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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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    • Multilocus data recover a novel phylogeny for Elgaria alligator lizards.
    • We propose two approaches for testing hypotheses of introgression.
    • Ancient mitochondrial capture involving Elgaria paucicarinata is detected.
    Elgaria panamintina is not closely related to Elgaria kingii.

    The increased availability of nuclear DNA sequence data has led to a better appreciation of the role and frequency of introgressive hybridization and subsequent mitochondrial capture in misleading phylogenetic hypotheses based on mtDNA sequence data alone. Relationships among members of the alligator lizard genus Elgaria have been addressed with morphology, allozyme and mtDNA sequence data with discordant results. In this study, we use seven nuclear loci (total of 5.9 kb) and ∼3 kb of mtDNA to infer the phylogenetic relationships among Elgaria species and test whether the discordance among previous phylogenetic hypotheses is due to introgression and mtDNA capture. While gene tree topologies varied among the different loci, we recovered a well-resolved coalescent-based species tree. Contrary to our expectations, the nDNA-only species tree does not support the sister relationship between E. kingii and E. panamintina inferred from the previous allozyme study. Nevertheless, we found evidence for possible mitochondrial capture in two unexpected situations. The first instance of mtDNA capture involves E. paucicarinata from the Cape Region of Baja California. MtDNA recovered a clade comprising E. paucicarinata and the other two peninsular endemics, while the nDNA-only species tree recovered E. paucicarinata as sister to the continental E. kingii. We hypothesize that this discordance is the result of ancient mitochondrial capture rather than incomplete lineage sorting. Additionally, analyses of nDNA recovered E. panamintina as sister to an E. multicarinata North lineage, whereas the mtDNA gene tree recovers E. panamintina nested within a southern E. multicarinata clade. We hypothesize that this discordance also may be due to mitochondrial capture. Additionally, hybridization between these two lineages may have resulted in geographically limited nuclear introgression. Divergence dating analyses suggest that oviparous Elgaria species diverged within a relatively narrow timeframe from the late Miocene to early Pliocene. We find that accounting for introgressed alleles is important when inferring phylogenetic relationships when using coalescent-based approaches.

    Keywords: North America; alligator lizards; Baja California; species tree; discordance; introgression

    Dean H. Leavitt, Angela B. Marion, Bradford D. Hollingsworth and Tod W. Reeder. 2017.  Multilocus Phylogeny of Alligator Lizards (Elgaria, Anguidae): Testing mtDNA Introgression As the Source of Discordant Molecular Phylogenetic Hypotheses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.02.010

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    ไอยริศ |   Zingiber sirindhorniae Triboun & Keerat.

     Zingiber sirindhorniae Triboun and Keerat., a new species from Thailand, is described and illustrated. It belongs to Zingiber section Dymczewiczia (Horan.) Benth. because of its terminal inflorescence which is rather rare in Zingiber.

    KEY WORDS: new species, ZingiberDymczewiczia, Zingiberaceae, Thailand

    Zingiber sirindhorniae Triboun and Keerat., sp. nov.

    Diagnosis: Zingiber sirindhorniae belongs to Zingiber section Dymczewiczia (Horan.) Benth. due to the terminal infl orescence on the leafy shoot. It is most similar to Zingiber plicatum Škorničk. and Q.B. Nguyễ n in having terminal inflorescence and the limestone habitat, but they differ by the former having a short and small terminal inflorescence on a leafy stem and by the dark maroonish flowers.

    Figure 2. Zingiber sirindhorniae Triboun and Keerat.:
    A. habitat, B. habit, C. rhizomes, and D. inflorescence with opened flowers.

    Photographed by Pramote Triboun. 

    Distribution. Endemic to Thailand. So far known only from Loei Province. 

     Ecology. In humus among rocks in partially shaded dry evergreen forest on limestone hills, alt. 350-450 m. 

     Phenology. Flowering in June to August and fruiting in July to October. 

     Etymology. The specific epithet honours Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand who has taken a keen interest in the conservation of plants. Vernacular. Aiyarit (ไอยริศ), name given by Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn.

    Notes. Four Thai species of Zingiber produce a terminal inflorescence; the inflorescence is always terminal in Z. pellitum Gagnep. and Z. gramineum Blume, while Z. barbatum Wall. and Z. junceum Gagnep. occasionally produce a terminal inflorescence. These four species are taller (to 1 m tall or taller) and are terrestrial, while Z. sirindhorniae is rather slender and small (40-70 cm tall), and grows in humus in crevices on limestone cliffs. In habit Zingiber sirindhorniae is more like Z. plicatum Škorničk. and Q.B. Nguyễn. The inflorescence of the new species is rather fragile and delicate.


    Pramote Triboun and Kaweesak Keeratikiet. 2016. Zingiber sirindhorniae, A Remarkable New Species in Zingiber section Dymczewiczia (Zingiberaceae) from Thailand.  The Thailand Natural History Museum Journal. 10(1); 1-6.

     ตราไปรษณียากร ชุด ปีใหม่ 2559 (ชุดที่ 1) ‘พืชตระกูลขิง’ 
    Thailand • New Year 2016 Postage Stamps (1st Series) ‘Gingers (Zingiberaceae)’

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    Pritha sagittata  
     Legittimo, Simeon, di Pompeo & Kulczycki, 2017  


    The species of Pritha Lehtinen, 1967 in Italy are revised for the first time, and a preliminary putative diagnosis for the genus is provided. Two new Italian species are described: Pritha parva sp. nov. (male and female) and P. sagittata sp. nov. (male and female). P. pallida (Kulczyński, 1897) and the type species P. nana (Simon, 1868) are entirely re-described. The copulatory organs, some other somatic characters and the habitus of each sex of the four Italian species are illustrated and photographed at high magnifications. P. debilis (Simon, 1911) and P. vestita (Simon, 1873) are removed from the synonymy with P. nana and revalidated to species status, and a lectotype is designated for the latter. P. pallida is recorded from Spain and Greece for the first time. Distribution, behavioural aspects and ecology of the four Italian species are discussed and photographs of live specimens, webs and habitats are provided.

    Keywords: Araneae, taxonomy, ecology, redescription, revalidation, Palearctic, Europe, calamistrum, Haplogynae

    FIGURE 12. Pritha sagittata sp. nov. Habitus of live male 

    Carlo Maria Legittimo, Enrico Simeon, Piergiorgio di Pompeo and Alessandro Kulczycki. 2017. The Italian Species of Pritha (Araneae, Filistatidae): A Critical Revision and Description of Two New.  Zootaxa.  4243(2); 201-248. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4243.2.1

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    Sparalepis tingi 
    Choo, Zhu, Qu, Yu, Jia & Zhao, 2017 

     Illustration by B. Choo


    Our understanding of early gnathostome evolution has been hampered by a generally scant fossil record beyond the Devonian. Recent discoveries from the late Silurian Xiaoxiang Fauna of Yunnan, China, have yielded significant new information, including the earliest articulated osteichthyan fossils from the Ludlow-aged Kuanti Formation. Here we describe the partial postcranium of a new primitive bony fish from the Kuanti Formation that represents the second known taxon of pre-Devonian osteichthyan revealing articulated remains. The new form, Sparalepis tingi gen. et sp. nov., displays similarities with Guiyu and Psarolepis, including a spine-bearing pectoral girdle and a placoderm-like dermal pelvic girdle, a structure only recently identified in early osteichthyans. The squamation with particularly thick rhombic scales shares an overall morphological similarity to that of Psarolepis. However, the anterior flank scales of Sparalepis possess an unusual interlocking system of ventral bulges embraced by dorsal concavities on the outer surfaces. A phylogenetic analysis resolves Sparalepis within a previously recovered cluster of stem-sarcopterygians including GuiyuPsarolepis and Achoania. The high diversity of osteichthyans from the Ludlow of Yunnan strongly contrasts with other Silurian vertebrate assemblages, suggesting that the South China block may have been an early center of diversification for early gnathostomes, well before the advent of the Devonian “Age of Fishes”.

    Fig 9. Life restoration of Sparalepis tingi (foreground) and other fauna from the Kuanti Formation. Also in the scene are numerous conodont animals, a pair of the maxillate placoderm Entelognathus (middle distance) and two examples of the osteichthyan Megamastax (background), the largest known Silurian vertebrate.

     Illustration by Brian Choo  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170929

    Holotype and only specimen: V17915, a partial postcranium (Fig 2), with associated cleithrum, interclavicle and pelvic girdle. Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Beijing.

    Diagnosis: Bony fish with spine-bearing dermal pectoral and pelvic girdles. Large median dorsal plates, with those immediately anterior to each the two dorsal fins bearing a large spine. Dermal surfaces of the scales and bony plates composed of glossy enamel ornamented with coarse sub-parallel ridges. Large surface pore openings within inter-ridge furrows on the appendicular girdles, gulars and median dorsal plates, but absent on the scales. Thick rhombic scales with a distinct neck separating the crown and the base. Anterior flank scales with a dermal interlocking mechanism of ventral bulges embraced by dorsal concavities on the ventrally adjacent scales. About 30 scale columns in front of the first dorsal fin base.

    Etymology: Generic name from the Persian spara (shield) and the ancient Greek lepis (scale), in reference to the resemblance of the scales of the fish to depictions of rectangular wicker shields carried by the Achaemenid Sparabara infantry. Specific name after V. K. Ting (1887–1936) for his pioneering work on the geology of Yunnan.

    Notes: The presence of spine-bearing dermal pectoral and pelvic girdles separates Sparalepis from all other known osteichthyans except for Guiyu and Psarolepis. The combination of prominent linear ridges and pore openings on the dermal surfaces of all the larger bones and ridge scutes distinguishes Sparalepis from Guiyu which possesses ridges only. The scale ornament, consisting of linear ridges and devoid of pores, is similar to that of Guiyu and many early actinopterygians, but distinct from the porous cosmine-like surface on the scales of Psarolepis. The scales of Sparalepis are smaller than those of Guiyu, with about 30 scale rows anterior to the first dorsal fin against 15 in Guiyu. As with Psarolepis, the flank scales lack extensive depressed fields and possess necks which separate the crowns from the bases. The ventral bulges and dorsal concavities on the outer surfaces of the anterior flank scales of Sparalepis form a unique interlocking system among early osteichthyans.

    Brian Choo, Min Zhu, Qingming Qu, Xiaobo Yu, Liantao Jia and Wenjin Zhao. 2017. A New Osteichthyan from the late Silurian of Yunnan, China. PLoS ONE. 12(3): e0170929.

    Ancient southern China fish may have evolved prior to the 'Age of Fish'   @physorg_com

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    Helcogramma atauroensis 
    Fricke & Erdmann, 2017 


    A new species of triplefin blenny, Helcogramma atauroensis, from Timor-Leste is described on the basis of eight specimens. The new species is characterized within the H. steinitzi species complex by having 14–15 second dorsal-fin spines, 9–11 third dorsal-fin rays, one symphyseal mandibular pore (total pores 9–11), the nape without scales, 19–23 tubular pored lateral-line scales, the head profile about 70º to horizontal, the first dorsal fin beginning above the preopercle, the anal fin in male red without melanophores, the female with six oblique bars, and a black pelvic fin in males. Revised keys to the H. steinitzi species complex and to all members of the genus in the western Pacific Ocean and Indo-Australian Archipelago are presented.

    Ronald Fricke and Mark V. Erdmann. 2017. Helcogramma atauroensis, A New Species of Triplefin from Ataúro Island, Timor-Leste, eastern Indian Ocean (Teleostei: Tripterygiidae).
    Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 26; 34–45.

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    Figure 1: Study site. Guam, the southernmost island in the Mariana Islands, is home to the invasive brown treesnake and thus virtually all forested lands are bird-free, whereas the nearby islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota are snake-free, and have relatively healthy bird communities. On islands with birds, the primary frugivores (from left to right) for two tree species whose fruits are depicted in the middle, Psychotria mariana (left) and Premna serratifolia (right), include the bridled white-eye (Zosterops conspicillatus), and Rota bridled white-eye (Zosterops rotensis; both Zosterops species represented by the bridled white eye in the figure), Mariana crow (Corvus kubaryi), Micronesian starling (Aplonis opaca), white-throated ground dove (Gallicolumba xanthonuraPremna only), Mariana fruit dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla) and golden white-eye (Cleptornis marchei). As a result of the snake, Psychotria mariana and Premna serratifolia on Guam have functionally lost all of their seed dispersing partners (note that the Rota bridled white-eye and the golden white-eye were not on Guam before the snake introduction).  
    Latitude and longitude are in degrees north and east, respectively.   DOI:  10.1038/ncomms14557  

    Invasive vertebrate predators are directly responsible for the extinction or decline of many vertebrate species, but their indirect impacts often go unmeasured, potentially leading to an underestimation of their full impact. When invasives extirpate functionally important mutualists, dependent species are likely to be affected as well. Here, we show that the invasive brown treesnake [Boiga irregularis], directly responsible for the extirpation of forest birds from the island of Guam, is also indirectly responsible for a severe decline in plant recruitment as a result of disrupting the fruit-frugivore mutualism. To assess the impact of frugivore loss on plants, we compare seed dispersal and recruitment of two fleshy-fruited tree species on Guam and three nearby islands with intact disperser communities. We conservatively estimate that the loss of frugivorous birds caused by the brown treesnake may have caused a 61–92% decline in seedling recruitment. This case study highlights the potential for predator invasions to cause indirect, pervasive and easily overlooked interaction cascades.

    Figure 1: Study site. Guam, the southernmost island in the Mariana Islands, is home to the invasive brown treesnake and thus virtually all forested lands are bird-free, whereas the nearby islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota are snake-free, and have relatively healthy bird communities. On islands with birds, the primary frugivores (from left to right) for two tree species whose fruits are depicted in the middle, Psychotria mariana (left) and Premna serratifolia (right), include the bridled white-eye (Zosterops conspicillatus), and Rota bridled white-eye (Zosterops rotensis; both Zosterops species represented by the bridled white eye in the figure), Mariana crow (Corvus kubaryi), Micronesian starling (Aplonis opaca), white-throated ground dove (Gallicolumba xanthonuraPremna only), Mariana fruit dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla) and golden white-eye (Cleptornis marchei). As a result of the snake, Psychotria mariana and Premna serratifolia on Guam have functionally lost all of their seed dispersing partners (note that the Rota bridled white-eye and the golden white-eye were not on Guam before the snake introduction).
    Latitude and longitude are in degrees north and east, respectively. Snake photograph and bird illustrations used with permission.  DOI:  10.1038/ncomms14557  

    Haldre S. Rogers, Eric R. Buhle, Janneke HilleRisLambers, Evan C. Fricke, Ross H. Miller and Joshua J. Tewksbury. 2017. Effects of An Invasive Predator Cascade to Plants Via Mutualism Disruption. Nature Communications. 8, Article number: 14557. DOI:  10.1038/ncomms14557

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    Cherax warsamsonicus 
    Lukhaup, Eprilurahman & von Rintelen, 2017 

    A new species, Cherax warsamsonicus sp. n., endemic to the Warsamson River drainage, in the western part of the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia, is described, figured and compared with its closely related species, Cherax misolicus Holthuis, 1949. The new species may be easily distinguished from C. misolicus by the shape of the rostrum, absence of setae on the rostrum, the shape of the chelae, the presence of 3-4 cervical spines and by using sequence divergence, which is substantial for considering C. warsamsonicus sp. n. to be a new species. The new species is collected and exported for ornamental purposes and its commercial name in the pet trade is Cherax “irian jaya”, Cherax “pink coral”, or Cherax“hoa creek“. Due to similar colouration it is often confused with the recently described Cherax pulcher Lukhaup, 2015.

    Keywords: Cherax, Crustacea, Decapoda, morphology, New Guinea, Parastacidae, pet trade, taxonomy, Warsamson River

    Figure 1. Cherax warsamsonicus sp. n. A holotype male (MZB Cru 4529) from the Warsamson River, South Sorong Regency B idem, side view. 

    Diagnosis: Carapace surface smooth with four small spiniform tubercles posterior to cervical groove on lateral carapace. Eyes large, pigmented. Cornea slightly broader than eyestalk. Rostrum lanceolate in shape with excavated margins. Rostral margins with three prominent teeth. Rostral carinae prominent. Postorbital ridges prominent with one acute tubercle at anterior terminus. Uncalcified patch on lateral margin of chelae of adult male white, translucent. Propodal cutting edge with row of small granules and one large tubercle. Chelipeds blue and white with white joints. Fingers blue in distal third black with hooked tips. Other walking legs blue-gray. Pleon black with pinkish-red pattern. Lateral pleura lighter becoming greyish green.

    Ecology: Known only from the Warsamson River and its tributaries, South Sorong Regency in the central part of the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) peninsula. The creeks from where these crayfish have been collected are shallow (20–60 cm) with a moderate flow, the water is clear, and have a pH of approximately 6.5. In most of the parts no water plants are present. The substrate of the creek is gravel or sand and soil mostly covered with silt and detritus, stones and larger rocks (Fig. 10). Crayfish hide in short borrows in the riverbank, under lager rocks or in detritus that gathers in slower flowing parts of the creek or river. To improve the knowledge of the distribution of the species more field trips will be necessary.

    Etymology: Cherax warsamsonicus sp. n. is named after the Warsamson River in West Papua where it seems to be endemic.

    Common name: The common name of the new species in the pet trade is Cherax “irian jaya”, Cherax “pink coral”, and sometimes it is sold also as Cherax pulcher. Therefore we propose the name Warsamson River Crayfish as a common name for the new species.

    Christian Lukhaup, Rury Eprilurahman and Thomas von Rintelen. 2017. Cherax warsamsonicus, A New Species of Crayfish from the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula in West Papua, Indonesia (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae).  ZooKeys. 660; 151-167.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.660.11847

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    Cambarus (Cambarusappalachiensis
    Loughman, Welsh & Thoma, 2017

    Cambarus (Cambarusappalachiensis is a stream-dwelling crayfish endemic to the greater New River basins of Virginia and West Virginia. The new species is morphologically most similar to Cambarus sciotensisCambarus appalachiensis can be differentiated from C. sciotensis by its more elongated chelae which possess a single mesial row of tubercles, reduced to no tuberculation on the dorsal-longitudinal ridge of the dactyl, and reduced lateral impression. Cambarus sciotensis has a more subrectangular chelae with two rows of mesial margin tubercles on the chelae, as well as both a pronounced dorsal-longitudinal ridge and pronounced lateral impression. Several chelae meristic ratios also differentiate C. appalachiensis from C. sciotensis. Within the New, Gauley, and lower portions of the Greenbrier basins C. appalachiensis is the dominant tertiary burrowing Cambarus species, and as such, is considered stable across its range.

    Keywords: Crustacea, Crayfish; New River; Appalachian Mountains

     Zachary J. Loughman, Stuart A. Welsh and Roger F. Thoma. 2017.
     Cambarus (C.) appalachiensis, A New Species of Crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from the New River Basin of Virginia and West Virginia, USA.
     Zootaxa. 4243(3); 432-454. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4243.3.2

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    Eigenmannia meeki  
    Dutra, de Santana & Wosiacki, 2017

      DOI: 10.1643/CI-16-439 

    A new species of Eigenmannia is described from the Río Pucuro, Río Tuíra basin, Panama. It is diagnosed from all congeners by the position of the mouth, the color pattern, the number of anal-fin rays, the number of scales on lateral line, the number of scales rows above the lateral line, the number and arrangement of teeth on the dentary, the number of precaudal vertebrae, the relative depth of the posterodorsal expansion on infraorbitals 1+2, and the relative size of coronomeckelian bone. The new species is the first Eigenmannia described from Central American drainages, and the northernmost species of the genus.

    Fig. 1. Eigenmannia meeki, USNM 293171, holotype, 235.7 mm LEA, Panama, Darien, Río Púcuro, Río Tuíra basin.
      DOI: 10.1643/CI-16-439  

    Distribution.— Eigenmanniameeki is known from its type locality in the Río Púcuro, and Río Chucunaque in the Río Tuíra basin, Darien Province, Panama (Fig. 5). 

     Etymology.— The specific epithet, meeki, is in honor of Seth Eugene Meek (1859–1914) who made many contributions to the knowledge of the diversity of the fishes of Panama

    Guilherme Moreira Dutra, Carlos David de Santana and Wolmar Benjamin Wosiacki. 2017.  A New Species of the Glass Electric Knifefish Genus Eigenmannia Jordan and Evermann (Teleostei: Gymnotiformes: Sternopygidae) from Río Tuíra Basin, Panama.   
     Copeia. 105(1); 85-91.  DOI: 10.1643/CI-16-439

    Una nueva especie de Eigenmannia es descrita del río Pucuro, que pertenece a la cuenca del Río Tuíra, Panamá. Esta diagnosticada de las demás especies del género por la posición de la boca, el padrón de coloración, el número de radios de la aleta anal, el número de escamas de la línea lateral, el número de hileras de escamas arriba de la línea lateral, el número y disposición de los dientes en el hueso dentario, el número de vertebras pre-caudales, el tamaño relativo de la expansión postero-dorsal del hueso infraorbital 1+2 y el tamaño relativo del hueso corono-meckeliano. Esta nueva especie es la primera Eigenmannia descrita de las cuencas de América Central y además es la especie con la distribución más boreal del género.

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    Figure 2. Photographs of some Ecuadorian species of Atractus in life: A. carrioni MZUTI 4194 (a), MZUTI 4195 (b), A. duboisi MZUTI 3640 (c), A. dunni MZUTI 4318 (d), A. dunni MZUTI 2189 (e), A. elaps AMARU SN (f), A. gigas MZUTI 3286 (g), A. iridescens MZUTI 3680 (h), A. iridescens QCAZ 8072 (i)

    We present a molecular phylogeny of snake genus Atractus, with an improved taxon sampling that includes 30 of the 140 species currently recognized. The phylogenetic tree supports the existence of at least three new species in the Pacific lowlands and adjacent Andean slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes, which we describe here. A unique combination of molecular, meristic and color pattern characters support the validity of the new species. With the newly acquired data, we propose and define the A. iridescens species group, as well as redefine the A. roulei species group. The species A. iridescens is reported for the first time in Ecuador, whereas A. bocourti and A. medusa are removed from the herpetofauna of this country. We provide the first photographic vouchers of live specimens for A. multicinctus, A. paucidens and A. touzeti, along with photographs of 19 other Ecuadorian Atractus species. The current status of A. occidentalis and A. paucidens is maintained based on the discovery of new material referable to these species. With these changes, the species number reported in Ecuador increases to 27, a number that is likely to increase as material not examined in this work becomes available and included in systematic studies.

    Keywords: Pacific lowlands, biodiversity, Ecuador, groundsnakes, Atractus, phylogeny, new species

    Figure 2. Photographs of some Ecuadorian species of Atractus in life:
    A. carrioni MZUTI 4194 (a), MZUTI 4195 (b), A. duboisi MZUTI 3640 (c), A. dunni MZUTI 4318 (d), A. dunni MZUTI 2189 (e), A. elaps AMARU SN (f), A. gigas MZUTI 3286 (g), A. iridescens MZUTI 3680 (h), A. iridescens QCAZ 8072 (i), A. iridescens MZUTI 4697 (j), A. iridescens MZUTI 3548 (k), A. major MZUTI 4973 (l), A. microrhynchus MZUTI 5109 (m), A. modestus (n), A. multicinctus MZUTI 5106 (o), A. occidentalis MZUTI 1385 (p), A. occidentalis MZUTI 3323 (q), Apaucidens MZUTI 5102 (r), A. resplendens MZUTI 3996 (s), A. roulei MZUTI 4503 (t), A. savagei MZUTI 4916 (u), Asnethlageae (v), A. touzeti ANF 2390 (w), and A. typhon MZUTI 5110.

    Figure 2. Photographs of some Ecuadorian species of Atractus in life: A. carrioni MZUTI 4194 (a), MZUTI 4195 (b), A. duboisi MZUTI 3640 (c), A. dunni MZUTI 4318 (d), A. dunni MZUTI 2189 (e), A. elaps AMARU SN (f), A. gigas MZUTI 3286 (g), A. iridescens MZUTI 3680 (h), A. iridescens QCAZ 8072 (i) 

    New taxa and systematic arrangements derived from the analyses

    We seek here to only name or redelimit Atractus species groups that are supported in our molecular phylogeny and share features of their coloration pattern and lepidosis. The first such groups is the clade comprising A. cerberus sp. n., A. dunniA. esepe sp. n., A. iridescensA. microrhynchus and A. occidentalis. The other is the one comprising A. carrioniA. lehmanniA. pyroni sp. n. and A. roulei.

    Atractus iridescens species group
    Content.  A. cerberus sp. n., A. dunniA. esepe sp. n., A. iridescensA. microrhynchus and A. occidentalis

    Atractus roulei species group
    Content. Atractus carrioniA. lehmanniA. pyroni sp. n. and A. roulei.

    Figure 2. Photographs of some Ecuadorian species of Atractus in life:  A. iridescens MZUTI 4697 (j), A. iridescens MZUTI 3548 (k), A. major MZUTI 4973 (l), A. microrhynchus MZUTI 5109 (m), A. modestus (n), A. multicinctus MZUTI 5106 (o), A. occidentalis MZUTI 1385 (p), A. occidentalis MZUTI 3323 (q), Apaucidens MZUTI 5102 (r), A. resplendens MZUTI 3996 (s), A. roulei MZUTI 4503 (t), A. savagei MZUTI 4916 (u), Asnethlageae (v), A. touzeti ANF 2390 (w), and A. typhon MZUTI 5110.  

    Figure 5. Adult male holotype MZUTI 4330 (a) and adult male paratopotype (b) of Atractus cerberus MZUTI 5108. 

    Atractus cerberus sp. n.
     Proposed standard English name: Cerberus Groundsnake
    Proposed standard Spanish name: Tierrera cancerbera

    Natural history: The two known specimens of Atractus cerberus were found in an isolated patch of deciduous lowland forest surrounded by dry lowland shrubland. MZUTI 4330 was found active on leaf litter at 19h29, in 80% closed canopy secondary forest far from streams. The night was warm and there was drizzle the night before. MZUTI 5108 was found crossing a forest trail close to an open area at 10h00 during a sunny morning after a rainy night.

    Distribution: Known only from the type locality, Pacoche, in the Ecuadorian province of Manabí at 280–324 m (Fig. 3). This locality is 3 km airline distance from the shoreline.

    Etymology: The specific epithet “cerberus” is derived from the name of the Greek monster Kérberos. In Greek mythology, Kérberos is a monstrous multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the underworld, preventing the dead from leaving. Here, we use this word in allusion to the type locality, at the gates of the newly formed “Refinería del Pacífico”, a massive industrial oil-processing plant that can easily be likened to the underworld.

    Atractus esepe sp. n.
     Proposed standard English name: Indistinct Groundsnake
    Proposed standard Spanish name: Tierrera indistinta

    Natural history: The two known specimens of Atractus esepe were found actively foraging among soil and roots in secondary evergreen lowland forest at least 400 m from the nearest natural body of water. They were found by night at 20h00 after a warm, sunny day.

    Distribution: Known only from the type locality, Caimito, in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas at 102 m (Fig. 3). This locality is 1.3 km airline distance from the shoreline.

    Etymology: The specific epithet esepe is derived from the Spanish pronunciation of “sp.”, which is the abbreviation for the Latin word species. Here, we use this word in allusion to how the majority of Ecuadorian researchers refer to Atractus specimens found in the field.

    Figure 7. Adult female holotype of Atractus pyroni. MZUTI 5107. Scale = 1 cm. 

    Atractus pyroni sp. n. 
    Proposed standard English name: Pyron’s Groundsnake
    Proposed standard Spanish name: Tierrera de Pyron

    Natural history: The only known specimen of Atractus pyroni was found dead on a dirt road surrounded by silvopastures and remnants of native montane cloudforest.

    Distribution: Known only from the type locality, between Balzapamba and Bilován, in the Ecuadorian province of Bolívar at 2026 m (Fig. 7).

    Etymology: Named after R. Alexander Pyron, one of the most prolific contemporary herpetologists, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to systematics and evolution of the world’s reptiles.

     Alejandro Arteaga, Konrad Mebert, Jorge H. Valencia, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, Nicolás Peñafiel, Carolina Reyes-Puig, José L. Vieira-Fernandes and Juan M. Guayasamin. 2017. Molecular Phylogeny of Atractus (Serpentes, Dipsadidae), with Emphasis on Ecuadorian Species and the Description of Three New Taxa. ZooKeys. 661: 91-123. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.661.11224

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     Leptolalax petrops 
    Rowley, Dau, Hoang, Le, Cutajar & Nguyen, 2017  


    We describe a new, medium-sized Leptolalax species from Vietnam. Leptolalax petrops sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of having a medium-sized body (23.6–27.6 mm in 21 adult males, 30.3–47.0 mm in 17 adult females), immaculate white chest and belly, no distinct black markings on the head, highly tuberculate skin texture, toes lacking webbing and with narrow lateral fringes, and a call consisting of an average of four notes and a dominant frequency of 5.6–6.4 kHz (at 24.5–25.3 °C). Uncorrected sequence divergences between L. petrops sp. nov. and all homologous DNA sequences available for the 16S rRNA gene are >8%.

    Keywords: Amphibia, Acoustics, Anura, L. petrops sp. nov., Southeast Asia, Vietnam

    Leptolalax petrops sp. nov. in life, VNMN 2016 A.16

    Leptolalax petrops sp. nov. in life, Male holotype VNMN 2016 A.06 in situ,  from Tuyen Quang Province 

    Etymology: The specific epithet derives from the Latin petra, meaning rock, and–ops, meaning having the appearance of, in reference to both the stone-like appearance of the frog and the limestone karst in which the species was found in Lai Chau Province.

    Rowley, Jodi J. L., Vinh Q. Dau, Duc H. Hoang, Duong T. T. Le, Timothy P. Cutajar & Tao T. Nguyen. 2017. A New Species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from northern Vietnam. Zootaxa. 4243(3); 544–564.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4243.3.7

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    Gelidocalamus subsolidus W.T.Lin & Z.J.Feng


    In the present study, we employed a classical taxonomic analysis of micromorphological characters of the leaf epidermis to reassess the taxonomy of four Gelidocalamus taxa, a genus of woody bamboos endemic to China. We propose that Gelidocalamus subsolidus is distinct from G. tessellatus, and G. albopubescens should be placed in synonymy under G. subsolidus. A formal taxonomic treatment is presented, including description, comments, illustrations, a distribution map, and SEM images of the abaxial leaf epidermis.

    Keywords: Gramineae, woody bamboo, SEM, synonymization, Monocots

      Gelidocalamus subsolidus, habit (the smaller bamboo) 

    Yuguang Liu, Weijian Li, Ming Tang, Guangyao Yang and Wengen Zhang. 2017. Taxonomic Re-evaluation of Some Gelidocalamus (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) Taxa from Southeast China.
     Phytotaxa.  299(1); 111–117.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.299.1.9

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    Sorbus cibagouensis  H. Peng et Z. J. Yin
    (A) wild plant & (B) flower.
    Photographed by Z. Mingxu.  DOI: 10.1111/njb.01253 


    Sorbus cibagouensis sp. nov. (Rosaceae subfam. Rosaceae), a new taxon from Cibagou National Nature Reserve, Zayü County, southeastern Xizang (Tibet), China, is described and illustrated. It is related to S. monbeigii (Cardot) Balakr., but primarily differs in the number of styles (S. cibagouensis = 5; S. monbeigii = 4) and the shape of stipules and leaves (S. cibagouensis: stipules caducous, small, with entire margin, leaflets in 9–11 pairs; S. monbeigii: stipules persistent, large, serrate, leaflets in 6–8 (–10) pairs).

    Sorbus cibagouensis  H. Peng et Z. J. Yin

    (A) wild plant, (B) flower, (C) type specimen.

       Photographed by Z. Mingxu.  DOI: 10.1111/njb.01253 

    Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the type locality, Cibagou National Nature Reserve.

    Zhijian Yin, Mingxu Zhao, Fanglin Tang, HongYan Sun and Hua Peng. 2017. Sorbus cibagouensis sp. nov. (Rosaceae) from Zayü County, southeastern Xizang, China.
      Journal of Botany.  35(1); 58–62.  DOI: 10.1111/njb.01253 

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    Manihot pulchrifolius M.J.Silva

    During botanical expeditions between 2010 and 2015, as part of a taxonomic study of Manihot in the Midwest region of Brazil, approximately 500 specimens of the genus were collected. Some of these specimens presented similarities to Mirwinii. However, after careful morphological analyses, associated with genetic evidence, we propose here Manihot pulchrifolius as a new species. The new species is described, illustrated, and compared to Mirwinii, its most similar species. Furthermore, geographic distribution, conservation status, and period of flowering and fruiting of the novel species are also provided.

    Keywords: Endemism, Manihoteae, mountainous areas, speciation, taxonomy

    Figure 2. Manihot pulchrifoliusHabit; note the plant growing between rocky crevices Habit; detail of the waxy stem Portion of the stem showing inflorescences in clusters at the dichotomy of the branches Adult panicle 

    Figure 2. Manihot pulchrifolius. A Habit; note the plant growing between rocky crevices B Habit; detail of the waxy stem C Portion of the stem showing inflorescences in clusters at the dichotomy of the branches D Adult panicle E Portion of the panicle showing the staminate buds and flowers with vinaceous calyx and yellow margins F Staminate flowers G Pistillate flowers H Mature fruits; note the violet wings.

    Manihot pulchrifolius M.J.Silva, sp. nov.

     Type: BRAZIL. Goiás: Mossâmedes, Serra Dourada State Park, near Pedra Goiana, Cerrado rupestre, on rocky crevices, 988 m, 21/XI/2014, fl., M. J. Silva & A. A. Alonso 6232 (holotype: UFG; isotypes: NY, F, K, UB).

    Diagnosis: Shrubs up to 2.5 m tall, erect, glabrous; young branches and young leaves reddish to purplish, green-vinaceous to violet; adult leaves 5-lobed at the plant base, 3-lobed along the stem, or rarely unlobed near inflorescence; long racemes or panicles (up to 27 cm long), erect to pendent, axes reddish to purplish; calyx of staminate flowers reddish or purplish with yellow margins, filaments pubescent; bracts and bracteoles of flowers of both sexes reddish to purplish; fruits dark green with violet to purplish wings.

    Distribution and Ecology: Manihot pulchrifolius is endemic to the state of Goiás, where it was found growing in Serra Dourada (Figure 3), one of the most beautiful and preserved mountainous areas in the state. This mountain range encompasses the Serra Dourada State Park, an area of over 30,000 hectares protected by law since 1965. The species grows in Cerrado sensu stricto, on rocky outcrops, rocky slopes, and Cerrado rupestre, in clayey, clayey-stony, and sandy soils, or even on rocky crevices, between 900 m and 1,000 m.

     Phenology: The species has been collected with flowers and fruits from November to July. However, the flowers are more usual from January to March, whereas the fruits are more abundant from April to July.

    Etymology: The specific epithet “pulchrifolius” alludes to the beautiful foliage of the species, especially in the leaf flushing stage, when the leaves are reddish or purplish to green-vinaceous to violet.

     Marcos José da Silva, Thannya Nascimento Soares and Patrícia Rasteiro Ordiale Oliveira. 2017. Morphological Characteristics and Genetic Evidence Reveals A New Species of Manihot (Euphorbiaceae, Crotonoideae) from Goiás, Brazil.
     PhytoKeys. 77; 99-111. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.77.11738

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    Rhinogobius mizunoi 
    Suzuki, Shibukawa & Aizawa, 2017

     A new freshwater goby, Rhinogobius mizunoi, is described based on six specimens from a freshwater stream in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The species is distinguished from all congeneric species by the following combination of characters: I, 8 second dorsal-fin rays; 18–20 pectoral-fin rays; 13–18 predorsal scales; 33–35 longitudinal scales; 8 or 9 transverse scales; 10+16=26 vertebrae 26; first dorsal fin elongate in male, its distal tip reaching to base of fourth branched ray of second dorsal fin in males when adpressed; when alive or freshly-collected, cheek with several pale sky spots; caudal fin without distinct rows of dark dots; a pair of vertically-arranged dark brown blotches at caudal-fin base in young and females.

    Key words: amphidoromous, fish taxonomy, Rhinogobius sp. CO, valid species

    Rhinogobius mizunoi sp. nov.
     (Japanese name: Ruri-yoshinobori)

    Diagnosis. Rhinogobius mizunoi is distinguished from all congeners by having the following unique combination of characters: 13–18 predorsal scales; 33–35 longitudinal scale series; 8 or 9 transverse scale series; 10+16=26 vertebrae; first dorsal fin elongate in male, its distal tip reaching to base of fourth branched ray of second dorsal fin when adpressed; when alive or freshly-collected, cheek with several pale sky spots; caudal fin lacking distinct rows of dark dots; a pair of dark brown blotches at caudal-fin base in young and females.

    Distribution. Known from middle reaches or mountain torrents of freshwater streams in Japan (western Hokkaido southward to southern Kyushu) and Cheju Island, Korea (Akihito et al., 2013); sometimes landlocked in freshwater reservoirs (e.g., Mizuno, 1989). 

    Etymology. The new species is named after Dr.Nobuhiko Mizuno, the former professor of Ehime University, Japan, in honor of his great contribution to our knowledge of the ecology of freshwater fishes in Japan, particularly gobies of Rhinogobius.

    Toshiyuki Suzuki, Koichi Shibukawa and Masahiro Aizawa. 2017. Rhinogobius mizunoi, A New Species of Freshwater Goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from Japan. Bulletin of the Kanagawa prefectural Museum (Nat. Sci.). 46; 79-95.

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    Petrocodon retroflexus Q. Zhang & J. Guo

    Petrocodon retroflexus Q. Zhang & J. Guo, a new species of Gesneriaceae from Guizhou, China, is described and illustrated. The new species is morphologically similar to Petrocodon viridescens W. H. Chen, Mich. Möller & Y. M. Shui, but differs by its leaf blade being ovate, broadly ovate to elliptic, 8–20 × 5–15 cm and densely pilose on both surfaces, narrowly triangular, 9 mm long, densely pilose bracts, white corolla that is decurved near the middle, with adaxial lip shallowly 4-partitioned and retroflexed, and pistil ca 1.3 cm long and densely pilose and glandular-pilose.

    Figure 3: Petrocodon retroflexus sp. nov. (A) habitat, (B) habit, (C) inflorescence, (D) front view of flowers, (E) opened corolla with stamens and pistil, (F) side view of flower, (G) infructescence with young fruits, (H) pistil and opened calyx. 

    Etymology: This new species is named after its retroflexed adaxial lip.

     Jing Guo, Tao Meng, Hongbo Pang and Qiang Zhang. 2016. Petrocodon retroflexus sp. nov. (Gesneriaceae) from A Karst Cave in Guizhou, China.
      Nordic Journal of Botany. 
    34(2); 159–164. DOI: 10.1111/njb.00941

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    Figure 1: Amplexus and mating aggregations in Adenomus kandianus.
    a) An amplexed pair out of water, showing axillary amplexus. (bc) A large mating aggregation in slow water, sandy-bottomed refuge in a stream bordering the Peak Wilderness sanctuary. 


    Endemic to Sri Lanka, genus Adenomus contains two torrent-associated toad species whose ecology and natural history in the wild is virtually unknown. Adenomus kelaartii is relatively common, with a wide geographic distribution. Its sister species, A. kandianus, however, is restricted to two isolated populations in fast-disappearing montane and sub-montane forests. Formally declared extinct after not being recorded for over a century, a few A. kandianus were rediscovered in 2012 and redescribed as "the world's rarest toad". Here we report the results of a two-year study of the occurrence, habits and habitat associations of adult and larval A. kandianus using both general surveys and quadrat sampling. We show this to be a secretive species with a patchy distribution. Non-breeding female toads dwell in primary-forest habitats, but after heavy and sudden downpours they form large mating congregations in large streams. Amplexed pairs swim synchronously, enabling them to traverse fast currents. Egg-laying sites remain unknown, but the ability to dive and vocalize underwater, and characteristics of the eggs, suggest that they lay eggs in dark recesses of the stream. Tadpoles show microhabitat partitioning within the stream, with the greatest diversity of stages in slow-flowing rocky areas. The more robust stages possessing sucker discs exploit rocky-rapids, while metamorphic stages inhabit stream margins. We use DNA-barcoding to show the existence of two disparate toad populations. Distribution modeling with forest-cover layers added, predict a very small remaining area of suitable habitats. Conservation of this climatically and ecologically restricted species hinge largely on the preservation of high-elevation primary and riparian forests and unpolluted torrents.

    Figure 1: Amplexus and mating aggregations in Adenomus kandianus.
    (a) An amplexed pair out of water, showing axillary amplexus. (bd) A large mating aggregation in slow water, sandy-bottomed refuge in a stream bordering the Peak Wilderness sanctuary.

      Madhava Meegaskumbura, Nayana Wijayathilaka, Nirodha Abayalath and Gayani Senevirathne. 2015.  Realities of Rarity: Climatically and Ecologically Restricted, Critically Endangered Kandian Torrent Toads (Adenomus kandianus) Breed enmasse.
    PeerJ PrePrints 3:e1964. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1575v1

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    Notoraja sereti 
    White, Last & Mana, 2017  


    A new arhynchobatin skate, Notoraja sereti n. sp., is described based on three specimens collected from off Madang (Papua New Guinea) at depths of 800–980 m. This medium-size Notoraja skate shares with other velcro skates from the Western Pacific, N. alisae, N. fijiensis, N. inusitata and N. longiventralis, a ventral surface covering of fine denticles giving the skin a velvety feel. Notoraja sereti differs from all of these species in having a shorter snout (preorbital length 10.1–11.1 vs. 11.5–14.5% TL, prenasal length 8.2–8.9 vs, 9.8–12.1% TL), shorter head (dorsal head length 15.2–16.2 vs. 17.1–19.3% TL, ventral head length 21.6–22.9 vs. 22.9–25.9% TL), fewer pectoral-fin radials (total radials 58–60 vs. 61–74), and fewer vertebrae (predorsal diplospondylous centra 66–71 vs. 72–82, predorsal centra 90–95 vs. 98–107, total centra 126–131 vs. 135–152).

    Keywords: Pisces, Notoraja, new species, velcro skate, Papua New Guinea

    FIGURE 1: Dorsal view of the holotype of Notoraja sereti n. sp. (NTUM 10067, female 459 mm TL) immediately post-capture. 

    Etymology. Named after the highly respected French ichthyologist, Dr. Bernard Séret, who has contributed greatly to the taxonomy of sharks and rays, and in particular to our knowledge of skates of the genus Notoraja. English name: Papuan Velvet Skate.

    White, William T., Peter R. Last & Ralph R. Mana. 2017. A New Species of Velvet Skate, Notoraja sereti n.sp. (Rajiformes: Arhynchobatidae) from Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa. 4244(2); 219–230.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4244.2.4

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    Figure 7.  Variation in fin patterning across genetically defined lineages. Top: aquarium-held female and male Teleogramma brichardi.
    In panel below (only females shown): (a) 
    Teleogramma brichardi, (e) T. gracile, (g) Tobamaorum.  


    The lower Congo River is a freshwater biodiversity hot spot in Africa characterized by some of the world's largest rapids. However, little is known about the evolutionary forces shaping this diversity, which include numerous endemic fishes. We investigated phylogeographic relationships in Teleogramma, a small clade of rheophilic cichlids, in the context of regional geography and hydrology. Previous studies have been unable to resolve phylogenetic relationships within Teleogramma due to lack of variation in nuclear genes and discrete morphological characters among putative species. To sample more broadly across the genome, we analysed double-digest restriction-associated sequencing (ddRAD) data from 53 individuals across all described species in the genus. We also assessed body shape and mitochondrial variation within and between taxa. Phylogenetic analyses reveal previously unrecognized lineages and instances of microallopatric divergence across as little as ~1.5 km. Species ranges appear to correspond to geographic regions broadly separated by major hydrological and topographic barriers, indicating these features are likely important drivers of diversification. Mitonuclear discordance indicates one or more introgressive hybridization events, but no clear evidence of admixture is present in nuclear genomes, suggesting these events were likely ancient. A survey of female fin patterns hints that previously undetected lineage-specific patterning may be acting to reinforce species cohesion. These analyses highlight the importance of hydrological complexity in generating diversity in certain freshwater systems, as well as the utility of ddRAD-Seq data in understanding diversification processes operating both below and above the species level.

    Figure 7.  Variation in fin patterning across genetically defined lineages. At top: aquarium-held female and male Teleogramma brichardi. In panel below (only females shown): (a) Teleogramma brichardi, (b) T. cf. brichardi, (c) T. cf. depressa, (d) T. depressa, (e) T. gracile, (f) T. monogramma, (g) T. obamaorum.   DOI: 10.1111/mec.13973

     S. Elizabeth Alter, Jason Munshi-South and Melanie L. J. Stiassny. 2017. Genomewide SNP Data Reveal Cryptic Phylogeographic Structure and Microallopatric Divergence in a Rapids-adapted Clade of Cichlids from the Congo River. Molecular Ecology. 26(5); 1401–1419. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13973

    Water 'Walls' Spur Evolution of New Colorful Fish Species via @LiveScience

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    Figure 1: Images of devil and manta rays. (A) Reef Manta Ray (Manta alfredi); (B) Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris); (C) Shortfin Devil Ray (Mobula kuhlii); (D) Smoothtail Devil Ray (Mobula munkiana).

    International trade for luxury products, medicines, and tonics poses a threat to both terrestrial and marine wildlife. The demand for and consumption of gill plates (known as Peng Yu Sai, “Fish Gill of Mobulid Ray”) from devil and manta rays (subfamily Mobulinae, collectively referred to as mobulids) poses a significant threat to these marine fishes because of their extremely low productivity. The demand for these gill plates has driven an international trade supplied by largely unmonitored and unregulated catches from target and incidental fisheries around the world. Scientific research, conservation campaigns, and legal protections for devil rays have lagged behind those for manta rays despite similar threats across all mobulids.

    To investigate the difference in attention given to devil rays and manta rays, we examined trends in the scientific literature and updated species distribution maps for all mobulids. Using available information on target and incidental fisheries, and gathering information on fishing and trade regulations (at international, national, and territorial levels), we examined how threats and protective measures overlap with species distribution. We then used a species conservation planning approach to develop the Global Devil and Manta Ray Conservation Strategy, specifying a vision, goals, objectives, and actions to advance the knowledge and protection of both devil and manta rays.

    Results and Discussion
    Our literature review revealed that there had been nearly 2.5-times more “manta”-titled publications, than “mobula” or “devil ray”-titled publications over the past 4.5 years (January 2012–June 2016). The majority of these recent publications were reports on occurrence of mobulid species. These publications contributed to updated Area of Occupancy and Extent of Occurrence maps which showed expanded distributions for most mobulid species and overlap between the two genera. While several international protections have recently expanded to include all mobulids, there remains a greater number of national, state, and territory-level protections for manta rays compared to devil rays. We hypothesize that there are fewer scientific publications and regulatory protections for devil rays due primarily to perceptions of charisma that favour manta rays. We suggest that the well-established species conservation framework used here offers an objective solution to close this gap. To advance the goals of the conservation strategy we highlight opportunities for parity in protection and suggest solutions to help reduce target and bycatch fisheries.

    Julia M. Lawson, Sonja V. Fordham, Mary P. O’Malley, Lindsay N.K. Davidson, Rachel H.L. Walls, Michelle R. Heupel, Guy Stevens, Daniel Fernando, Ania Budziak, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Isabel Ender, Malcolm P. Francis, Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara and Nicholas K. Dulvy​. 2017. Sympathy for the Devil: A Conservation Strategy for Devil and Manta Rays.
     PeerJ. 5:e3027.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3027

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