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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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    Hamipterus tianshanensis 

    Wang, Kellner, Jiang, et al. 2017
    reconstruction by Zhao Chuang.  DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2329

    Fossil eggs and embryos that provide unique information about the reproduction and early growth of vertebrates are exceedingly rare, particularly for pterosaurs. Here we report on hundreds of three-dimensional (3D) eggs of the species Hamipterus tianshanensis from a Lower Cretaceous site in China, 16 of which contain embryonic remains. Computed tomography scanning, osteohistology, and micropreparation reveal that some bones lack extensive ossification in potentially late-term embryos, suggesting that hatchlings might have been flightless and less precocious than previously assumed. The geological context, including at least four levels with embryos and eggs, indicates that this deposit was formed by a rare combination of events, with storms acting on a nesting ground. This discovery supports colonial nesting behavior and potential nesting site fidelity in the Pterosauria.



    The reconstruction image made by Zhao Chuang shows the species Hamipterus tianshanensis according to the discoveries in a desert in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Over 200 three-dimensionally preserved eggs of pterosaurs have been unearthed in China, providing new insight into the life history of the rulers of the skies in the age of dinosaurs.  

    Xiaolin Wang, Alexander W. A. Kellner, Shunxing Jiang, Xin Cheng, Qiang Wang, Yingxia Ma, Yahefujiang Paidoula, Taissa Rodrigues, He Chen, Juliana M. Sayão, Ning Li, Jialiang Zhang, Renan A. M. Bantim, Xi Meng, Xinjun Zhang, Rui Qiu and Zhonghe Zhou. 2017. Egg Accumulation with 3D Embryos provides insight into the Life History of A Pterosaur. Science. 358(6367); 1197-1201.  DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2329

    Even more like birds
    Ecological convergence between pterosaurs and birds is often invoked, but to what degree the two groups share behavior is debated. Wang et al. describe a site with more than 100 fossilized pterosaur eggs that reveals that hatchling pterosaurs were likely not as precocial as previously thought. Furthermore, the overlaying of multiple clutches suggests that the pterosaurs may have exhibited breeding site fidelity, similar to rookery-breeding seabirds. Thus, the similarity between these two groups goes beyond wings.

    Over 200 fossilized eggs found in China reveal how pterosaurs breed

    Hundreds of pterosaur eggs reveal early life insights via @physorg_com
    Hundreds of Pterosaur Eggs Found in Record-Breaking Fossil Haul via @NatGeo
    Ancient flying reptiles cared for their young, fossil trove suggests

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    Primulina albicalyx   B. Pan & Li H. Yang

     Yang & Pan, 2017.   DOI: 10.3372/wi.47.47312 

    Primulina albicalyx, a new species of Gesneriaceae from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, SW China, is described and illustrated. This new species is similar to P. leprosa by its yellow flowers, white calyx lobes and large bracts, but can be easily distinguished from the latter by some qualitative and quantitative characters in the leaf blade, peduncle and corolla. The conservation status of P. albicalyx can be considered as Critically Endangered (CR) according to the IUCN Red List categories and criteria.

    Keywords: China, Gesneriaceae, Guangxi, karst, limestone, new species, Primulina, Primulina albicalyx, Primulina leprosa, taxonomy

    Fig. 2. Primulina albicalyx. A: habit; B: cyme; C: flowers in front view; D: flower in lateral view; E: opened corolla, showing stamens and staminodes; F: fruits; G: bract; H: pistil and calyx lobes.
    - A, F: photographed at the type locality on 21 June 2015 by Bo Pan; B–E, G, H: photographed at Guilin Botanical Garden on 14 May 2016 by Bo Pan. 

    Primulina albicalyx B. Pan & Li H. Yang, sp. nov. 

     Holotype: China, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Du’an County, Dongmiao Town, on moist rocky surface of limestone, 22 Jun 2015, B. Pan & X. H. Hu. P1028 (IBK!). 

    Diagnosis — The new species is similar to Primulina leprosa, but mainly differs by its ovate to broadly ovate leaf blade with flat adaxial surface (vs elliptic to broadly elliptic with bullate adaxial surface in P. leprosa), nearly tubular corolla tube (vs funel-form in P. leprosa), different corolla colour pattern: tube yellowish, with several brownish yellow striations on the entrance and a brownish yellow swelling between the two upper lip lobes (vs tube white, with brown lines on upper lip and without brownish yellow swelling in P. leprosa).

    Etymology — The specific epithet “albicalyx” refers to the white calyx lobes.

    Distribution and ecology — At present, Primulina albicalyx is known only from the type locality in Du'an County, W Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, SW China (Fig. 3). Plants grow on moist and shady limestone rocks under northern tropical limestone seasonal rain forest.

    Li-Hua Yang and Bo Pan. 2017. Primulina albicalyx (Gesneriaceae), A New Species from A Karst Area in Guangxi, China. Willdenowia. 47(3); 311–316.   DOI: 10.3372/wi.47.47312


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    Figure 1. Photographs of six New Guinea Stegonotus species in life including voucher numbers:
     (a) Stegonotus cucullatus LSUMZ 94371, (b) Stegonotus diehli LSUMZ 92345, (c) Stegonotus modestus LSUMZ 92327, (d) Stegonotus heterurus BPBM 22556, (e) Stegonotus parvus LSUMZ 92335, (f) Stegonotus guentheri LSUMZ 94386.
    Photos from CCA (a, b, c, e, f) and F. Kraus (d). 

    Ruane, Richards, McVay, et al. 2017.  DOI:  10.1080/00222933.2017.1391959

    The island of New Guinea has been identified as biologically megadiverse but many taxa are still poorly known. This is especially the case for many of the island’s snakes, which by their very nature can be difficult to collect and study. Here we examine the phylogenetic and phylogeographic structure of a poorly studied snake genus, Stegonotus, focusing on the species of New Guinea; until now, Stegonotus has never been examined using modern phylogenetic methods. Using molecular data from 49 individuals representing eight of the ten described species, and including all New Guinea taxa, we estimate a multilocus phylogeny and examine population structure to help identify undescribed taxa. We use morphological data from the corresponding museum vouchered specimens (where available) and also examine additional specimens for taxa not included in the molecular data set to determine morphological differences among putative taxa. We find molecular evidence for four new species of Stegonotus, both morphologically obvious and cryptic, and describe them herein. The recognition of these four species indicates that Stegonotus diversity has been previously underestimated and also suggests that there are likely additional undescribed taxa within the genus. These four taxa increase the number of described species by 40% and further confirm New Guinea as the centre of diversity for the genus.

    KEYWORDS: Australasia, colubrine, Indonesia, integrative taxonomy, phylogenetics

    Sara Ruane, Stephen J. Richards, John D. McVay, Burhan Tjaturadi, Keliopas Krey and Christopher C. Austin. 2017. Cryptic and Non-Cryptic Diversity in New Guinea Ground Snakes of the Genus Stegonotus Duméril, Bibron and Duméril, 1854: A Description of Four New Species (Squamata: Colubridae).  Journal of Natural History. DOI:  10.1080/00222933.2017.1391959

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    Borealopelta markmitchelli 
    Brown, Henderson, Vinther, et al., 2017

    Brown​. 2017.  DOI:  10.7717/peerj.4066  @Brown_Caleb_M


    Although the evolution and function of “exaggerated” bony projections in ornithischian dinosaurs has been subject to significant debate recently, our understanding of the structure and morphology of their epidermal keratinized coverings is greatly limited. The holotype of Borealopelta, a new nodosaurid ankylosaur, preserves osteoderms and extensive epidermal structures (dark organic residues), in anatomic position across the entire precaudal length. Contrasting previous specimens, organic epiosteodermal scales, often in the form of horn-like (keratinous) sheaths, cap and exaggerate nearly all osteoderms, allowing for morphometric and allometric analyses of both the bony osteoderms and their horny sheaths. A total of 172 osteoderms were quantified, with osteoderm spine length and height being positively allometric with respect to basal length and width. Despite tight correlations between the different measures amongst all other osteoderms, the large parascapular spines represent consistent outliers. Thickness and relative contribution of the keratinized epiosteodermal scales/sheaths varies greatly by region, ranging from 2% to 6% for posterior thoracics, to ∼25% (1.3×) for the parascapular spines—similar to horn sheaths in some bovid analogues. Relative to the bony cores, the horny portions of the spines are strongly positively allometric (slope = 2.3, CI = 1.8–2.8). Strong allometric scaling, species-specific morphology, and significant keratinous extension of the cervicoscapular spines is consistent with elaboration under socio-sexual selection. This marks the first allometric analysis of ornithischian soft tissues.


    Figure 1: Dorsal view of TMP 2011.033.0001, showing both photocomposite and schematic line drawing.
     (A) Photocomposite dorsal view of TMP 2011.033.0001. (B) Schematic line drawing of (A) showing osteoderm regions by color. (C) Inset showing constituent blocks of TMP 2011.033.0001, and their relative position within a body outline in dorsal view. Photocomposite (A), created using separate, orthogonal images of blocks A–C, D, E, F–I, and J and combined digitally to reduce parallax. Blocks F, G, H, and I represent reflected counterpart.
    Figure 2: Single dorsal photograph of TMP 2011.033.0001.
    Sacral region represents original part—reflected counterpart shown in Fig. 4. Scale equals 1 m.

    Figure 3: Interpretive scientific illustration of TMP 2011.033.0001 in dorsal view.
    Sacral region represents original part—reflected counterpart shown in Fig. 4. Scale equals 1 m.

    Figure 4: Composite dorsal view of TMP 2011.033.0001.
    Photocomposite created using separate images of blocks A–C, D, E, F–I, and J (see Fig. 1) and combined digitally to both reduce parallax and remove gaps. Blocks F, G, H and I represent reflected counterpart of sacral part in Fig. 2. Photographs of individual blocks were digitally modified (brightness, contrast, etc.) to removed different lighting conditions, and to illustrate an average composite of the entire specimen. Scale equals 1 m.

    Figure 15: Comparisons of the size of the bony core and keratinous sheath of the parascapular spine of Borealopelta to modern bovid and squamate analogues.
    (A) Absolute size of the bone core (horncore or osteoderm) (yellow) and the overlying keratinous/horn sheath (grey) for the parascapular spine of TMP 2011.033.0001 (top) as well as averages for several bovid and squamate taxa (lower).
     (B) Schematic representations of the relative bony and keratinous components of select spines/horns (adjusted to same size). Data for Oreamnos americanus (n = 6, 20) and Oreamnos harringtoni (n = 10, 13) from Mead & Lawler (1995), Bos (n = 18) from Grigson (1975), Antilocapra (n = 3) and Bison (n = 18) from Borkovic (2013), Ovis nivicola (n = 2), Ovis dalli (n = 2), Ovis ammon (n = 2), Ovis canadensis nelsoni (n = 5), Ovis canadensis canadensis (n = 8), Capra ibex sibirica (n = 4) and Capra ibex ibex (n = 5) from Bubenik (1990), Trioceros (n = 1) from TMP 1990.007.0350, Phrynosoma solare (n = 1) from LACM 123351, and P. asio (n = 1) from WLH 1093.

    The combined results showing that the osteoderm spines, and their keratinous coverings, are positively allometric (regionally); and that the anterior portion of the osteoderm series is both highly variable and has species specific morphology, provided new insights into the function and evolution of these structures. Similar results have been obtained from analysis of the exaggerated structures of most other ornithischian clades: Hadrosauridae (Dodson, 1975; Evans, 2010; McGarrity, Campione & Evans, 2013), Ceratopsia (Currie et al., 2016; Dodson, 1976; Hone, Wood & Knell, 2016; Lehman, 1990), Pachycephalosauria (Horner & Goodwin, 2009; Schott et al., 2011). These results in other ornithischian clades have been used to support the hypothesis that these exaggerated structures may have functioned, and evolved, in the context of socio-sexual selection (Hone, Wood & Knell, 2016; Hopson, 1975; Sampson, 1997). Similar hypotheses have been proposed for thyreophoran spines and plates (Carpenter, 1998; Hopson, 1977; Main et al., 2005; Padian & Horner, 2011), but until now had lacked commensurate morphometric backing. This argument is strengthened further when the parascapular spine is considered. Not only does this element show a different pattern of scaling than the rest of the series, but the absolute sizes of the keratin sheath and bony core are similar to the horns of extant bovids, and the relative sizes similar to the horns of some extant squamates, both of which are thought to function in socio-sexual display (Bustard, 1958; Farlow & Dodson, 1975; Geist, 1966). Combined with recent evidence suggesting this spine may, in life, have been pigmented differently than the rest of the osteoderms (Brown et al., 2017), this suggests this spine may have function as a visual socio-sexual display signal with conspecifics.

    Caleb M. Brown​. 2017. An Exceptionally Preserved Armored Dinosaur reveals the Morphology and Allometry of Osteoderms and their Horny Epidermal Coverings. PeerJ. 5:e4066.  DOI:  10.7717/peerj.4066

    New research analyses body armour of Borealopelta via @RoyalTyrrell


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    A. Epirixanthes cylindrica Blume. B. E. elongata Blume. C. E. kinabaluensis T.Wendt. D. E. papuana J.J.Sm. E. E. pallida T.Wendt.
    Dančák, Hroneš, Sukri, et al., 2017. Novitates Bruneienses, 9. 
     Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2) 

     The genus Epirixanthes Blume is revised for Brunei Darussalam. Four species are recognised for the country: Epirixanthes cylindrica Blume, E. elongata Blume, E. kinabaluensis T.Wendt and Epapuana J.J.Sm., with the two latter species being newly recorded for the Brunei flora. A single collection from Brunei that was formerly identified as Epirixanthes pallida T.Wendt is now confirmed as Epapuana. A revised key for the genus is included. 

    Keywords. Distribution, herbs, Malesia, mycoheterotrophic plants, north-western Borneo, taxonomy, understorey

    Fig. 2. Epirixanthes species of Brunei Darussalam.
    A.Epirixanthes cylindrica Blume. B.E. elongata Blume. C.E. kinabaluensis T.Wendt. D.E. papuana J.J.Sm. E.E. pallida T.Wendt.

     A–D, all from Kuala Belalong, Brunei Darussalam; E from Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak. (Photos: A: Ondřej Popelka, B, C: Michal Hroneš, D, E: Michal Sochor)

    M. Dančák, M. Hroneš, R.S. Sukri, F. Metali and A.A. Joffre. 2017. Novitates Bruneienses, 9. A Synopsis of Epirixanthes (Polygalaceae) in Brunei Darussalam and Notes on Species Elsewhere. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2);   179 - 187.

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    This paper provides the first comprehensive annotated and illustrated inventory of Nudipleura from Mozambique. A total of 267 species are recorded, including 61 putative new species, documented over a period of seven years from several localities along the coast. At least 20 species need further investigation through molecular and taxomic analysis. Of the 186 confirmed described species, 118 are new records for the Mozambican fauna. Sampling was carried in tidal reefs and depths up to 60m on the subtropical and tropical coast of Mozambique. The most representative families were Chromodorididae (69 species), Discodorididae (30 species), Facelinidae (23 species) and Phyllididae (16 species). Nevertheless, a vast area of Mozambique remains unexplored, thus it is likely that the species documented here represent only a fraction of the true Nudipleura diversity of the country.

    Keywords:  taxonomy, new records, western Indian Ocean, marine biodiversity, benthic fauna

     Yara Tibiriçá, Marta Pola and Juan Lucas Cervera. 2017. Astonishing Diversity Revealed: An Annotated and Illustrated Inventory of Nudipleura (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) from Mozambique. Zootaxa. 4359(1); 1-133.   DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4359.1.1

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    Liparis meihuashanensis S. M. Fan

    Fan, Liu, Zhai, Yang & Huang, 2017. 


    A new orchid speciesLiparis meihuashanensis, from Fujian, China is described and illustrated based on morphological and molecular analyses. Detailed morphological comparisons indicate that L. meihuashanensis is similar to L. auriculata and L. pauliana, but it can be distinguished from them by the shorter inflorescence, triangular floral bract, and a lip with a truncate-emarginate and mucronate apex and 2 small subconical calli on contracted base. Molecular analyses based on nuclear ITS and plastid matK DNA sequence data support the L. meihuashanensis as a distinct species.

    Keywords: Chinese orchid, Orchidaceae, Malaxideae, Malaxidinae, widelip orchid

    FIGURE 3. Liparis meihuashanensis S. M. Fan.
     A. Flowering plant (green flower). B. Pseudobulbs. C. Flower (purple flower), front view. D. Lip (green flower). E. Column. F. Anther cap and pollinarium. G. Fruit. 

    Liparis meihuashanensis S. M. Fan, sp. nov. 

    Type:— China. Fujian: National Nature Reserve of the Meihuashan of Fujian, on mossy rock, alt. 1770 m, 2 May 2016, S. M. Fan 2016015 (holotype: Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; isotype: NOCC).

    The new species is similar to L. auriculata Blume ex Miquel (1886: 203) and L. pauliana Handel-Mazzetti (1921: 65), but it can be distinguished from them by the shorter inflorescence (4.0–5.5 cm), triangular floral bracts, a lip with a truncate-emarginate and mucronate apex and 2 small subconical calli on contracted base.

    Distribution and habitat:— Liparis meihuashanensis is only known from the National Nature Reserve of Meihuashan in Fujian, China (Fig. 3). The plants grow on the mossy rock on the edge of evergreen forest. Pleione formosana was found growing together with this new species.

    Etymology:— The specific name refers to the Natural Reserve of Meihuashan where the new species was found.

    Shi-Ming Fan, Jiang-Feng Liu, Jun-Wen Zhai, Cheng-Zi Yang and Ze-Hao Huang. 2017.  Liparis meihuashanensis, A New Orchid Species from Fujian, China: Evidence from Morphological and Molecular Analyses. Phytotaxa. 323(2); 182–188.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.323.2.6

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     Argentinadraco barrealensis
    Kellner & Calvo, 2017


    A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia is described. The material consists of an incomplete edentulous lower jaw that was collected from the upper portion of the Portezuelo Formation (Turonian-Early Coniacian) at the Futalognko site, northwest of Neuquén city, Argentina. The overall morphology of Argentinadraco barrealensis gen. et sp. nov. indicates that it belongs to the Azhdarchoidea and probable represents an azhdarchid species. The occlusal surface of the anterior portion is laterally compressed and shows blunt lateral margins with a medial sulcus that are followed by two well-developed mandibular ridges, which in turn are bordered laterally by a sulcus. The posterior end of the symphysis is deeper than in any other azhdarchoid. This unique construction of the lower jaw suggests the existence of an elaborate interlocking mechanism with the upper jaw. Furthermore, although speculative, it is advocated here that Argentinadraco barrealensis might have used the lower jaw to obtain its prey by cutting or ploughing through unconsolidated sediment in shallow waters, a feeding behavior not previously proposed for pterosaurs.

    Key words: Pterosauria; Pterodactyloidea; Argentinadraco; Patagonia; feeding behavior; Cretaceous

    Pterosauria Kaup, 1834
    Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901

    Azhdarchoidea Nessov, 1984
    ?Azhdarchidae Nessov, 1984

    Argentinadraco gen. nov.
    Type species: Argentinadraco barrealensis gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology: From Argentina, the country where the specimen was found and draco, from the Latin meaning dragon.

    Figure 2. Argentinadraco barrealensis n. gen, n. sp., lower jaw (MUCPv-1137).
     (a) right lateral view; (b) dorsal (occlusal) view. Abbreviations: dep, depression; dcr, dentary crest; manr, mandibular ramus; mat, matrix; rid, ridge; sul, sulcus;, ventral segment of the symphysis; l, left; r, right. Scale bar equals 50 mm.

    Argentinadraco barrealensis gen. et sp. nov.

    Holotype: An almost complete lower jaw housed at Centro Paleontológico Lago Barreales (CePaLB), of the Universidad del Comahue (MUCPv-1137; Figs. 2, 3).

    Etymology: After Lake Barreales, where the specimen was found.

    Horizon, age and locality: Portezuelo Formation, Neuquén Subgroup, Neuquén Group, Late Cretaceous, Turonian-Coniacian (Leanza and Hugo 2001). The material comes from the Futalognko site, northern coast of the Lake Barreales, Neuquén Province, Patagonia, Argentina (Fig. 1).

    Diagnosis: Argentinadraco barrealensis is an azhdarchoid that presents the following autapomorphies: mandibular symphysis with marked concave ventral margin (lateral view); presence of two well-developed mandibular ridges on the dorsal surface of the posterior end of the mandibular symphysis; and a lateral sulcus on each side of the ridges. It can further be distinguished from all other azhdarchoids by possessing a small dentary sagittal crest.

    Alexander W. A. Kellner and Jorge O. Calvo. 2017. New Azhdarchoid Pterosaur (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) with An Unusual Lower Jaw from the Portezuelo Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Neuquén Group, Patagonia, Argentina. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências. DOI: 10.1590/0001-3765201720170478

    Argentinodraco barrealensis, a New pterosaur from Argentina. It lived at Proyecto Dino, Neuquén with Futalognkosaurus, Megaraptor,Unenlagia.


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     Tylototriton anhuiensis
    Qian, Sun, Li, Guo, Pan, Kang, Wang, Jiang, Wu & Zhang, 2017

     Asian Herpetological Research. 8(3)  || 

    A new species of the genus Tylototriton is described, from Yuexi county, Anhui province, in the south of the Dabie Mountains. It is based on morphological and molecular analysis. The new species is identified as belonging to the Tylototriton asperrimus group and shares a number of similarities with T. wenxianensis, T. broadoridgus and T. dabienicus. The diagnostic characteristics of the new species are as follows: the head length is greater than the width of the head; bony ridges on the head are prominent and necked-in; the distal digit ends, ventral digits, peripheral area of the cloaca and the tail’s lower edge are orange. The result from the molecular analysis of the genus Tylototriton (including the type specimen of the new species) based on three mitochondrial genes (ND1, ND2 and CYTB) indicated that the new species was close to T. wenxianensis, T. dabienicus, and T. broadoridgus, but formed an independent clade. This result was consistent with the morphological analysis above, which supports the theory that the population distributed in the south of the Dabie Mountains, namely in from Yuexi county, Anhui province, represented a distinct species, Tylototriton anhuiensis sp. nov.

    Keywords: new species; Tylototriton anhuiensis sp. nov.; southern Dabie Mountains; taxonomy; morphology; molecular analyses

    Figure 5 Photos of Tylototriton anhuiensis sp. nov..
    (upper) Dorsal view of T. anhuiensis sp. nov.; (lower) dorsal view of the head and trunk. 
    Tylototriton anhuiensis sp. nov.

    Diagnosis: the new species has a series of morphological characteristics different from other members of the genus Tylototriton: 1) the head length is greater than the width of the head; 2) the bony ridges on the head are notable and necked-in; 3) the tail length is less than the snout-vent length; 4) the ventral tail fin fold extends to the cloacal posterior margin; 5) the distal digit ends, ventral digits, peripheral area of cloaca and the tail’s lower margin are orange; 6) relative length of toes: 3>4>2>5>1.

    Etymology: the name of the new species is derived from its current distribution range in the southern Dabie Mountains in Anhui province. The suggested English name is the Anhui Knobby Newt.

    Lifu Qian,  Xiaonan Sun, Jiaqi Li, Weibo Guo, Tao Pan, Xing Kang, Hui Wang, Jianping Jiang, Jun Wu and Baowei Zhang. 2017. A New Species of the Genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae) from the Southern Dabie Mountains in Anhui Province. Asian Herpetological Research. 8(3); 151-164.


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    Goura cristata 

    Bruxaux, Gabrielli, Ashari, et al. 2018

    • A phylogenetic analysis of crowned pigeons (Goura) is presented.
    • Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses resolved Goura into 4 monophyletic groups.
    • Species formerly considered as subspecies are not each other's closest relatives.
    • Dating suggests diversification of Goura within New Guinea since the Late Miocene.
    • The biogeographic origin of the Goura lineage remains elusive.

    Assessing the relative contributions of immigration and diversification into the buildup of species diversity is key to understanding the role of historical processes in driving biogeographical and diversification patterns in species-rich regions. Here, we investigated how colonization, in situ speciation, and extinction history may have generated the present-day distribution and diversity of Goura crowned pigeons (Columbidae), a group of large forest-dwelling pigeons comprising four recognized species that are all endemic to New Guinea. We used a comprehensive geographical and taxonomic sampling based mostly on historical museum samples, and shallow shotgun sequencing, to generate complete mitogenomes, nuclear ribosomal clusters and independent nuclear conserved DNA elements. We used these datasets independently to reconstruct molecular phylogenies. Divergence time estimates were obtained using mitochondrial data only. All analyses revealed similar genetic divisions within the genus Goura and recovered as monophyletic groups the four species currently recognized, providing support for recent taxonomic changes based on differences in plumage characters. These four species are grouped into two pairs of strongly supported sister species, which were previously not recognized as close relatives: Goura sclaterii with Goura cristata, and Goura victoria with Goura scheepmakeri. While the geographical origin of the Goura lineage remains elusive, the crown age of 5.73 Ma is consistent with present-day species diversity being the result of a recent diversification within New Guinea. Although the orogeny of New Guinea's central cordillera must have played a role in driving diversification in Goura, cross-barrier dispersal seems more likely than vicariance to explain the speciation events having led to the four current species. Our results also have important conservation implications. Future assessments of the conservation status of Goura species should consider threat levels following the taxonomic revision proposed by del Hoyo and Collar (HBW and BirdLife International illustrated checklist of the birds of the world 1: non-passerines, 2014), which we show to be fully supported by genomic data. In particular, distinguishing G. sclaterii from G. scheepmakeri seems to be particularly relevant.

    Keywords: New Guinea; Goura; Crowned pigeons; Molecular phylogeny; Biogeography

    Jade Bruxaux, Maëva Gabrielli, Hidayat Ashari, Robert Prŷs-Jones, Leo Joseph, Borja Milá, Guillaume Besnard and Christophe Thébaud. 2018. Recovering the Evolutionary History of Crowned Pigeons (Columbidae: Goura): implications for the Biogeography and Conservation of New Guinean Lowland Birds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI:  10.1016/j.ympev.2017.11.022

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    Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857)

     “Haarlem specimen”, holotype of Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857).
    Counterslab, Teylers Museum TM 6929 (left) and main slab, TM 6928 (right).

    Foth & Rauhut, 2017.  DOI:  10.1186/s12862-017-1076-y

    Archaeopteryx is an iconic fossil that has long been pivotal for our understanding of the origin of birds. Remains of this important taxon have only been found in the Late Jurassic lithographic limestones of Bavaria, Germany. Twelve skeletal specimens are reported so far. Archaeopteryx was long the only pre-Cretaceous paravian theropod known, but recent discoveries from the Tiaojishan Formation, China, yielded a remarkable diversity of this clade, including the possibly oldest and most basal known clade of avialan, here named Anchiornithidae. However, Archaeopteryx remains the only Jurassic paravian theropod based on diagnostic material reported outside China.

    Re-examination of the incomplete Haarlem Archaeopteryx specimen did not find any diagnostic features of this genus. In contrast, the specimen markedly differs in proportions from other Archaeopteryx specimens and shares two distinct characters with anchiornithids. Phylogenetic analysis confirms it as the first anchiornithid recorded outside the Tiaojushan Formation of China, for which the new generic name Ostromia is proposed here.

    In combination with a biogeographic analysis of coelurosaurian theropods and palaeogeographic and stratigraphic data, our results indicate an explosive radiation of maniraptoran coelurosaurs probably in isolation in eastern Asia in the late Middle Jurassic and a rapid, at least Laurasian dispersal of the different subclades in the Late Jurassic. Small body size and, possibly, a multiple origin of flight capabilities enhanced dispersal capabilities of paravian theropods and might thus have been crucial for their evolutionary success.

    Keywords: Maniraptora, Anchiornithidae, Late Jurassic, Biogeography, Radiation

    Fig. 1 Overview of the “Haarlem specimen”, holotype of Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857). Counterslab, Teylers Museum TM 6929 (left) and main slab, TM 6928 (right). 

    Systematic Palaeontology

    Theropoda Marsh, 1881  
    Maniraptora Gauthier, 1986 

    Anchiornithidae tax. Nov.
    Type genus. Anchiornis 
    Xu, Zhao, Norell, Sullivan, Hone, Erickson, Wang, Han, and Gao, 2009  

    Definition. Anchiornithidae is a stem-based taxon defined as all maniraptoran theropods that are more closely related to Anchiornis huxleyi than to Passer domesticus, Archaeopteryx lithographica, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Troodon formosus, or Oviraptor philoceratops.

    Ostromia gen. nov.

    Ostromia crassipes von Meyer, 1857  
    Holotype. Teylers Museum TM 6928, 6929, part and counterpart of a fragmentary skeleton.

    Locality and horizon. Jachenhausen locality, near Riedenburg, Bavaria, Germany. Early Tithonian laminated limestones of the Painten Formation.

    Etymology. The generic name honours the late John Ostrom, who identified the Haarlem specimen as a theropod.

    A re-evaluation of one of the twelve skeletal specimens referred to the ‘Urvogel’ Archaeopteryx, the Haarlem specimen, revealed that this specimen represents a separate taxon, Ostromia crassipes. Phylogenetic analysis identifies Ostromia as the first representative of the basal avialian clade Anchiornithidae outside eastern Asia. In combination with a biogeographic analysis, a rapid radiation of maniraptoran theropods in eastern Asia with a subsequent dispersal of many lineages in the Late Jurassic is indicated; dispersal of maniraptorans was facilitated by small body size of basal members of all clades and, possibly, several independent acquisitions of flight capabilities. In the fragmenting world of Pangean break-up during the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous, increased dispersal potential might have been a key factor to explain the success of maniraptoran, and especially avialian theropods, with dispersal events being followed by endemic radiations of different clades.

    Christian Foth and Oliver W. M. Rauhut. 2017. Re-evaluation of the Haarlem Archaeopteryx and the Radiation of Maniraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs. BMC Evolutionary Biology.   17:236. DOI:  10.1186/s12862-017-1076-y


    Groot nieuws! De beroemde #Archaeopteryx van Teylers Museum blijkt nog ouder dan gedacht en wereldwijd uniek te zijn. Het is een fossiel van een nieuw ontdekte dinosaurussoort met veren, die de naam Ostromia heeft gekregen. #breakingnews  @TEYLERS

    Paleontologists at LMU correct a case of misinterpretation: The first fossil “Archaeopteryx” to be discovered is actually a predatory dinosaur belonging to the anchiornithid family, which was previously known only from finds made in China:… @LMU_Muenchen

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    Araboplia lorisi
    Uliana & Sabatinelli, 2017

     DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2017.373 


    Araboplia lorisi gen. et sp. nov. of Scarabaeidae Latreille, 1802 Rutelinae MacLeay, 1819, is described based on a single male specimen from the Arabian Peninsula, and compared with the closest Palaearctic genera. Araboplia gen. nov. is placed in the tribe Anomalini C.E. Blanchard, 1851 subtribe Popilliina Ohaus, 1918. This decision is due to its similarity with other Popilliina genera but lacks strong characters-based evidence, due to the poor definition of the Popilliina itself, which is discussed.

    Keywords: Scarabaeoidea; Arabian Peninsula; new taxa; Anomalini; Popilliina

    Figs 1–3. Araboplia lorisi gen. et sp. nov., habitus. 1. Dorsal view. 2. Ventral view. 3. Lateral view.

    Class Hexapoda Blainville, 1816
    Order Coleoptera Linnaeus, 1758

    Family Scarabaeidae Latreille, 1802
    Subfamily Rutelinae Macleay, 1819
    Tribe Anomalini Streubel, 1839
    Subtribe Popilliina Ohaus, 1918

    Araboplia gen. nov.

     Type species: Araboplia lorisi gen. et sp. nov.

    Differential diagnosis: Within Popilliina, it is most close to the genus Dicranoplia Reitter, 1903, from which it is distinct by the following characters states (on male): clypeus simple, not raised; peculiar shape of the anterior claw; spur of the anterior tibia short and blunt.

    Etymology: The name of the genus is derived from the area of occurrence of the species (the Arabian Peninsula) and the suffix –oplia, for assonance with other genera of Rutelinae including Dicranoplia Reitter, 1903, the closest genus.

    Araboplia lorisi gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology: The specific epithet is dedicated by MU to his father, Loris Uliana, with thanks for his constant encouragement and support of his interest in natural sciences and love for insects during the years of his youth. In addition, the two subjects are alike in being covered with white hairs.

    Marco Uliana and Guido Sabatinelli. 2017. Araboplia lorisi New Genus and Species of Rutelinae from Saudi Arabia (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae), with Comments on the Subtribe Popilliina. European Journal of Taxonomy. 373: 1–12.   DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2017.373

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    Ophiodes enso 
    Entiauspe-Neto, Quintela, Regnet, Teixeira, Silveira & Loebmann, 2017

      DOI: 10.1670/17-007 

    Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, is a poorly known legless lizard genus, widely distributed across South America east of the Andes, and composed of five described species and other additional taxa that have not been formally described but are widely referred to in recent publications. After reviewing major herpetological collections in Rio Grande do Sul and conducting fieldwork for more than 2 decades in the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, we came across a new species of Ophiodes, herein described. The new species is diagnosed from its congeners based on the combination of a dorsum with three wide, dark brown longitudinal stripes and two pairs of conspicuous light yellow stripes, one pair paravertebral and another dorsolateral; dark vertebral line absent; background coloration of sides light gray with four to five pale and narrow longitudinal stripes; ventral region uniformly light gray; hind limb extending to the posterior vent scale margin; small eyes, smaller than half of snout–ocular distance; supralabials with well-defined, although small, supralabial blotches, restricted to their outer margins. We also provide comments on its distribution range and propose that a “Critically Endangered” CR B1b (i,ii,iii) extinction risk classification should be officially assessed and given.

    FIG. 1. Holotype of Ophiodes enso sp. n. (CHFURG 3589) exhibiting coloration in life.

    Ophiodes enso sp. nov.
    Ophiodes vertebralis — Lema, 1994:65; Quintela et al., 2006:61.
     Ophiodes sp. — Quintela and Loebmann, 2009:40; Quintela et al., 2011:59. 

    Etymology.— The species name refers to the Japanese-Buddhism Enso (円相) symbol, a hand-drawn circle made in a single or double brushstroke that closely resembles the silhouette of a Ophiodes specimen (Fig. 2). Also noteworthy is that type series of O. enso sp. n. was discovered during the El Niño Southern Oscillation event of 2015 (popularly known as ENSO, which is marked by heavy rainfall), and that event culminated in the movement of the aforementioned type series into the Lagoa dos Patos shores. This is also the first species to be discovered as a result of the ENSO phenomenon.

    Distribution and Natural History.— The new species is known only from three localities at the Lagoa dos Patos estuary; ...., all located at the Holocene sandbanks of the Coastal Plains of Rio Grande do Sul in the Pampa biome (Fig. 5). A description of the vegetation and composition of the Lagoa dos Patos estuary is provided by Verrastro et al. (2003).

    Omar Machado Entiauspe-Neto, Fernando Marques Quintela, Ruth Anastasia Regnet, Victor Hugo Teixeira, Franck Silveira and Daniel Loebmann. 2017. A New and Microendemic Species of Ophiodes Wagler, 1828 (Sauria: Diploglossinae) from the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, Southern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology. 51(4); 515-522.  DOI: 10.1670/17-007

    Resumo: Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, é um gênero de lagartos ápodos pouco conhecido, amplamente distribuído na América do Sul à leste dos Andes. O gênero é composto de cinco espécies e outros taxons ainda não formalmente reconhecidos, embora referenciados em publicações recentes. Após revisar coleções herpetológicas no Rio Grande do Sul e conduzir trabalho de campo por mais de duas décadas no Estuário da Lagoa dos Patos encontramos uma nova espécie de Ophiodes, aqui descrita. A nova espécie é diferenciada de seus congêneres com base na combinação de um dorso com três largas listras longitudinais marrom escuras e duas listras conspícuas amarelo-claras, um par composto de uma paravertebral e outra dorsolateral; linha vertebral escura ausente; coloração de fundo nos lados cinza claro, com quatro à cinco listras longitudinais e estreitas; região ventral cinza claro uniforme; membro posterior estendendo-se até a margem posterior da escama cloacal; olhos pequenos, menores que metade da distância entre focinho e olho; supralabiais com manchas bem definidas e pequenas, restritas à suas margens exteriores. Também apresentamos comentários sobre sua distribuição, e propomos que o seu status de conservação seja definido oficialmente como “Criticamente em Perigo” CR B1b (i,ii,iii).

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     Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis
    Luu, Dung, Nguyen, Le & Ziegler, 2017


    We describe a new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam based on morphological and molecular differences. Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis sp. nov. is differentiated from other congeners by a unique combination of the following characters: Size small, maximum known SVL reaching 62.8 mm; dorsal pattern consisting of six or seven dark transverse bands between limb insertions; intersupranasals two or three; dorsal tubercles at midbody in 16–21 irregular rows, strongly developed on flanks; lateral folds poorly defined with interspersed tubercles; ventral scales between ventrolateral folds 38–45; precloacal pores nine or 10 in males, eight pitted scales in the adult female, in a continuous row; femoral pores absent; enlarged femoral scales present; postcloacal tubercles two or three; dorsal tubercles present to half of tail; subcaudal scales not enlarged. In molecular analyses, the new species is weakly supported as a member of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis species group with a minimum pairwise genetic distance of 13.7% from others within the group.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis sp. nov., morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

    Vinh Quang Luu, Tran Van Dung, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le and Thomas Ziegler. 2017. A New Species of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam. Zootaxa. 4362(3); 385–404.  OI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4362.3.4

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    Floresorchestia buraphana
    Wongkamhaeng, Dumrongrojwattana & Pattaratumrong, 2016 

    DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.635.10454 

    The beach-hopper and land-hopper genus Floresorchestia Bousfield, 1984 is most widespread in terrestrial and marine littoral habitats and has been recorded from the South African coasts through to tropical Indo-Pacific and Caribbean Sea. In Thailand, there is only Floresorchestia samroiyodensis Azman, Wongkamhaeng & Dumrongrojwattana, 2014 reported from the swamp of Prachuab Kiri Khan, southern Thailand. In this work, two new species of Floresorchestia from Phutsa Reservoir in Nakhon Ratchasima and the man-made swamp in Burapha University are described. The new species are characterised by the mandible left lacinia mobilis 4-dentate; the posterior margin of merus, carpus and propodus covered in palmate setae; the uropod 3 peduncle with two robust setae and the telson longer than broad. The characters of the specimens are described and illustrated in this paper. All specimens are deposited in the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Natural History Museum, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.

    Keywords: Amphipoda, Crustacean, Floresorchestia, new species, Talitridae, Thailand

    Suborder Senticauda Lowry & Myers, 2013a
    Infraorder Talitrida Rafinesque, 1815, Serejo 2004
    Superfamily Talitroidea Bulycheva, 1957
    Family Talitridae Rafinesque, 1815

    Floresorchestia Bousfield, 1984

    Type species: Orchestia floresiana Weber 1892, original designation.

    Figure 1. Floresorchestia boonyanusithii sp. n. holotype, male, 5.5 mm (PSUZC-CR-0310), Phutsa Reservoir in Nakhon Ratchasima. Scale bars for A2, G1 and G2 represent 0.5 mm and for A1 represents 0.2 mm.

    Floresorchestia boonyanusithii sp. n. 
    Type material: Holotype. ♂, THAILAND, North-eastern Thailand, Phutsa Reservoir, Nakhon Ratchasima (15°2'59"N, 102°2'18"E), 21 Febuary 2016, Boonyanusith, C. PSUZC-CR-0310. Allotypes, ♀ collected with holotype; PSUZC-CR-0311; Paratype, collected with holotype (PSUZC-CR-0312 (5♂; 5♀))

    Etymology: Named after Chaichat Boonyanusith in appreciation of his contribution to the terrestrial amphipod study in Thailand.

    Ecological type: Land-hoppers (truly terrestrial). Size 5.5 mm. Sexual dimorphism present.

    Habitat: Terrestrial, most prefer living in Typha angustifolia root near reservoir.

    Distribution: North-eastern Thailand.

    Figure 6. Floresorchestia buraphana sp. n. holotype, male, 6.3 mm (PSUZC-CR-0312), Burapha University, Chonburi. Scale bars for A2, G1 and G2 represent 0.5 mm and for A1 represents 0.2 mm.
     Figure 10. Floresorchestia buraphana sp. n. allotype, female 8.8 mm (PSUZC-CR-0313), Burapha University, Chonburi. Scale bars 0.5 mm.

    Floresorchestia buraphana sp. n.

    Type material: Holotype. ♂, THAILAND, Eastern Thailand, Man-made swamp in Burapha University, Chonburi (13°16'37"N, 100°55'21"E), 21 April 2016, Damrongrojwattana, P. PSUZC-CR-0312. Allotypes, ♀ collected with holotype; PSUZC-CR-0313; Paratype, collected with holotype (PSUZC-CR-0314 (5♂; 5♀))

    Etymology: Named for Burapha University where the man-made swamp is the type locality of the species.

    Ecological type: Supralittoral (325 m from the Bang San Beach). Size 6.3 mm. Sexual dimorphism present.

    Habitat: Fresh water swamps in Burapha University.

    Distribution: Eastern Thailand.

     Koraon Wongkamhaeng, Pongrat Dumrongrojwattana and Manasawan Saengsakda Pattaratumrong. 2016. Two New Species of Floresorchestia (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae) in Thailand. ZooKeys.  635: 31-51.   DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.635.10454


    "กุ้งเต้นบูรพา (Floresorchestia buraphana Wongkamhaeng, Dumrongrojwattana and Pattaratumrong, 2016)"และถิ่นอาศัย (Burapha's land-hopper and its habitats)
    ตัวอย่างของ new species ที่อยู่รอบ ๆ ตัวเรา ชื่อ F. buraphana นี้ตั้งเพื่อเป็นเกียรติแก่ มหาวิทยาลัยบูรพาในวาระรอบ 60 ปี และก้าวย่างสู่ปีที่ 61 และในฐานะที่เป็นสถานที่ที่พบกุ้งเต้นชนิดใหม่นี้ครั้งแรกของโลก รวมถึงเป็นที่ที่ทำให้มีวันนี้

    Fantastic Burapha land-hopper (Floresorchestia buraphana) and where to find them. Our fellows may enjoy searching for the alive amphipod in their real habitat as the marks in the map together with breathing the warm winter.

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    Cabralis pallidus 
    Bakkes, Sole & Mansell, 2017


    Afrotropical Psychopsidae Handlirsch are revised based on morphology. Molecular data from a previous study enables updated taxonomy in this revision, and morphology corroborates phylogenetic divergences. The genus Silveira was found to form a lineage separate from Zygophlebiinae based on molecular data and six morphological synapomorphies. In this revision, Silveira is moved to a new subfamily, leaving only Cabralis and Zygophlebius in Zygophlebiinae. Two new species of Cabralis are described. Afrotropical Psychopsidae now comprise ten species, three genera and two subfamilies. A dichotomous key to these taxa is provided, along with a web link to a fully-illustrated and interactive multi-access LUCID v3 key. High resolution images and distribution maps are provided for all species.

    Keywords: Neuroptera, Afrotropical, Lacewing, Molecular phylogeny, Morphology, Psychopsidae, Zygophlebiinae, Silveirainae, Cabralis, Zygophlebius, Silveira

    Deon K. Bakkes, Catherine L. Sole and Mervyn W. Mansell. 2017. Revision of Afrotropical Silky Lacewings (Neuroptera: Psychopsidae). Zootaxa. 4362(2); 151–212.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.2.1
    Bakkes, D.K., Mansell, M.W. & Sole, C.L. 2017. Phylogeny and historical biogeography of Silky Lacewings. Systematic Entomology. 42. DOI:  10.1111/syen.12247 

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    Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)

    Sawai, Yamanoue, Nyegaard & Sakai, 2017. 

    The genus Mola of ocean sunfishes (family Molidae) is currently composed of three species: Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758), Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), and Mola tecta Nyegaard et al. 2017. For a comprehensive revision of the genus, both literature survey and morphological investigations of Molidae were conducted. We found Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839) to be synonymous with M. ramsayi and we herein redescribe M. alexandrini based on the rediscovered dried holotype and 21 other fresh and preserved specimens. Mola alexandrini can be distinguished from other species of Mola by the following combination of characters in adults: head profile with bump; chin with bump; body scales rectangular; clavus rounded, supported by 14–24 (mode 17) clavus fin rays and 8–15 (12) ossicles on the rear margin. A neotype of M. mola is designated for comparison with M. alexandrini, as these two species have long been confused.

    Keywords: Morphology, Neotype, Ocean sunfish, Redescription, Synonymy 

    Mola alexandrini  bump-head sunfish

    photo: Hasama Underwater Park 

    Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)
    (Japanese name: Ushi-manbo; New English name: Bump-head sunfish)  

    Orthragoriscus alexandrini Ranzani 1839:...
    Orthragoriscus ramsayi Giglioli 1883:...
    Orthagoriscus mola: Williams 1893:...
    Masturus lanceolatus (not of Liénard): Gudger 1937: ...

    Mola mola (not of Linnaeus): ...
    Mola ramsayi: Whitley 1931...
    Mola ramsayi Atlantic group: Bass et al. 2005: ....

    Mola mola group A: Yoshita et al. 2005: 171.
    Mola sp. group A: Yoshita et al. 2009: ....
    Mola sp. A: Sawai et al. 2009....

    Distribution and ecological notes. Mola alexandrini is widely distributed in the world’s oceans except for the polar regions (Fig. 5a; ESM Table S1); collected from waters off Japan, Taiwan, Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Oman, and Spain (Yamanoue et al. 2004, 2010; Bass et al. 2005; Sagara et al. 2005; Yoshita et al. 2005, 2009; Sawai et al. 2009, 2011, 2017a; Yamanoue and Sawai 2012; Thys et al. 2013, Ahuir-Baraja et al. 2017; Nyegaard et al. 2017). Mola alexandrini presumably prefers warmer water temperatures than inhabited by Mola mola; in waters off the Sanriku coast of Japan, sea surface temperatures during the occurrence of M. alexandrini (16.8–25.6°C, average 19.9°C) were on average higher than during the occurrence of M. mola (11.5–25.6°C, average 17.7°C) (Sawai et al. 2011).

    Etsuro Sawai, Yusuke Yamanoue, Marianne Nyegaard and Yoichi Sakai. 2017. Redescription of the Bump-head Sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), senior synonym of Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), with Designation of A Neotype for Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae). Ichthyological Research.  DOI: 10.1007/s10228-017-0603-6

    World’s heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named
    Researchers clear up confusion between taxonomy of multiple species of ocean sunfishes

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    Liolaemus tirantii 
    Avila, Perez, Minoli, Medina, Sites & Morando, 2017


    Two new species of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade are described. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. differ from other members of their clade by a combination of coloration characters, morphometric and molecular traits. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is known from three localities separated only a few kilometers from each other and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. is known only from the type locality. Both species inhabit a region strongly impacted by oil and gas extraction but their conservation status is unknown.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Argentina, Liolaemidae, Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov., Liolaemus calliston sp. nov., Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade, Northwestern Patagonia

    Luciano Javier Avila, Cristian Hernán Fulvio Perez, Ignacio Minoli, Cintia Debora Medina, Jack W. Jr. Sites and Mariana Morando. 2017. New Species of Liolaemus (Reptilia, Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina. Zootaxa. 4362(4); 535–563. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.4.4

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    Wakaleo schouteni Gillespie, Archer & Hand, 2017
    challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh  

    illustration by Peter Schouten  DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885 


    Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., a dog-sized marsupial lion (Thylacoleonidae), is described from late Oligocene to early Miocene sediments of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Queensland, Australia. Fossils of this new species include a near-complete cranium, dentaries and postcrania. This species is the second thylacoleonid known from late Oligocene sediments. The other, Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987, from the Etadunna Formation of South Australia, is known from teeth, part of a palate and postcrania. Wakaleo schouteni exhibits cranial and dental morphology characteristic of species of Wakaleo but possesses a relatively plesiomorphic upper dental formula (i.e. three premolars and four molars) within Thylacoleonidae that was formerly regarded to be diagnostic for species of the genus Priscileo. The holotype and humerus of P. pitikantensis have been compared with the new Wakaleo material described here and found to demonstrate conspicuous similarities in morphology of the M2 and the humerus. In the absence of other generically diagnostic features, Priscileo is here regarded to be a junior synonym of Wakaleo. Smaller size and relatively minor morphological differences in the proximal humerus of W. pitikantensis comb. nov. distinguish it at the specific level from W. schouteni. Phylogenetic analysis of thylacoleonids recovers Wakaleo as a monophyletic clade. Both Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. and W. schouteni are recovered as plesiomorphic sister taxa to other species of the genus. Wakaleo pitikantensis and W. schouteni extend the temporal range for this genus back into the late Oligocene. Body weight for W. schouteni, based on total skull length, is estimated to be ∼23 kg.

    Keywords: marsupial lion, Thylacoleonidae, Oligocene–Miocene, taxonomy, Priscileo, Riversleigh

    Systematic palaeontology

    Class Marsupialia Illiger, 1811 

    Order Diprotodontia Owen, 1866 
    Suborder Vombatiformes Woodburne, 1984 

    Family Thylacoleonidae Gill, 1872 

    Genus Wakaleo Clemens & Plane, 1974 

    Type species: Wakaleo oldfieldi Clemens & Plane, 1974 
    Included species: Wakaleo vanderleueri Clemens & Plane, 1974; Wakaleo alcootaensis Archer & Rich, 1982; Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

      Reconstruction of Wakaleo schouteni challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh.
    (illustration by Peter Schouten).

    Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

    Derivation of name: Named in honour of Peter Schouten for his exceptional reconstructions of Australia's prehistoric animals, and in particular those from the Riversleigh WHA.

    Craniodental and postcranial material of a new marsupial lion, Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., is described from the Riversleigh WHA. Although this taxon has not reduced/lost the anterior upper premolars, previously regarded to be diagnostic for Wakaleo, it exhibits other Wakaleo apomorphies of the skull and molars. Comparison of the holotype of Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987 from the Ngapakaldi LF with Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov. and other Wakaleo species reveals apomorphies of the M2 and similarities in humerus morphology that support its referral to Wakaleo. Priscileo pitikantensis is therefore regarded as a junior synonym of Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. Wakaleo schouteni is distinguished from W. pitikantensis on the basis of its different proximal humerus morphology and larger size, being 10% larger in most dental measures. Markedly different sizes in a sample of humeri of W. schouteni suggest this species was sexually dimorphic. Retention of three upper premolars and four molars are symplesiomorphic features for Wakaleo and Priscileo but distinguish W. pitikantensis and W. schouteni from later species of this genus, all of which exhibit premolar and molar reduction. These two species are the most primitive members of the genus and indicate a pre-late Oligocene origin for the lineage.

    Anna K. Gillespie, Michael Archer and Suzanne J. Hand. 2017. A New Oligo–Miocene Marsupial Lion from Australia and Revision of the Family Thylacoleonidae. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885


    Fossils of ancient marsupial lion discovered in north-west Queensland via @

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    Cherax acherontis 
    Patoka, Bláha & Kouba, 2017


    Cherax acherontis n. sp., is a crayfish endemic to the submerged river Yumugima in Hagepma/Jugurama cave in the New Guinea Highlands, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia. This species is the first cave crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere. The new species is most similar to Cherax monticola. Both species can be easily distinguished by certain morphological characteristics, which easily demonstrate Cacherontis n. sp. is a valid species.

    Keywords: Crustacea, Yumugima crayfish, New Guinea, troglobiont, endemism, morphology

    Jiří Patoka, Martin Bláha and Antonín Kouba. 2017. Cherax acherontis (Decapoda: Parastacidae), the First Cave Crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere (Papua Province, Indonesia). Zootaxa. 4363(1); 137–144.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.1.7

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    Algorachelus peregrinus
    Pérez-García. 2017 

    Illustration by José Antonio Peñas

    Pan-Pleurodira is one of the two clades of extant turtles (i.e. Testudines). Its crown group, Pleurodira, has a Gondwanan origin being known from the Barremian. Cretaceous turtle fauna of Gondwana was composed almost exclusively of pleurodires. Extant pleurodires live in relatively warm regions, with a geographical distribution restricted to tropical regions that were part of Gondwana. Although pleurodires were originally freshwater forms, some clades have adapted to a nearshore marine lifestyle, which contributed to their dispersal. However, few lineages of Pleurodira reached Laurasian regions and no representatives have so far been described from the pre-Santonian of Laurasia, where the continental and coastal Cretaceous faunas of turtles consist of clades exclusive to this region. A new turtle, Algorachelus peregrinus gen. et sp. nov., is described here from the southern Laurasian Cenomanian site of Algora in Spain. Numerous remains, including a skull and well-preserved postcranial specimens, are attributed to this species. The abundant shell elements, much more numerous than those known in most members of pleurodiran clade Bothremydidae, allow its variability to be studied. The new taxon represents the oldest evidence of the occurrence of Pleurodira in Laurasia, and is the oldest genus of the abundant and diverse Bothremydodda so far described. Factors such as the relatively high Cenomanian temperatures, the adaptation of this Gondwanan clade to coastal environments, and the geographical proximity between the two landmasses may have contributed to its dispersal. This finding shows that the first dispersals of Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia occurred much earlier than previously thought.

    Keywords: Pleurodira, Bothremydidae, new taxa, dispersal, Laurasia

    Adán Pérez-García. 2017. A New Turtle Taxon (Podocnemidoidea, Bothremydidae) reveals the Oldest Known Dispersal Event of the crown Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 15(9); 709-731. DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2016.1228549
    El increíble viaje de la primera tortuga africana que llegó a Europa via @agencia_sinc

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    Vadasaurus herzogi
     Bever & Norell, 2017

    DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570  


    A new rhynchocephalian is described based on a recently discovered and well-preserved specimen from the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as the sister group to Pleurosauridae, a small radiation of rhynchocephalians representing the oldest marine invasion of crown-clade Lepidosauria. The relatively strong evidence for this taxonomically exclusive lineage, within a generally volatile rhynchocephalian tree, places the new taxon in a position to inform the early history of the pleurosaur transition to the sea. The early steps in this transition are distributed throughout the skeleton and appear to increase hydrodynamic efficiency for both swimming and aquatic feeding. This early history may also have included a global truncation of plesiomorphic ontogenetic trajectories that left a number of skeletal features with reduced levels of ossification/fusion. The exact degree to which Vadasaurus had adopted an aquatic ecology remains unclear, but the insight it provides into the origin of the enigmatic pleurosaurs exemplifies the potential of Rhynchocephalia for generating and informing broad-based questions regarding the interplay of development, morphology, ecology and macroevolutionary patterns.

    KEYWORDSBavaria, marine reptile, secondarily aquatic, skeletal development, sphenodon, tiatethys

    Figure 1. Holotype of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768) collected from the Late Jurassic marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. The skull, forelimbs, and first 18 presacral vertebrae and ribs are exposed in the dorsal or dorsolateral view. Posteriorly, the skeleton is rotated approximately 180°, making it visible largely in the ventral view. Left hindlimb is exposed in the dorsal view.
    Anatomical abbreviations: As, astragalus; Ca, calcaneum; Cdv, caudal vertebra; Co, coracoid; Cr, cervical rib; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; Dv, dorsal vertebra; F, femur; Fb, fibula; Fr, frontal; Ga, gastralia; H, humerus; I, intermedium; Is, ischium; l, left; Mc, metacarpal; Mt, metatarsal; Mx, maxilla; Ph, phalanx; Pu, pubis; R, radius; r, right; S, scapula; Sc, sternal cartilage; Ss, suprascapular cartilage; Sv, sacral vertebra; T, tibia; U, ulna.

    Figure 2. The skull of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768). Photographs in the dorsolateral (a) and lateral (b) views; labelled line drawing in the dorsolateral view (c); reconstructions of lateral and dorsal views (d).

    Anatomical abbreviations: An, angular; Ar, articular; cp, cultriform process; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; dd, dentary dentition; Ecp, ectopterygoid; Ept, epipterygoid; exn, external naris; Fr, frontal; Hy, hyobranchial element; if, incisiform fang; Ju, jugal; mf, mandibular foramen; Mx, maxilla; Na, nasal; Pa, parietal; Pal, palatine; paf, parietal foramen; Pf, prefrontal; Pm, premaxilla; Po, postorbital; Pof, postfrontal; Pr, prootic; Pra, prearticular; Pt, pterygoid; Q, quadrate; Qj, quadratojugal; Sa, surangular; sof, suborbital fenestra; Sq, squamosal; Vo, vomer.

    Systematic palaeontology

    Lepidosauria Haekel, 1866 
    Rhynchocephalia Günther, 1867 

    Vadasaurus herzogi gen. et sp. no.

      Etymology: Generic name from the Latin vadare to go forth’, which is also the root of ‘to wade’—refers to the taxon's hypothesized phylogenetic position near the proximal end of a terrestrial-to-marine transformation series that produced the aquatic pleurosaurs—and saurus lizard’. The specific epithet honours the celebrated Bavarian film-maker Werner Herzog for his continuing exploration of the relationship between life and time.

    Holotype: AMNH FARB 32768, a nearly complete and largely articulated skeleton (figures 1–3). Like most specimens preserved in lithographic limestone, it exhibits compressional effects that include the flattening and shearing of composite structures and the slight displacement of certain elements. Individual bones, however, are preserved largely in three dimensions.

    Gabriel S. Bever and Mark A. Norell. 2017. A New Rhynchocephalian (Reptilia: Lepidosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Solnhofen (Germany) and the Origin of the Marine Pleurosauridae.  Royal Society Open Science. 4(11):170570  DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570 

     The fossil was recovered from Kimmeridgian-aged (a subdivision of the Late Jurrasic) marine limestones in the Solnhofen municipality of Bavaria, Germany. They belong to an up until now unknown species dubbed Vadasaurus herzogi, and belongs to the Rhynchocephalia lizard order, a close relative of a small group of ancient reptiles called pleourosaurs (genus Pleurosaurus).
    Fossilized ancient lizard shows how dinos evolved to live in the oceans @zmescience

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    Oziotelphusa ravi,
    Raj, Kumar & Ng, 2017


    A new species of gecarcinucid freshwater crab of the genus Oziotelphusa Müller, 1887, is described from stationary or slow-flowing bodies of water in Keeriparai near Nagercoil, in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Oziotelphusa ravi, new species, is distinguished from its congeners by several distinct characters: the median tooth of the posterior margin of epistome forms a distinct bilobed tip in frontal view, the male pleonal somite 6 is narrowly trapezoidal and slightly wider than long with the lateral margins concave, the terminal segment of the male first gonopod is distinctly bent laterally (along the longitudinal axis) at an angle of about 45°, and the proximal part of the outer margin of the subterminal segment of the male first gonopod has a prominent deep concavity.

    Keywords: Crustacea, Taxonomy, new freshwater crab, Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, rice fields

    Smrithy Raj, Appukuttannair Biju Kumar and Peter K. L. Ng. 2017.  A New Species of Freshwater Crab of the Genus Oziotelphusa Müller, 1887 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Gecarcinucidae) from Tamil Nadu, southern India.  Zootaxa. 4363(2); 225–236. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4363.2.3

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    Spathoglottis jetsuniae N.Gyeltshen, K.Tobgyel & Dalström

    Gyeltshen, Tobgyel & Daltröm, 2017


    A new, attractive and morphologically unique species of Spathoglottis is described, illustrated and compared with the most similar species. The new species is currently only known from two localities in southeastern Bhutan and differs distinctly from its closest relative, Spathoglottis hardingiana, by the glabrous pedicels, forward-curved acuminate apices of the petals, a yellow hypochile of the lip, two pairs of unequal callus “horns” and swellings, and a spirally coiled epichile of the lip, versus a densely pubescent inflorescence and pedicels, a pale purple hypochile, a single pair of erect and clavate, or“bubble-shaped”, callus swellings, and a projecting and narrowly triangular epichile of the lip for S. hardingiana. 

    Keywords: Orchidaceae, Collabiinae, new species, Spathoglottis, Bhutan

    Figure 5. The striking flowers of Spathoglottis jetsuniae.

     Photo by Nima Gyeltshen

    Spathoglottis jetsuniae N.Gyeltshen, K.Tobgyel & Dalström, sp. nov.

    Diagnosis. Spathoglottis jetsuniae is similar to S. hardingiana C.S.P.Parish & Rchb.f. (Fig.7), but differs by having sub-glabrous inflorescence, axis and pedicels, petals with abruptly acuminate apices curved forward, a yellow lip with a pair of spreading fleshy callus lobes and an additional, parallel pair of digitate, or “sausage-shaped”, callus structures above, and a narrow and coiled-up, strap-like mid-lobe. In contrast, S. hardingiana has distinctly pubescent inflorescence, axis, ovaries and pedicels, acute petals, a pale mauve lip with a single pair of thick and clavate, or bulbous, erect callus structures, and a porrect and narrowly triangular mid-lobe (Parish & Reichenbach 1875; Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 1904).

    Distribution: Spathoglottis jetsuniae is so far only known from two localities in southeastern Bhutan. 

    Eponomy: Spathoglottis jetsuniae is named in loving and respectful honor of Her Majesty the Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck of Bhutan, who has a dedicated and sincere interest in the protection of the environment and the wild flora and fauna of Bhutan.

    Figure 7: Spathoglottis hardingiana from the Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, plate 7964 (1904).

    Nima Gyeltshen, Kezang Tobgyel and Stig Daltröm. 2017. A New and Striking Spathoglottis (Orchidaceae: Collabiinae), honoring Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan.  LANKESTERIANA. 17(3); 395–393.  


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     Exostoma gaoligongense
    Chen, Poly, Catania & Jiang, 2017

    A new species of the sisorid catfish genus Exostoma Blyth, 1860 was collected from two hill-stream tributaries of the Nujiang (Salween River) drainage in Gaoligong Mountain, south-western Yunnan Province, China from 2003 to 2006 and from two tributaries of the Salween River in Cangyuan County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2007) and in Yongde County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2015). Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. is the 10th species of the genus and is most similar to E. vinciguerrae in morphology but can be distinguished by pelvic fin reaching anus vs. not reaching; maxillary barbels just reaching or slightly surpassing pectoral-fin origin vs. surpassing pectoral-fin origin or even reaching posterior end of gill membrane; abdominal vertebrae 23-25 vs. 25-27; length of dorsal fin/dorsal to adipose distance 90.3%-287.0% vs. 59.2-85.7. A key to Exostoma spp. is provided.

    Keywords: Glyptosterninae; Sisoridae; Nujiang; Gaoligong Mountain; Yunnan

    Figure 1: Holotype of Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. (KIZ 200310738); lateral (top), dorsal (middle), and ventral (bottom) views (photos by Xiao-Yong Chen)

    Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov.

    Etymology: The specific name is an adjective that refers to the Gaoligong Mountain in which the type locality is located, and the suffix agrees in gender with the generic name Exostoma (gender neuter).

    Notes on biology: This species was collected from shallow water ( < 1 m deep) in a fast flowing stream with clear water. Water temperature was 18.8 ℃, water pH 6.95, conductivity 45.6 μS/cm. The bottom substrate was boulders, cobbles, gravel, and sand with many diatoms that made the rocks slippery. This species was obtained from fast water and small waterfalls. The new species of Exostoma seems to have much lower tolerance to either low dissolved oxygen or to stress from electrofishing than Pseudexostoma brachysoma Chu, 1979, which occurs in the same habitat. After shocking sampling on 7 October 2003, all the Exostoma were dead, whereas all the individuals of P. brachysoma survived until the next morning.

    Xiao-Yong Chen, William J. Poly, David Catania and Wan-Sheng Jiang. 2017. A New Species of Sisorid Catfish of the Genus Exostoma from the Salween drainage, Yunnan, China. Zoological Research. 38(5);  291-299.
    A Chinese biologist’s 14-year quest to prove his new catfish species via @SCMP_News