. 2016. A New Species of Clown Tree Frog, Dendropsophus leucophyllatus Species Group, from Amazonia (Anura, Hylidae). South American Journal of Herpetology. 11(1); 66-80.  DOI: 10.2994/SAJH-D-16-00003.1

    New Amazon Frog Named After Mythical Monster via @NatGeo

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    Hemiphyllodactylus cicak 
    Cobos, Grismer, Wood, Quah, Anuar & Muin, 2016


    An integrative taxonomic analysis based on the mitochondrial gene ND2 and its flanking tRNAs, morphology, and color pattern indicates that a newly discovered gecko described herein as Hemiphyllodactylus cicak sp. nov. from Penang Hill on the Island of Penang, Peninsular Malaysia is a member of the H. harterti group. Hemiphyllodactylus cicak sp. nov. is most closely related to the clade composed of the sister species H. harterti from Bukit Larut, Perak in the Bintang Mountain Range and H. bintik from Gunung Tebu, Terengganu from the Timur Mountain Range. These three allopatric species form a monophyletic group that extends approximately 270 km across three isolated mountain ranges in northern Peninsular Malaysia. The molecular analysis also indicates that H. titiwangsaensis from the Titiwangsa Mountain Range is composed of three genetically distinct allopatric populations. The southern two populations from Fraser’s Hill and Genting Highlands, Pahang have an uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence of 3.5% whereas these two populations have 12.4 and 12.8 % sequence divergences, respectively, from the northern population at Cameron Highlands, Pahang. Although the high sequence divergence clearly distinguishes the southern two populations from the former as a different species, all three populations are morphologically indistinguishable, leading to the hypothesis of a true, cryptic speciation event.

    Keywords: Hemiphyllodactylus, Malaysia, Penang, phylogeny, new species, cryptic speciation, Reptilia

    Anthony Cobos, L Lee Grismer, Perry L Wood, Jr., Evan S H Quah, Shahrul Anuar and Mohd. Abdul Muin. 2016. Phylogenetic Relationships of Geckos of the Hemiphyllodactylus harterti Group, A New Species from Penang Island, Peninsular Malaysia, and A Likely Case of True Cryptic Speciation. Zootaxa.  4107(3); DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.3.5

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    FIGURE 34. Original illustrations of Potamotrygon orbignyi (left side) and Potamotrygon dumerilii (right side, indicated by an arrow), modified from Castelnau (1855, plates 48 and 49).


    The Neotropical freshwater stingray Potamotrygon orbignyi (Castelnau, 1855), and other similar "reticulated" species occurring in northern South American basins, were submitted to a thorough taxonomic analysis based on an extensive external and internal morphological study. The identity of Porbignyi and the taxonomic status of the related nominal species Potamotrygon dumerilii (Castelnau, 1855), Potamotrygon reticulata (Günther, 1880), and Potamotrygon humerosa Garman, 1913, are defined. Taxonomic and morphological analyses revealed that P. reticulata and P. dumerilii fall within the range of variation found in Porbignyi and were consequently treated as junior synonyms, corroborating previous works. The extensive variation in coloration observed in P. orbignyi could not be divided into consistent morphotypes; P. orbignyi is therefore a widespread species in the upper, mid and lower Amazonas basin, the Orinoco drainage, and in rivers of Suriname and the Guianas. Additionally, P. humerosa and Potamotrygon marinae Deynat, 2007 were found to present characters that support their validity, and are redescribed based on newly collected material. Potamotrygon humerosa occurs predominantly in the mid and lower Amazonas River and in lower reaches of many of its affluents, whereas P. marinae is known only from French Guiana and Suriname. Characters that proved valuable as diagnostic indicators, either in combination or as derived features, are primarily from coloration, dermal denticles and spines (morphology, development and distribution), meristic features (e.g. numbers of tooth rows, vertebrae and mesopterygial radials), morphometric proportions (e.g. snout length, tail width at base and length), and size at sexual maturity.

    Keywords: Pisces, Taxonomy, Neotropical freshwater stingrays, anatomy, Potamotrygon humerosaPotamotrygon marinae

    Silva, João P. C. B. D. and Marcelo R. de Carvalho. 2015. Systematics and Morphology of Potamotrygon orbignyi (Castelnau, 1855) and allied forms (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes: Potamotrygonidae). Zootaxa. 3982(1): 1–82. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3982.1.1

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    Potamotrygon wallacei 
    Carvalho, Rosa & Araújo, 2016 DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.4.5


    A new species of Potamotrygon is described from the Rio Negro drainage, Amazonas, Brazil. In spite of being cited or pictured several times in the scientific and aquarium fish literature since the 19th Century, it had been misidentified and still lacked a scientific name.Potamotrygon wallacei, n. sp., is diagnosed by the following characters: dorsal surface of disc light brown, with black irregularly-shaped vermiculate markings forming an amphora- or Ω-shaped figure on mid-disc, delimiting light brown reniform areas at disc center, and with subcircular light brown ocellate markings on disc margins; small body size (smallest known Potamotrygon species; largest examined specimen measured 310 mm DW); dorsal spines on tail usually rather low, without broad bases, in one to rarely three irregular rows, but extending posteriorly only to tail mid-length and not to caudal stings, with altogether relatively few spines; denticles on posterior mid-disc and tail base Y-shaped, with a central, anterior, bulbous cusp and usually two posterior pairs of smaller, rounded cusps; and single (anterior) angular cartilage. The new species is similar to P. orbignyi and other "reticulated" species in having a single (anterior) angular cartilage and in the color pattern of the tail, but is easily distinguished based on its size, dorsal tail spine arrangement, and specific details of color pattern.

    Keywords: Potamotrygon wallacei n. sp., Myliobatiformes, morphology, systematics, taxonomy, Pisces

    Marcelo R. de Carvalho, Ricardo S. Rosa and Maria Lúcia G. de Araújo. 2016. A New Species of Neotropical Freshwater Stingray (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae) from the Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brazil: the Smallest Species of PotamotrygonZootaxa. 4107(4);  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.4.5

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    Sueviota bryozophila 
     Allen, Erdmann & Cahyani, 2016 

    A new species of gobiid fish, Sueviota bryozophila, is described from Indonesia, at Ambon, Molucca Islands and Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, on the basis of six specimens, 9.9–13.2 mm SL. The new species differs from the other four members of the Indo-Pacific genus by having reduced sensory pores on the dorsal surface of the head, with only paired pores at the mid-interorbital, and by having four pelvic-fin rays unbranched and a single branching of the fifth ray. Moreover, the new species is unique among both Sueviota and Eviota in having a complete membrane linking the two pelvic fins to form a disk. Other diagnostic features include 8–9 dorsal-fin soft rays, 7–8 anal-fin soft rays, 16 pectoral-fin rays, no pelvic frenum, and enlarged nostrils. The head and body is generally whitish to pale pink with scattered red spots. Unlike other members of the genus, there are no internal dark bars. The new species is only found associated with small pale bryozoan colonies, in which they are well camouflaged.

    Key words: taxonomy, ichthyology, systematics, coral-reef fishes, Eviota, Indo-Pacific Ocean.

    Gerald R. Allen, Mark V. Erdmann and N. K. Dita Cahyani. 2016. Sueviota bryozophila, A New Species of Coral-Reef Goby from Indonesia (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 20, 76–82.

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