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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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    Thismia nigricoronata  Kumar & S.W.Gale


    Thismia nigricoronata is described as a new species in family Burmanniaceae. Both morphological and phylogenetic analyses indicate that this new Lao endemic is allied to T. taiwanensis in section Glaziocharis, and it can be differentiated on the basis of its longer vestigial stem leaves, reflexed free outer perianth lobes and ornamented, vibrantly coloured outer surface of the perianth tube. The infrageneric taxonomy of Thismia is reviewed, the genera Geomitra and Scaphiophora are officially reduced to sectional status in Thismia, and all species are enumerated in systematic order. A key to all currently accepted subgenera, sections and subsections is presented to facilitate further examination of their phylogenetic integrity in light of apparent conflict between the traditional morphology-based system and the emerging DNA-based classification.

    Keywords: achlorophyllous plants, Dioscoreaceae, holomycoheterotrophs, Laotian flora, Thismiaceae, Monocots

    FIGURE 4. Thismia nigricoronata  Kumar & S.W.Gale. 
    A. Plant in habitat. B. Habit. C. Close-up of the crown. D. Whole plant showing the structure of the crown. E. Whole plant showing the structure of the annulus. F. Transverse section of the perianth tube. G. Dorsal view of the crown. H. Stamens showing the anther locules. I. Stamens showing the connectives and staminal tube.

    Thismia nigricoronata Kumar & S.W.Gale, sp. nov. 

    Thismia nigricoronata is morphologically similar to Thismia taiwanensis but can be differentiated on the basis of its longer vestigial stem leaves (more than 6 mm long in the former versus less than 6 mm in the latter); its reflexed free outer perianth lobes (versus erect and projecting upwards in the latter); the ornamented outer surface of its perianth tube, which is verrucose below and papillose above (versus smooth and glabrous in the latter); and its vibrantly coloured perianth tube (versus translucent white in the latter).

     Habitat:— Thismia nigricoronata was discovered on a steep slope of a limestone mountain, growing among leaf litter in clayey soils under a dense evergreen canopy.

      Etymology:— The species epithet refers to the blackcrown-like structure formed above the annulus by the fusion of the three inner perianth lobes. Hence the taxon may informally be referred to as ‘the black-crowned thismia’.

     Pankaj Kumar, Stephan W. Gale, Ji-Hong Li, Somsanith Bouamanivong and Gunter A. Fischer. 2017. Thismia nigricoronata, A New Species of Burmanniaceae (Thismieae, Dioscoreales) from Vang Vieng, Vientiane Province, Laos, and A Key to Subgeneric Classification.
       Phytotaxa. 319(3); 225–240.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.319.3.2

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    Shakya, Fuchs, Pons & Sheldon, 2017 

    • We compared DNA sequences of six loci from 203 of the 217 recognized species to construct a comprehensive tree of intrafamilial relationships of woodpeckers and found numerous unknown relationships among clades and species.
    • We discuss how convergence, mimicry, and potential cases of hybridization obscured woodpecker relationships for morphological taxonomists.
    • We also used the tree to analyze rates of diversification and biogeographic patterns within the family.

    Molecular phylogenetic studies of woodpeckers (Picidae) have generally focused on relationships within specific clades or have sampled sparsely across the family. We compared DNA sequences of six loci from 203 of the 217 recognized species of woodpeckers to construct a comprehensive tree of intrafamilial relationships. We recovered many known, but also numerous unknown, relationships among clades and species. We found, for example, that the three picine tribes are related as follows (Picini, (Campephilini, Melanerpini)) and that the genus Dinopium is paraphyletic. We used the tree to analyze rates of diversification and biogeographic patterns within the family. Diversification rate increased on two occasions during woodpecker history. We also tested diversification rates between temperate and tropical species but found no significant difference. Biogeographic analysis supported an Old World origin of the family and identified at least six independent cases of New World-Old World sister relationships. In light of the tree, we discuss how convergence, mimicry, and potential cases of hybridization have complicated woodpecker taxonomy.

    Keywords: biogeography; convergence; diversification rates; phylogeny; Picidae; rate-shifts

    Subir B. Shakya, Jérôme Fuchs, Jean-Marc Pons and Frederick H. Sheldon. 2017. Tapping the Woodpecker Tree for Evolutionary Insight. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.005

    New paper by #LSUMNS student Subir Shakya & Curator Fred Sheldon in MP&E. "Tapping the Woodpecker Tree for Evolutionary Insight" 

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    Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane


    A new species of Asplenium (Aspleniaceae), Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, from Phu Kradueng National Park, Loei Province, Northeast Thailand and Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Nayok Province, Central Thailand, is described and illustrated. This species can be distinguished from all similar species in East and South-East Asia by its simple and small lamina (1–5 × 0.3–0.7 cm), small and entire pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm), reflexed pinna arrangement (>90° from the midrib) in the lower 2/3 of the lamina and a sori arrangement that is almost always arranged in a single row on the basiscopic vein. 

    KEYWORDS: Asplenium, Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyte, Fern, new species, Phu Kradueng National Park, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.

    Figure 2. Asplenium minutifolium  Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov.
    . habit; B. portion of lamina (undersurface) showing sori; C. rhizome with scales; D. habitat.

    Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov. 

    Similar to Asplenium kiangsuense Ching & Y.X.Jing of southern China in size and shape of lamina, but differs in having a narrower lamina (ca 0.7 cm wide in A. minutifolium vs. ca 1 cm wide in A. kiangsuense), wingless rachis (vs. 2 slightly raised lateral wings), smaller pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm vs. 4–5 × 4–5 mm), generally fewer sori per pinna (1– 3(–4) vs. 3–5), and in the sori arrangement (usually arranged in a row vs. arranged oppositely). Also similar to Asplenium siamense Tagawa & K.Iwats. of North-East Thailand, but can be distinguished by its simple pinnae at the tip of lamina (vs. lamina forked several times at the tip), thicker pinnae (thickly papery vs. thinly papery), reflexed pinna arrangement in lower part (vs. divaricate around lamina), and pinnae with entire or slightly undulate margins (vs. shallowly lobed (lobes to ca 1mm long)). 
    –– Type: Thailand. Loei Province, Phu Kradueng National Park, Lom Sak Cliff, alt. 1292 m, 12 June 2015, Kanemitsu et al. T4736 (holotype BKF!, isotype TNS!).  

    Distribution.–– Currently Asplenium minutifolium is known only from Phu Kradueng National Park and Khao Yai National Park. 

    Ecology.–– In Phu Kradueng National Park, Asplenium minutifolium occurs in a semi-shaded and damp rock crevice that is ca 50 cm wide and 10 cm deep, on the plateau at an altitude of ca 1300 m. Associated fern and lycophyte species include Aglaomorpha rigidula (Sw.) Hovenkamp & S.Linds., Goniophlebium subauriculatum (Blume) C.Presl, Oleandra undulata (Willd.) Ching, Pyrrosia lingua (Thunb.) Farw. var. heteractis (Mett. ex Kuhn) Hovenkamp, and Selaginella siamensis Hieron. Other than the elevation, nothing is known about the ecology of this species at Khao Yai National Park. 

    Etymology.–– The species epithet “minutifolium” refers to the very small lamina and pinnae of this species.

     Hironobu Kanemitsu, Shuichiro Tagane, Somran Suddee, Sukid Ruangruaea, Tetsukazu Yahara. 2017. Asplenium minutifolium (Aspleniaceae), A New Species from Thailand. THAI FOREST BULL., BOT.  45(1); 29–34.  DOI: 10.20531/tfb.2017.45.1.06

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    Rathbunamon chumomrayense
    Do, Dang, Cao & Hoang, 2016

    A new species of semi-terrestrial crab of the family Potamidae, Rathbunamon chumomrayense sp. nov. is described from Chu Mom Ray National Park, the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The new species can be distinguished from R. lacunifer (Rathbun, 1904), the only other species in the genus, by a suite of characters, including the slightly more rugose anterolateral regions, confluent epigastric and postorbital cristae that are sinuous, less convex anterolateral margins, relatively shorter fingers of the chelipeds, and the terminal segment of the male first gonopod being slightly curved outwards, with narrower dorsal flap.

    Keywords: Crustacea, semi-terrestrial crabs, taxonomy

     The freshwater crabs of Vietnam are currently represented by 52 species, belonging to two families, Potamidae Ortmann, 1896 and Gecarcinucidae Rathbun, 1904 (Dang & Ho, 2012; Dang, Thai, & Pham, 1980; V.T. Do, 2014; V. T. Do, Le, & Nguyen, 2016; V. T. Do, Le, & Phan, 2015; V. T. Do, Shih, & Huang, 2016; Naruse, Nguyen Xuan, & Yeo, 2011; Ng & Yeo, 2001; Yeo & Ng, 1998; Yeo & Ng, 2007)Rathbunamon is a monotypic genus established by Ng (1996) with R. lacunifer (Rathbun, 1904) as the type species. A recent survey in the Central Highlands of Vietnam obtained two specimens which are here identified as a second species from this genus. The new species possesses the main generic characteristics of Rathbunamon. It appears to have a highly localized distribution and can be distinguished from its congener by a suite of morphological characteristics.

    FIGURE 5. Rathbunamon chumomrayense sp. nov., on the forest ground in Chu Mom Ray National Park, Kon Tum Province, Vietnam.


    Family Potamidae Ortmann, 1896
    Subfamily Potamiscinae Ortmann, 1896 (sensu Yeo & Ng 2003)

    Rathbunamon Ng, 1996

    Rathbunamon chumomrayense sp. nov.

    Etymology. The new species is named after the type locality, Chu Mom Ray.

    Ecological notes. This species inhabits forested mountain areas. The larger specimen was found running around on the forest floor, far from the stream; however, the smaller specimen was found near the stream. It is believed that this species spends most of their time in the terrestrial environment

     Van Tu Do, Van Dong Dang, Thi Kim T. Cao and Ngoc Khac Hoang. 2016.  A New Species of Semi-Terrestrial Freshwater Crab (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamidae) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam.   Zootaxa. 4179(2); 279–287.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4179.2.8

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    Murina hkakaboraziensis
    Soisook,Thaw,Kyaw,Oo,Pimsai, Suarez-Rubio & Renner, 2017

    ค้างคาวจมูกหลอดคากาโบราซี || Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat || DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9


    A new species of Murina of the suilla-type is described from the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, Upper Myanmar, an area that is currently being nominated as a World Heritage Site. The new species is a small vespertilionid, with a forearm length of 29.6 mm, and is very similar to M. kontumensis, which was recently described from Vietnam. However, it is distinguishable by a combination of external and craniodental morphology and genetics. The DNA Barcode reveals that the new species clusters sisterly to M. kontumensis but with a genetic distance of 11.5%. A single known specimen of the new species was collected from a lowland forest area in the plains of the Hkakabo Razi landscape, south-eastern Himalaya. Additional information on ecology, echolocation, and conservation are included. The high cryptic diversity of the genus Murina in Southeast Asia, as well as the Hkakabo Razi Landscape being a bat diversity hotspot, is highlighted.

    Keywords:  Mammalia, cryptic species, Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar, new species, Southeast Asia

    FIGURE 1. The appearance of the face, ear and pelage (a), dorsal pelage (b), and ventral pelage (c) of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., ♂PS160218.6, holotype, from Kachin, Myanmar.

    Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. 

    Etymology. The species is named after the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, where the only known specimen was collected. The proposed English name is ‘Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat

    Ecology and distribution. The new species, M. hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., was collected in a mist net set at the edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland, which undergoes an annual burn (Fig. 5). The new species was the only bat captured in the mist net. However, on the same night, four other insectivorous bats, Rhinolophus affinis, R. pusillus, Aselliscus stoliczkanus and Hipposideros pomona were captured in nearby mist nets and harp traps. Four other vespertilionids, M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, Kerivoula hardwickii, and K. furva were also captured in the same area on other nights. Currently, the new species is only known from the holotype collected from the type locality in the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, northern Myanmar.

    The discovery of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., as well as a recently described Kerivoula furva(Kuo et al. 2017), indicates that the Hkakabo Razi Landscape is extremely understudied in terms of bats. Based only on a single scientific expedition in 2016, 37 species of bats were recorded from HRL (P. Soisook, unpublished data) representing approximately 40% of bats in Myanmar. Nevertheless, the 2016 expedition focused only on a limited geographical area and elevation of the HRL. Future surveys to cover the variety of habitats, particularly at the higher elevations, would be of interest. 

    The vespertilionid community in the HRL appears to be a geographical connection and a unique mix of species those found widespread in the Indochinese Region (e.g. M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, K. kachinensis, K. hardwickii, and K. furva), and those from the Indian Region (e.g. M. cf. jaintiana, M. cf. pluvialis). It indicates the importance of primary forests, and ongoing biogeographical processes of the HRL, underlining the significance of Myanmar’s endeavour to nominate the area as a Natural World Heritage Site. 

    FIGURE 5. The edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland where the specimen of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. was captured. Photograph by Sai Sein Lin Oo.

    Pipat Soisook,Win Naing Thaw,Myint Kyaw,Sai Sein Lin Oo,Awatsaya Pimsai, Marcela Suarez-Rubio and Swen C. Renner. 2017. A New Species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from sub-Himalayan Forests of northern Myanmar.   Zootaxa. 4320(1); 159–172. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9
    Hao-Chih Kuo, Pipat Soisook, Ying-Yi Ho, Gabor Csorba, Chun-Neng Wang and Stephen J. Rossiter. 2017. A Taxonomic Revision of the Kerivoula hardwickii complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with the Description of A New Species.   Acta Chiropterologica. 19(1); 19-39.  DOI: 10.3161/15081109ACC2017.19.1.002


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    Impatiens putaoensis


    Two new species of the genus Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) from Putao, Kachin State, Myanmar, are here described and illustrated. Impatiens casseabriae can be easily recognized by its narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblanceolate leaves, petioles up to 3 mm long, lower lateral united petals 25–40 mm long. Impatiens putaoensis differs from its closely related species I. xanthina in having light greenish yellow flowers, lateral sepals ovate to elliptic, lower lobe of united petals semilunar, upper lobe of united petals dolabrate, dorsal petal ovate to nearly orbicular, with a narrow inconspicuous dorsal crest. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of sequences from both nuclear ribosomal and plastidgenes confirm that the two new species are distinct from previously recorded species.

    Keywords: phylogeny, botanical expeditions, diversity, CAS-SEABRI, Eudicots

    Impatiens casseabriae. A-D. Habit; E. Different parts of the flower and capsule; F. Flower (front view).
    Images by TAN Yunhong. 

     Impatiens putaoensis. G, H. Habit; I. Different parts of the flower, pedicel with immature capsule and pedicel with flower (lateral view). 
    Images by TAN Yunhong.

    Impatiens casseabriae. A-D. Habit; E. Different parts of the flower and capsule; F. Flower (front view).
    Impatiens putaoensis. G, H. Habit; I. Different parts of the flower, pedicel with immature capsule and pedicel with flower (lateral view). (Images by TAN Yunhong) 

    Bin Yang,Shi-Shun Zhou,Kyaw Win Maung andYun-Hong Tan. 2017. Two New Species of Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) from Putao, Kachin State, northern Myanmar. Phytotaxa. 321(1); 103–113.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.321.1.4

    Two New Species of Balsaminaceae Reported from Northeern Myanmar


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    Species are being lost at an unprecedented rate due to human-driven environmental changes. The cases in which species declared extinct can be revived are rare. However, here we report that a remote volcano in the Galápagos Islands hosts many giant tortoises with high ancestry from a species previously declared as extinct: Chelonoidis elephantopus or the Floreana tortoise. Of 150 individuals with distinctive morphology sampled from the volcano, genetic analyses revealed that 65 had C. elephantopus ancestry and thirty-two were translocated from the volcano’s slopes to a captive breeding center. A genetically informed captive breeding program now being initiated will, over the next decades, return C. elephantopus tortoises to Floreana Island to serve as engineers of the island’s ecosystems. Ironically, it was the haphazard translocations by mariners killing tortoises for food centuries ago that created the unique opportunity to revive this “lost” species today.

    Figure 1: Distribution of tortoises among Galápagos Islands and representative photos of tortoise carapace morphology.
    (a) Map of the distribution of tortoises among Galápagos Islands along with cartoons indicating carapace morphology for each. Light grey shading indicates domed morphology, unshaded indicates saddle-backed. Extinct species are noted with †. (b) Larger view of Volcano Wolf on northern Isabela Island. The circle indicates the approximate field location of the current study. Examples of Galápagos giant tortoises with domed (c) saddle-backed (d) morphology.  

    Joshua M. Miller, Maud C. Quinzin, Nikos Poulakakis, James P. Gibbs, Luciano B. Beheregaray, Ryan C. Garrick, Michael A. Russello, Claudio Ciofi, Danielle L. Edwards, Elizabeth A. Hunter, Washington Tapia, Danny Rueda, Jorge Carrión, Andrés A. Valdivieso and Adalgisa Caccone. 2017. Identification of Genetically Important Individuals of the Rediscovered Floreana Galápagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis elephantopus) Provide Founders for Species Restoration Program. Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 11471. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-11516-2

    Back from the dead—how to revive a lost species via @physorg_com


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    Pomatoschistus nanus Engin & Seyhan, 2017

    DOI:  10.1111/jfb.13455  


    The new sand goby species Pomatoschistus nanus (Teleostei: Gobiidae) is described from the northern coast of the Levantine Sea (eastern Mediterranean Sea) based on both morphological and DNA barcoding data. The new species is the smallest fish in the Mediterranean Sea and may be distinguished from congeners by the following features: predorsal area, first dorsal-fin base and breast naked; δ-pore missing; anterior point of the suborbital row b not reaching level of posterior point of suborbital row d; slightly emarginated caudal fin and nape coloration pattern. DNA barcode data clearly discriminate Pomatoschistus spp. in the neighbour-joining tree with an average of 17·7% interspecific K2P distance. The most closely related taxon to P. nanus sp. nov. is Pomatoschistus bathi and the most distantly related is Pomatoschistus tortonesei with 11·9 and 21·9% K2P distances respectively. Morphometric and genetic data are also provided for Pomatoschistus bathi.

    Key words: DNA barcoding; Pomatoschistus bathi; Pomatoschistus nanus; rebreather; sand goby. 

    Fig. 3. (a) Preserved paratype Pomatoschistus nanus sp. nov., IKC.PIS.1059, male, 14·63 mm standard length (LS); (b) preserved holotype, IKC.PIS·1057, female, 15·88 mm LS; (c) live specimen observed in natural habitat.
    Pomatoschistus nanus sp. nov.

    Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from ancient Greek, which means pygmaean


    S. Engin and D. Seyhan. 2017. A New Species of Pomatoschistus (Teleostei, Gobiidae): the Mediterranean's Smallest Marine Fish. Journal of Fish Biology.  DOI:  10.1111/jfb.13455 


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    Pachycheles tuerkayi Werding & Hiller, 2017

    A new species of porcellanid crab from the southern Caribbean Sea is described. Pachycheles tuerkayi n. sp. has been confused with P. serratus (Benedict, 1901) since the 1950s because the two species are morphologically and ecologically similar and have overlapping distributions in the southern Caribbean. P. tuerkayi n. sp. is restricted to the coasts of Costa Rica, Panamá and Colombia. P. serratus ranges from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to the coasts of Panamá, Colombia and Venezuela. Genetic differences based on DNA sequences of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene from the two species surpassed those estimated for geminate porcellanids on each side of the Isthmus of Panamá. Field observations where P. tuerkayi n. sp. and P. serratus overlap indicated that the two species come into contact when sharing the same substrate. The total number of porcellanid species in the western Atlantic rises to 50.

    A large male Pachycheles tuerkayi, new species from Santa Marta, Colombia (a) and large male P. serratus (Benedict, 1901) from the Gulf of Morrosquillo, Colombia (b).
    Scale = 4.5 mm. photos: Alexandra Hiller 

    Pachycheles tuerkayi n. sp., male holotype, INV CRU8408, dorsal view. Scale = 5.4 mm. 

    Bernd Werding and Alexandra Hiller. 2017. Description of A New Species of Pachycheles (Decapoda, Anomura, Porcellanidae) from the southern Caribbean Sea. Crustaceana. 90(7-10); 1279 – 1288. DOI:  10.1163/15685403-00003684

    New porcelain crab species from Colombia named via @physorg_com

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    Japalura slowinskii Rao, Vindum, Ma, Fu & Wilkinson, 2017

     A population of Japalura from Yunnan Province, China, previously assigned to Japalura splendida, is described as a new species. The new species has been recorded between 1138–2500 m in the Nu River drainage between the towns of Liuku and Binzhongluo, and on the lower western slopes of the Nushan and eastern slopes of the Goaligongshan. The new species can be distinguished from other species of Japalura, except J. dymondi, by the following combination of characters: exposed tympani, prominent dorso-lateral stripes, and small gular scales. It is very similar with but differs from J. dymondi by having smooth or feebly keeled dorsal head scales, three relatively enlarged spines on either side of the post-occiput area, strongly keeled and mucronate scales on occiput area and within the lateral stripes, back of arm and leg green, higher number of dorsal-ridge scales (DS) and fourth toe subdigital scales (T4S). A principal component analysis of body measurements of adult male specimens of the new species and J. dymondi showed principal component 1 loading highest for upper arm length, fourth toe length and snout to eye length and principal component 2 loading highest for head width, head length and fourth toe length.

    Keywords: Agamidae, Japalura sp. nov., Goaligongshan Mountain, Nujiang River Valley, Hengduan Mountains, Yunnan, China

    Japalura slowinskii sp. nov. 

    Diagnosis: A large species of Japalura with a robust head and body compressed dorso-ventrally; SVL = 89.6±5.44 mm (n = 18; Male); SVL = 83.9±6.71 mm (n = 7; Female); smooth or feebly keeled dorsal head scales; exposed tympani; a transverse gular fold; a distinct oblique fold anterior to shoulder extending dorsally from transverse gular fold and continuing posteriorly beyond shoulder; dorsal scales heterogeneous, larger scales strongly keeled; a broken dorso-lateral row of enlarged and strongly keeled scales separated from dorsal crest scales by one large or two smaller scales, and separated from each other by one or two small scales; tail in adult males slightly swollen posterior to base; dorsum of males black with a turquoise dosolateral stripe on either side of mid-dorsal crest: fore and hind limbs green.

    Etymology: The specific epithet is a patronym honoring our late friend and colleague Joseph Bruno Slowinski. The epithet is a masculine noun in the genitive case. Dr. Joseph B. Slowinski worked in CAS until his death on September 11, 2001 in north Myanmar a bite from a krait during a field expedition at the age of 38 years old, when he was in charge of both the projects of Myanmar Biodiversity Survey, and the China Natural History Project — the NSF-funded Gaoligongshan Project (collaborative project between KIZ, KIB, and CAS).

    Distribution and Natural History:Japalura slowinskii has only been found within the Nu River Valley drainage system between the town of Liuku, Liushu County, and the town of Binzhongluo, Gongshan County, a northsouth distance of approximately 210 km (refer to Figure 1). The species has been found on the western slopes of the Nu Shan and the eastern slopes of the Goaligongshan between elevations of 1 138–2 500 m. J. slowinskii has not been recorded on the eastern slopes of the Nushan or the Hengduan Shan, or on the western slope of the Goaligongshan; however, these areas have not been thoroughly surveyed for reptiles. It is unlikely that the species extends beyond the western slopes of the Goaligongshan because of the high altitude of the ridge (above 3 000 m [Chaplin, 2005]). A recent collecting trip (2005) to Dulong Valley, west of the Goaligongshan ridge, only recorded a single agamid species, Pseudocalotes kingdonwardi.  ....

    Dingqi Rao, Jens V. Vindum, Xiaohui Ma, Mingxia Fu and Jeffery A. Wilkinson. 2017. A New Species of Japalura (Squamata, Agamidae) from the Nu River Valley in Southern Hengduan Mountains, Yunnan, China. Asian Herpetological Research. 8(2); 86–95 DOI:  10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160053

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    Polyalthia yingjiangensis  Y. H. Tan & B. Xue

     DOI: 10.1111/njb.01612 


    Polyalthia yingjiangensis sp. nov. is described from the China/Myanmar border. It is distinct in having outer petals that are much shorter than the inner petals and having a very long pedicel. It is most similar to P. miliusoides I.M. Turner, but differs in having perianth parts that are glabrous adaxially and pubescent abaxially, thicker and sparsely pubescent pedicels, as well as verrucose and darker monocarps.

    Figure 1. Flower and fruit morphology of Polyalthia yingjiangensis sp. nov. (A)–(E) branch and inflorescence, showing extra-axillary inflorescence with long pedicel, unequal corolla whorls and leaves with slightly asymmetrical leaf base with petiole superficially below lamina surface, (F) dried fruits (C. L. Dang 9977, YUKU), (G) a single dried monocarp, showing the verrucose surface (86 Exped. 01111, KUN), (H) lateral and top view of one seed, showing the shallow longitudinal circumferential groove (86 Exped. 01111, KUN), (I) transverse and longitudinal section of the seed, showing spiniform endosperm ruminations (86 Exped. 01111, KUN).
    Photos: (A)–(E) De-Ping Ye, (F)–(I) Bine Xue.

    Polyalthia yingjiangensis Y. H. Tan & B. Xue sp. nov.  

    Etymology: The new species Polyalthia yingjiangensis is named after its type locality, Yingjiang county of Yunnan province, China.

    Bine Xue, De-Ping Ye, Yun-Yun Shao and Yun-Hong Tan. 2017. Polyalthia yingjiangensis sp. nov (Annonaceae) from the China/Myanmar Border. Nordic Journal of Botany. 35; 476–481.  DOI: 10.1111/njb.01612

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    Arminisaurus schuberti  Sachs & Kear, 2017


    We describe a new plesiosaurian from the upper Pliensbachian Amaltheenton Formation of Bielefeld in northwestern Germany. The taxon is based upon an incomplete associated skeleton comprising part of the right mandibular ramus, several teeth, a series of cervical, pectoral, dorsal and caudal vertebrae, as well as ribs, limb girdle elements including a nearly complete right scapula, and various distal limb bones. A unique character state combination serves to distinguish the Amaltheenton Formation remains from other previously documented Early Jurassic plesiosaurians. The most important features are the presence of a longitudinal notch incising the posterior rim of the glenoid fossa and retroarticular process, and a pronounced ventrolateral shelf on the scapula, both of which constitute derived states otherwise shared with Early Cretaceous leptocleidians. However, phylogenetic analysis using a ‘total group’ Plesiosauria data-set that specifically accommodates for Pliensbachian taxa unanimously placed the Amaltheenton Formation plesiosaurian among Early–Middle Jurassic pliosaurids. This discovery is significant because it reveals unexpected homoplasy, but also because it establishes what is only the third formally named plesiosaurian taxon thus far documented from Pliensbachian strata worldwide.

    Key words: Plesiosauria, Early Jurassic, pliosaurid, ‘Pliensbachian gap’. 

    Systematic palaeontology
    SAUROPTERYGIA Owen, 1860
    PLESIOSAURIA de Blainville, 1835
    PLIOSAURIDAE Seeley, 1874

    Arminisaurus gen. nov. 

    Etymology. Armini-, referring to Arminius (Armin), chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci tribe who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest; and -saurus Latinized Greek for ‘lizard’. 

    Arminisaurus schuberti sp. nov.

    Etymology: The species name honours Mr. Siegfried Schubert, who recovered the holotype NAMU ES/jl 36052 for science and has contributed to palaeontological research in the Bielefeld region for the last decade.

    Type locality and unit. Beukenhorst-II claypit in the Jöllenbeck district of Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Germany. Type stratum is the upper Pliensbachian (Lower Jurassic) middle Amaltheus subnodosus Subzone (Amaltheus margaritatus Zone) of the Amaltheenton Formation.

    Sven Sachs and Benjamin P. Kear. 2017. A Rare New Pliensbachian Plesiosaurian from the Amaltheenton Formation of Bielefeld in northwestern Germany. Alcheringa.  DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2017.1367419

     Ancestor of sea reptile super-predators found in Germany  via @physorg_com

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    Abavorana nazgul
    Quah, Anuar, Grismer, Wood, Azizah & Muin, 2017


    The recently erected ranid genus Abavorana is thought to contain one nominal species, A. luctuosa, that ranges from the Thai-Malay Peninsula to Borneo and Sumatra. A melanistic form from Gunung Jerai, Peninsular Malaysia previously thought to be the same species is new to science and herein described based on new specimens and data. Based on morphology, colour pattern, and phylogenetic analyses using the mitochondrial genes 16s, ND1 and three tRNAs (tRNA-leu, tRNA-lle, and tRNA-gln), we determine that this new speciesAbavorana nazgul sp. nov., is the sister lineage to other populations of A. lucutosa from Peninsular Malaysia and one from Borneo. It differs from A. luctuosa by a minimum sequence divergence of 7.5% and the following combination of morphological and colour pattern characteristics: (1) SVL 42.1–50.0 mm in adult males; (2) prominent but small humeral glands in males (2.3–2.5 mm); (3) dorsolateral stripe continuous, orange to yellow in colour; (4) mid-dorsal region of dorsum black, with or without faint orange or yellow speckles; (5) flanks with distinct cream spots; (6) dorsal surfaces of limbs with cream spots–bar; and (7) venter grayish brown, with prominent light spots on throat and belly. The discovery of yet another endemic species from the upland regions of Peninsular Malaysia highlights the rich diversity of these habitats and the need for more studies in montane areas throughout the region.

    Keywords: Amphibia, Herpetofauna, montane, new species, taxonomy, conservation, systematics

    Abavorana lucutosa  

    Evan S.H. Quah, Shahrul M.S. Anuar, L.L. Grismer, Perry L. JR. Wood, Siti M.N. Azizah and Mohd Abdul Muin. 2017. A New Species of Frog of the Genus Abavorana Oliver, Prendini, Kraus & Raxworthy 2015 (Anura: Ranidae) from Gunung Jerai, Kedah, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia.  Zootaxa. 4320(2); 272–288. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.4

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    Trichomycterus pascuali
    Ochoa, Silva, Silva, Oliveira & Datovo, 2017


    A new species of trichomycterid catfish, Trichomycterus pascuali, is described from Paranapanema basin and is distinguished from all congeners by the possession of five pectoral-fin rays and the absence of pelvic fin, girdle, and muscles. Additional features further differentiate the new species from the other congeners lacking pelvic fins, T. candidus, T. catamarcensis, and T. tropeiro. The identification of T. pascuali is additionally corroborated by genetic divergence based on DNA-barcode analysis. Osteological and myological data unequivocally support the inclusion of the new species in the Trichomycterinae and molecular analyses justify its allocation to the genus Trichomycterus rather than Eremophilus, a trichomycterine taxon traditionally diagnosed by the lack of pelvic fins. Our genetic analysis further indicates that pelvic fins were independently lost in E. mutisii, T. candidus, and T. pascuali.

    Keywords: Pisces, Upper Paraná Basin, Freshwater catfish, pelvic-fin loss, taxonomy

    FIGURE 2. Body coloration patterns observed in Trichomycterus pascuali, LBP 23323, (A) 45.4 mm SL, (B) 52.2 mm SL. 

    Luz E. Ochoa, Gabriel S. C. Silva, Guilherme J. Costa E. Silva, Claudio Oliveira and Alessio Datovo. 2017. New Species of Trichomycterus (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae) Lacking Pelvic Fins from Paranapanema Basin, southeastern Brazil.   Zootaxa. 4319(3); 550–560. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4319.3.7

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    Eumeces persicus
    Faizi, Rastegar-Pouyani, Rastegar-Pouyani, Nazarov, Heidari, Zangi, Orlova & Poyarkov, 2017

    Persian Striped Skink  || DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5 
    We describe a new species of skink in the genus Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 from Iran. Eumeces persicus sp. nov. is a medium sized skink, distinguished by two clear, wide, and brown lateral lines extending from the ear opening to the hindlimbs, with scattered light orange spots, and two median rows of dorsal scales broadly enlarged in eight longitudinal rows. The new species ranges from southern Tehran to Kerman Province along the eastern slopes of the Zagros Mountains towards the Iranian plateau. We provide morphological comparisons of the new species with other Eumeces species from the region and molecular analyses of two mitochondrial markers (16S and Cytb). We also present taxonomic and phylo-genetic accounts, with an updated identification key for the genus Eumeces in Iran and surrounding regions. 

    Keywords: Reptilia, Eumecespersicus sp. nov., Iranian Plateau, Morphology, Phylogeny, Skink

    FIGURE 4. (A) Holotype of Eumeces persicus sp. nov. RUZM-SE-07. Inset shows close-up of the lateral side of the head. (B) Paratype specimen (ZMMU R-14723-1) alive in its habitat.

    Eumeces persicus sp. nov. 
    Proposed vernacular name: Persian Striped Skink

    Etymology. The species epithet “persicus” is an adjective that refers to the current known distribution of the new species—Iran (=Persia).

    Distribution. The new species is widely distributed at the eastern Zagros Mountain slopes, in the central plains of Iran from the deserts of southern Tehran to Kerman Province encompassing a distribution range of about 900 km. .... Further investigation is necessary to find more records in other regions with similar habitats situated between the two current localities. Eumecespersicus sp. nov. is also found in sympatry with other reptile species including snakes and lizards such as Bunopus crassicauda, Tenuidactylus caspium, Trachylepis aurata, Varanus griseus, Spalerosophis diadema, Malpolon insignitus, Lytorhynchus ridgewayi and Platyceps karelini, and specifically in close syntopy with Trapelusagilis.  

      Hiva Faizi, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Roman Alexeevich Nazarov,  Nastaran Heidari, Bahman Zangi, Valentina Orlova and Nikolay Poyarkov. 2017.  A New Species of Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Iran. Zootaxa. 4320(2) 289-304. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5

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    Eidmanacris desutterae  Campos, 2017


    Eidmanacris Chopard, 1956 is revised, redescribed and eleven species are redescribed. Seven new species from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (E. scopula Campos, sp. nov.; E. gigas Campos, sp. nov.; E. neomarmorata Campos, sp. nov.; E, desutterae Campos, sp. nov.; E. putuhra Campos, sp. nov.; E. fontanettiae Campos, Nihei & de Mello, sp. nov. and E. melloi Campos, sp. nov.) are described, based on adults. One new generic synonymy with Endophallusia de Mello, 1990 syn. nov., resulting in two new combinations (E. minuta (de Mello, 1990) comb. nov. and E. endophallica (de Mello, 1990) comb. nov.), a new combination with Phalangopsis spelucae Mello-Leitão, 1937 (E. speluncae (Mello-Leitão, 1937) comb. nov.), and one species synonymy (E. lencionii Bolfarini, 2016 = E. dissimilis Desutter-Grandcolas, 1995, syn. nov.) are proposed. Following this revision, Eidmanacris comprises a total of 29 species. An identification key to species, and distribution maps are also given.

    Keywords:  Orthoptera, Neotropical region, cricket, taxonomy, description, new species

     Lucas Denadai De Campos, Pedro G. B. Souza-Dias and Silvio S. Nihei. 2017. Taxonomic Review of Eidmanacris Chopard, 1956 (Orthoptera: Grylloidea: Phalangopsidae). Zootaxa. 4321(1);  1–93.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4321.1.1  

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     Anilios obtusifrons
    Ellis, Doughty, Donnellan, Marin & Vidal, 2017 


    The blindsnake genus Anilios (formerly Ramphotyphlops) is the largest and most diverse genus of snakes in Australia with 45 currently recognized species. Recent molecular genetic studies of the genus have identified high levels of cryptic diversity within many taxa, suggesting true species diversity is greatly underestimated. Anilios leptosoma is a slender blindsnake endemic to the mid-west of Western Australia. Although morphological variation has been identified within the species in the past, the systematics and true diversity remained unstudied. Here we use recent molecular data to guide a reappraisal of morphology in order to provide a taxonomic revision of the A. leptosoma species complex. We redescribe Aleptosoma and describe two new species that occur to the south of most of true A. leptosoma’s distribution: A. systenos sp. nov. and Aobtusifrons sp. nov. Anilios systenos sp. nov. is known from the Geraldton region with the furthest record only 100 km to the north-east, a very small range for a species of snake. Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. has an even smaller distribution, as it is only known from a small coastal area south of Kalbarri and may represent a range-restricted taxa. All species are genetically divergent from each other and can be distinguished by consistent morphological characteristics, including the shape of the snout, the termination point of the rostral cleft and number of mid-body scale rows and ventral scales.

    Keywords:  Reptilia, taxonomy, morphology, mtDNA, nDNA, cryptic species, cryptic diversity, Ramphotyphlops leptosomaAnilios systenos sp. nov., Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov., Western Australia

    Ryan J. Ellis, Paul Doughty, Stephen C. Donnellan, Julie Marin and Nicolas Vidal. 2017. 
    Worms in the Sand: Systematic Revision of the Australian Blindsnake Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) Species Complex (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from the Geraldton Sandplain, with Description of Two New Species.   Zootaxa. 4323(1); 1–24.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4323.1.1

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    Figure 3: Late Pleistocene passerines from Liang Bua.
     (A) Left tarsometatarsus of Philemon sp. (LB-Av-740), (B) left tarsometatarsus of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688); (C) right femur of Philemon sp.(LB-Av-795), (D) right femur of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688); (E) right tibiotarsus of cf. Philemon (LB-Av-857), (F) right tibiotarsus of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688), (G) left tibiotarsus (LB-Av-726) of cf. Philemon, (H) right tibiotarsus (LB-Av-775) cf. Philemon;
    (I) right humerus of Rhipidura sp. (LB-Av-762), (J) right humerus of R. albicollis (NMNH 620568);
     (K) distal fragment of right humerus of Corvus cf. macrorhynchos (LB-Av-856), (L) right humerus of C. macrorhynchos (NMNH 641775); (M) right scapula of Corvus cf. macrorhynchos (LB-Av-766), (N) right scapula of C. macrorhynchos (NMNH 641775).
     (scale bars 1 cm) DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3676


    Passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) dominate modern terrestrial bird communities yet their fossil record is limited. Liang Bua is a large cave on the Indonesian island of Flores that preserves Late Pleistocene–Holocene deposits (∼190 ka to present day). Birds are the most diverse faunal group at Liang Bua and are present throughout the stratigraphic sequence.

    We examined avian remains from the Late Pleistocene deposits of Sector XII, a 2 × 2 m area excavated to about 8.5 m depth. Although postcranial passerine remains are typically challenging to identify, we found several humeral characters particularly useful in discriminating between groups, and identified 89 skeletal elements of passerines.

    At least eight species from eight families are represented, including the Large-billed Crow (Corvus cf. macrorhynchos), the Australasian Bushlark (Mirafra javanica), a friarbird (Philemon sp.), and the Pechora Pipit (Anthus cf. gustavi).

    These remains constitute the first sample of fossil passerines described in Wallacea. Two of the taxa no longer occur on Flores today; a large sturnid (cf. Acridotheres) and a grassbird (Megalurus sp.). Palaeoecologically, the songbird assemblage suggests open grassland and tall forests, which is consistent with conditions inferred from the non-passerine fauna at the site. Corvus cf. macrorhynchos, found in the Homo floresiensis-bearing layers, was likely part of a scavenging guild that fed on carcasses of Stegodon florensis insularis alongside vultures (Trigonoceps sp.), giant storks (Leptoptilos robustus), komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), and probably H. floresiensis as well.

    Hanneke J.M. Meijer​, Rokus Awe Due​, Thomas Sutikna, Wahyu Saptomo, Jatmiko, Sri Wasisto, Matthew W. Tocheri and Gerald Mayr. 2017. Late Pleistocene Songbirds of Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia); The First Fossil Passerine Fauna Described from Wallacea.
     PeerJ. 5: e3676.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3676

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    Meristogenys orphnocnemis (Matsui, 1986)

    [upper] Female Meristogenys orphnocnemis showing transmitter and attachment belt.
    [lower] Section of stream in SAFE Project experimental site, known as logged forest edge (LFE) stream, where all radiotracking occurred.



     We tracked six female Meristogenys orphnocnemis for 17 ± 4.3 days (11.5–22 days) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo to determine core area (home range size) and movement patterns. We found that the core usage area was 3351.0 ± 963.4 m2 . Mean distance of each female from the stream during tracking was between 4.9–29.3 m and median distance from the stream for individual females was 4–20 m. Net distance between first and last observation was 80.6 ± 24.5 m, and there was no relationship between number of days tracked and total distance traversed or core area size, nor between body size and core area size, though our sample sizes were likely too small to detect such patterns. We suggest additional radio-tracking to determine differences in movement ecology between sexes and across species, to better predict impacts on anurans from logging and fragmentation in Southeast Asia.

     Key words. behaviour, radio-tracking, frogs, Malaysia

    Fig. 1. Section of stream in SAFE Project experimental site, known as logged forest edge (LFE) stream, where all radiotracking occurred.

     Jennifer A. Sheridan, Nicolas Rakotopare and Rachel Mebberson. 2017. Preliminary Estimation of Home Range Size for Meristogenys orphnocnemis, A Common Bornean Ranid, in An Altered Forest Ecosystem using Radiotelemetry. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY65; 539–544. 


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    Buergeria otai 
    Wang, Hsiao, Lee, Tseng, Lin, Komaki & Lin, 2017


    Buergeria japonica is a widely distributed treefrog occurring from Ryukyu Archipelago to Taiwan. Across this wide distributional range, we combined molecular, acoustic, morphological, and behavioral characters to clarify the taxonomic status among these insular populations. Genetic differentiation in mitochondrial sequences indicated an over 16% divergence among two deeply divergent clades: Japanese clade distributes in Ryukyu Archipelago and northwestern drainages of Taiwan, while Taiwanese clade distributes in the remaining drainages on Taiwan. The Taiwanese clade can be distinguished from the nominative species not only by molecular and morphological differences, but also distinguishable by considerable acoustic differentiation, which is extraordinarily noticeable for an additional type of long call that never recorded from Japanese clade. The two clades form a parapatric distribution pattern with narrow contact zones both in western and eastern Taiwan. Playback experiments indicated that male frogs show significantly stronger defensiveness against conspecific calls rather than heterospecific calls, indicating that these signals play a crucial role in species recognition. Here we describe the Taiwanese clade as a new species; the behavioral response and the magnitude of gene flow across their contact zones are especially worth for detailed studies.

    Species description

    Family Rhacophoridae Günther, 1859
    Genus Buergeria Tschudi, 1838

    Buergeria otai sp. nov.
    Ixalus japonicus—Hallowell, 1861 "1860", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 12: 501. 
    Polypedates japonicus—Stejneger, 1907, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 58: 155. 
    Rhacophorus (Rhacophorusjaponicus—Ahl, 1931 in Das Tierreich, 55: 111. 
    Rhacophorus (Rhacophorusbuergeri japonicus—Wolf, 1936, Bull. Raffles Mus., 12: 166. 
    Buergeria japonica—Liem, 1970, Fieldiana, Zool., 57: 90.

    Etymology:  The specific epithet of the new species “otai” is a latinized patronymic noun in genitive case, dedicated to Prof. Hidetoshi Ota for his great contribution to herpetology and biogeography in East Asia, including Taiwan and adjacent regions. During 1980s to 1990s, Ota published four reptile species in Taiwan, carefully reviewed the herptile fauna across the East Asian Arc, and provided great assistance and encouragement to new-generation herpetologists in this region. We suggest the following common name “Ota’s stream tree frog” in English.

    Diagnosis: Buergeria otai sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of the following characters: (1) a small-sized rhacophorid, body moderately slender; (2) SVL in adult males 23.1–29.3 mm (N = 133; mean ± SD = 26.57 ± 1.21 mm); females 29.7–37.5 mm (N = 3; 32.44 ± 4.42 mm); (3) dorsum slightly tubercular, with a pair of parallel tubercles on scapula; (4) head triangular, snout rounded and somewhat acute; (5) tips of fingers and toes dilated, forming expanded disks (over twice the width of phalanges); (6) tibiotarsal articulation on adpressed limb reaching beyond snout tip; (7) forelimb webbing absent; (8) hindlimb webbing partial, webbing formula (the number of phalanges free of web): I 1–1 II 1–2 III 1–1 IV 2–1 V; (9) vertebral stripe absent; (10) dark dorsal marking in the shape of inverted triangle between the eyes; (11) dark dorsal marking in a form of letter X or H extending from scapula to the middle of the back; (12) chin gray-white, with small irregular mottling; belly gray-white; (13) arms and thighs with sparse brownish bands; (14) regular tiny white spots on the ventral side of the thighs; usually concentrated at the base of the thighs.

    Fig 6. Buergeria japonica (A, C) andBuergeria otai sp. nov. (B, D, E, F) in live. The irregular patches of B. japonica on the thighs could be compared to the regular tiny spots of Buergeria otai sp. nov., regardless the intraspecific variation from very few (E) to many (F).
    Photographed by YJ Liang (A, C), CM Tsao (B), and HN Nguyen (D, E, F).

    Natural history notes.
    Although belonging to the Old-world treefrog family Rhacophoridae, Buergeria otai sp. nov. is specialized to live in the streams like all its congeners. They prefer to gather in small ditches or shallow waters near by the streams, but seldom entering into the major river course. Breeding season usually lasts from February to October, with a major peak from April to July (personal observation in this study), but may appear all year round in some habitats. Males gather to form chorus beside the streams after sunset, and the chorus reach its climax near midnight. Eggs 1.2–1.4 mm in diameter, attached on vegetation or spread on the substrates in shallow water, hatched after 24–36 hr. Tadpoles herbivorous or detritivorous, live benthically in shallow waters, with a larval stage period 15–30 days, depending on the water temperature.

    Both Buergeria otai sp. nov. and B. japonica are well known for their special tolerance in geothermal hot springs, which seems to be an extraordinary adaptation from all anuran species in the world. The tadpoles of the frogs often show thermal affinity by approaching hot waters with temperature higher than 30°C, and their critical thermal maxima could reach more than 41°C. This adaptation was deduced to extend the breeding season, decrease the hatching rate, and increase the tadpole size. Furthermore, B. japonica was also well addressed for their special to salt tolerance. Although Buergeria otai sp. nov. is suspected to share the same tolerance, there was not yet an experiment designed to test this ability in this clade.

    Ying-Han Wang, Yu-Wei Hsiao, Ko-Huan Lee, Hui-Yun Tseng, Yen-Po Lin, Shohei Komaki and Si-Min Lin. 2017. Acoustic Differentiation and Behavioral Response reveals Cryptic Species within Buergeria Treefrogs (Anura, Rhacophoridae) from Taiwan. PLoS ONE. 12(9); e0184005.  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0184005

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     Themira lohmanus   Ang, 2017

    New species from well-studied taxa such as Sepsidae (Diptera) are rarely described from localities that have been extensively explored and one may think that New York City belongs to this category. Yet, a new species of Themira (Diptera: Sepsidae) was recently discovered which is currently only known to reside in two of New York City’s largest urban parks. Finding a new species of Themira in these parks was all the more surprising because the genus was revised in 1998 and is not particularly species-rich (13 species). Its status is confirmed as a new species based on morphology, DNA sequences, and reproductive isolation tests with a closely related species, and is described as Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n. The species breeds on waterfowl dung and it is hypothesized that this makes the species rare in natural environments. However, it thrives in urban parks where the public feeds ducks and geese. The mating behavior of Themira lohmanus was recorded and is similar to the behavior of its closest relative T. biloba.

    Keywords: cryptic species, Sepsidae, species description

    Figure 2. Adult male (A–M), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus, anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G); ventral view of abdomen (H) showing modified 4th sternites; anterior (I), dorsal (J), left (K) and right (L) views of hypopygium, as well as various views of the penis (M).

    Figure 3. Adult female (A–H), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus (sans abdomen), anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G), and ventral view of abdomen (H).

    Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n.

    Diagnosis:  Themira lohmanus is a relatively large, robust-looking sepsid species that resembles T. biloba. However, adult T. lohmanus males can be readily differentiated from the latter by their uniquely shaped, asymmetrical surstyli, which is symmetrical in T. biloba(Fig. 1A, see Morphological analysis section). While females of these two species do not have distinct structural differences, they can potentially be distinguished based on the color of the sclerous cuticle: in T. biloba, it tends to be glossy black while T. lohmanus tends to have a cupreous tinge. However, these characters may not be easily differentiated in faded specimens.

    Etymology:  The new species is named after David J. Lohman, for his generous contributions of specimens to sepsid taxonomy.

    Distribution: Nearctic. Thus far only found in New York City (Central Park and Prospect Park); likely to be found in more localities in the future, especially where waterfowl congregate.

     Yuchen Ang, Rudolf Meier, Kathy Feng-Yi Su and Gowri Rajaratnam. 2017. Hidden in the Urban Parks of New York City: Themira lohmanus, A New Species of Sepsidae Described Based on Morphology, DNA Sequences, Mating Behavior, and Reproductive Isolation (Sepsidae, Diptera).  ZooKeys. 698; 95-111.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.698.13411

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    Glyphiulus latus Jiang, Lv,  Guo, Yu & Chen, 2017


    Two new Chinese species of the millipede genus Glyphiulus Gervais, 1847,Glyphiulus latus sp. nov. and Glyphiulusliangshanensis sp. nov., from three caves in Sichuan Province are described. According to the structure of the first male leg pair, the new species belong to the javanicus-group.

    Keywords:  Myriapoda, taxonomy, troglobitic, endemic, biodiversity


    Xuan-Kong Jiang, Jing-Cai Lv, Xuan Guo, Zhi-Gang Yu and Hui-Ming Chen. 2017. Two New Species of the Millipede Genus Glyphiulus Gervais, 1847 from Southwest China (Diplopoda: Spirostreptida: Cambalopsidae). Zootaxa4323(2); 197–208.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4323.2.3

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     Diogenes heteropsammicola 
     Igawa & Kato, 2017


    Symbiont shift is rare in obligate mutualisms because both the partners are reciprocally dependent on and specialized to each other. In the obligate accommodation–transportation mutualism between walking corals and sipunculans, however, an unusual saltatory symbiont shift was discovered. In shallow waters of southern Japan, an undescribed hermit crab species was found living in corallums of solitary scleractinian corals of the genera Heterocyathus and Heteropsammia, replacing the usual sipunculan symbiont. We described the hermit crab as a new species Diogenes heteropsammicola (Decapoda, Anomura, Diogenidae), and explored its association with the walking corals. This hermit crab species obligately inhabits the coiled cavity of the corals, and was easily distinguished from other congeneric species by the exceedingly slender chelipeds and ambulatory legs, and the symmetrical telson. Observations of behavior in aquaria showed that the new hermit crab, like the sipunculan, carries the host coral and prevents the coral from being buried. This is an interesting case in which an organism phylogenetically distant from Sipuncula takes over the symbiotic role in association with a walking coral. The hermit crab species is unique in that its lodging is a living solitary coral that grows with the hermit crab in an accommodation–transportation mutualism.

    Fig 6. Diogenes heteropsammicola sp. nov. in life. A, an individual in an aquarium, carrying the coral. 

    Fig 6. Diogenes heteropsammicola sp. nov. in life. B, an individual removed from its host coral. Scale bar: 1 mm.

    Taxonomic account
    Genus Diogenes Dana, 1851

    Diogenes heteropsammicola sp. nov.

    Fig 7. Behavior of Diogenes heteropsammicola sp. nov.
    A–C, sequence of behaviors to recover from an overturned to upright position in which the hermit crab leans out of the overturned coral (A), grasps the bottom with its ambulatory legs and left cheliped (B), and turns the coral upright using the pleon (C); D–F, sequence of behaviors to overcome burial in sediment, whereby the buried hermit crab (D) pushes away the sediment using its chelipeds and ambulatory legs (E), and then crawls away (F). 

    Remarks: Diogenes heteropsammicola sp. nov. belongs to the D. edwardsii species group because of the intercalary rostriform process being smooth on the lateral margins, the antennal peduncle distinctly overreaching the distal corneal margin, and the antennal flagellum bearing a pair of long setae on the distal margin of each article ventrally. The new species is readily distinguished from all other species in this group by its exceedingly slender chelipeds and ambulatory legs, its symmetrical telson, red and white coloration, and the unique symbiotic habit with solitary corals.

    Etymology: The new species is named after its mutualistic relationship with the solitary scleractinian corals of the genera Heteropsammia, keeping in mind that this hermit crab is also associated with Heterocyathus corals.

    Distribution: At present, known only from Oshima Strait, between Kakeroma Island and Amami-Oshima Island, Kagoshima, Japan, depths of 60–80 m, and Ikomo Bay, western coast of Kakeroma Island, depth of 31 m.

    Momoko Igawa and Makoto Kato. 2017. A New Species of Hermit Crab, Diogenes heteropsammicola (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura, Diogenidae), Replaces A Mutualistic Sipunculan in A Walking Coral Symbiosis. PLoS ONE. 12(9); e0184311.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184311

    New hermit crab uses live coral as its home


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    Gelidocalamus xunwuensis  W.G.Zhang & G.Y.Yang

    Gelidocalamus xunwuensis W.G.Zhang & G.Y.Yang, a new species collected from Xunwu County of Jiangxi Province in China, is described and illustrated. The new species is similar to G. stellatus in the habit, but differs by internodes sparsely hairy with granuliferous warts, culm sheath stiffly hairy, culm sheath blade broadly lanceolate to narrowly triangular, each node with a ring of appressed trichomes below, foliage leaves broadly lanceolate to narrowly oblong, and new shoots occurring in late October.

    Keywords: Arundinarieae, Bambusoideae, bamboo, leaf epidermis, SEM, taxonomy

    Figure 4. Gelidocalamus xunwuensis.
    A habitat plants B new shoot CL detailed characters, show branch and branch sheath (CD), transection of culm and pith-cavity (E), culm and its leaf sheath (FJ), buds (K) and foliage leaf (L). Scale bar: 5 cm (A–D, F, L), 5 mm (E, G–K).

    Gelidocalamus xunwuensis W.G.Zhang & G.Y.Yang, sp. nov.

    Diagnosis:  Similar to G. stellatus Wen (1982: 22) in the habit and branch, but differs by culms sparsely hairy (early period) with granuliferous warts (adult or later period), each node with a ring of fulvous appressed trichomes below, culm leaf sheath densely hispidulous with a blade broadly lanceolate and 3–5–paired oral setae, branch sheath glabrous, foliage leaves broadly lanceolate to narrowly oblong, and new shoots late October.

    Etymology:  The species epithet xunwuensis refers to the locality of the type specimen: Xunwu County, Jiangxi, China.

    Distribution and habitat:  Gelidocalamus xunwuensis occurs under evergreen broad-leaved forests, along ravine, and roadsides at elev. ca. 400–600 m. It grows together with Castanopsis kawakamii Hay., Dicranopteris pedata (Houtt.) Nakaike, Gnetum parvifolium (Warb.) C. Y. Cheng & Chun, Eurya chinensis R. Br., Semiliquidambar cathayensis H. T. Chang, and Ormosia semicastrata Hance. Gelidocalamus xunwuensis is currently known from only one small populations (less than 100 culms) in the southern China.

     Wen-Gen Zhang, Xue-Nan Ji, Yu-Guang Liu, Wei-Jian Li and Guang-Yao Yang. 2017. Gelidocalamus xunwuensis (Poaceae, Bambusoideae), A New Species from southeastern Jiangxi, China. PhytoKeys. 85: 59-67.  DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.85.13804

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    Grant, Rada, Anganoy-Criollo, et al., 2017.
    South American Journal of Herpetology. 12(s1) 

    Despite the impressive growth of knowledge on the phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives (Dendrobatoidea) over the past decade, many problems remain to be addressed. We analyzed up to 189 phenomic characters (morphology, behavior, defensive chemicals) and 15 mitochondrial and nuclear loci scored for 564 dendrobatoid and outgroup terminals, including 76 newly sequenced terminals and > 20 previously unanalyzed species, using tree-alignment and the parsimony optimality criterion in the program POY v.5.1.1 and additional analyses of the implied alignment using TNT v.1.5. Even though data coverage was highly heterogeneous, the strict consensus of 639 optimal trees is highly resolved and we detected only one instance of wildcard behavior involving a small clade of outgroup species. The monophyly of the median lingual process (MLP) possessing genus Anomaloglossus is decisively refuted, with the cis-Andean species being sister to Rheobates within Aromobatidae and the trans-Andean species nested within Hyloxalinae, implying two independent origins of the structure in Dendrobatoidea. Although this result was unexpected, it is not surprising given that the MLP evolved at least five times in Asian and African ranoids, including Arthroleptidae, Dicroglossidae, Mantellidae, and Rhacophoridae and either once in the most recent common ancestor of the massive clade Victoranura followed by independent losses or multiple times within component lineages. We restrict Anomaloglossus to the cis-Andean MLP-possessing species, describe a new genus for the trans-Andean MLP-possessing species, and resurrect Paruwrobates for its sister group, which includes Dendrobates andinus (formerly Ameerega), D. erythromos (formerly Hyloxalus and, until recently, Ameerega), and Prostherapis whymperi (formerly Hyloxalus). We also transfer Dendrobates maculatus from Ameerega to Epipedobates, making Ameerega an exclusively cis-Andean group. We describe two new species of the trans-Andean MLP-possessing genus—one from Cerro Tacarcuna, near the Colombo-Panamanian border, and the other from 800–900 m elevation on the western versant of the Colombian Cordillera Occidental (Cauca Department)—bringing the total number of species in the genus to seven. The discrete, round, white to yellowish-brown dots found on the venter of the new species from Cerro Tacarcuna and at least one other trans-Andean MLP-possessing species are formed by large, ellipsoid, densely distributed (up to 80 glands/mm) granular glands. Although specimens of the new species from Cerro Tacarcuna exuded a noxious milky substance when handled, lipophilic alkaloids were not detected. In addition to the unexpected placement of the trans-Andean MLP-possessing species, major findings include the unexpected placement of Colostethus ruthveni and its undescribed sister species (the “C.” ruthveni group) within Dendrobatinae as sister of the newly recognized tribe Dendrobatini (all dendrobatines except Phyllobates and the “C.” ruthveni group). We describe a new genus for C. argyrogaster and C. fugax to remedy the paraphyly of Colostethus caused by the placement of those species as sister to Ameerega. Our evidence rejects the sister group relationship of Dendrobates + Oophaga in favor of Dendrobates + Adelphobates, which is consistent with their uniquely low diploid chromosome number of 2n = 18 (2n = 20 in Oophaga). With the exception of Anomaloglossus and Colostethus, all other genera are monophyletic. We recognize several monophyletic species groups—including the Atlantic Forest, trans-Andean, and 22-chromosome groups within Allobates, the An. stepheni, An. megacephalus, and An. beebei groups in Anomaloglossus, the C. latinasus (formed by the C. inguinalis and C. latinasus clades) and C. fraterdanieli groups within Colostethus, and the Am. braccata and Am. rubriventris groups within Ameerega—identify unambiguously optimized phenomic synapomorphies, and summarize patterns in the evolution of the diploid chromosome number, swelling of Finger IV in males, relative length of Fingers II and III, length of Finger V, and testicular and intestinal pigmentation. Finally, we address criticisms of the current taxonomy of Neotropical poison frogs and their relatives, concluding that they are either overstated, misguided, or false, and that the current system of names better communicates knowledge of the diversity of these frogs. Our results highlight the importance of increased taxon sampling, and we conclude by identifying key species to include in future phylogenetic analyses.

    Keywords: Andes, Aromobatidae, Chocó, Dendrobatidae, Median lingual process, New genus, New species, Phylogeny, Total evidence


    Figure 10(A): Juvenile female Ectopoglossus saxatilis sp. nov. photographed with the assistance of a camera-mounted flash (IAvH 14614, 18.3 mm SVL; photos: M. Rada). .

    Ectopoglossus gen. nov.
    Type species. Ectopoglossus saxatilis sp. nov.
    Immediately more inclusive taxon. Hyloxalinae Grant et al., 2006.
    Sister group. Paruwrobates Bauer, 1994.

    Content (7 species).Ectopoglossus absconditus sp. nov., Eastralogaster (Myers et al., 2012) comb. nov., Eatopoglossus (Grant et al., 1997) comb. nov., Econfusus (Myers and Grant, 2009) comb.  nov., Eisthminus (Myers et  al., 2012) comb.  nov., Elacrimosus (Myers, 1991) comb. nov., and Esaxatilis sp. nov.

    Etymology. Ectopoglossus gen. nov. (gender masculine) is derived from the Greek ektopos, meaning away or out of a place (ek- “out”  + topos “place”), and glossa, meaning tongue, in reference to the geographically and phylogenetically ectopic distribution of this median lingual process-possessing clade.

    Ectopoglossus absconditus sp. nov.

    Etymology. The specific epithet is the Latin absconditus, hidden, in reference to this species being hidden in plain site, abscondita in campo visum, for nearly 80 years. The type specimens were collected in 1938 and 1939 and lay ensconced in the KU amphibian collection until finally being “discovered” almost 80 years later when TG examined the contents of a jar labeled “Colostethus  sp.” that contained this and several other species of dendrobatids. To our knowledge the species has not been collected again, although biological surveys in the region have been limited in recent decades due to armed conflict.

    Ectopoglossus saxatilis sp. nov. 
    Etymology. The specific epithet is Latin and means “found among rocks” in reference to the streamside habitat of the species.

    Taran Grant, Marco Rada, Marvin Anganoy-Criollo, Abel Batista, Pedro Henrique Dias, Adriana Moriguchi Jeckel, Denis Jacob Machado and José Vicente Rueda-Almonacid. 2017. Phylogenetic Systematics of Dart-Poison Frogs and Their Relatives Revisited (Anura: Dendrobatoidea). South American Journal of Herpetology. 12(s1); S1-S90. DOI:  10.2994/SAJH-D-17-00017.1