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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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     Anatolian Crested Newt |  Triturus anatolicus 
    Wielstra& Arntzen, 2016 


    Multilocus molecular data play a pivotal role in diagnosing cryptic species (i.e. genetically distinct but morphologically similar species). A multilocus phylogeographic survey has provided compelling evidence that Triturus ivanbureschi sensu lato comprises two distinct gene pools with restricted gene flow. We conclude that this taxon had better be treated as two distinct (albeit morphologically cryptic) species. The name T. ivanbureschi should be restricted to the western species, which is distributed in western Asiatic Turkey plus the south-eastern Balkan Peninsula. No name is as yet available for the eastern species, which is distributed in northern Asiatic Turkey. We propose the name Triturus anatolicus sp. nov. for the eastern species and provide a formal species description.

    Keywords: gene flow, introgression, phylogeny, Triturus anatolicus sp. nov., Triturus karelinii, Amphibia

    Distribution. The distribution encompasses Asiatic Turkey south of the Black Sea, reaching up to c. 200 kilometers inland (usually less), but not into inner Anatolia. To the west the new species reaches the Bosphorus at the northern side of the Marmara Sea. On the southern side of the Marmara Sea it meets T. ivanbureschi sensu stricto, east of Lake Ulubat and west of the city of Bursa. The two species form a hybrid zone here (Wielstra et al., submitted). To the east the new species reaches the town of Yomra, just east of the city of Trabzon. The nearest known Triturus localities further east are from the extreme NE of Turkey, over 150 km away, and probably concern T. karelinii sensu stricto (Wielstra et al., 2013a). An outline of the distribution of the new species is provided in Fig. 1. A database of distribution records is provided in Wielstra et al. (2014b).

    Etymology. The specific epithet reflects the distribution of the new Triturus species. Triturus anatolicus sp. nov. is endemic to Anatolia. It is the only Triturus species to which this applies. It should be noted that the range of T. ivanbureschi sensu stricto covers western Anatolia (Wielstra et al., 2013a; Wielstra et al., submitted) and the range of T. karelinii sensu stricto probably protrudes into northeastern Anatolia (Wielstra et al., 2010).

    Proposed vernacular name. We propose to use the vernacular name Anatolian Crested Newt for T. anatolicus sp. nov. This name highlights its status as an Anatolian endemic. We suggest to use the vernacular name Balkan Crested Newt for T. ivanbureschi sensu stricto (rather than Balkan-Anatolian Crested Newt previously applied to T. ivanbureschi sensu lato). Although T. ivanbureschi sensu stricto also partially occurs in Anatolia, the main part of its range is in the Balkan Peninsula.

    We have taken a cautious approach in revising the taxonomy of T. karelinii sensu lato. We first split the group into T. karelinii sensu stricto and T. ivanbureschi sensu lato and preferred to await a detailed analysis of the putative hybrid zone between the two candidate species within T. ivanbureschi sensu lato before considering whether further taxonomic change was warranted (Wielstra et al., 2013b). By applying a next-generation sequencing protocol for Triturus (Wielstra et al., 2014a) to a detailed sampling in and around the putative hybrid zone (Wielstra et al., submitted) we could confirm the existence of an as yet undescribed cryptic species in T. ivanbureschi sensu lato. This gave us the confidence to describe T. anatolicus sp. nov. in the present paper. Our studies on Triturus illustrate how ‘shallow genomics’ (Zilversmit et al., 2002), in which a comprehensive but tractable portion of the total genome is employed to approximate evolutionary history, can be a driving force in taxonomy. As yet no diagnostic morphological characters are known to distinguish the three species comprising T. karelinii sensu lato. This raises the question: are the three crested newt species truly cryptic, or have they not been studied closely enough? Considering that previous morphological studies have mainly focused on the species meeting in the Balkan Peninsula rather than T. karelinii sensu lato (Arntzen, 2003) we suspect the latter. A future morphological study, using the genetic results as a guidance, should prove illuminating.

    Wielstra, B. and Arntzen, J.W. 2016. Description of A New Species of Crested Newt, previously subsumed in Triturus ivanbureschi (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae). Zootaxa. 4109(1); DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4109.1.7

    Wielstra, B., S. n. Litvinchuk, B. Naumov, N. Tzankov and J. w. Arntzen. 2013. A Revised Taxonomy of Crested Newts in the Triturus karelinii Group (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae), with the Description of A New Species. Zootaxa. 3682(3): 441–453. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.3682.3.5

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    Cyrtodactylus calamei, C. hinnamnoensis & C. sommerladi  
    Luu, Bonkowski, Nguyen, Le, Schneider, Ngo & Ziegler, 2016


    Species designated as ‘cryptic’ share a similar morphotype, and are often only clearly separable by molecular data. Cyrtodactylus, the most diverse gecko genus of the family Gekkonidae, is a prime example, because many morphologically similar taxa have only recently been identified as new species as a result of available genetic evidence. However, while cryptic diversity of Cyrtodactylus is already well documented on the Vietnamese side of the Truong Son range, only scarce data is available from central Laos. In this study, we address this issue by means of an integrative approach, which employs morphological, molecular, and ecological data to distinguish cryptic species of the Cyrtodacylus phongnhakebangensis species group primarily distributed along the northern Truong Son Range. Our analyses based on 12 selected morphological characters, a partial mitochondrial gene (COI), and five ecological parameters revealed three undescribed cryptic Cyrtodactylus species from Hin Nam No National Protected Area, which are described as Cyrtodactylus calamei sp. nov.Cyrtodactylus hinnamnoensis sp. nov., and Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov. A fourth discovered Cyrtodactylus population in Hin Nam No proved to be the first country record of C. cryptus for Laos. Our results highlight the importance of applying an integrative approach to resolving the taxonomy of complex and cryptic species groups, and the role of the Truong Son Range in maintaining the high level of biodiversity over time.

    Keywords: Cryptic species, karst forest, morphology, new species, Truong Son Range, phylogeny, taxonomy, Reptilia

    Taxonomic accounts

    Cyrtodactylus calamei
    Luu, Bonkowski, Nguyen, Le, Schneider, Ngo & Ziegler, 2016

    • Cyrtodactylus calamei sp. nov.
    • Cyrtodactylus hinnamnoensis sp. nov.
    • Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov.
    • First record of Cyrtodactylus cryptus Heidrich, Rösler, Vu, Böhme & Ziegler, 2007 from Laos

    Cyrtodactylus species groups in Laos 

    • Cyrtodactylus phongnhakebangensis group
    Species. Cyrtodactylus bansocensis, C. calamei, C. darevskii, C. hinnamnoensis, C. jaegeri, C. jarujiniC. khammouanensisC. lomyenensisC. multiporusC. pageliC. ruffordC. sommerladiC. soudthichakiC. teyniei. 

    • Cyrtodactylus irregularis group
    Species. Cyrtodactylus buchardi, C. cryptus, C. pseudoquadrivirgatus.

    • Cyrtodactylus wayakonei group
    Species. Cyrtodactylus spelaeus, C. vilaphongi, C.wayakonei.

    • Cyrtodactylus interdigitalis group.
    Species. Cyrtodactylus interdigitalis.

    Vinh Quang Luu, Michael Bonkowski, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le, Nicole Schneider, Hanh Thi Ngo and Thomas Ziegler. 2016. Evolution in Karst Massifs: Cryptic Diversity Among Bent-toed Geckos along the Truong Son Range with Descriptions of Three New Species and One New Country Record from Laos.
    4107(2);  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4107.2.1

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    Fig 3. Holotype of Qinglongtriton gangouensis  (PKUP V0226).
    Photograph (left) and line drawing (right) of incomplete skeleton in ventral view.


    A new salamandroid salamander, Qinglongtriton gangouensis (gen. et sp. nov.), is named and described based on 46 fossil specimens of juveniles and adults collected from the Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian) Tiaojishan Formation cropping out in Hebei Province, China. The new salamander displays several ontogenetically and taxonomically significant features, most prominently the presence of a toothed palatine, toothed coronoid, and a unique pattern of the hyobranchium in adults. Comparative study of the new salamander with previously known fossil and extant salamandroids sheds new light on the early evolution of the Salamandroidea, the most species-diverse clade in the Urodela. Cladistic analysis places the new salamander as the sister taxon to Beiyanerpeton, and the two taxa together form the basalmost clade within the Salamandroidea. Along with recently reported Beiyanerpetonfrom the same geological formation in the neighboring Liaoning Province, the discovery of Qinglongtriton indicates that morphological disparity had been underway for the salamandroid clade by early Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) time.

    Systematic Paleontology

    Class Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758
    Subclass Lissamphibia Haeckel, 1866

    Superorder Caudata Scopoli, 1777
    Order Urodela Duméril, 1806
    Suborder Salamandroidea Dunn, 1922

    Family Incertae Sedis

    Genus Qinglongtriton gen. nov.

    Qinglongtriton gangouensis gen. et sp. nov.

    Holotype: PKUP V0226, an incomplete skeleton including articulated cranium and postcranium, with part of the tail missing (Figs 3, 5A, 6A, 7C and 7D; S1 Fig; S1 and S3 Movies).

    Diagnosis: A basal salamandroid sharing with Beiyanerpeton derived features including: palatine present as discrete and dentate element; sensory groove present on external surface of premaxilla and maxilla; lateral surface of dentary deeply grooved; presacral vertebrae 15 in number. Differing from closely related Beiyanerpeton in having: lacrimal dorsally grooved for nasolacrimal duct; anterior ramus of pterygoid bearing teeth and directing anteromedially; ossification of orbitosphenoid absent; free operculum lacking; coronoid present as a dentate element; marginal teeth pedicellate; metacarpal II longest in manus; phalangeal formula 2-2-3-3-3 in pes. The new taxon has the basibranchial II ossified with paired anterolateral and posterolateral processes fused with a median rod as a unique feature among salamanders.

    Etymology: Qinglong” refers to the Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County; “triton”, suffix commonly used for salamander names; “gangou” refers to Gangou Township, in which the fossil locality occurs.

    Referred Specimens: PKUP V0227–V0271, all specimens from the same locality and the 13th layer of the stratigraphic section as the holotype.

    Type Locality and Horizon: Fossil locality approximately 300 m northwest of Nanshimenzi village (N40°31'52"/E119°29'11"), Gangou Township, Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County, Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, China; the 13th layer of the stratigraphic section measured as outlined in Fig 1; Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian) Tiaojishan Formation.


    The following conclusions can be drawn from our study of Qinglongtriton gangouensis from the Nanshimenzi locality:

    1. Qinglongtriton gangouensis is a neotenic salamandroid named and described based on multiple specimens from the Upper Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation.
    2. The new salamandroid displays several features of ontogenetic or taxonomic significance, including: lacrimal with a dorsally open groove for the nasolacrimal duct; presence of a stapedial foramen; lack of ossification of the orbitosphenoid; pedicellate teeth with monocuspid crowns; presence of a toothed coronoid; ontogenetic fusion of the angular bone to the prearticular; and a unique shape of the basibranchial II.
    3. Phylogenetic analysis places Qinglongtriton as the sister taxon to Beiyanerpeton, and the two taxa together form the basalmost clade within the Salamandroidea. Along with the coexisting Beiyanerpeton the new discovery indicates that morphological disparity of the salamandroid clade was already underway by early Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) time.

    Jia Jia and Ke-Qin Gao. 2016. A New Basal Salamandroid (Amphibia, Urodela) from the Late Jurassic of Qinglong, Hebei Province, China.  PLoS ONE. 11(5): e0153834. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153834

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    Cyrtodactylus batik 
    Iskandar, Rachmansah & Umilaela, 2011  

    Cyrtodactylus batikis a new species described on the basis of seven specimens collected from Mount Tompotika, in the Balantak Mountains, eastern peninsula of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. This large Cyrtodactylus (up to 115 mm snout–vent length), differs from all other congeners by the combination of striking velvety black dorsal coloration with four irregular dark bands and yellow markings, enlarged tubercles not differently colored from other parts of the dorsum except on the flanks, and the absence of precloacal and femoral pores. The new species, together with C. wallacei and C. jellesmae appear to form an exclusive lineage in Sulawesi.

    Key words: morphology, systematics, new species, evolution, biogeography, Balantak Mountains, Wallacea

    Cyrtodactylus batik sp. nov. 
    (cicak batik; batik bent-toed gecko) 

    Etymology. The specific epithet is used as a noun in apposition, originating from the specific Indonesian pattern of traditional “batik” cloth that is especially well known on Java. The dorsal pattern of the new species is similar to that of traditional batik cloth.

    Iskandar, D.T., Rachmansah, A. and Umilaela. 2011. A New Bent-toed Gecko of the Genus CyrtodactylusGray, 1827 (Reptilia, Gekkonidae) from Mount Tompotika, eastern Peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Zootaxa. (2838):65–78

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    Scientific illustration of a harmless mimic (Pliocercus elapoides, left) and venomous coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus, right) drawn from preserved specimens caught at the same field site in 1940 on a U-M Museum of Zoology expedition to Guatemala.
    Illustration: John Megahan  |  DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11484


    Batesian mimicry, in which harmless species (mimics) deter predators by deceitfully imitating the warning signals of noxious species (models), generates striking cases of phenotypic convergence that are classic examples of evolution by natural selection. However, mimicry of venomous coral snakes has remained controversial because of unresolved conflict between the predictions of mimicry theory and empirical patterns in the distribution and abundance of snakes. Here we integrate distributional, phenotypic and phylogenetic data across all New World snake species to demonstrate that shifts to mimetic coloration in nonvenomous snakes are highly correlated with coral snakes in both space and time, providing overwhelming support for Batesian mimicry. We also find that bidirectional transitions between mimetic and cryptic coloration are unexpectedly frequent over both long- and short-time scales, challenging traditional views of mimicry as a stable evolutionary ‘end point’ and suggesting that insect and snake mimicry may have different evolutionary dynamics.

    Figure 3: Repeated evolutionary transitions among colour patterns in snakes.
    (a) Ancestral state reconstructions show that RBB colouration has evolved independently at least 26 times across snakes, including six times outside of New World (NW) colubrids and Elapid coral snakes. Numbers denote phylogenetic placement of corresponding snake images. Species 3 and 6 have sympatric colour polymorphism.
    (b) Colubrid mimicry arose after both arrival in the NW (oldest black points) and sympatry with coral snakes (red arrow), with increasing accumulation of mimetic lineages over time.
     (c) Addition of missing taxa to a single clade recovers greater colour variation and faster phenotypic evolution. Tip state symbols show presence and absence of the red and black colour pattern components, with bicoloured points representing colour polymorphism (grey for absence). Asterisks denote co-occurrence with coral snakes.
    (d) Trait mapping of intraspecific colour variation shows that polymorphism is the most common state and that RBB coloration does not depend on sympatry with coral snakes. Righthand images show four sympatric colour morphs found in populations with RBB polymorphism. The species names, photo credits (used with permission), and field collector/tissue numbers (when available) for the images in a are as follows: (1) Oxyrhopus trigeminus, Laurie J. Vitt, LJV-17825; (2) Erythrolamprus mimus, Edmund D. Brodie III; (3) Sonora mutabilis, Thomas J. Devitt, JAC-23362 and JAC-23363; (4) Micrurus brasiliensis, Donald B. Shepard; (5) Micrurus diastema, Jonathan A. Campbell, JAC-23126; (6) Micrurus multifasciatus, Edmund D. Brodie III; (7) Anilius scytale, Donald B. Shepard. For d the Sonora semiannulata colour morphs have the following credits from top to bottom: (1) mimetic morph, Yann Surget-Groba, ADR-BAL1M; (2) banded morph, Yann Surget-Groba, ADR-HIL1B; (3) striped morph, Yann Surget-Groba, ADR-Tor1S; (4) uniform morph, Alison R. Davis Rabosky and Christian L. Cox, CLC-291.

    Alison R. Davis Rabosky, Christian L. Cox, Daniel L. Rabosky, Pascal O. Title, Iris A. Holmes, Anat Feldman and Jimmy A. McGuire. 2016. Coral Snakes predict the Evolution of Mimicry across New World Snakes. Nature Communications. 7(11484). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11484

    Deadly snakes or just pretending? The evolution of mimicry via @physorg_com

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    Profound environmental and faunal changes are associated with climatic deterioration during the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) roughly 34 million years ago. Reconstructing how Asian primates responded to the EOT has been hindered by a sparse record of Oligocene primates on that continent. Here, we report the discovery of a diverse primate fauna from the early Oligocene of southern China. In marked contrast to Afro-Arabian Oligocene primate faunas, this Asian fauna is dominated by strepsirhines. There appears to be a strong break between Paleogene and Neogene Asian anthropoid assemblages. Asian and Afro-Arabian primate faunas responded differently to EOT climatic deterioration, indicating that the EOT functioned as a critical evolutionary filter constraining the subsequent course of primate evolution across the Old World.

    The Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) functioned as a critical filtering episode during the evolutionary history of primates. Comparing the composition of the early Oligocene primate faunas from Asia reveals that surviving this Eocene-Oligocene evolutionary filter entailed a high degree of taxonomic and ecological selectivity: later Eocene primate assemblages tend to be dominated, both in terms of taxonomic richness and numerical abundance, by stem anthropoids, whereas the Oligocene primate tend to be dominated by lemur-like strepsirrhine primates. A similar comparison of the late Eocene-early Oligocene primates from Afro-Arabia shows a very different pattern of selectivity in response to the EOT: very few strepsirrhine primates survived the EOT, whereas anthropoids diversified both taxonomically and ecologically. The divergent responses shown by Afro-Arabian and Asian primates across the EOT evolutionary filter constrained the subsequent course of primate macroevolutionary pattern across the Old World. Africa became the geographic nexus of anthropoid evolution, whereas Asia shows a strong break between Paleogene and Neogene anthropoid assemblages. 

    Primates Linnaeus, 1758;
    Strepsirhini Geoffroy,1812;
    Adapiformes Hoffstetter, 1977;
    • Sivaladapidae Thomas and Verma, 1979;

    Yunnanadapis gen. nov.

    Type species: Yunnanadapis folivorus sp. nov.
    Included species: The type species and Yunnanadapis imperator sp. nov.

    Etymology: Generic name recognizes the geographic provenance of this taxon and its adapiform affinities.

    Laomaki yunnanensis gen. et sp. nov.

     Etymology: Generic name derives from the Mandarin“lao”(old) and the Malagasy“maky”(lemur). Trivial name reflects the geographic provenance of this species.

    • Ekgmowechashalidae Szalay, 1976;
    Gatanthropus micros gen. et sp. nov. 

    Etymology: In allusionto the ekgmowechashalid affinities of this taxon,its generic name derives from the Greek“gata”(cat) and“anthropus”(man), and its trivial name derives from the Greek “micros”(small). Ekgmowechashala signifies“little cat man”in the Lakotalanguage, which lacks a term for non-human primates.

    Haplorhini Pocock, 1918;
    Tarsiiformes Gregory,1915;
    • Tarsiidae Gray, 1825;

    Oligotarsius rarus gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology: Generic name reflects the age of this taxon. Trivial name reflects the sparse documentation of Tarsiidae in the fossil record generally, as well as the meager representation of this species in the Caijiachong early Oligocene fauna.

      Anthropoidea Mivart, 1864;
    • Eosimiidae Beard et al., 1994;
    Bahinia Jaeger et al., 1999;
    Bahinia banyueae sp. nov.

    Etymology: Trivial name honors the pioneering work on the Caijiachong mammal faunas of Yunnan Province made by our friend and colleague Banyue Wang.

    Xijun Ni, Qiang Li, Lüzhou Li and K. Christopher Beard. 2016. Oligocene Primates from China Reveal Divergence between African and Asian Primate Evolution. Science. 352(6286); 673-677. DOI:  10.1126/science.aaf2107

    Could these new fossils solve 'paradox' of primate evolution?
    Six new fossil species form 'snapshot' of primates stressed by ancient climate change via @physorg_com

    Climate filters dominant species
    The transition between the Eocene and Oligocene periods was marked by distinct cooling. Because primate species are particularly susceptible to cold, this change in climate drove a retraction of primates globally. After this transition, anthropoid primates were dominant in Afro-Arabian regions, but little has been known about primate reestablishment in Asia. Ni et al. describe 10 previously unknown primates found in Yunnan Province in China that show that primates took a different path in Asia. Instead of anthropoids, strepsirrhine (lemur-like) primates were dominant. It is still unknown whether this difference was due to the environment or chance.

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    A model reconstruction of  Atopodentatus unicus with the real fossil
    Image: Nick Fraser, National Museums Scotland


    Newly discovered fossils of the Middle Triassic reptile Atopodentatus unicus call for a radical reassessment of its feeding behavior. The skull displays a pronounced hammerhead shape that was hitherto unknown. The long, straight anterior edges of both upper and lower jaws were lined with batteries of chisel-shaped teeth, whereas the remaining parts of the jaw rami supported densely packed needle-shaped teeth forming a mesh. The evidence indicates a novel feeding mechanism wherein the chisel-shaped teeth were used to scrape algae off the substrate, and the plant matter that was loosened was filtered from the water column through the more posteriorly positioned tooth mesh. This is the oldest record of herbivory within marine reptiles.

    Keywords: paleontology, marine reptiles, Atopodentatus unicus, Middle Triassic

    Fig. 3 Artist’s restoration of Atopodentatus unicus depicting it as a herbivore grazing on marine plants growing on a hard substrate in the eastern Tethyan Sea during Middle Triassic times.
     Using batteries of spatulate teeth lining the hammerhead expansions of both the upper and lower jaws, it would have been able to scrape off numerous pieces of plant matter into suspension in the water. This could then be sucked in and filtered by the long, thin, and closely packed needle-shaped teeth lining the main jaw rami. [Illustration: Y. Chen, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology]

    Li Chun, Olivier Rieppel, Cheng Long and Nicholas C. Fraser. 2016. The Earliest Herbivorous Marine Reptile and Its Remarkable Jaw Apparatus. Science Advances. 2(5) e1501659. DOI:  10.1126/sciadv.1501659

    Oldest Known Plant-Eating Marine Reptile Had A Bizarre 'Hammerhead' Mouth via @forbes

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    Acisoma attenboroughi 
    Mens, Schütte, Stokvis & Dijkstra, 2016


    The dragonfly genus Acisoma is revised based on adult male morphology and COI sequence data. Six species are recognised, including the new species Acisoma attenboroughi sp. nov. Diagnoses and a key to males of all species and illustrations of all relevant characters are provided. A. inflatum, A. variegatum and A. trifidum are confined to continental Africa, while A. panorpoides is restricted to Asia. A. ascalaphoides is known only from threatened littoral forest fragments on the east coast of Madagascar, while A. attenboroughi is widespread across the island. The new species honours Sir David Attenborough on his 90th birthday.

    Keywords: Dragonfly, Odonata, Acisoma, taxonomy, new species, COI

    Lotte P. Mens, Kai Schütte, Frank R. Stokvis and Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra. 2016. Six, not Two, Species of Acisoma Pintail Dragonfly (Odonata: Libellulidae). Zootaxa. 4109(2); DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4109.2.3

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    Rhinolophus monticolus | ค้างคาวมงกุฎภูเขา‬ | Mountain Horseshoe Bat
    Soisook, Karapan, Srikrachang, Dejtaradol, Nualcharoen, Bumrungsri,  Oo, Aung, Bates, Harutyunyan, Buś & Bogdanowicz,  2016  

    A new species of Rhinolophus in the pusillus group is described from Ratchaburi, Kamphaeng Phet and Loei Provinces where it was found in evergreen forest at elevations ranging from 550 to 1,320 m a.s.l. It is distinguished from R. shortridgei and other similar species in the same group by its broad, parallel-sided sella, which is squared-off at the tip, relatively large body size with a forearm length of 42.2–44.1 mm, and bulbous rostral swellings. The echolocation frequency from hand-held individuals is 84.1–93.0 kHz. Bayesian analyses of a 654 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (DNA barcode), and an 878 bp fragment of cytochrome b also support differences at the species level. Three specimens from Loaung Namtha, Lao PDR are referred to this new species based on DNA barcodes. Based on distinctive DNA barcodes and craniodental morphology, the taxon refulgens, is here regarded as a separate species from R. lepidus. Morphological comparisons between similar species are discussed and notes on ecology included.

    Key words: new species, Rhinolophus, horseshoe bats, Thailand, evergreen forest, Southeast Asia

    Pipat Soisook, Sunate Karapan, Mattana Srikrachang, Ariya Dejtaradol, Kwan Nualcharoen, Sara Bumrungsri,  Sai Sein Lin Oo, Moe Moe Aung, Paul J J Bates, Margarita Harutyunyan, Magdalena M. Buś and Wiesław Bogdanowicz. 2016. Hill Forest Dweller: A New Cryptic Species of Rhinolophus in the ‘pusillus group’ (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) from Thailand and Lao PDR. Acta Chiropterologica. 18(1); 117–139. 

    ‪ค้างคาวมงกุฎภูเขา‬ Mountain Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus monticolusค้างคาวชนิดใหม่จาก เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าแม่น้ำภาชี อุทยานแห่งชาติแม่วงก์ และภูสวนทราย เป็นค้างคาวที่อาศัยอยู่ในป่าดิบบนภูเขา คาดว่าเกาะนอนตามซอกหินหรือโพรงไม้ นอกจากประชากรทั้งสามแหล่งที่พบในไทยยังพบที่หลวงน้ำทา ประเทศลาวอีกประชากรหนึ่งด้วย

    นอกจากการพบค้างคาวชนิดใหม่ครั้งนี้ การศึกษาทางอนุกรมวิธานของค้างคาวทั้งกลุ่มยังพบว่าสมควรยกระดับฐานะของประชากรชนิดย่อยของค้างคาวมงกุฎจมูกแหลม (Rhinolophus lepidus refulgens) ที่พบทางภาคใต้ของไทย มาเลเซีย สิงคโปร์และอินโดนีเซีย ขึ้นเป็นชนิดต่างหาก เป็น Rhinolophus refulgens ‪ค้างคาวมงกุฎจมูกแหลมใต้‬ (ซึ่งบางตำราก็แยกเป็นคนละชนิดอยู่แล้ว และการศึกษานี้ได้ยืนยันอย่างเป็นทางการ)

    ดังนั้นตัวเลขค้างคาวเมืองไทยเพิ่มมาอีกสองชนิด แต่เหนือสิ่งอื่นใดคือความเข้าใจด้านซิสเทมาติคส์ของค้างคาวในวงศ์นี้เคลียร์กว่าเดิมขึ้นอีกนิดหน่อยแล้ว

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    Trachylepis principensis 
    Ceríaco, Marques & Bauer, 2016  
      DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4109.3.2


    The scincid genus Trachylepis is represented in the oceanic islands of the Gulf of Guinea by four species, Trachylepis maculilabris, T. affinis, T. adamastor and T. ozorii. Here we describe two new species, Trachylepis thomensis sp. nov., endemic to São Tomé Island and Rolas Islet, and Trachylepis principensis sp. nov., endemic to Príncipe Island. Phylogenetic analysis using the mitochondrial gene 16S shows that both new species are genetically divergent and reciprocally monophyletic, and confirms evidence for the uniqueness of these lineages presented in previous studies. Morphological data (scalation and morphometry) identify consistent phenotypic differences between these two island species. We were also able to confirm that the T. affinis population of Príncipe Island is conspecific with the African mainland population and most probably the result of recent introductions. These findings raise the number of known Trachylepis species in the Gulf of Guinea islands group to five, four of which are endemic, although the phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships of T. adamastor and T. ozorii remain unknown and require further investigation.

    Keywords: Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé & Príncipe, endemism, Trachylepis thomensis sp. nov., Trachylepis principensis sp. nov., skink, Reptilia

    Luis M. P. Ceríaco, Mariana P. Marques and Aaron M. Bauer. 2016. A Review of the Genus Trachylepis (Sauria: Scincidae) from the Gulf of Guinea, with Descriptions of Two New Species in the Trachylepis maculilabris (Gray, 1845) Species Complex.
    Zootaxa. 4109(3); DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4109.3.2

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    Tillandsia tecolometl 
    Granados, Flores-Cruz & Salazar


    The Tillandsia erubescens group (Bromeliaceae) encompasses seven currently recognized species with reduced, pendulous inflorescences and endemic to pine-oak forests in the high mountains of Mexico. During the course of a taxonomic revision based on extensive study of herbarium specimens and detailed observations in the field, a new species of this group was discovered, which is described and illustrated here as Tillandsia tecolometl. The new entity belongs to a subgroup of species with purple corollas that also includes T. andrieuxii, T. macdougallii, T. oaxacana and T. pseudooaxacana. We present detailed morphological comparisons of the new species to the other species in the group with purple corollas, complemented with information on their habitat preferences, geographical distribution and phenology. An identification key to all the species with purple corollas belonging to the Tillandsia erubescens group is provided.

    Keywords: Tillandsia erubescensTillandsia macdougallii; pine-oak forests, Monocots

    FIGURE 3. (a)–(d) Tillandsia tecolometl (from the type locality in Temascaltepec, Estado de México). (a) Flowering plant. (b) Close-up of the inflorescence. (c) A solitary plant growing on Pinus. (d) Floral card showing flower parts.

    Tillandsia tecolometl Granados, Flores-Cruz & Salazar, sp. nov. (Figs. 2–3, 4b)

    Similar to Tillandsia macdougallii but differing in its longer, ovate to oblong leaf sheaths covered by scales with appressed wing cells; longer and fusiform inflorescence; ovate to oblong, spoon-shaped floral bracts, its sheathing part completely covering the rachis at anthesis; acute sepals; linear-oblong and acute petals; and cylindrical ovary.

    Type:— MEXICO. Estado de México: municipio Temascaltepec, 500 metros sobre la desviación a Plan de Vigas que está en las Juntas, km 31 de la carretera la Puerta del Monte-Texcatitlán, 2894 m, 20 December 2006, C. Granados, M. Flores-Cruz & G. A. Salazar 415 (holotype: MEXU!).

    Etymology:— The specific epithet refers to the vernacular name given to this species by local people in the Estado de México, which is derived from Náhuatl tecolotl, meaning owl, and metl, a plant of the genus Agave, perhaps alluding to the rosette of leaves suggesting agaves “perching” on the trees.

    Distribution and habitat:— Endemic to Mexico (Mexico City, Durango, Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz; Fig. 5). Usually epiphytic on pine trees, but also found growing on oaks in mixed pine-oak forests at 2200–3300 m elev.

    Phenology:— Flowering in the field from December to July, dehiscing fruits recorded in March.

    Local uses:— At the type locality, local people use the floral bracts of this species to make a sort of whistle.

    Carolina Granados Mendoza, Gerardo A. Salazar Chávez and María Flores Cruz. 2016. A New Species of the Mexican Tillandsia erubescens Group (Bromeliaceae).
    Phytotaxa. 260(1); 57–65. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.260.1.6

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    Nepenthes aenigma                                  Njustinae 
    Nuytemans, W. Suarez & Calaramo                                  Gronem., Wistuba, Mey & V.B.Amoroso

     With 50 species of the genus Nepenthes L. currently described from the Philippines, it is without doubt that the country, along with the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Borneo (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei), should be considered the center of diversity of the genus. In this work, we describe two new species. One species, Nepenthes aenigma sp. nov., is from Ilocos Norte province on Luzon Island and has the — for Nepenthes — unusual ecological preference to grow in dense vegetation in deep shade. The other new species is from Mount Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental province on Mindanao Island. With this new entry, Mount Hamiguitan is now home to four endemic species (N. peltata, N. micramphora, N. hamiguitanensis, N. justinae sp. nov.). Furthermore, we provide an emended description of N. ramos based on field data. Nepenthes kurata is synonymized here with N. ramos.

    Keywords: carnivorous pitcher plants; Nepenthes; Ilocos Norte; Mount Hamiguitan; Philippines

    Nepenthes aenigma Nuytemans, W. Suarez, Calaramo, sp. nov.
     A New Pitcher Plant Species from Luzon

    Type: Philippines, Luzon, Ilocos Norte, 17.06.2009, M. Calaramo, holotype Calaramo2288 (female flower) (HNUL, isotype HNUL)
    Additional material examined: Calaramo2270 (male flower) (24.6.2011, M. Calaramo) (HNUL)

    Diagnosis: Differs from Nepenthes ventricosa Blanco in having cylindrical, winged and dimorphic pitchers, linear to elliptic lamina and 2-flowered partial peduncles (N. ventricosa: pitchers waisted at the middle, wings reduced to ridges, long and narrow lamina, inflorescense with 1-flowered partial peduncles).
    Nepenthes aenigma was previously documented as an incompletely diagnosed taxon under the name N. sp. “Luzon” [11].

    Etymology:  The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word aenigma, which means ”puzzling”, a reference to the very unusual ecological preferences of this new taxon. (see Section 2.1.2 and Section 3).
    Distribution and Ecology:  Nepenthes aenigma is so far only known from three sites on two mountains in Ilocos Norte Province, island of Luzon. Site 1 and 2 are only some 100 m apart on the same mountain, with unfragmented surrounding vegetation. Site 3 is located on another mountain 10 km apart.

    Nepenthes justinae Gronem., Wistuba, Mey, V.B.Amoroso, sp. nov.
    Another Endemic Species of Pitcher Plant from Mount Hamiguitan (Mindanao Island)

    Type: Philippines, Mindanao Island, Mount Hamiguitan, 17.08.2004, V.B. Amoroso, holotype
    CMUH00003606 (CMUH).
    Other material examined: CMUH00003607 (CMUH) (17.08.2004, V. B. Amoroso) (Paratype)
    ULM-22538, ULM-22539 (ULM) (18.2.2015, T. Gronemeyer, from a cultivated plant grown from seed).

    Diagnosis: Differs from Nepenthes mindanaoensis Sh.Kurata in having lower pitchers with a bulbous lower ⅔ and slightly infundibulate upper ⅓ (N. mindanaoensis: overall slender, cylindrical lower pitchers with a bulbous bottom). Lid of the upper pitchers with appendage (N. mindanaoensis: no appendage).

    Nepenthes ramosJebb and Cheek
    Emended Taxonomic Description of N. ramos and Synonymization of N. kurata

    Nepenthes kurata Jebb and Cheek,
    European Journal of Taxonomy. (2013), 69: 6 syn. nov.

    Holotype: Philippines, Mindanao Island, April 1919, Ramos and Palacios s.n., K34500 (K)

    1. Two new taxa of carnivorous pitcher plants, N. aenigma and N. justinae are presented and formally described here. Furthermore, an emended description of N. ramos based on field data is provided which includes the synonymization of N. kurata.
    2. In the discussion, the authors point out the urgent need of solid data recorded in the field for the description of new taxa, especially when only minor characters are used for the separation of species.

    Thomas Gronemeyer, Wally Suarez, Herman Nuytemans, Michael Calaramo, Andreas Wistuba, François S. Mey and Victor B. Amoroso. 2016. Two New Nepenthes Species from the Philippines and an Emended Description of Nepenthes ramosPlants. 5(2), 23; DOI: 10.3390/plants5020023

    Cheek M. and Jebb M. 2013. Nepenthes ramos (Nepenthaceae), a new species from Mindanao, Philippines. Willdenowia. 43(1): 107–111.  DOI: 10.3372/wi.43.43112

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    Cyrtodactylus hitchi 
    Riyanto, Kurniati & Engilis, 2016 


    We describe Cyrtodactylus hitchi sp. nov., a new species of Bent-toed Gecko from montane forests in the Mekongga Mountains, South East Sulawesi, Indonesia. Although we cannot speculate about relationships, morphologically it shares several traits with C. batik, a large species known only from Mount Tompotika near the tip of Sulawesi’s Eastern Peninsula. The following unique combination of characters distinguishes it from all other congeners: absence of precloacal groove, absence of precloacal and femoral pores, absence of enlarged femoral scales, no abrupt contact between large and small postfemoral scales, 18–20 lamellae under the fourth toes, and transversely enlarged, median subcaudal scales arranged in a single row.

    Keywords: new species, Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae, Mekongga, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Reptilia

    Cyrtodactylus hitchi sp. nov. Riyanto, Kurniati & Engilis
    English common name: Hitch’s Bent-toed Gecko
    Indonesia common name: Cicak Jari Lengkung Hitch

    Diagnosis. A small-sized Cyrtodactylus with SVL up to 70.3 mm in males, 79.0 mm in females; 18–20 irregularly aligned rows of keeled tubercles; 27–30 paravertebral tubercles; 40–45 ventral scales between ventrolateral folds; ventrolateral folds with tubercles; no precloacal groove; no precloacal pores; no enlarged femoral and precloacal scales; no femoral pores; 18–20 lamellae beneath fourth toe; smooth transition between rows of large and small postfemoral and ventral femoral scales; and greatly enlarged transverse median subcaudal scales arranged in a single row.

    Natural History. All specimens were collected from secondary forest in various microhabitats such as on vegetation along streams, along rivers and foot paths, and on tree trunks and fallen logs (Fig. 7). Cyrtodactylus hitchi appears to have a relatively narrow elevational range corresponding to hill forest habitat ranging from 900–1100 m asl. We did not encounter the species above 1200 m asl and below 900 m asl. It is replaced below 500 m by C. jellesmae.

    Etymology. The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive singular case, honoring Dr. Alan Thomas Hitch for his friendship and as the field leader of expeditions to the Mekongga. 

    Awal Riyanto, Hellen Kurniati and Andrew Engilis, Jr. 2016. A New Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Mekongga Mountains, South East Sulawesi, Indonesia.
     Zootaxa. 4109(1);  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4109.1.5

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    FIGURE 4. Coloration of living Cyrtodactylus lateralis from Gunung Seulawah Agam, Aceh, Sumatra.
     (A–B) head morphology of two males (A, MZB 13172, head length 18.3 mm, and B, MZB 13173, head length 21.9). (C) Largest known specimen, an adult female (MZB 13175, SVL 96 mm). (D) Pale pigmented male with regenerated tail (UTA 62921, SVL 79 mm). (E) Precloacal coloration and cloacal tubercles of an adult male (UTA 62921, SVL 79 mm). (F) Detail of tail and cloacal tubercles of male (MZB 13172).
    Photos by E. N. Smith.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.4.3


    We redescribe Cyrtodactylus lateralis (Werner) on the basis of new specimens. Cyrtodactylus lateralis is a prehensile-tailed species, known from scattered lowland to mid-elevation localities in northern Sumatra. The prehensile-tailed Cyrtodactylus are more speciose and have a wider distribution than previously thought. This group includes a mainland SE Asian clade consisting of C. elok, C. interdigitalis, and C. brevipalmatus and an insular clade containing C. durio, C. lateralis, C.nuauluC. serratusC. spinosus, and C. stresemanni. However, a distinctive color pattern in the Wallacean and Papuan species and uncertainty surrounding the type locality of C. stresemanni raise unresolved questions about the inclusiveness of the insular clade. DNA sequence data supports a close relationship between C. elok and C. interdigitalis, but also reveals that C. lateralis and C. durio are not closely related to these species.

    Keywords: Aceh, Biogeography, Cyrtodactylus brevipalmatus, Cyrtodactylus durio, Cyrtodactylus interdigitalis, Cyrtodactylus nuaulu, Cyrtodactylus quadrivirgatus, Cyrtodactylus serratus, Cyrtodactylus stresemanni, Phylogenetics, Sumatera Utara, Sumatra, Wallacea, Reptilia

    Michael B. Harvey, Kyle O'Connell, Elijah Wostl, Awal Riyanto, Nia Kurniawan, Eric N Smith and L Lee Grismer. 2016. Redescription Cyrtodactylus lateralis (Werner) (Squamata: Gekkonidae) and Phylogeny of the Prehensile-tailed Cyrtodactylus.
    Zootaxa. 4107(4); 517–540. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.4.3

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    Parsigecko ziaiei 
    Safaei-Mahroo, Ghaffari& Anderson, 2016
      Ziaie’s Pars-Gecko | Gecko-ye Parsi-ye Ziaie :: 
    DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4109.4.2


    We describe a new genus and species of gekkonid from two gravid specimens which were found within Koh-e Homag Protected Area, Hormozgan Province, southern Iran. The genus Parsigecko gen. nov. can be distinguished from other genera of Middle East Gekkonidae by a combination of the following characteristics: digits not dilated, dorsal tail covered with small scales without any tubercles or keels, having two strong keeled and pointed scales on each side of each annulus. Parsigecko ziaiei sp. nov. is a ground-dwelling lizard. The new species was found in the Zagros Mountain forest steppe patch with scattered wild pistachio trees and mountain almond shrubs surrounded by South Iran Nubo-Sindian desert and semi-desert habitat in the south of Iran. The genus is the 13th gekkonid genus known from Iran, and the only gekkonid genus endemic to the Zagros Mountains. A key to the genera of the Gekkonidae in Iran is provided.

    Keywords: Parsigecko gen. nov., Parsigecko ziaiei sp. nov., morphology, taxonomy, habitat, Zagros Mountains forest steppe, Platyhelminthes

    Parsigecko gen. nov.
    Type species. Parsigecko ziaiei sp. nov., herein described.

    Definition. The monotypic genus of family Gekkonidae is readily distinguished from all other genera of the family by a combination of the following characters: dorsal scales smooth, granular, subequal in size, not tuberculate and not imbricated, two strongly keeled scales on each side of each annulus of tail. Other characteristics of the new genus are given in the species description.This genus is distinguished from all other bent-toed geckos in lacking dorsal tubercles, and from Microgecko Nikolsky, 1907 in its enlarged lateral caudal scales and its single row of enlarged subcaudal scales.

    Distribution. Koh-e Homag Protected Area, in Zagros Mountains, Hormozgan Province, southern Iran. Forest steppe habitat. Known only from the type locality.

    Etymology. The generic nomen Parsigecko is derived from the word “Pars” which refers to an old name for Iran, the country where the new genus was found. Pars was the ancient seat of the Persian Empire which was centered in south-central Iran.

    Parsigecko ziaiei sp. nov.

    Holotype. (CAS 259180), gravid female collected by Barbod Safaei-Mahroo on 10 June 2015 within Koh-e Homag Protected Area (elevation 1596 m), Hormozgan Province, southern Iran.

    Etymology. We name the species in honor of Hooshang Ziaie, lecturer at IAU University, North Tehran Branch, a distinguished Iranian ecologist and former head of three provincial (Fars, Khuzestan and Mazandaran) offices of the Department of Environment and advisor to Department of Environment of Iran, in recognition of his remarkable and outstanding efforts toward wildlife conservation in Iran.
    As common names we suggest Ziaie’s Pars-Gecko (English), Gecko-ye Parsi-ye Ziaie (Persian)

    FIGURE 4. Female holotype of Parsigecko ziaiei sp. nov. (CAS 259180) in situ.
    Photograph by B. Safaei-Mahroo.

    Barbod Safaei-Mahroo, Hanyeh Ghaffari and Steven C Anderson. 2016. A New Genus and Species of Gekkonid Lizard (Squamata: Gekkota: Gekkonidae) from Hormozgan Province with A Revised Key to Gekkonid Genera of Iran.
    Zootaxa. 4109(4) DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4109.4.2

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    Maofelis cantonensis 
    Averianov, Obraztsova, Danilov, Skutschas & Jin, 2016

    Maofelis cantonensis gen. and sp. nov. is described based on a complete cranium from the middle-upper Eocene Youganwo Formation of Maoming Basin, Guangdong Province, China. The new taxon has characters diagnostic for Nimravidae such as a short cat-like skull, short palate, ventral surface of petrosal dorsal to that of basioccipital, serrations on the distal carina of canine, reduced anterior premolars, and absence of posterior molars (M2-3). It is plesiomorphic nimravid taxon similar to Nimravidae indet. from Quercy (France) in having the glenoid pedicle and mastoid process without ventral projections, a planar basicranium in which the lateral rim is not ventrally buttressed, and P1 present. The upper canine is less flattened than in other Nimravidae. Maofelis cantonensis gen. and sp. nov. exemplifies the earliest stage of development of sabertooth specialization characteristic of Nimravidae. This taxon, together with other middle-late Eocene nimravid records in South Asia, suggests origin and initial diversification of Nimravidae in Asia. We propose that this group dispersed to North America in the late Eocene and to Europe in the early Oligocene. The subsequent Oligocene diversification of Nimravidae took place in North America and Europe, while in Asia this group declined in the Oligocene, likely because of the earlier development of open habitats on that continent.

    Systematic paleontology
    Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
    Carnivora Bowdich, 1821

    Nimravidae Cope, 1880

    Maofelis cantonensis gen. et sp. nov.

    Figure 2: SYSU-M 2, holotype of Maofelis cantonensis gen. and sp. nov., in dorsal (a), lateral (b) and ventral (c) views, photographs and explanatory drawings.

    Holotype: Collection from the Maoming Basin in the School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China (SYSU-M) 2, almost complete cranium (skull without mandible), with most of the dentition preserved.

    Diagnosis: Maofelis is referred to Nimravidae based on the following combination of characters that is diagnostic for this group1,2: cat-like skull with shortened rostrum and mesocranium; palate short, does not extend posterior to the toothrow; walls of the basipharyngeal canal converged posteriorly; ventral surface of petrosal significantly dorsal to that of basioccipital; hypoglossal foramen separated from the posterior lacerate foramen; paraoccipital process moderately large, posteriorly projecting; incisors with reduced lingual cingula; serrations on the distal carina of canine; anterior premolars reduced; P4 without a parastyle; posterior molars (M2–3) absent.

    Type locality and horizon: The oil shale quarry (21°42′ N, 110°53′ E) located near Maoming City, Maoming Basin, Guangdong Province, China; Youganwo Formation, middle-upper Eocene.

    Figure 1: Map showing the known record of Nimravidae in Asia (red circles – Eocene, yellow – Oligocene, blue – Miocene).
    (1) Lushi Basin, Henan Province, China, Lushi Fm., middle Eocene, cf. Eusmilus sp., canine fragments; (2) Bose Basin, Guangxi Province, China, Dongjin Fm., middle Eocene, Hoplophoneus? sp. or Eusmilus? sp., canine fragments; (3) Maoming Basin, Guangdong Province, China, Youganwo Fm., middle-upper Eocene, Maofelis cantonensis, skull (this report); (4) Pondaung, Myanmar, Pondaung Fm., middle-upper Eocene, Nimravus sp., dentary fragment; (5) Krabi Basin, Thailand, Formation B2, upper Eocene, Nimravus cf. intermedius and Hoplophoneus sp., maxilla and dentary fragments, isolated teeth; (6) Khoer Dzan and Ergilin Dzo, Mongolia, Ergilin Dzo Fm., upper Eocene, Nimravus intermedius (=N. mongoliensis), dentary fragments; (7) Tatal Gol and Taatsin Gol, Mongolia, Hsanda Gol Fm., lower Oligocene, Nimravus mongoliensis and Nimravidae indet., dentary fragments; (8) Benara, Georgia, upper Oligocene, Nimravidae indet., isolated m1; (9) Tieersihabahe, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, Halamagai Fm., middle Miocene, Nimravidae indet., dentary fragment.
    The map was generated by A. Averianov using Adobe Photoshop CS3 program. DOI: 10.1038/srep25812

    Etymology: The generic name is from Maoming Basin in Guangdong Province where the skull was found, and the felid genus Felis. The species name is from Canton, an older name of Guangzhou City.

    Alexander Averianov, Ekaterina Obraztsova, Igor Danilov, Pavel Skutschas and Jianhua Jin. 2016. First Nimravid Skull from Asia. Scientific Reports. 6, (25812). DOI: 10.1038/srep25812

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    Fig. 2 Map of extinct and extant species of Ovis in Eurasia and their evolutionary relationships.
    Image by WANG Xiaoming

    Modern wild sheep, Ovis, is widespread in the mountain ranges of the Caucasus through Himalaya, Tibetan Plateau, Tianshan-Altai, eastern Siberia, and the Rocky Mountains in North America. In Eurasia, fossil sheep are known at a few Pleistocene sites in North China, eastern Siberia, and western Europe, but are so far absent from the Tibetan Plateau. We describe an extinct sheep, Protovis himalayensis, gen. et sp. nov., from the Pliocene of the Zanda Basin in western Himalaya. Smaller than the living argali, this new form shares with Ovis posterolaterally arched horncores and partially developed sinuses and possesses several transitional characters leading to OvisProtovis likely subsisted on C3 plants, which are the dominant vegetation in the Zanda area during the Pliocene. With the discovery of this new genus and species, we extend the fossil record for the sheep clade into the Pliocene of the Tibetan Plateau, consistent with our previous out-of-Tibet hypothesis. Ancestral sheep in the Pliocene were presumed adapted to high altitude and cold environments, and during the Ice Age, sheep became anatomically modern and dispersed outside of the Tibetan Plateau. Both this new fossil datum and the existing molecular phylogeny suggest that the Tibetan Plateau, possibly including Tianshan-Altai, represents the ancestral home range(s) of mountain sheep and that these basal stocks were the ultimate source of all extant species. Most sheep species survived along their Pleistocene route of dispersal, offering a highly consistent pattern of zoogeography.

    Fig.1 Holotype of Protovis himalayensis, in frontal-lateral view (A) and dorsal view of horncores (B), and cross-sectional shapes at four intervals along left horn
    Image by WANG Xiaoming

    Fig. 3 Artist reconstruction of a male Zanda sheep, Protovis himalayensis, placed in a modern Zanda basement outcrop that was widely exposed during basin formation. 

    Art by Julie Selan and photo background by WANG Xiaoming

    Xiaoming Wang, Qiang Li and Gary T. Takeuchi. 2016. Out of Tibet: An Early Sheep from the Pliocene of Tibet, Protovis himalayensis, genus and species nov. (Bovidae, Caprini), and Origin of Ice Age Mountain Sheep. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.   DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2016.1169190

    New Species from the Pliocene of Tibet Reveals Origin of Ice Age Mountain Sheep

    Modern wild sheep, Ovis, is widespread in the mountain ranges of the Caucasus through Himalaya, Tibetan Plateau, Tianshan-Altai, eastern Siberia, and the Rocky Mountains in North America. In Eurasia, fossil sheep are known by a few isolated records at a few Pleistocene sites in North China, eastern Siberia, and western Europe, but are so far absent from the Tibetan Plateau.

    In a paper published May 4 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, paleontologists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and La Brea Tar Pits and Museum at Los Angeles reported a new genus and species of fossil sheep from the Pliocene of Zanda Basin in Tibet. This finding extends the fossil record for the sheep into the Pliocene of the Tibetan Plateau, suggesting that the Tibetan Plateau, possibly including Tianshan-Altai, represents the ancestral home range(s) of mountain sheep and that these basal stocks were the ultimate source of all extant species, which is consistent with the Out-of-Tibet hypothesis regarding the origins of Ice Age megaherbivores.

    New fossil materials were collected from IVPP locality ZD0712 in Guanjingtai, Zanda County, Tibetan Autonomous Region in western Himalaya during the 2006 and 2007 field seasons. The holotype specimen (IVPP V18928), forming the main basis of this new species, is a nearly complete male left and right horncores. With a total horncore upper curve length of 443 mm, it is similar in size to some extant species of Ovis.

    This new extinct sheep, Protovis himalayensis, has a combination of features distinguishable from other species such as Ovis, Pseudois and Tossunnoria. Smaller than the living argali, it shares with Ovis posterolaterally arched horncores and partially developed sinuses and possesses several transitional characters leading to Ovis.


    New species from the Pliocene of Tibet reveals origin of Ice Age mountain sheep via @physorg_com

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    Agaresuchus fontisensis 
    Narváez, Brochu, Escaso, Pérez-García & Ortega, 2016   DOI:  10.1016/j.cretres.2016.04.018

    • A new Late Cretaceous European basal eusuchian crocodyliform is described.
    • Iberian species Allodaposuchus subjuniperus is reassigned to new genus Agaresuchus.
    • Phylogenetic analysis suggests Allodaposuchidae as the sister group of Crocodylia.
    • Synchronic and sympatric presence of two allodaposuchids in a fossil site is revealed.

    The recently described clade Allodaposuchidae includes European eusuchian crocodyliforms restricted to the Late Cretaceous (Campanian and Maastrichtian). A new allodaposuchid crocodyliform is here described based on two specimens from the upper Campanian–lower Maastrichtian fossil site of Lo Hueco (Cuenca, Spain). This new taxon,Agaresuchus fontisensis gen. et sp. nov., is described by two complete skulls and a lower jaw associated with one of them. This new species can be distinguished unambiguously from Lohuecosuchus megadontos, the other allodaposuchid known from the same fossil site. The presence of two allodaposuchid crocodyliforms in Lo Hueco allows the recognition of the synchronic and sympatric existence of two representatives of this clade for the first time. The new genus Agaresuchus, comprises a previously described Iberian allodaposuchid species, “Allodaposuchussubjuniperus, as Agaresuchus subjuniperus, new combination.

    Keywords: Basal Eusuchia; Allodaposuchidae; Agaresuchus gen. nov.; Agaresuchus fontisensis sp. nov.; Uppermost Cretaceous; Europe


    Study of the eusuchian crocodyliforms from the Upper Cretaceous fossil site of Lo Hueco (Cuenca, Spain) confirms the existence of two different species: Lohuecosuchus megadontos Narváez et al., 2015 and Agaresuchus fontisensis described here. These two eusuchians allow a review of the phylogenetic position of several European Campanian–Maastrichtian specimens. As suggested by Narváez et al. (2015), the genus Allodaposuchus should be restricted to specimens from central and eastern Europe ( Nopcsa, 1928 and Delfino et al., 2008), while both in the Iberian Peninsula and in southern France, allodaposuchid specimens are identified as members of a clade. Thus, a vicariant distribution pattern, like that recognized for other European Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades ( Le Loeuff, 1991, Pereda-Suberbiola, 2009, Weishampel et al., 2010 and Csiki-Sava et al., 2015), is identified for this lineage of crocodiles.

    In addition, the phylogenetic analysis reveals a more derived position for Allodaposuchidae than that proposed by Narváez et al. (2015). This clade is here supported as the sister group of Crocodylia. The lineage including Hylaeochampsidae is obtained as the most basal clade within Eusuchia, but an in-depth review of this group is necessary in order to clarify the phylogenetic position of Pietraroiasuchus, Pachycheilosuchus and Shamosuchus.

    The study of Ag. fontisensis has allowed attribution of another species to Agaresuchus: Allodaposuchus subjuniperus ( Puértolas-Pascual et al., 2014).

    On the other hand, the description of a new eusuchian member belonging to Allodaposuchidae in Lo Hueco allows recognition for the first time of the synchronic and sympatric existence of two representatives of this clade. Therefore, the allocation of fragmentary material found in a single locality or area to the same taxon must be considered with caution.

    I. Narváez, C.A. Brochu, F. Escaso, A. Pérez-García and F. Ortega. 2016. New Spanish Late Cretaceous Eusuchian reveals the Synchronic and Sympatric Presence of Two Allodaposuchids. Cretaceous Research. 65; 112–125. DOI:  10.1016/j.cretres.2016.04.018

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    Valenciennea yanoi 
    Suzuki, Senou & Randall, 2016


    The gobiid fish Valenciennea yanoi n. sp. is described from two specimens collected in 13–20 m at Iriomote Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Diagnostic features include the combination of a low first dorsal fin with a rounded margin, no black spot on the dorsal fin, 12 second-dorsal and anal-fin soft rays, no black spot and no yellow stripe on the snout, no black spot on the upper part of the eye, three narrow vivid sky-blue stripes on the lateral side of the head, and two broad orange and yellow stripes on the body reaching to the rear margin of the caudal fin. The new species is most similar to Valenciennea parva Hoese & Larson, 1994, but differs by lacking black spots on the snout and eye and by having broader orange and yellow stripes which reach the rear margin of the caudal fin.

    Toshiyuki Suzuki, Hiroshi Senou and John E. Randall. 2016. Valenciennea yanoi, A New Gobiid Fish from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 21: 1-9.

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    Mantophryne insignis
    Günther & Richards, 2016
    DOI:  10.3897/zse.92.7629

    We describe a striking new species of the microhylid frog genus Mantophryne from Woodlark Island in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. It is most similar to M. lateralis but is distinguished from that species by its more slender body, longer shanks, larger discs on the toes, and unique advertisement call. Most known specimens had, in life, a striking golden tan mid-dorsum bordered by broad blackish dorsolateral bands. The new species is currently known only from the rainforests of Woodlark Island, where males call from elevated perches up to 4 m above the ground from climbing Freycinetia plants, from crevices and hollows in elevated limestone outcrops, and from tree buttresses and on top of fallen logs on the forest floor. It is the most arboreal member of this predominantly terrestrial genus discovered to date.

    Key Words: Frog, new species, taxonomy, bioacoustics, New Guinea

    Distribution and ecological remarks: The three type specimens of Mantophryne insignis were detected by their calls, which were uttered at night from hidden perches 50–80 cm high in a limestone block, a tree buttress and a fallen log, all in lowland rainforest (30–180 m asl) in south-central Woodlark Island. However two of three additional specimens found calling on Woodlark Island by F. Kraus (pers. comm.) were approximately 4 m above the ground, in climbing pandanus (Freycinetia sp.) plants. The third specimen was calling from under a leaf on the forest floor. The slender body form, long legs and expanded toe discs (relative to congeners) reflect the unusually arboreal habits of this Mantophryne species. Given the uniformity of habitat across the island, and the lack of major topographic relief, it is likely that the species is widespread in lowland rainforest on Woodlark Island. This species has not been reported from any other islands in the region and may be endemic to Woodlark.

    Etymology: The name insignis is derived from the Latin ‘insignis’ meaning remarkable or conspicuous, and refers to the species’ distinctive colour pattern and unusual (for the genus) ecology.

     Rainer Günther and Stephen J. Richards. 2016. Description of A Striking New Mantophryne Species (Amphibia, Anura, Microhylidae) from Woodlark Island, Papua New Guinea. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 92(1); 111-118. DOI:  10.3897/zse.92.7629

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