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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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    Distribution of kingsnakes in the Lampropeltis getula complex in North America:
    (A) Lampropeltis californiae (banded); (B) Lampropeltis holbrooki; (C) Lampropeltis nigra; (D) Lampropeltisgetula getula; (E) Lampropeltis getula sticticeps”; (F) Lampropeltis getula floridana; (G–I)Lampropeltis getula meansi(patternless, striped, and wide-banded, respectively); (J) Lampropeltis splendida; (K) Lampropeltis getula nigrita; (L) Lampropeltis californiae (striped).

    Distributions are modified after Conant and Collins (1998), Krysko (2001), Stebbins (2003), Krysko and Judd (2006), and Pyron and Burbrink (2009a, 2009b).

    Kingsnakes of the Lampropeltis getula complex range throughout much of temperate and subtropical North America. Studies over the last century have used morphology and color pattern to describe numerous subspecies. More recently, DNA analyses have made invaluable contributions to our understanding of their evolution and taxonomy. We use genetic and ecological methods to test previous hypotheses of distinct evolutionary lineages by examining 66 total snakes and 1) analyzing phylogeographic structure using 2 mtDNA loci and 1 nuclear locus, 2) estimating divergence dates and historical demography among lineages in a Bayesian coalescent framework, and 3) applying ecological niche modeling (ENM). Our molecular data and ENMs illustrate that 3 previously recognized subspecies in the eastern United States comprise well-supported monophyletic lineages that diverged during the Pleistocene. The geographic boundaries of these 3 lineages correspond closely to known biogeographic barriers (Florida peninsula, Appalachian Mountains, and Apalachicola River) previously identified for other plants and animals, indicating shared geographic influences on evolutionary history. We conclude that genetic, ecological, and morphological data support recognition of these 3 lineages as distinct species (Lampropeltis floridana, Lampropeltis getula, and Lampropeltis meansi).

    Keywords: biogeography, divergence dating, mtDNA, speciation
    The geographical locations where three new kingsnake species are found in Florida are shown in this graphic.
    Graphic by James Young and Kenneth Krysko

    Kenneth L. Krysko, Leroy P. Nuñez, Catherine E. Newman and Brian W. Bowen. 2017. Phylogenetics of Kingsnakes, Lampropeltis getula Complex (Serpentes: Colubridae), in Eastern North America. Journal of Heredity [J Hered]. DOI:  10.1093/jhered/esw086 

    Researchers rename three state kingsnakes as separate species @floridamuseum

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    Yehuecauhceratops mudei 
    Rivera-Sylva, Frey, Stinnesbeck, Guzmán-Gutiérrez & González-Gonzáleza, 2017

    During the past decade, three new endemic taxa of ceratopsian ornithischians have been described from Mexico. Apparently, this group experienced a regional diversification in this area. To date Mexican Ceratopsia are represented by three species, one of which is a centrosaurine and two are chasmosaurines. Here we provide a critical review on Mexican ceratopsians and formally name a new centrosaurine ceratopsid species from the Aguja Formation as Yehuecauhceratops mudei. We also discuss possible causes for the rapid endemic diversification of Mexican ceratopsians.


    Héctor E. Rivera-Sylva, Eberhard Frey, Wolfgang Stinnesbeck, José Rubén Guzmán-Gutiérrez and Arturo H. González-Gonzáleza. 2017. Mexican Ceratopsids: Considerations on their Diversity and Evolution.  Journal of South American Earth Sciences. DOI:  10.1016/j.jsames.2017.01.008

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    Astyanax brucutu 
     Zanata, Lima, Dario & Gerhard, 2017


    Astyanax brucutu is described from the rio Pratinha, rio Paraguaçu basin, Bahia, Brazil. The new species is promptly distinguished from other characids by having four, rarely three, robust, rounded, and usualy tricuspid teeth on inner premaxillary series and similar teeth on dentary. The species is furthermore characterized by a series of unusual character states in the Characidae, including head blunt in lateral and dorsal views, longitudinal foreshortening of lower jaw, ventral margin of third infraorbital distinctly separated from horizontal limb of preopercle, leaving a broad area without superficial bones, mesethmoid anteroventrally expanded, and adductor mandibulae and primordial ligament remarkably developed. Analysis of gut contents of adults revealed the almost exclusive presence of crushed shells of tiny gastropods of the family Hydrobiidae. The robust anatomy of jaws, teeth, muscles and associated ligaments are likely adaptations to durophagy, a feeding strategy unusual among characids. Astyanax brucutu is known only from its type locality, an approximately 670 m long, transparent and isolated perennial epigean watercourse surrounded by subterranean or intermittent rivers. The distinctive combination of environmental features characterizing the area of occurrence of the new species is not observed elsewhere in the basin or adjacent basins. A series of severe anthropogenic impacts, associated with the restricted geographic range of the species, implies that A. brucutu should be regarded as Critically Endangered (CR) according to IUCN Red List Criteria.

    Keywords: Pisces, Neotropical fish, taxonomy, rio Paraguaçu, Dentition, Conservation

    Astyanax brucutu  Zanata, Lima, Dario & Gerhard, 2017

    paratype, UFBA 8095, not measured, collected with holotype and photographed alive.

    Etymology. The specific epithet “brucutu” is a Portuguese adjective, meaning a strong and rough person, in reference to the blunt and massive general aspect of the anterior portion of the cranium and lower jaw of the new species. A name in apposition. 


    Angela M. Zanata, Flávio C.T. Lima, Fabio di Dario and Pedro Gerhard. 2017. A New Remarkable and Critically Endangered Species of Astyanax Baird & Girard (Characiformes: Characidae) from Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil, with A Discussion on Durophagy in the Characiformes. Zootaxa.  4232(4); 491–510. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4232.4.2

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    Begonia elachista 
    Moonlight & Tebbitt


    The world’s smallest BegoniaBegonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov., is described and illustrated from a limestone outcrop in the Amazonian lowlands of Pasco Region, Peru. It is placed within the newly described, monotypic Begonia sect. MicrotuberosaMoonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov. and the phylogenetic affinities of the section are examined. Begonia elachista sp. nov. is considered Critically Endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria.

    Keywords: Begonia; sectional classification; limestone endemics; Peru; Amazonia

    Fig 3. Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. 
    [Begonia sect. Microtuberosa Moonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov.]A. Whole plant. B. Male and female flower, front view. C. Female flower, side view. D. Habit and associated vegetation. EF. Habitat and wild population.
    Scale bars: A = 1 cm; B = 5 mm; C = 2 mm; D = 2 cm; E–F = 10 cm.
    Photographed by Peter Moonlight. All from P. Moonlight & A. Daza 318 (E). 

    Taxonomic Treatment

    Class Equisetopsida C.Agardh (Agardh et al. 1825)
    Subclass Magnoliidae Novák ex Takht. (Takhtajan 1967)
    Superorder Rosanae Takht. (Takhtajan 1967)
    Order Cucurbitales Juss. ex Bercht. & J.Presl (von Berchtold & Presl 1820)

    Family Begoniaceae C.Agardh (Agardh 1824)

    Genus Begonia L. (Linnaeus 1753)

    Begonia sect. Microtuberosa Moonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov.

     Diagnosis: Begonia sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. is most closely related to B. sect. Trachelocarpus and three species of B. sect. Gaerdtia. Both of these sections are endemic to eastern Brazil and differ markedly from sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. in both their habit and floral characteristics (see Table 1). However, all three sections share their filaments fused at least at the base and B. sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. further shares its androecium morphology with B. sect. Pereira and its lack of bracteoles with B. sect. Trachelocarpus. The majority of both floral and vegetative characters are, however, markedly different among the three sections.

    Begonia sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. is readily identified as the only Neotropical section of Begonia with male flowers with four or fewer stamens, and the combination of ovaries with two or three locules and entire placentas, and a tuberous habit.

    Etymology: The name ‘Microtuberosa’ emphasises the diminutive and tuberous habit of the type species. 

    Type species: Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. 

    Distribution: On a limestone outcrop in lowland Amazonian Peru to the east of the Chemillén Cordillera at an altitude of 430 m.

    Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. sect. Microtuberosa

    Diagnosis: Begonia elachista sp. nov. is a highly distinct species with an unusual combination of features that is easily recognized as the only Peruvian species of Begonia that reaches maturity at fewer than 5 cm in height. It is also unique within Peru in having ovate leaves smaller than 3 × 3 cm and a combination of entire placentae and a tuberous habit.

    Etymology: The epithet ‘elachista’ comes from the Greek for ‘least’ and emphasizes the diminutive size of this species, which is the smallest known species of Begonia.

    Distribution and habitat: Begonia elachista sp. nov. is known only from the type locality in the Peruvian region of Pasco (Oxapampa Province) and has been collected on calcareous rocks by the entrance to a cave within primary lowland Amazonian forest, at an altitude of 430 m. It was observed growing on rocks free from other vascular plants in association with various bryophyte species in the almost continual shade of the surrounding forest.


    Peter Watson Moonlight,Carlos Reynel andMark Tebbitt. 2017.  Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov., An Enigmatic New Species and A New Section of Begonia (Begoniaceae) from Peru. European Journal of Taxonomy.  281: 1–13.  DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2017.281

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     Keilhauia nui 

    Delsett, Roberts, Druckenmiller & Hurum, 2017
    reconstruction: Esther van Hulsen


    In spite of a fossil record spanning over 150 million years, pelvic girdle evolution in Ichthyopterygia is poorly known. Here, we examine pelvic girdle size relationships using quantitative methods and new ophthalmosaurid material from the Slottsmøya Member Lagerstätte of Svalbard, Norway. One of these new specimens, which preserves the most complete ichthyosaur pelvic girdle from the Cretaceous, is described herein as a new taxon, Keilhauia nui gen. et sp. nov. It represents the most complete Berriasian ichthyosaur known and the youngest yet described from the Slottsmøya Member. It is diagnosed on the basis of two autapomorphies from the pelvic girdle, including an ilium that is anteroposteriorly expanded at its dorsal end and an ischiopubis that is shorter or subequal in length to the femur, as well as a unique character combination. The Slottsmøya Member Lagerstätte ichthyosaurs are significant in that they represent a diverse assemblage of ophthalmosaurids that existed immediately preceding and across the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary. They also exhibit considerable variation in pelvic girdle morphology, and expand the known range in size variation of pelvic girdle elements in the clade.

    Systematic Paleontology

    Ichthyosauria de Blainville 1835
    Neoichthyosauria Sander 2000
    Thunnosauria Motani 1999

    Ophthalmosauridae Baur 1887

    Keilhauia gen. nov.

    Keilhauia nui sp. nov.

    Holotype and only specimen: PMO 222.655, an articulated, partial skeleton consisting of an incomplete rostrum, the dorsal and preflexural vertebrae, the right pectoral girdle and forefin, most of the pelvic girdle and both femora.

    Etymology: Genus name in honor of Baltazar Mathias Keilhau (1797–1858), the first Norwegian geologist to do fieldwork in the Arctic. He was part of an expedition to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in 1827. His collection is housed at the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, where PMO 222.655 is also housed. Species name in honor of Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) working to protect the Arctic environment, who celebrate their 50 year anniversary in 2017.

    Holotype locality: Island of Spitsbergen, north side of Janusfjellet, approximately 13 km north of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. UTM WGS84 33X 0518847 8696044

    Holotype horizon and stage: Slottsmøya Member, Agardhfjellet Formation, Janusfjellet Subgroup, early Berriasian, Early Cretaceous. 44.8 metres above the echinoderm marker bed.

    [lower] Fig 3. Skeletal map of Keilhauia nui (PMO 222.655) viewed from the side stratigraphically down, i.e. the prepared side. Vertebrae numbers (“x#”) indicate position relative to the anterior end of the preserved skeleton and do not correspond to their actual position in the column. Dashed lines show three faults. Scale bar equals 50 cm. Modified from Delsett et al. 2016.

     Lene Liebe Delsett, Aubrey J. Roberts, Patrick S. Druckenmiller and Jørn H. Hurum. 2017. A New Ophthalmosaurid (Ichthyosauria) from Svalbard, Norway, and Evolution of the Ichthyopterygian Pelvic Girdle. PLoS ONE. 12 (1): e0169971. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169971

    Nyoppdaget fiskeøgle oppkalt etter Natur og Ungdom @NaturogUngdom

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    Bronchocela burmana  
     Blanford, 1878 

    Recent fieldwork in southern Tanintharyi revealed the presence of a small Green Crested Lizard in the wet evergreen forest. We generated mtDNA sequence data (ND2) that demonstrates that this population’s nearest relative is Bronchocela rayaensisGrismer et al., 2015 of Pulau Langkawi, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia and Phuket Island. Morphologically the Burmese Bronchocela shares many features with B. rayaensis, which potentially would make this recently described Thai-Malay species a synonym of Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878; however, we interpret the genetic and morphological differences to reflect evolutionary divergence and recommend the recognition of both species.

    Keywords:  Reptilia, Southeast Asia, Tanintharyi Division, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, morphology, molecular phylogeny, synonymy, nomenclature

    Figure 1. Distribution of Bronchocela burmana (solid circles) in southern peninsular Myanmar, Taylor’s (1963) two localities for B. cristatella (open squares) in southern Thailand, and B. rayaensis type locality (star) in northwestern Peninsular Malaysia and its newly reported localities (open circles) in Thailand (Grismer et al. 2016). A solid diamond denotes the type locality of B. burmana. The red dashed lines depict the political boundaries between Myanmar-Thailand, Cambodia-Thailand, and Malaysia-Thailand. 

    Figure 3. Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878 from the Lenya area (circa 11.68N 99.42E). A dorsolateral view of a living Burmese Crested Lizard, USNM 587483. Photo by DGM. 

    Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878
    Burmese Green Crested Lizard

    BronchocelaburmanaBlanford, 1878,
    Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 1878(6): 141.

    A Bronchocela lizard with a short nuchal crest of six to nine erect triangular crest scales; no middorsal crest of raised scales on trunk. Snout-vent length of adults range from 80 to 94 mm with tail length 240 to 360% of snout-vent length; limbs slender, forelimbs 42–52% of SVL, hindlimbs 86–97% of SVL; digits long and slender with third finger slightly longer than fourth finger, fourth toe distinctly longer that third toe; head medium sized (25–27% of SVL); head with distinct canthal ridge, narrow triangular shaped from dorsal view, length > width ≈ height and approximately 26 % of SVL; moderately large eye (OrbD/HeadL ~26–28%) and about twice diameter of tympanum (continuous with temporal surface).

    General description
    Detailed metric and scalation features are presented above in the Results section, also Table 2. Bronchocela burmana is a slender green lizard with long tail, usually 2.5–3.5X snout-vent length. In spite of its 80 to 94 mm body length, its slenderness and thin legs give it a delicate appearance and make it immediately recognizable among the other lizards of southern Tanintharyi.
    In life, Bronchocela burmana appears uniformly green (Fig. 2). Preservation changed the overall coloration to light olive but highlights a light rufous vertical bar in the temporal area.

    George R. Zug, Daniel G. Mulcahy and Jens V. Vindum. 2017. Resurrection of Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878 for the Green Crested Lizard (Squamata, Agamidae) of southern Myanmar. ZooKeys. 657: 141-156. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.657.11600
    Grismer, L. L., JR. P. L. Wood, Cheol H. Lee, Evan S. H. Quah, Shahrul Anuar, Ehwan Ngadi & Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2015. An Integrative Taxonomic Review of the Agamid Genus Bronchocela (Kuhl, 1820) from Peninsular Malaysia with Descriptions of New Montane and Insular Endemics. Zootaxa. 3948(1): 1–23. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3948.1.1

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    Argia elongata 
    Garrison & von Ellenrieder, 2017


    Seven new species of Argia are described, five of which occur in Costa Rica: Argia calverti n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Costa Rica, Cartago Prov., Tapantí Reserve, 1,310 m, 6 vii 1963, F. G. Thompson leg., in FSCA); Argiacarolus n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Costa Rica, San José Prov., El Rodeo Biological Reserve, 7 km W of Villa Colón, 9°54' N, 84°16' W, 561 m, 10–13 vii 1990, T. W. Donnelly leg., in FSCA)Argia elongata n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Costa Rica, Cartago Prov., Reventazón river, SE of Turrialba by highway 10, 9°52'56'' N, 83°38'49'' W, 561 m, 10 viii 1979, R. W. & J. A. Garrison leg., in CSCA)Argia haberi n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Costa Rica, San José Prov., Bosque del Tolomuco, km 118 on Pan American highway, in seeps and trickles through brushy pasture on forested hillside, 9°28'18'' N, 83°41'48'' W, 1,710 m, 27 iii 2006, F. Sibley leg., in FSCA)Argia schorri n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Costa Rica, Puntarenas Prov., 2.8 mi E of Golfito, 8°39' N, 83°7' W, 35 m, 4 vii 1967, O. S. Flint, Jr. & M. A. Ortiz B. leg., in USNM), and two which are so far only known from Mexico and Ecuador respectively: Argia rudolphi n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Mexico, Puebla State, Zihuateutla, Sierra de Huauchinango, La Unión, in drainage area, 20°14'25'' N, 97°53'38'' W, 596 m, 21 v 1987, R. Novelo & A. Gómez leg., in CSCA) and Argia schneideri n. sp. (Holotype ♂, Ecuador, Napo Prov., Las Palmas, on Anzu river in Napo river watershed, 11 xii 1936, W. Clark-MacIntyre leg., in UMMZ). All the new species, as well as closely related species needed for diagnosis including A. anceps Garrison, A. cupraurea Calvert, Acuprea (Hagen), A. extranea (Hagen), A. fissa Selys, A. fulgida Navás, A. oenea Hagen in Selys, A. popoluca Calvert, Arhoadsi Calvert, and A. westfalli Garrison, are illustrated and diagnosed from their congeners and their known distribution areas are mapped.

    Keywords: Odonata, Damselfly, Neotropics, new species, diagnoses, distribution maps

    Male of Argia elongata at La Lindora, Monteverde Province, Costa Rica,
    photo: William A. Haber 

    Rosser W. Garrison and Natalia von Ellenrieder. 2017. New Species of the Damselfly Genus Argia from Mexico, Central America and Ecuador with An Emphasis on Costa Rica (Insecta: Odonata: Coenagrionidae).  Zootaxa. 4235(1); 1–93. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4235.1.1

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    Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensisN. manalariN. pulivijayaniN. radcliffeiN. robinmooreiN. sabarimalai N. webilla 
    Garg, Suyesh, Sukesan & Biju. 2017
     DOI:   10.7717/peerj.3007 


    The Night Frog genus Nyctibatrachus (Family Nyctibatrachidae) represents an endemic anuran lineage of the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot, India. Until now, it included 28 recognised species, of which more than half were described recently over the last five years. Our amphibian explorations have further revealed the presence of undescribed species of Nights Frogs in the southern Western Ghats. Based on integrated molecular, morphological and bioacoustic evidence, seven new species are formally described here as Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus manalari sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai sp. nov. and Nyctibatrachus webilla sp. nov., thereby bringing the total number of valid Nyctibatrachus species to 35 and increasing the former diversity estimates by a quarter. Detailed morphological descriptions, comparisons with other members of the genus, natural history notes, and genetic relationships inferred from phylogenetic analyses of a mitochondrial dataset are presented for all the new species. Additionally, characteristics of male advertisement calls are described for four new and three previously known species. Among the new species, six are currently known to be geographically restricted to low and mid elevation regions south of Palghat gap in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and one is probably endemic to high-elevation mountain streams slightly northward of the gap in Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, four new species are also among the smallest known Indian frogs. Hence, our discovery of several new species, particularly of easily overlooked miniaturized forms, reiterates that the known amphibian diversity of the Western Ghats of India still remains underestimated.

    • Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis sp. nov.
     Athirappilly Night Frog

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/891, adult male, from Thavalakuzhipara (10°16′53″N 76°41′25.6″E, 530 m), Vazhachal forest division, Thrissur district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 11 September 2015.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/892–895, four adult males, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/896, adult female, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 11 July 2016.

    Etymology. The species epithet is an adjective that refers to Athirappilly falls, which is in close vicinity of the type locality.

    Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis is currently known only from its type locality in the southern Western Ghats state of Kerala. All the specimens were collected from shallow streams or marshy areas covered with thick vegetation or leaf litter. Collection site was located inside a secondary forest. Calling males were found hiding under vegetation either inside the shallow stream or on the edges. Calls were heard and recorded during the late evening between 18:00–22:00 h.

    Remark. Biju et al. (2011) erroneously interpreted the “fourth toe disc with dorso-terminal groove, cover rounded distally” in Nyctibatrachus kempholeyensis. In the present study we confirm that the fourth toe disc of N. kempholeyensis has a dorso-terminal groove with cover notched distally.

    • Nyctibatrachus manalari sp. nov.
     Manalar Night Frog

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/897, adult male, from Upper Manalar (09°34′29.31″N 77° 20′10.27″E, 1564 m), Periyar Tiger Reserve, Idukki district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 15 July 2016.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/898–901, four adult males, collected along with the holotype.

    Etymology. The species is named after the type locality Upper Manalar in Periyar Tiger Reserve, from where the type series was collected. The specific name manalari is a noun in the genitive case.

    Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus manalari is currently known only from its type locality, which is located south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hiding under herbs and grasses growing on or at the edges of a large rocky area inside a primary evergreen forest patch. Calling males were located and recorded at night (between 19:00–21:00 h), but calls were also heard during the day (around 14:00 h). One of the calling males was found next to an egg clutch (eight eggs) deposited under the ground vegetation.

    • Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani sp. nov. 
    Vijayan’s Night Frog 

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/902, adult male, from Pandipath (08°40′42.0″N 77°11′38.6″E, 1,250 m), Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB, SG and Vijayan on 19 June 2016.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/903–905, three adult males collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/906, adult male, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 29 June 2015.

    Etymology. This species is named after Mr. Vijayan Kani for consistently offering tremendous field support over two decades to SDB and his students during studies in the Western Ghats. Vijayan, a tribal from Agasthyamala hills of Kerala, acquired the name ‘Pulivijayan’ after he braved a leopard’s attack. The name is derived from two words; ‘puli’ meaning leopard in Malayalam (official language of Kerala state) and ‘vijayan’. The species epithet ‘pulivijayani’ is used as a noun in the genitive case. The specific word ‘puli’ also refers to leopard-like spots observed on the dorsal surface of this species.

    Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in Agasthyamala Hills, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hiding under herbs and grasses on marshy ground (usually away from water) inside an evergreen forest. Males were observed calling during the day (around 11:00 h) and in the late evening (18:00 h).

    • Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov. 
    Radcliffe’s Night Frog 

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/920, adult male, from Thiashola estate (11°13′48.2″N 76° 37′02.1″E, 1920 m), Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 09 July 2016.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/921–922, two adult males, collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/923–924, two adult males, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 08 July 2016.

    Etymology. This species is named after the late Major Richard Radcliffe in recognition of his contribution towards biodiversity conservation in the Nilgiris. The species name radcliffei is a noun in the genitive case.

    Distribution and natural history.Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov. is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in the Nilgiris, north of Palghat gap in the southern Western Ghats state of Tamil Nadu. All the specimens were found in crevices under rocks in a hill stream inside the tea estate. In our study, we observed tadpoles of this species during the month of October 2014 and confirmed their identity using DNA. Since calls or breeding activity was not observed at the time of collection (in July), we presume that this species breeds during the early monsoon period. Collections were made between 20:00–23:00 h.

    • Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei sp. nov. 
    Robin Moore’s Night Frog 

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/925, adult male, from Kakkachi (08°33′02.6″N, 77°23′29.6″E, 1290 m), Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu state, India, collected by SDB on 30 August 2002.

    Etymology. The species is named for Dr Robin Moore, a wildlife photographer and conservationist, in appreciation of his contribution to amphibian conservation. The species name robinmoorei is considered as a noun in the genitive case.

    Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Tamil Nadu. Animals were collected from a marshy area covered with thick ground vegetation, close to a rivulet inside primary forest. Males were heard calling during daytime (12:00–14:00 h) and in the late evening (around 18:00 h).

    • Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai sp. nov. 
    Sabarimala Night Frog 

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/927, adult male, from Pamba (09°24′17.6″N 77°04′11.6″E, 210 m), Pathanamthitta district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 17 July 2016.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/928–931, four adult males collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/932, adult female, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB, SG, RS, SS on 02 July 2015.

    Etymology. The species is named after Sabarimala, a pilgrim site located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, from the surroundings of which the type series was collected. The species name is considered as a noun in the genitive case.

    Distribution and natural history.Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai is currently known only from its type locality, which is located close to Sabarimala in Periyar Tiger Reserve, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Individuals were located under leaf litter in a shallow forest stream or under the grasses on wet rocky terrain. A calling male was found positioned next to an egg clutch (10 eggs) deposited inside a slit on a tree stump about one foot above ground. Males were observed calling both during the day (between 15:00–17:00 h) and night (20:00–22:00 h).

    • Nyctibatrachus webilla sp. nov. 
    Kadalar Night Frog 

    Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/933, adult male, from Kadalar (10°07′52.0″N 77°00′01.8″E, 1429 m), Idukki district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 08 June 2016.

    Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/934, adult male, collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/935–936, two adult males, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 18 August 2013.

    Etymology. The species name is derived from the English term ‘web’ between toes and the Malayalam word ‘illa’, meaning ‘no’— referring to the prominently reduced foot webbing in this species in comparison to its close relative Nyctibatrachus deccanensis. The species name is treated as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name.

    Distribution and natural history.Nyctibatrachus webilla is currently known only from its type locality, which is located south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hidden either under leaf litter or vegetation on marshy ground close to a shallow rivulet. The specific collection site was located inside a disturbed forest patch adjacent to tea estate. Males were collected and observed calling both during the day (around 10:00–12:00 h) and night (between 19:00–22:00 h).

     Figure 12: Phylogenetic relationships and distribution of the seven new Nyctibatrachus species described in the study.
    (A) Maximum Likelihood phylogram (GTR +G +I; −Ln L = 3621.582) for the 16S mitochondrial DNA dataset of 540 bp representing 35 Nyctibatrachus species (28 previously known +seven new species) from the Western Ghats of India and an outgroup taxa. Bayesian Posterior Probabilities (BPP) and RaxML bootstrap values of >50 are indicated above and below the branches, respectively. (B) Type localities of the new species in the southern Western Ghats of Peninsular India. Distribution points are referenced with species names in Fig. 12A. The Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot region is shaded orange. 

    Sonali Garg, Robin Suyesh, Sandeep Sukesan and S.D. Biju. 2017. Seven New Species of Night Frogs (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with Remarkably High Diversity of Diminutive Forms. PeerJ. 5:e3007. DOI:   10.7717/peerj.3007

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    The family Galagidae (African galagos or bushbabies) comprises five genera: Euoticus Gray, 1872; Galago Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1796; Galagoides Smith, 1833; Otolemur Coquerel, 1859; and Sciurocheirus Gray, 1872, none of which is regarded as monotypic, but some (Euoticus and Otolemur) certainly qualify as oligotypic. We argue for the recognition of a sixth genus, if the taxonomy is to reflect galagid evolution accurately. Genetic evidence has consistently demonstrated that the taxa currently referred to the genus Galagoides are not monophyletic but form two clades (a western and an eastern clade) that do not share an exclusive common ancestor; we review 20 years of genetic studies that corroborate this conclusion. Further, we compare vocalizations emitted by small-bodied galagids with proposed phylogenetic relationships and demonstrate congruence between these data sets. Morphological evidence, however, is not entirely congruent with genetic reconstructions; parallel dwarfing in the two clades has led to convergences in skull size and shape that have complicated the classification of the smaller species. We present a craniodental morphometric analysis of small-bodied galagid genera that identifies distinguishing characters for the genera and supports our proposal that five taxa currently subsumed under Galagoides (Galagoides cocosGalagoides grantiGalagoides orinusGalagoides rondoensis and Galagoides zanzibaricus) be placed in their own genus, for which we propose the name Paragalago.

    Keywords: Biogeography, Bushbaby, Craniodental Morphometrics, Galagoides, Molecular Phylogeny, Paragalago, Vocalizations.

    Map showing approximate geographic ranges of the two independent dwarf galago clades, Galagoides (red) and the eastern dwarf galagos [Paragalago] (blue). The type localities of the species comprising the genera are indicated by symbols. In the case of Galagoides demidoff, the type locality is estimated from Fischer’s (1806) description. 

    A Kenya coast galago (Paragalago cocos).
    Photo: Luca Pozzi

    Judith C. Masters, Fabien Génin, Sébastien Couette, Colin P. Groves, Stephen D. Nash, Massimiliano Delpero and Luca Pozzi. 2017. A New Genus for the eastern Dwarf Galagos (Primates: Galagidae). Zool J Linn Soc. zlw028. DOI:  10.1093/zoolinnean/zlw028
    African bush babies gain a new genus via @mongabay

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    Melanorivulus nigropunctatus 
    Volcan, Klotzel & Lanés, 2017    


    Two new species of the genus Melanorivulus are herein described from the middle Rio Verde drainage, upper Rio Paraná basin, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Both new species are members of the Melanorivulus pictus clade, diagnosed by having ventral process of angulo-articular vestigial and flanks intense greenish blue or greenish golden to purplish blue above anal fin base in males. Melanorivulus nigropunctatus, new species, from wetlands of a small drainage tributary of right side of the Rio Verde, differs from all other congeners by possessing black dots over the head and body in both sexes and pectoral fin orange with a dark grey margin in males. Melanorivulus ofaie, new species, is found in a similar environment, but at the opposite margin of the Rio Verde. It is distinguished by males presenting flank greenish blue to light blue, with seven to nine oblique chevron-like red bars, ventral portion of head whitish with dark brown spots, dorsal fin yellow with two to three transverse broad red oblique stripes and distal region red, anal fin light orangish yellow, basal area light blue with short red bars and distal portion with a dark red margin, and caudal fin yellow or orangish yellow with three to four vertical red bars in the dorsal and middle portions, sometimes with a orange distal margin. Both new species are considered endangered due to the loss and degradation of their habitat.

    Keywords: Pisces, killifish, Cerrado biome, conservation, taxonomy, Neotropical region

    Matheus Vieira Volcan, Bruno Klotzel and Luis Esteban Krause Lanés. 2017. Two New Species of Melanorivulus (Cyprinodontiformes: Cynolebiidae) from Rio Verde drainage, Upper Rio Paraná Basin, Brazil.
    Zootaxa.  4236(1); 82–94.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4236.1.4

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    Pempheris gasparinii 
     Pinheiro, Bernardi & Rocha, 2016

    Pempheris gasparinii sp. n. is described from five specimens, 59.1–68.0 mm in standard length. It is only known to occur in the shallow reefs of Trindade Island, 1200 km east of the Brazilian coast, in the southwestern Atlantic. Pempheris gasparinii is the third recognized species of Pempheris in the Atlantic Ocean. This new species is morphologically similar to its close relative, P. poeyi, differing by the number of lateral-line scales (51–54 in P. gasparinii vs. 47–49 in P. poeyi), scales below lateral line (10–11 vs. 9), circumpeduncular scales (11–12 vs. 13), head and caudal peduncle lengths (2.7–3.3 vs 3.5–4.0 in head length). Moreover, Pempheris gasparinii shows a 4% genetic divergence from P. poeyi at the cytochrome oxidase I locus (COI), consistent with a lineage split at the beginning of the Pleistocene. This new species represents the 12th endemic fish species from Trindade Island.

    Keywords: Endemism, COI, Vitória-Trindade Chain, oceanic island, Brazil, reef fish


    Figure 1. Underwater picture ofPempheris gasparinii sp. n. at the Parcel Pool, Trindade Island (top; photo J.L. Gasparini), and a specimen shortly after death (bottom; photo T. Simon). 

    Diagnosis: Pempheris gasparinii differs from its congeners by the following combination of character states: Head 3.2–3.7 in SL; body depth 2.7 in SL; head length 3.2–3.7 in SL; orbit diameter 1.9–2.7 in HL; caudal-peduncle depth 2.7–3.3 in HL; dorsal rays IV, 8–9; anal-fin rays III, 24–25; pectoral rays 15; lateral-line scales 51–54; scales below the lateral line 10–11; circumpeduncular scales 11–12; and gill rakers 23–25. Color in life mostly silvery, darker from mid-body to the lateral line and greenish above; fins are translucent with a darker tail. Color in alcohol light brown to silvery with darker dorsum and translucent fins; caudal fin darker. Additionally, mitochondrial DNA COI sequences show a divergence of at least 4% from all Atlantic congeners.

    Etymology: The specific name honors our ichthyologist colleague and friend João Luiz Rosetti Gasparini, one of the pioneers on the study of taxonomy and biodiversity of reef fishes in Brazil and Trindade Island. “Gaspa” has contributed to nearly half of the descriptions of reef-fish species from Brazilian waters in the last two decades. To be treated as a noun in apposition.

    Distribution and habitat: Pempheris gasparinii sp. n. is known only from the type locality, Trindade Island, Espírito Santo, Brazil. It has only been found schooling in the very shallow waters of the rocky Parcel pools (Figure 3).

    Figure 3. Parcel Pool, Trindade Island, Brazil, type locality of Pempheris gasparinii sp. n. (photo H.T. Pinheiro). 

     Hudson T. Pinheiro, Giacomo Bernardi and Luiz A. Rocha. 2016. Pempheris gasparinii, A New Species of Sweeper Fish from Trindade Island, southwestern Atlantic (Teleostei, Pempheridae). ZooKeys. 561; 105-115. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.561.7263

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    Live birth has evolved many times independently in vertebrates, such as mammals and diverse groups of lizards and snakes. However, live birth is unknown in the major clade Archosauromorpha, a group that first evolved some 260 million years ago and is represented today by birds and crocodilians. Here we report the discovery of a pregnant long-necked marine reptile (Dinocephalosaurus) from the Middle Triassic (∼245 million years ago) of southwest China showing live birth in archosauromorphs. Our discovery pushes back evidence of reproductive biology in the clade by roughly 50 million years, and shows that there is no fundamental reason that archosauromorphs could not achieve live birth. Our phylogenetic models indicate that Dinocephalosaurus determined the sex of their offspring by sex chromosomes rather than by environmental temperature like crocodilians. Our results provide crucial evidence for genotypic sex determination facilitating land-water transitions in amniotes.

    Figure 3: Skeleton of the new Dinocephalosaurus specimen LPV 30280.
    (a) Photograph. The three separate blocks are arranged following their original positions in the field. (b) Interpretive drawing. Dotted line indicates the rough course of the vertebral column of the adult. The different colour in the cervical region aims to facilitate the association of cervical ribs with corresponding vertebrae. (c) Photo showing a close-up of the embryo preserved in the stomach region of LPV 30280. (d) Interpretive drawing of the embryo. (e) Photo showing a close-up of the perleidid fish preserved in the stomach region of LPV 30280. (f) Artist's reconstruction of Dinocephalosaurus showing the rough position of the embryo within the mother. ax, axis; car, caudal rib; crh, cervical rib head; cv, cervical vertebrae; d4, fourth digit; f, perleidid fish; fe, femur; fi, fibula; h, humerus; ha, haemal arch; m, mandible; mt1, metatarsal 1; mt5, metatarsal 5; poz, postzygapophysis; prz, prezygapophysis; ra, radius; ti, tibia; ul, ulna. Scale bar, 20 cm. 

    Jun Liu, Chris L. Organ, Michael J. Benton, Matthew C. Brandley and Jonathan C. Aitchison. 2017. Live Birth in An Archosauromorph Reptile. Nature Communications. 8, 14445. DOI:  10.1038/ncomms14445

    Everyone thought this ancient reptile only laid eggs. They were wrong.

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    Arulenus miae 
    Skejo& Caballero, 2016  


    Arulenus miae Skejo & Caballero sp. nov. is described from Buknidon and Davao, Mindanao, the Philippines. The species was serendipitously found in an amateur photo posted in Orthoptera Facebook group by Leif Gabrielsen. Holotype and paratype are deposited in Nederlands Centrum voor Biodiversiteit in Leiden, the Netherlands. Detailed comparison with Arulenus validispinus Stål, 1877 is given. A new diagnosis of the genus and A. validispinus is given. The paper is part of the revision of the subfamily Discotettiginae. This study provides a good example of how social networks can be used as a modern tool of discovering biodiversity if the regulations of the International Code of the Zoological Nomenclature are followed. A brief insight into habitat and ecology of this rainforest and mountainous species is presented.

    Keywords: Orthoptera, social networks, Tetrigoidea, Buknidon, Mindanao, Mia, rainforest, Arulenus validispinus

    Order Orthoptera Olivier, 1789
    Family Tetrigidae Rambur, 1838
    Subfamily Discotettiginae Hancock, 1907

    Type genus:Discotettix Costa, 1864

    Arulenus miae Skejo & Caballero sp. nov.

    Etymology. The specific epithet is genitive case of the first Latin declension (a declension) derived from the name Mia, after M. Jurić, JS’s good friend—a student of the fashion and textile design at the Faculty of textile technology (Zagreb, Croatia).  

    FIGURE 1. Arulenus miae Skejo & Caballero sp. nov., the very first live female photo of the species taken by Leif Gabrielsen, and posted on Facebook 'Orthoptera' webpage.

    Josip Skejo and Joy Honezza S. Caballero. 2016. A Hidden Pygmy Devil from the Philippines: Arulenus miae sp. nov. — A New Species Serendipitously Discovered in An Amateur Facebook Post  (Tetrigidae: Discotettiginae).
    Zootaxa. 4067(3); 393–393. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4067.3.7

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    Lysipomia petrosa  T.J. Ayers


    Lysipomia petrosa from Azuay province, Ecuador, is described as new and compared with the related species L. bilineata and L. caespitosa.

    Keywords: endemism, páramo, taxonomy, Eudicots

    Figure 2.  Lysipomia petrosa  T.J. Ayers, Habitat.
    Photos by T. Ayers. 

    Lysipomia petrosa T.J. Ayers, sp. nov.  
    Diagnosis:— Glabrous perennial with thick branching rhizomes covered with densely crowded, overlapping persistent leaves or leaf bases. Leaves narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acute with a terminal gland, the margins entire, slightly thickened and whitish with age, with 2–3 irregular pairs of glands. Flowers pseudo-resupinate, corolla bilabiate, fruit sessile, hidden among persistent leaf bases, globose, thickened, with 10 broad ribs

    Etymology:— The species is named for its specific habitat perched well above ground level where it grows in mossy crevices of large boulders that rise above the shrubby páramo.

    Tina J. Ayers, Petr Sklenář and Diana M. Fernández. 2017. A New Species of Lysipomia (Campanulaceae) from Ecuador. Phytotaxa. 297(1); 097–100. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.297.1.13

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     Neoromicia stanleyi 
     Goodman, Kearney, Michèle, Ratsimbazafy & Hassanin, 2017 


    The taxonomy of sub-Saharan small insectivore bats of the family Vespertilionidae is unresolved and currently five named species of the genus Neoromicia are recognized from southern Africa, with N. melckorum considered a synonym of N. capensis. Since several years, the name “N. cf. melckorum” has been used in the literature to designate an apparently undescribed and moderately large bodied vespertilionid bat known from different localities in southern and southeastern Africa. Using new data from molecular genetics, bacular morphology, and cranio-dental characters, we conclude that N. melckorum sensu stricto is indeed nested within N. capensis and obtain the needed evidence to formally describe “N. cf. melckorum”, named herein as Neoromicia stanleyi sp. nov. On the basis of molecular and bacular evidence, N. stanleyi is found in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, and using a combination of other characters is presumed to occur in northern South Africa and Malawi. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses based on 12S rRNA sequences indicate that it belongs to a clade containing four species of Neoromicia (N. capensis, N. malagasyensis, N. matroka, and N. robertsi) and Laephotis. Neoromicia stanleyi shows at least 3.2% nucleotide divergence from its closest relatives. It is larger in cranial characters than other members of the capensis group occurring in the southern portion of Africa, and a number of bacular characters distinguish N. stanleyi from N. capensis.

    Keywords: Mammalia, taxonomy, morphology, molecular genetics, Neoromicia, new species, southern Africa

     Steven M. Goodman, Teresa Kearney, Malalatiana Michèle, Ratsimbazafy and Alexandre Hassanin. 2017. Description of A New Species of Neoromicia (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from southern Africa: A name for “N. cf. melckorum”.
    Zootaxa. 4236(2); 351–374. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4236.2.10

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    Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis
    Katongo, Seehausen & Snoeks, 2017  


    Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis sp. nov. is described from Lake Mweru in the upper Congo River drainage, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. This species, which appears to be endemic to the lake, lives in sympatry with P. philander. Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis sp. nov. is distinguished from P. philander in nuptial males by the presence of an orange colour on the ventral part of the body and the proximal parts of the anal and caudal fins, a broad band of bright white on the distal edge of anal and caudal fins, a uniform grey head and dorsum, and a subtruncate caudal fin. In addition, P. pyrrhocaudalis has a shorter snout, a narrower head, a smaller interorbital distance, a smaller pre-anal distance, a more slender caudal peduncle and fewer scales around the caudal peduncle in both sexes.

    Keywords: Pisces, Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis, description, south-eastern Africa

    Cyprian Katongo, Ole Seehausen and Jos Snoeks. 2017. A New Species of Pseudocrenilabrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Mweru in the Upper Congo River System. Zootaxa.  4237(1); 181–190.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4237.1.10

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    Megatibicen harenosus
    Cole, 2017


    Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.

    Keywords: Hemiptera, bioacoustics, endemic, peripatric speciation, evolutionary species concept


     Jeffrey A. Cole. 2017. A New Species of Megatibicen endemic to Mescalero-Monahans Shinnery Sands (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae).
      Zootaxa.  4236(3); 553–562. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4236.3.9

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    Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci 
    Pavan, Mendes-Oliveira & Voss, 2017 

    We describe a new species of the didelphid marsupial genus Monodelphis from Brazil, where it appears to be widely distributed in the states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre. Monodelphis saci, new species, belongs to the subgenus Mygalodelphys, and analyses of DNA sequence data suggest that it is most closely related to M. handleyiM. osgoodi, and M. peruviana. Diagnostic morphological traits include pelage coloration, qualitative aspects of craniodental morphology, and a distinctive range of morphometric variation. The new species has sometimes been misidentified in the literature as Mkunsi, a distinct but apparently allopatric taxon. Monodelphis saci occurs sympatrically with MemiliaeMglirina, and M. touan in the rainforested lowlands south of the Amazon River.

    FIG. 4. Adult female of Monodelphis saci (MPEG 42956), from Mina do Palito, Itaituba, Pará, Brazil.
    Photos: A.O. Maciel. 

    Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci, new species

    Distribution: Monodelphis saci is currently known from at least 14 localities scattered along the south bank of the Amazon in the Brazilian states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre (fig. 2).

    Habitats and sympatry: At Bom Jardim, Penedo, and Boca do Rato, Monodelphis saci was found in both primary and disturbed forest (logged areas and secondary vegetation) on both banks of the Rio Tapajós. Capture sites at these localities included terra firme forest characterized by a relatively low canopy (10–15 m) with numerous lianas (fig. 3A–B), as well as seasonally flooded riparian forest characterized by clayey soil, abundant epiphytes, palm trees, and herbaceous vegetation (fig. 3C).

    Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to the Brazilian folkloric character Saci, a one-legged gnome with a red cap. Saci is allegedly derived from the Yaci Yaterê of Tupi-Guarani mythology, to which elements of African and European folklore have been added over the last several centuries (Cascudo, 1947).

    Silvia E. Pavan, Ana C. Mendes-Oliveira and Robert S. Voss. 2017. A New Species of Monodelphis (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) from the Brazilian Amazon.
    AMERICAN MUSEUM NOVITATES. Number 3872; 1-20.

    New Redheaded Opossum Named After Magical Gnome 


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    Galagoides kumbirensis 
    Svensson, Bersacola, Mills, Munds, Nijman, Perkin, Masters, Couette, Nekaris & Bearder. 2017

    DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23175  


    Based on vocalization recordings of an unknown galago species, our main objectives were to compare morphology and call structure with known closely-related taxa and describe a new species of galago.

    Materials and methods
    We conducted field surveys in three forest habitats along the escarpment region in western Angola (Kumbira Forest, Bimbe Area, and Northern Scarp Forest), and examined galago specimens from museums worldwide. We digitized and analyzed calls using Avisoft SASLab Pro software. We also compared museum specimens from Angola with other Galago and Galagoides specimens, and conducted comparative analyses (ANOVA and between group principle component analysis) based on a set of twelve linear measurements of skulls and teeth.

    We describe the new species to which we give the name Angolan dwarf galago, Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. The new species has a loud and characteristic crescendo call, used by other Galagoides spp. (sensu stricto) in West Africa to attract companions and repel rivals. However, this call shows species-typical differences from its closest relatives. Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. is also distinguished by differences in the skull morphology, pelage color and facial markings, as well as a larger body size, similar to that of Galago moholi, which is not known to be sympatric.

    This discovery points to the importance of Angolan forests as refuges for endemic biodiversity. These forests are under severe threat from overexploitation, and there is an urgent need to establish conservation measures and designate protected areas.

    KEYWORDS: Bushbaby, cryptic species, Galagoides, morphology, strepsirrhine

    FIGURE 2 (A, B) Skin and skull of one of the syntypes of Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. (FMHN 81756);
    (C) paratype (in situ Kumbira Forest) 

    Etymology: The species was first observed in situ in Kumbira Forest, an area undergreat pressure from commercial logging (Bersacola et al., 2015; Cáceres et al., 2016). Kumbira is considered a hotspot for many endemic species in Angola (Cáceres et al., 2015) and by using this name we aim to draw attention to the area.  
    Suggested common name: Angolan dwarf galago (English), galago angolano (Portuguese)

    Galagoides kumbirensis Magdalena S. Svensson, Elena Bersacola, Michael S. L. Mills, Rachel A. Munds, Vincent Nijman, Andrew Perkin, Judith C. Masters, Sébastien Couette, K. Anne-Isola Nekaris and Simon K. Bearder. 2017.  A Giant Among Dwarfs: A New Species of Galago (Primates: Galagidae) from Angola.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23175

    This new primate is a ‘giant’ among tiny bush babies via  @mongabay

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     Sciurus meridionalisLucifero 1907  
    summer coat, from Sila massif, Calabria, Italy.

     Photograph by Antonio Mancuso  


    Combining genetic, morphological and geographical data, we re-evaluate Sciurus meridionalis, Lucifero 1907 as a tree squirrel species. The species, previously considered a subspecies of the Eurasian red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, is endemic to South Italy with a disjunct distribution with respect to S. vulgaris. The new species has a typical, monomorphic coat colour characterized by a white ventral fur and a very dark-brown to blackish fur on the back, sides and tail. Specimens of S. meridionalis have a larger hind foot length and weigh about 35% more than live-caught S. vulgaris from northern Italy. S. meridionalis is larger than S. vulgaris specimens from three other regions in Italy for mandible length, skull width and skull (condylobasal) length, and principal component scores indicate significant shape differences of specimens from the Calabria population (S. meridionalis) compared to all other specimens (S. vulgaris). These morphological differences are further supported by genetic evidence at three mitochondrial markers (D-loop, cytochrome b and the DNA barcoding region COI) using the widest molecular dataset ever assembled for Sciurus vulgaris and S. meridionalis. All the investigated markers revealed exclusive haplotypes for S. meridionalis well separated from those of S. vulgaris and previously published results based on nuclear markers further support our taxonomic hypothesis. We suggest Calabrian black squirrel as common name for this new taxon.

    Keywords: Sciuridae; Sciurus meridionalis; taxonomy; new species; Italy

    Figure 2 – Sciurus meridionalis, in summer coat, from Sila massif, Calabria, Italy.
    Photograph by Antonio Mancuso. 

    Family Sciuridae Fischer von Waldheim, 1817

    Genus Sciurus Linnaeus, 1758

    Sciurus meridionalis, Lucifero 1907 

    Geographical distribution: The range of Sciurus meridionalis Lucifero, 1907 includes the three main mountain blocks of Calabria: the whole Pollino massif (including Lucanian side) at the border between Calabria and Lucania, the Sila massif and the Aspromonte massif, with three once disjunct populations.Only recently the Pollino and Sila populations have become connec-ted by colonization of the Catena Costiera, which was made possible by replanting of conifers (Rima et al., 2009). The species has not been reported from the Serre Massif (Fig. 3). 

    Lucas A. Wauters, Giovanni Amori, Gaetano Aloise, Spartaco Gippoliti, Paolo Agnelli, Andrea Galimberti, Maurizio Casiraghi, Damiano Preatoni and Adriano Martinoli. 2017. New Endemic Mammal Species for Europe: Sciurus meridionalis (Rodentia, Sciuridae).  Hystrix [the Italian Journal of Mammalogy]. DOI:  10.4404/hystrix-28.1-12015

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