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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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    Ia io peninsulata  
    Soisook, Sribuarod, Karapan, Safoowong, Billasoy, Thong, Chang, Gong, Lin, Sztencel-Jabłonka, Bogdanowicz & Bates, 2017  

    ค้างคาวอีอาอีโอถิ่นใต้ |  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4344.3.8 


    The Great evening bat Ia io Thomas, 1902, previously considered as an endemic to the Indochinese subregion, is reported from the Sundaic subregion for the first time based on specimens collected from three localities in Surat Thani Province and Phang Nga Province, peninsular Thailand. It is described herein as a new subspecies based on its substantially larger body and skull size. The mitochondrial COI and cytochrome b genes reveal that the new subspecies has a genetic distance of 1.89% and 1.65%, respectively, from the nominate subspecies. Echolocation calls comprise four harmonics, with the maximum energy in the first harmonic (fmaxe) of 23.6–27.4 kHz. Notes on the population size as well as roosting and foraging behaviour are also provided.

     Keywords:  Mammalia, new subspecies, peninsular Thailand, Southeast Asia, taxonomy, zoogeography

    Pipat Soisook, Kriangsak Sribuarod, Sunate Karapan, Mongkol Safoowong, Sawwalak. Billasoy, Vu Dinh Thong, Yang Chang, Lixin Gong, Aiqing Lin , Anna Sztencel-Jabłonka, Wiesław Bogdanowicz and Paul J. J. Bates. 2017. The First Record of Ia ioThomas, 1902 (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Sundaic Subregion, with A Description of A New Subspecies from peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa. 4344(3); 573–588. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4344.3.8

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    Nothobranchius cooperi 
     Nagy, Watters & Bellstedt, 2017

    Nothobranchius cooperi, Nagy, Watters and Bellstedt, new species, is described from seasonal streams and ephemeral pools associated with the upper Mansa River system in the middle Luapula drainage and systems draining into the low-lying area marginal to the southwestern part of Lake Bangweulu, in the Luapula province of northern Zambia. It belongs to the N. brieni species group. Males of Nothobranchius cooperi are distinguished from congeners by the following unique combination of characters: body scales with broad orange posterior margin, forming a highly irregular cross-barred pattern; anal fin fairly uniform orange-red with irregular to regular, light blue-green zone close to the base; caudal peduncle length 1.2–1.3 times its depth; prepelvic length 48.8–51.9% SL; and head depth 75–77% of head length. Genetic divergence of the mitochondrial COI and ND2 genes and nuclear S7 gene support the distinction of the new species from its closest known relative, N. rosenstocki and confirms its position in the N. brieni species group.

    Keywords: Mansa River, mtDNA analyses, nDNA analyses, Nothobranchiidae, Nothobranchius rosenstocki, taxonomy

    Figure 6: Nothobranchius cooperi, wild-caught male, not preserved. From the easternmost known location, about 11 km west of Samfya, in a drainage system flowing into the low-lying area marginal to the southwestern part of Lake Bangweulu.
    Figure 8: Nothobranchius cooperi, wild-caught female, not preserved. Location: type locality, about 20 km east of the town of Mansa, upper Mansa River system Luapula Province, middle Luapula River drainage.

    Figure 10: Type locality for Nothobranchius cooperi. ... the upper Mansa River system, Luapula Province, middle Luapula River drainage. Habitat comprised a densely vegetated seasonal stream and associated roadside ditches and pools within a broad shallow valley. Photograph taken 28 March, 1997.

    Etymology: The specific epithet is given in honour of Barry J. Cooper, renowned collector and breeder of killifish, for his significant contributions to the field study of Nothobranchius and to the killifish hobby in general. A noun in genitive.

    B. Nagy, B. R. Watters, P. D. W. van der Merwe, F. P. D. Cotterill and D. U. Bellstedt. 2017. 
    Nothobranchius cooperi (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes): A New Species of Annual Killifish from the Luapula River Drainage, northern Zambia. African Journal of Aquatic Science. 42(3); 201-218.  DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2017.1372270   

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    Rafflesia kemumu  Susatya, Hidayati & Riki


    Rafflesia kemumu is a new species described from Northern Bengkulu in Sumatra, Indonesia. The species resembles R. gadutensis in size of the open flower, but differs from it with regard to the color and wart ornamentation on the upper surface of the perigone lobes, color and presence/absence of warts on the upper surface of the diaphragm, blots pattern on the two concentric rings of windows near the diaphragm opening, types and distribution of ramenta, number and shapes of processes, and number of anthers. The new species has orange to dark orange perigone lobes with warts of two sizes, in which smaller warts are often merged, and surround larger ones, and 23 slender, conical processes with rounded apex, arranged in two concentric rings (15 and 7 processes each) and a single process in the center of the disc. Rafflesia kemumu has no warts at its upper surface of diaphragm, simple and compound toadstool ramenta on its upper perigone tube and the lower part of the lower surface of its diaphragm and broccoli-like ramenta distributed from the base to the upper part of the perigone tube.

    Keywords: Bengkulu, processes, Rafflesia, ramenta, Sumatra, Eudicots

     The color of perigone lobes and their wart patterns on the first day of flowering for Rafflesia kemumu.
    Photo by S. Riki.  

    Rafflesia kemumu Susatya, Hidayati & Riki, spec. nov.

    Differs from a related species R. gadutensis by the absence of warts on the upper surface of the diaphragm, the pattern and arrangement of warts of windows near the diaphragm opening, and the presence of compound toadstool ramenta on the upper part of the perigone tube. 

    Etymology:— The specific epithet is named after a village near the location where the holotype specimen was collected, Kemumu. The people of Kemumu rely on the continuity of a water supply from the Palak Siring watershed for their rice fields.

    Agus Susatyaม Siti Nur Hidayati and Septian Riki. 2017. Rafflesia kemumu (Rafflesiaceae), A New Species from Northern Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia. Phytotaxa. 326(3); 211–220. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.326.3.5  

    Rafflesia kemumu (Rafflesiaceae), e new species from Northern Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
     Ditjen Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam dan Ekosistem

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    Trimeresurus (Popeia) collected from the Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar

    Mulcahy,Lee,Miller & Zug, 2017


    The taxonomic identity of the Trimeresurus (Popeia) popeiorum complex from the Isthmus of Kra and to the north was investigated. Several studies over the last decade have produced several specimens and associated mtDNA sequence data for a variety of individuals of the T. popeiorum and “T. sabahi” complexes. Here, we combine four mitochondrial genes (12S, 16S, ND4, and CytB) from all available specimens in GenBank with the addition of five new specimens collected from the mainland, Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar. Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses identified that T. popeiorum sensu lato is paraphyletic with two geographically distinct clades: a northern clade representing populations from northern Myanmar, Laos and northern Thailand and a southern clade representing samples from the Tanintharyi Region and adjacent west Thailand. While the two clades have considerable genetic distance, they appear to be morphologically identical, leading to the hypothesis that the southern clade represents a cryptic, undescribed species. Because they appear to be cryptic species and the limitation of only five specimens from the southern lineage, this does not permit us to formally describe the new species. In accordance to past molecular studies, we uncovered paraphyly and lack of genetic support for the validity of taxa within the T. sabahi complex. However, we suggest recognizing these populations as subspecies within T. sabahi.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Cryptic speciation, Myanmar, Southeast Asia, Subspecies, Tanintharyi Region, Thailand, Trimeresurus

    FIGURE 2. Live specimens of Trimeresurus (Popeia) collected from the Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar examined in our study.
    (A) Adult female specimen ofTrimeresurus (Popeia) sp. nov. from Lenya, Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar (USNM 587588). (B-C) Adult female specimen of Trimeresurus (Popeia) sp. nov. from Ywahilu, Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar (USNM 587919). Photographs by Daniel G. Mulcahy.

    Daniel G. Mulcahy,Justin L. Lee,Aryeh H. Miller and George R. Zug. 2017. Troublesome Trimes: Potential Cryptic Speciation of the Trimeresurus (Popeiapopeiorum complex (Serpentes: Crotalidae) around the Isthmus of Kra (Myanmar and Thailand). Zootaxa. 4347(2); 301–315. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.6


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     Dendrobium bannaense
    Tian, Li, Yang & Huang, 2017


    A new species, Dendrobium bannaense, is described from Yunnan, China, based on the molecular and morphological evidence. It belongs to section Dendrobium according to analysis of combined nrITS and plastid datasets (matK, rbcL, trnH-psbA, and trnL intron). Morphological analysis reveals that D. bannaense is similar to D. parishii, but differs in having a white lip with purplish stripes and without a deep purple blotch on either side; the disk is with 3 longitudinal ridges, extending from base to upper-middle part, and lower-middle part is thickened and swell as callus shape at the joint of lip and claw.

    Keywords: Asian orchids, Dendrobiinae, Malaxideae, orchid flora of China, phylogeny, Monocots

    Ying-Qiu Tian, Ling Li, Yu-Ying Yang and Yu-Bi Huang. 2017. Molecular and  Morphological Evidence for Dendrobiumbannaense (Orchidaceae; Epidendroideae), A New Species from China.  Phytotaxa. 328(1); 67–76. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.328.1.3

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    Phyllanthus kaweesakii  Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn.

     Pornpongrungrueng, Parnell, Hodkinson & Chantaranothai, 2017
    มะยมผา || DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2016-0298 


    Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. sp. nov. is newly described from the limestone mountain ridges in the northeast of Thailand. Comparison of morphology, anatomy, pollen morphology, and DNA sequences of this species with the most similar existing species P. mirabilis Müll.Arg. was undertaken. The results indicated that the two taxa are different in morphology, especially habit, stem base, and inflorescence, but that their pollen morphology and anatomy are similar. The molecular phylogenetic analysis, based on sequences of the plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal ITS regions, supported separation of the two taxa. This new species is described and illustrated, and its conservation status is discussed.

    Keywords: Euphorbiaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Phyllanthodendron, Phyllanthus

    Fig. 1. Phyllanthus kaweesakii sp. nov. (A–D): (A) Habit. (C) Nonswollen stem base and orthotropic branches. (D) Deciduous plagiotropic branches with inflorescences of axillary bisexual and unisexual cymules.
    Phyllanthus mirabilis: (E) swollen stem base. 


    Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. sp. nov.

    ETYMOLOGY: The name of this species honours the Thai biologist, Kaweesak Keeratikiat, who first discovered the plants.
    VERNACULAR: Ma Yom Pha, มะยมผา

    DISTRIBUTION: Currently known only from the type location; North-eastern THAILAND. 

    ECOLOGY: On open limestone ridges, ca. 440 m a.s.l. Flowering period June to September, fruiting period August to September. 

    Pimwadee Pornpongrungrueng, John A.N. Parnell, Trevor R. Hodkinson and Pranom Chantaranothai. 2017.  Phyllanthus kaweesakii (Phyllanthaceae), A New Species from Thailand. Botany. 95(6): 567-577: DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2016-0298

    มะยมหินชนิดใหม่ของโลก Phyllanthus kaweesakii Pornp., Chantar. & J.Parn. (Phyllanthaceae), a new species from Thailand ตั้งชื่อชนิดเป็นเกียรติให้แก่ผู้ค้นพบและเก็บตัวอย่าง นายกวีศักดิ์ กีรติเกียรติ ประกาศตีพิมพ์เป็นพืชชนิดใหม่ ปี 2017
    ลักษณะ เป็นพืชอวบน้ำ Succulent มีโขดลำต้นอวบอ้วนสะสมอาหาร ทนแล้งได้มาก มีลักษณะแตกต่างกับมะยมหินชนิดดั้งเดิม Phyllanthus mirabilis Müll.Arg. คือ จะกิ่งก้านเล็กและแตกกิ่งก้านเยอะกว่ามาก ใบมีขนาดเล็ก ทรงกลมมน มีคู่ใบน้อย 6-10 คู่ใบ ใบมีแว็กซ์สีเขียวอมฟ้าเล็กน้อย ออกดอกช่อสั้น ติดเมล็ดปลายยอด 

    Photos by Disapol Rattasi

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    Albertocetus meffordorum   Uhen, 2008 

    Boessenecker, Ahmed & Geisler, 2017


    We report five new specimens of xenorophid dolphins from North and South Carolina. Four of the specimens represent the xenorophid Albertocetus meffordorum, previously only known from the holotype skull. The other is a fragmentary petrosal from the upper Oligocene Belgrade Formation that we refer to Echovenatorsp, indicating at least two xenorophids from that unit. Two of the Albertocetus meffordorum specimens are from the lower Oligocene Ashley Formation: 1) a partial skeleton with neurocranium, fragmentary mandible, ribs, vertebrae, and chevrons, and 2) an isolated braincase. The partial vertebral column indicates that Albertocetus retained the ancestral morphology and locomotory capabilities of basilosaurid archaeocetes, toothed mysticetes, and physeteroids, and caudal vertebrae that are as wide as tall suggest that the caudal peduncle, which occurs in all extant Cetacea, was either wide or lacking. CT data from the isolated braincase were used to generate a digital endocast of the cranial cavity. The estimated EQ of this specimen is relatively high for an Oligocene odontocete, and other aspects of the brain, such as its anteroposterior length and relative size of the temporal lobe, are intermediate in morphology between those of extant cetaceans and terrestrial artiodactyls. Ethmoturbinals are also preserved, and are similar in morphology and number to those described for the Miocene odontocete Squalodon. These fossils extend the temporal range of Albertocetus meffordorum into the early Oligocene, its geographic range into South Carolina, and expand our paleobiological understanding of the Xenorophidae.

    Fig 1. Locality map of occurrences of Albertocetus meffordorum in North and South Carolina. (A) and a geologic map of Charleston, South Carolina (B), skeletal reconstruction of Albertocetus meffordorum with preserved elements in red (C), generalized stratigraphy at Belgrade Quarry (D)  and generalized Paleogene stratigraphy of the Charleston area (E). Gray in geologic map denotes Ashley Formation and black denotes Chandler Bridge Formation. 

    Systematic paleontology

    Cetacea Brisson, 1762
    Pelagiceti Uhen, 2008

    Odontoceti Flower, 1867
    Xenorophidae Uhen, 2008

    Albertocetus Uhen, 2008
    Albertocetus meffordorum Uhen, 2008



    1. New odontocete specimens from the lower Oligocene Ashley Formation of South Carolina include an isolated cranium and a partial skeleton including incomplete cranium with petrotympanics and fragmentary mandible, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and caudal vertebrae, ribs, and a chevron. These specimens extend the range of Albertocetus meffordorum into the early Oligocene.

    2. Well-preserved petrosals permit more refined identification of a recently reported petrosal from the upper Oligocene Belgrade Formation of North Carolina as Echovenator sp., and permit referral of two additional Belgrade Formation petrosals to Albertocetus meffordorum and Echovenator sp. Future collecting efforts in North Carolina are expected to yield other cetaceans conspecific with those from the contemporaneous Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina.

    3. The endocast of Albertocetus meffordorum is intermediate in morphology between extant odontocetes and archaeocete whales. Endocast volume indicates that Albertocetus meffordorum is the most highly encephalized odontocete from the early Oligocene (EQ = 2.586), well within the range of extant delphinoids, and chronicling a drastic jump in EQ across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Further study of appropriate body size estimation is needed to investigate the proposed Eocene-Oligocene explosion in odontocete encephalization.

    4. The sample size of Albertocetus meffordorum permits the first basic examination of ontogenetic trends in stem Odontoceti. Ontogenetic study of Albertocetus meffordorum identifies several sutures of the dorsal braincase and facial region of interest for assessing ontogenetic status in stem Odontoceti (e.g. median parietal suture, frontoparietal suture, frontonasal suture, parieto-occipital suture), to be confirmed with larger samples of undescribed xenorophids (e.g. Echovenator, Xenorophus). Postcranial epiphyseal fusion is achieved earlier in ontogeny than cranial suture closure in A. meffordorum.

    5. Vertebral proportions indicate that Albertocetus meffordorum, like basilosaurids, Mysticeti, and sperm whales, is a "pattern 1" species with no anteroposterior specialization of the vertebral column. This indicates that dorsoventral undulation occurred through the entire flexible lumbocaudal series; this appears to characterize stem odontocetes. Rectangular caudal vertebrae indicate the presence of caudal flukes. Surprisingly, no caudal vertebrae are transversely narrower than tall, suggesting the absence of a transversely narrowed peduncle as in all extant Mysticeti and Odontoceti. Such a feature would imply that the narrow peduncle evolved independently. However, skeletons of stem odontocetes and mysticetes with a more complete caudal series are required to further evaluate this hypothesis.

    Robert W. Boessenecker,  Erum Ahmed and  Jonathan H. Geisler. 2017. New Records of the Dolphin Albertocetus meffordorum (Odontoceti: Xenorophidae) from the lower Oligocene of South Carolina: Encephalization, Sensory Anatomy, Postcranial Morphology, and Ontogeny of early Odontocetes. PLoS ONE. 12(11); e0186476.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186476

    New postcranial skeleton of ancient dolphin Albertocetus meffordum found in South Carolina via @physorg_com
    Fossils in @CofCNatHistory collections @CofC


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    Pristimantis muranunka 
    Brito M., Almendáriz C., Batallas R. & Ron, 2017 


    We describe a small frog of the genus Pristimantis inhabiting bromeliads (snout-vent length 20.3‑23.3 mm in females, 16.1‑17.4 mm in males), from a remote sandstone plateau of the Cordillera del Condor, in southeastern Ecuador, with an altitudinal range of 2,045‑2,860 m. A phylogeny based on sequences of DNA (mitochondrial and nuclear genes) supports inclusion in the P. orestes group and suggests an undescribed Pristimantis from the southern slope of eastern Ecuador as the closest taxon. The new species differs from its congeners in Ecuador by having predominantly black dorsal and ventral coloration; comprehensive and robust palmar surface with stubby fingers; presence of a deep and wide groove from the anterior base of finger I to the rear base of the palmar tubercle; subarticular divided tubers, enlarged supernumerary small granules and tubercles. All individuals were found in terrestrial bromeliads. The calls are short, frequency modulated, comprising of a note 5‑15 ms in duration. Insects represented 80% of the diet of the new species.

    Keywords: Craugastoridae; Sandstone plateau; Cordillera del Cóndor; Pristimantis muranunka sp. nov.

    FIGURA 5: Pristimantis muranunka sp. nov., en preservado. A = vista dorsal y B = vista ventral del holotipo MEPN 14721, hembra adulta, LRC = 22.0 mm. Fotografías: J. Brito.

    Etimología: El nombre especifico muranunka hace referencia a los vocablos de la etnia Shuar: Mura = vegetación bambosa (vegetación achaparrada con abundancia de musgos) que crece sobre la meseta de arenisca, Nunka = región o territorio. “Mura nunka” llaman los Shuar a las mesetas de arenisca de la Cordillera del Cóndor de donde nacen las fuentes de agua.

    Nombre propuesto en español: Cutín de Mura nunka.
    Proposed English name: Mura nunka Rainfrog.

    Etymology: The specific name muranunka refers to the words of the Shuar ethnic group: Mura bamboo vegetation (squat vegetation with an abundance of moss) that grows on the sandstone plateau, Nunka = region or territory. "Mura nunka" the Shuar call the sandstone plateaus of the Cordillera del Cóndor from where the water sources are born.

    Jorge Brito M., Ana Almendáriz C., Diego Batallas R. and Santiago R. Ron. 2017. Nueva especie de rana bromelícola del género Pristimantis (Amphibia: Craugastoridae), meseta de la Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador [New Species of Bromeliad Frog of the Genus Pristimantis (Amphibia: Craugastoridae) from Plateau of the Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador].  PAPÉIS AVULSOS DE ZOOLOGIA. 57(15); 177-195. DOI: 10.11606/0031-1049.2017.57.15

    Ecuador: las nuevas especies de ranas en la Cordillera del Cóndor y las amenazas a las que se enfrentan via @Mongabay

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    Lepidodactylus pantai
    Stubbs, Karin, Arifin, Iskandar, Arida, Reilly, Block, Kusnadi & McGuire, 2017


    Lepidodactylus pantai is a new species of gecko from the Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia that is closely associated with intertidal habitats. This species does not fit cleanly into any of the three species groups described for the genus because it possesses the unique combination of both divided terminal scansors on all toes and a nearly completely cylindrical tail without fringes or evidence of dorsoventral compression. A phylogenetic analysis including this species demonstrates that it is the sister taxon of a population from Palau, and that this clade is sister to the clade containing Group III species for which we have molecular data.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Wallacea, Phylogenetics, Gecko, Luperosaurus, Pseudogekko, Moluccas, intertidal, pantai

    Alexander L. Stubbs, Benjamin R. Karin, Umilaela Arifin, Djoko T. Iskandar, Evy Arida, Sean B. Reilly, Luke M. Block, Agus Kusnadi and Jimmy A. McGuire. 2017. A New Species of Lepidodactylus (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia. Zootaxa. 4350(1); 91–105. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4350.1.5

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    Diversity of flowers in coppery-lepidote tree species of Croton from Madagascar that are vegetatively very similar.
    Croton argyrodaphne, with leaves that are similar to those of several other species Part of an inflorescence of Croton nobilis showing pistillate flower (below) with thick, reduplicate sepals and no petals, and staminate flower (above) with an intermediate number of stamens (ca. 18) Staminate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with numerous (ca. 40) stamens and the unusual feature of ten (vs. normally five) petals Pistillate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with patent, slender bifurcating styles and no petals Staminate flowers of Cargyrodaphne, with only 11 stamens Pistillate flower of C. argyrodaphne, with a stylar column topped by tightly bunched, short stigmas and also with recurved petals between the sepals (typically the pistillate flowers of this species are apetalous) Base of an inflorescence of C. multicostatus showing three open pistillate flowers at the base (with well-developed, ligulate petals) and several open staminate flowers showing a low stamen number of 10 or 11.

    Berry, Kainulainen & van Ee, 2017  
     Photos by P. Berry. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.90.20586 

    All published names of Croton from Madagascar, the Comoros, and the Mascarenes are treated here. We indicate which names are currently accepted (123 native species and 1 introduced), which ones we consider to be heterotypic synonyms (188), which ones are doubtful (25), and which ones should be excluded (5). We newly designate lectotypes for 108 names, and epitypes for C. anisatus Baill., C. nobilis Baill., and C. submetallicus Baill. A total of 133 names are newly treated as synonyms. One new combination is made, Croton basaltorum (Leandri) P.E.Berry for C. antanosiensis var. basaltorum Leandri, and one new name is proposed, Croton toliarensis B.W.vanEe & Kainul. for C. tranomarensis var. rosmarinifolius Radcl.-Sm.

    Keywords: Euphorbiaceae, Croton, Madagascar, Comoros, Mascarenes, nomenclator, synonymy

    Figure 1. Diversity of flowers in coppery-lepidote tree species of Croton from Madagascar that are vegetatively very similar.
    A Croton argyrodaphne, with leaves that are similar to those of several other species B Part of an inflorescence of Croton nobilis showing pistillate flower (below) with thick, reduplicate sepals and no petals, and staminate flower (above) with an intermediate number of stamens (ca. 18) C Staminate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with numerous (ca. 40) stamens and the unusual feature of ten (vs. normally five) petals D Pistillate flower of C. chrysodaphne, with patent, slender bifurcating styles and no petals E Staminate flowers of C. argyrodaphne, with only 11 stamens F Pistillate flower of C. argyrodaphne, with a stylar column topped by tightly bunched, short stigmas and also with recurved petals between the sepals (typically the pistillate flowers of this species are apetalous) G Base of an inflorescence of C. multicostatus showing three open pistillate flowers at the base (with well-developed, ligulate petals) and several open staminate flowers showing a low stamen number of 10 or 11. Photos by P. Berry.

     Paul E. Berry, Kent Kainulainen and Benjamin W. van Ee. 2017. A Nomenclator of Croton (Euphorbiaceae) in Madagascar, the Comoros Archipelago, and the Mascarene Islands. PhytoKeys. 90; 1-87.  DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.90.20586

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    Gephyromantis (Asperomantis angano 
     Scherz, Vences, Borrell, Ball, Nomenjanahary, Parker, Rakotondratsima, Razafimandimby, Starnes, Rabearivony & Glaw, 2017

    A recent study on a group of rough-skinned Gephyromantis frogs from Madagascar (Anura: Mantellidae: Mantellinae) established a new subgenus, Asperomantis, with five described species and one undescribed candidate species. Based on newly collected material from the Bealanana District, we address the taxonomy of this candidate species, and reveal that it consists of two populations with low genetic and morphological divergence but considerable bioacoustic differences that are obvious to the human ear. As a result, we describe some of the specimens formerly assigned to Gephyromantis sp. Ca28 as Gephyromantis angano sp. n. and assign the remaining specimens from a locality between Bealanana and Antsohihy to a new Unconfirmed Candidate Species, G. sp. Ca29. Gephyromantis angano sp. n. is a small species that strongly resembles G. asper and G. ceratophrys, but it differs from these and all other Gephyromantis species by a unique, clinking advertisement call. The new species may be highly threatened by habitat fragmentation, but at present we recommend it be treated as Data Deficient until more data are available to assess its distribution. We discuss the curious relationship between G. angano sp. n. and G. sp. Ca29, which we suspect may represent a case of incipient speciation. We also identify two additional new Unconfirmed Candidate Species of Gephyromantis based on sequence data from other specimens collected during our surveys in the Bealanana District.

    Key Words: Amphibia, Bioacoustics, Incipient speciation, Candidate species, Mantellinae

    Figure 5. The holotype of Gephyromantis angano sp. n., ZSM 68/2016 (MSZC 0172) in life in
     (a) dorsal, (b) ventral, and (c) lateral view. Scale bars indicate 10 mm.

    Gephyromantis (Asperomantisangano sp. n.
    Gephyromantis sp. Ca28 — Perl et al. (2014)

    Diagnosis: Gephyromantis species assigned to the subgenus Asperomantis based on the presence of small dermal spines on the elbow and heel, presence of inner and outer dorsal ridges as defined by Vences and Glaw (2001), Type 2 femoral glands sensu Glaw et al. (2000)Glaw et al. (2000), moderately enlarged finger and toe tips, absence of webbing between fingers, moderate webbing between toes, presence of paired blackish sub-gular vocal sacs in males, and a distinct whitish spot in the middle of the tympanic field (Vences et al. 2017). DNA sequence data from a fragment of the 16S gene supports this assignment. Gephyromantis angano sp. n. is characterized by the following suite of morphological characters: (1) adult SVL 29.1–30.5 mm, (2) TD/ED 0.61–0.71, (3) small supraocular spines, (4) large femoral glands consisting of numerous small granules, (5) moderately raised dorsal ridges, (6) granular dorsal skin, (7) relatively short hindlimbs (HIL/SVL 1.73–1.81 in males), and (7) its unique call (see above).

    Within the subgenus AsperomantisGephyromantis angano sp. n. can be distinguished from G. ambohitra, G. spinifer, and G. tahotra by its smaller size (male SVL < 30 mm, vs. >31 mm, female SVL up to 30.5 mm vs. >32 mm); from G. spinifer by its less granular dorsal skin and smaller supraocular spines; from G. asper and G. ceratophrys by its generally shorter hindlimbs in males (HIL/SVL 1.73–1.81 vs. 1.77–2.11); and from G. ceratophrys by more granules per femoral gland (26–69 vs. 14–20). Bioacoustically, it is distinguished from all of these species by its call duration (41–98 ms vs. 5–44 ms in G. asper and G. ceratophrys, and 98–274 ms in Gambohitra and Gtahotra), unpulsed calls (vs. pulsed in G. ambohitra and G. tahotra), calls repeated faster than in Gceratophrys, and dominant frequency (3703–3875 Hz vs. 1435–3366 Hz in G. ambohitra, and G. tahotra).

    Figure 6. Variation in Gephyromantis angano sp. n.
    (a) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0032), adult male (FGG = 69/56), (b) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0053), juvenile, (c) ZSM 67/2016 (MSZC 0021), adult male (FGG = 30/26), (d) UADBA-A uncatalogued (MSZC 0091), adult male (FGG = 57/55), (e) Université d’Antsiranana uncatalogued (MSZC 0088), adult female (not in the type series), (f) ZSM 69/2016 (MSZC 0112), adult female. Insets show specimens in ventral view. Not to scale. 

    Figure 7. Map of northern Madagascar indicating the known distribution of Asperomantis species. Colours correspond to species in Fig. 4. Three arc second SRTM basemap from Jarvis et al. (2008).

    Etymology: Angano is a Malagasy word meaning ‘fable’. The new material for this species was collected on Expedition Angano, a research expedition to the Bealanana District of northern Madagascar to assess the impacts of forest fragmentation on the reptiles and amphibians. The epithet is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the genus name.

    Natural history and distribution: One specimen of this species has been collected in Antsahan’i Ledy, and numerous specimens of this species were encountered during fieldwork on the Ampotsidy mountains (Fig. 7). Calling males were generally found in association with slow flowing water, in the case of the holotype at the source of a spring, in close syntopy with Boophis madagascariensis and a Mantidactylus (Brygoomantis) species. Males called up to 1 m above the ground from fern fronds and other low foliage. Females were found both near to and away from water, during the day and at night, but were less commonly encountered. No eggs were observed, but highly ovigerous females were found in January (e.g. Fig. 6e). The call of the species is loud and carries over long distances, so that it can be heard alongside the calls of Boophis madagascariensis from well outside of some small forest fragments in the vicinity of Ampotsidy. In a small forest fragment where vouchers of Gephyromantis (Asperomantis) tahotra were collected (1368 m a.s.l.), G. angano sp. n. could also be heard; this appears to be the first ever record of any two Asperomantis species occurring in close syntopy (Vences et al. 2017).

     Mark D. Scherz, Miguel Vences, James Borrell, Lawrence Ball, Denise Herizo Nomenjanahary, Duncan Parker, Marius Rakotondratsima, Elidiot Razafimandimby, Thomas Starnes, Jeanneney Rabearivony, Frank Glaw. 2017. A New Frog Species of the Subgenus Asperomantis (Anura, Mantellidae, Gephyromantis) from the Bealanana District of northern Madagascar. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 93(2); 451-466.  DOI:  10.3897/zse.93.14906


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    Ototylomys chiapensis
     Porter, Beasley, Ordóñez-Garza, Lindsey, Rogers, Lewis-Rogers, Sites, & Bradley, 2017

    La Pera Big-eared Climbing Rat; Rata orejuda trepadora de La Pera  ||  DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx096 

    An allopatric population of big-eared climbing rats (Ototylomys) from the Northern Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, is described as a new species. The new taxon is part of a unique montane rainforest community that includes several other endemic species in the limited geographic range between the Río Grijalva and the Central Depression of Chiapas. Several cranial, external, and molecular characters distinguish this new species of big-eared climbing rat from its more widely distributed congener, Ototylomys phyllotis. We performed principal component and discriminate function analyses of cranial measurements, and found that specimens of the new species consistently could be distinguished from other Ototylomys with strong statistical support. Compared with exemplars of Ototylomys from elsewhere in their range, the new species possesses a karyotype that differs by 3 additional biarmed chromosome pairs, is fixed or nearly fixed for distinct electromorphs at 12 allozyme loci, and the mean genetic distance exceeds 14%, based on comparisons of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene between the new species of Ototylomys and representatives of O. phyllotis. The restricted distribution in montane karst rainforest suggests that the species and its habitat may be a matter of conservation concern.


    Family Cricetidae Fischer, 1817
    Subfamily Tylomyinae Reig, 1984

    Tribe Tylomyini Reig, 1984

    Genus Ototylomys Merriam, 1901

    Ototylomys chiapensis, new species
    La Pera Big-eared Climbing Rat; Rata orejuda trepadora de La Pera

    Ototylomys phyllotis connectens: Baker et al. 1971 [1973]:82 (part, faunal report based on a specimen collected in 1969, here reidentified as O. chiapensis).
    Ototylomys phyllotis connectens: Hall 1981:629 (part, marginal locality record based on Baker et al. 1971 [1973]).
    Ototylomys phyllotis: Lawlor 1982:3 (part, karyotypic report based on Engstrom and Tucker, cited as in litt.).
    Ototylomys sp.: Rogers, Engstrom, and Arellano 2004:439 (allozyme data from 2 specimens included in the present study).
    Ototylomys sp. nov.: Dudley and Parish 2006:4 (referenced as endemic to El Pozo [= La Pera]).

    Ototylomys chiapensis paratype (MVZ 161246).
    Photograph by Duke S. Rogers.

    Etymology: The specific name refers to the species distribution in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

    Distribution: Known only from the type locality and from 26 km N Ocozocoautla, both in the Mexican state of Chiapas (Figs. 1 and 2). The latter locality is in the municipality of Ocozocoautla de Espinoza at ca. 760 m elevation in the Reserva de la Biosféra Selva El Ocote, and is measured along the “old road” northwest of the city of Ocozocoautla de Espinoza (Johnson et al. 1976; Johnson and Savage 1995; Lamoreux et al. 2015).

    Calvin A. Porter, Nia E. Beasley, Nicté Ordóñez-Garza, Laramie L. Lindsey, Duke S. Rogers, Nicole Lewis-Rogers, Jack W. Sites, Jr. and Robert D. Bradley. 2017. A New Species of Big-eared Climbing Rat, Genus Ototylomys (Cricetidae: Tylomyinae), from Chiapas, Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 98(5); 1310–1329.  DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx096

    Una población alopátrica de rata orejuda trepadora (Ototylomys) de las Tierras Altas del Norte de Chiapas, México se describe como una nueva especie. El nuevo taxón es parte de una comunidad única de bosque lluvioso montano que incluye varias especies endémicas en el área de distribución geográfica limitada entre el Río Grijalva y la Depresión Central de Chiapas. Varios caracteres craneales, externos, y moleculares distinguen la nueva rata orejuda trepadora de su congénere más ampliamente distribuido, Ototylomys phyllotis. Se realizaron análisis de componentes principales y de función discriminante de los caracteres craneales, y se encontró que los especímenes de La Pera fueron consistentemente distinguidos de otros Ototylomys con un fuerte soporte estadístico. En comparación con ejemplares de Ototylomys del rango, la nueva especie posee un cariotipo que difiere por 3 pares adicionales de cromosomas biarmados, está fijo o casi fijo por distintos electromorfos en 12 loci alozímicos. Adicionalmente, la media de la distancia genética comparada del gen mitochondrial citocromo b entre la nueva especie de Ototylomys y representantes de O. phyllotis, excede el 14%. La distribución restringida en el bosque lluvioso montano kárstico sugiere que la especie y su hábitat pueden ser de importancia para la conservación.

    New rat species discovered, named at Sternberg via @hayspost

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    Magnolia montebelloensis   A.Vázquez & Pérez-Farr.

     Vázquez-García, Pérez-Farrera, Gómez-Domínguez, Muñiz-Castro & Sahagún-Godínez, 2017


    A new species of Magnolia, from the Lagunas de Montebello National Park, in the central highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, is described and illustrated. Magnolia montebelloensis belongs to section Magnolia; it differs from M. poasana in its smaller habit, densely pubescent terminal twig internodes, stipules and spathaceous bracts, shorter peduncular internodes and more numerous stamens. A key, an ecological and a conservation assessment of the eight Chiapan species of Magnoliaceae are included. Magnolia montebelloensis grows in montane rain forest and is contrasted with other Chiapan Magnolia species regarding their climate and vegetation preferences. It was assessed as critically endangered (CR) according to IUCN B1ab(ii,iii) and B2ab(iii) criteria. Half of Magnolia species in Chiapas occur in protected natural areas, and thus immediate action is required to protect the other four species, M. faustinomirandae, M. mayae, M. sharpii and M. zamudioi. Seven out of the eight Magnolia species (88%) are not found in ex-situ collections despite being endangered or critically endangered.

    Keywords: Magnolia guatemalensisMagnolia hondurensisMagnolia poasana, “Tajchack” (Tzeltal language), Magnoliids

    FIGURE 4. Magnolia montebelloensis. A. Flower after male phase. B. Flower manually forced open with stamens removed. C. Flower bud with densely hirsute spathaceous bract and early vegetative buds. D. Leaf stipule in late vegetative bud. E. Gynoecium with early axillary leaf buds and terminal internode; sepals, petals and stamens removed. F. Developing fruit. G–H. Fruits during dehiscence. Illustration by Esaú Vázquez-Verdejo. A–C & E from the holotype. D, F–G from Vázquez-García et al. 10107; H from Vázquez-García et al. 10108.

    FIGURE 2. Magnolia montebelloensis. A. Tree, standing at the base Miguel Muñiz & Antonio Vázquez. B. Stipule on late leaf bud. C. Leaves. D. Flower bud with spathaceous bract and early axillary leaf buds. E–F. Flowers forced open with and without stamens, respectively. G. Flower after male phase. H. Developing gynoecium, with axillary leaf buds. I. Developing fruit. Photographs by Antonio Vázquez, A–C & I from Vázquez-García et al. 10107; & D–H, from the holotype.

    Magnolia montebelloensis A.Vázquez & Pérez-Farr., sp. nov.

    Eponymy:—This species is named after the Lagunas de Montebello National Park, the type locality. 

    J. Antonio Vázquez-García, Miguel Ángel Pérez-Farrera, Héctor Gómez-Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Muñiz-Castro and Eduardo Sahagún-Godínez. 2017. Magnolia montebelloensis, A New Species in Section Magnolia from Lagunas de Montebello National Park, Chiapas, México, with a key to Magnoliaceae of Chiapas.  Phytotaxa. 328(2); 101-114. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.328.2.1

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     Strophurus trux  Vanderduys, 2017

    Golden-eyed Gecko  ||  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.7


    A new species of diplodactylid gecko in the genus Strophurus Fitzinger, from central Queensland, Australia, is described herein as Strophurus trux sp. nov. It is similar to the recently described Strophurus congoo Vanderduys from north Queensland and apparently shares a habitat preference for Triodia hummock open woodlands. It is notably different from the latter in possessing a vivid yellow to golden eye. It is only known from one small area of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion, although it is expected to occur more widely than the one area in which it has been found. It is likely that it is endemic to the Brigalow Belt Bioregion.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Brigalow Belt, Triodia, Golden-eyed Gecko

    Strophurus trux sp. nov.
    Golden-eyed Gecko

    Etymology. The specific epithet " trux " is Latin for wild, savage, harsh and pitiless, including instruments of human savagery, and also of the scene of such cruelty (Lewis & Short 1879; Glare 1982). This name was Chosen in reference to the only location known for Strophurus trux sp. nov. It is in the proximity of the "Marlborough stretch", a section of the old Bruce Highway in Central Queensland with notoriety as a wild and dangerous place in the 1960s and 1970s because of a series of murders and shootings (Gibson 2002) and its general remoteness.

    FIGURE 1. Holotype QMJ94287 male Strophurus trux sp. nov. showing the scattered peppering of dark grey to black spots and faint reticulations on the dorsal surface. Also clearly visible is the relatively clear demarcation of tone along the lateral surface of the tail. 

    FIGURE 3. Bright yellow to golden-brown eyes of Strophurus trux sp. nov. which lend it the common name golden-eyed gecko; QMJ94285 above, QMJ95524 below. 

    FIGURE 7. (a) Male QMJ95524 showing bolder markings than other specimens; (b) female QMJ95523; (c–d) male QMJ94284.

    FIGURE 8. Male Strophurus williamsi QMJ94288 collected 235 m from S. trux sp. nov. QMJ94287, showing distinguishing features where the two species are sympatric; orange eyes with the pupil surrounded by a black over white reticulum, relatively bold dorsal pattern, enlarged orange tubercles on dorsal and caudal surfaces. 

    Eric Vanderduys. 2017. A New Species of Gecko (Squamata: Diplodactylidae: Strophurus) from central Queensland, Australia. Zootaxa. 4347(2); 316–330.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.7

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    Ophiotettix storozhenkoiO. filiformaO. pulcherrima, et al

    Tumbrinck & Skejo, 2017

    Long-headed pygmy grasshoppers (genus Ophiotettix Walker, 1871) from the New Guinean region (New Guinea and adjacent islands) are taxonomically and biogeographically reviewed. For Ophiotettix and the morphologically similar genera Paraspartolus Günther, 1939, Spartolus Stål, 1877 and Threciscus Bolívar, 1887 a new tribe is erected, Ophiotettigini trib. nov. This tribe is close to Clinophaestini Storozhenko, 2013, which is placed here also under Metrodorinae. Bufonidinae syn. rev. are regarded to be synonymous with Batrachideinae, not Cladonotinae, as previously considered. Statuses of currently known taxa of Ophiotettix are reviewed. The genus now includes 40 species, seven of them previously described: O. buergersi Bolívar, 1929, O. cygnicollis Walker, 1871, O. limosina (Snellen van Vollenhoven, 1865), O. lorentzi Bolívar, 1929, O. modesta Bolívar, 1929 stat. rev., O. scolopax Bolívar, 1929, O. westwoodi Bolívar, 1929 stat. rev. 33 new species are described and illustrated, namely:O. amberiana sp. nov., O. bewana sp. nov., O. bomberaiensis sp. nov., O. brevicollis sp. nov., O. cheesmanae sp. nov., O. depressa sp. nov., O.filiforma sp. nov., O. flyriveriensis sp. nov., O. fritzpahli sp. nov., O. hansscholteni sp. nov., O. imbiana sp. nov., O. kaitani sp. nov., O. karimuiensis sp. nov., O. katharinae sp. nov., O. luce sp. nov., O. meggy sp. nov., O. mountnokensis sp. nov., O. parvicollis sp. nov., O. projecta sp. nov., O. pulcherrima sp. nov., O. pushkari sp. nov., O. quateorum sp. nov., O. rebrinae sp. nov., O.roesleri sp. nov., O. rohwedderi sp. nov., O. sanguinea sp. nov., O. schapinae sp. nov., O. stallei sp. nov., O. storozhenkoi sp. nov., O. subbrevicollis sp. nov., O. telefominensis sp. nov., O. tenuis sp. nov., and O. toxopei sp. nov. An annotated identification key to species is provided. Antennal morphology (especially morphology of five apical segments) is diagnostically important in the taxonomy of this group and provides the best morphological character for species delimitation. Function of modified antennae is not fully understood. Differences between species exist also in head morphology, facial colouration, and morphometrics. Pygmy Giraffhoppers are a diverse group occupying most biogeographical regions of New Guinea North of the Central range, while only few species inhabit areas south of the central range.

     Keywords: Orthoptera, Tetrigidae, pygmy grasshoppers, Discotettiginae, New Guinea, taxonomy, new species, widened antennal segments, long head, horn

    Josef Tumbrinck and Josip Skejo. 2017.   Taxonomic and Biogeographic Revision of the New Guinean genus Ophiotettix Walker, 1871 (Tetrigidae: Metrodorinae: Ophiotettigini trib. nov.), with the Descriptions of 33 New Species. In: Telnov, D., Barclay, M.V.L. & Pauwels, O.S.G. [Ed.] Biodiversity, Biogeography and Nature Conservation in Wallacea and New Guinea. 3; 525-580.

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     Dibamus floweri 
     Quah, Anuar, Grismer & Grassby-Lewis, 2017


    A new species of worm-like lizard, Dibamus floweri, is described from Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, in the central highlands of Peninsular Malaysia based on the following unique combination of characters: maximum SVL of 112 mm; tail length 11.4–15.2% of SVL; labial and nasal sutures absent; rostral suture present but incomplete; a single postocular; four scales bordering the posterior edge of first infralabial; no enlarged, medial, sublabial scale; 21 scale rows around midbody; 23 scale rows around the body immediately posterior to head; 21 scale rows around the body immediately anterior to vent; 175–194 ventral scales; 23–46 subcaudal scales and light coloured bands on body. Dibamus floweri, new species, is the third species of dibamid discovered in Peninsular Malaysia and is the first montane species. Its discovery underscores the importance of uplands regions as important habitats for herpetological diversity and their understudied nature. 

    Key words: herpetofauna, montane, new species, taxonomy, conservation, systematics

    Dibamidae Boulenger, 1884
    Dibamus Duméril & Bibron, 1839

    Dibamus floweri, new species
    Flower’s blind lizard

    Diagnosis. Dibamus floweri, new species, differentiated from all other congeners by this combination of characters: maximum SVL of 112 mm; tail length 11.4–15.2% of SVL; labial, nasal sutures absent; rostral suture present but incomplete; single postocular; four scales bordering posterior edge of first infralabial; no enlarged, medial, sublabial scale; 21 midbody scale rows; 23 transverse scale rows just posterior to head; 21 transverse scale rows just anterior to vent; 175–194 ventral scales; 23–46 subcaudal scales; relative size of frontal to frontanasal 1.1–1.5; relative size of interparietal to surrounding scales 1.3–1.8; and light coloured bands on the body. These characters are scored across all nominal species of Dibamus in Table 2.

    Etymology: The specific epithet, floweri, is in honour of Major Stanley Smyth Flower, who was one of the pioneers for herpetological discoveries in the Malay Peninsula. He made many notable discoveries over the course of his explorations in the region and his natural history observations well over a century ago were very detailed and contributed tremendously to improving our understanding of the ecology and behaviour of many species to this day.

     Distribution: Dibamus floweri, new species, is presently known only from Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia at elevations between 1,207 and 1,500 m (Fig. 3). 

      (A) Holotype of Dibamus floweri, new species (LSUHC 12481) from Fraser’s Hill, Pahang (Photograph by Rupert Grassby-Lewis).
    (B) Paratype of Dibamus floweri, new species (ZRC 2.7240) from Fraser’s Hill, Pahang at ease. Photographs by Evan Quah.
    (F) Leaf litter microhabitat at Fraser’s Hill, Pahang where the paratype of Dibamus floweri, new species, was found.

    Natural history: Both specimens were found while digging through leaf litter that had accumulated along the banks of roads. The holotype was discovered at night in a drainage ditch along Jalan Girdle in a damp and shaded area. The paratype was uncovered during the day underneath approximately 3 cm beneath the soil (Fig. 2F), and in the same pile of leaf-litter, the skink, Larutia miodactyla (Boulenger, 1903) was also found. When handled, both specimens flared up their body scales, giving them a wrinkled appearance (Fig. 1C). This behaviour is interpreted as a defensive, anti-predator mechanism employed by Dibamus to mimic a possible non-palatable species of worm (Darevsky, 1992). The other two Peninsular Malaysian species, D. booliati and D. tiomanensisdisplay the same behaviour when agitated (Das & Yaakob, 2003; Diaz et al., 2004; Grismer, 2011).

    Evan S. H. Quah, Shahrul Anuar M. S., L. Lee Grismer and Rupert Grassby-Lewis. 2017. 
    A New Species of Dibamus Duméril & Bibron 1839 (Squamata: Dibamidae) from A Hill Station in Peninsular Malaysia. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 65; 681–690. 

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    Geiseltaliellus maarius  Smith, 2009

    life reconstruction by J. Eberhardt & A. Vogel  (SMF)
    Smith, 2017SALAMANDRA. 53(4) 


     An exceptional new specimen of the stem-basilisk Geiseltaliellus maarius from the middle Eocene of Messel, Germany, preserves details of the squamation of this extinct species. The dorsum and extremities were covered by small, rhomoidal scales, about 0.2 mm in size in most places; somewhat larger scales were present on the lower extremities and on the head. Scales of the venter were arranged in transverse rows, unlike in extant Polychrus and Laemanctus. There is some evidence that the scales on the extremities possessed keels, as in extant basilisks and Polychrus. Keratin appears to be preserved in places. The “Oberhäutchen” is nearly featureless, probably the result of postmortem microbial decomposition; scale organs were not observed. Overall, the body of G. maarius possessed a fine, homogeneous squamation most similar to Basiliscus. Possible sexual dimorphism in the form of the parietal crest raises the prospect of a projecting median keel composed of skin in male G. maarius, although direct evidence on this point is currently lacking. The squamation of the tail is discussed in light of the pseudoautotomy shown by this species. 

    Key words: Fossils, Corytophanidae, Eocene, scales, keratin.

    Figure 1. Skeleton with skin shadows of Geiseltaliellus maarius, SMF ME 11380a (part).
     (A) Detail of temple region of head. (B) Detail of throat or shoulder region. (C) Detail of right lower leg scales (over tibia and fibula). (D) Detail of left lower leg scales (torn downward and preserved around toe). (E) Detail of digit IV of left pes. Scale bar is 5 mm.

    Figure 8. Reconstruction of the squamation of male Geiseltaliellus maarius from Messel.
    Juliane Eberhardt (SMF) drew the life reconstruction, colored by Anika Vogel (SMF). 

     K. T. Smith. 2017. The Squamation of the Eocene stem-basilisk Geiseltaliellus maarius (Squamata: Iguanidae: Corytophaninae) from Messel, Germany. SALAMANDRA. 53(4); 519–530.  


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    Hindumanes karnatakaensis   (Tikader & Biswas, 1978)

     Sudhin, Nafin & Sudhikumar, 2017


    The monotypic genus Hindumanes Logunov, 2004 is revised. We present fresh specimens of Hindumanes karnatakaensis (Tikader & Biswas, 1978), the type species, and describeHindumanes wayanadensis sp. nov. from the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of the Western Ghats, Kerala, India. This paper provides the first description of the male of H. karnatakaensis and a redescription of its female. We also transfer the genus from Asemoneinae Maddison, 2015 to Lyssomaninae Blackwall, 1877. The relationship between Hindumanes and Lyssomanes Hentz, 1845 and the zoogeography of the subfamily are discussed. The distribution records of the genus are mapped.

    Keywords: Araneae, long-legged jumping spider, subfamily placement, zoogeography, relict, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, biodiversity hotspot

    Puthoor Pattammal Sudhin, Karunnappilli Shamsudheen Nafin and Ambalaparambil Vasu Sudhikumar. 2017. Revision of Hindumanes Logunov, 2004 (Araneae: Salticidae: Lyssomaninae), with description of a new species from the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. Zootaxa. 4350(2); 317–330.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4350.2.7

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    Middletonia gebosa C.Puglisi: A. Habit, showing young fruit; B. Flowers; Mreticulata (Barnett) C.Puglisi: D. Habit; E. Flowers.
    Photographs by Preecha Karaket (A, C–E) and David Middleton (B). 

    Puglisi & Middleton. 2017. DOI: 10.20531/tfb.2017.45.1.07


    The genus Middletonia in Thailand is revised. We recognise four species, including the newly described Middletonia glebosa C.Puglisi and the resurrected M. reticulata (Barnett) C.Puglisi. A key to the species, full descriptions and proposed conservation assessments are provided. 

    KEYWORDS: taxonomy, new species, Flora of Thailand

    Figure 1. Middletonia gebosa C.Puglisi: A. Habit, showing young fruit; B. Flowers; M. reticulata (Barnett) C.Puglisi: D. Habit; E. Flowers.
    Photographs by Preecha Karaket (A, C–E) and David Middleton (B).

    MIDDLETONIA C.Puglisi, 
    Taxon. 65: 286. 2016. 
    Type species: Middletonia multiflora (R.Br.) C.Puglisi.

    Five species, found in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Four in Thailand.

    1. Middletonia evrardii (Pellegr.) C.Puglisi, Taxon. 65: 286. 2016

    Distribution.— Lao PDR, Vietnam.
    Thailand.— EASTERN: Nakhon Ratchasima, CENTRAL: Nakhon Nayok
     Ecology.— Evergreen forest.

    Note.— The material from Thailand differs slightly from the Vietnamese material, especially in the leaf shape which is more elongated and with an acute apex in the Thai specimens. As there are rather few specimens from throughout the distribution range, with no floral material from Thailand available for dissection, further collections are necessary to assess whether the Thai and Vietnamese plants belong to one or more species.

    2. Middletonia glebosa C.Puglisi, sp. nov. 

    Similar to Middletonia regularis in having the inflorescences shorter than the leaves and to Middletonia reticulata in the shortly caulescent habit. Differs from both in having a dense indumentum on the adaxial side of the leaf, with glands and eglandular hispid hairs (upperleafsurface glabrescent or minutely glandular in Middletonia regularis, glabrescent in M. reticulata), and in the short, non-twisted, lumpy and irregular fruit (longer, weakly to strongly twisted, smooth and regular in M. regularis and M. reticulata). 

    Type: Thailand, Sukhothai, Ram Kham Haeng National Park, Khao Luang, alt. 520 m, 11 Oct. 2012, fr., Middleton, Karaket, Suddee & Triboun 5559 (holotype E [E00547434]; isotypes BK, BKF [SN201922]).  

    Distribution.— Cambodia.
    Thailand.— NORTHERN: Sukhothai. 
     Ecology.— Mixed deciduous forest with bamboo on granite bedrock.

    Etymology.— The specific epithet is the Latin adjective glebosus, -a, -um, which means “lumpy” and refers to the peculiar surface of the capsule.

    Notes.— In Ram Kham Haeng National Park this species grows in a mixed population with Middletonia reticulata. The two are readily told apart in the field by Middletonia glebosa having softer, paler leaves, a shorter inflorescence, generally slightly smaller flowers, and the curious short, straight, lumpy fruit. The species is known only from Ram Kham Haeng National Park and a single collection made around 150 years ago in Cambodia. The Cambodian collection, placed in Paraboea regularis by Xu et al. (2008), is only in fruit so the identification will need to be verified with flowering material. However, the fruit of this species is rather distinctive.

    3. Middletonia regularis (Ridl.) C.Puglisi, Taxon. 65: 287. 2016.

    Distribution.— Malaysia. 
    Thailand.— PENINSULA: Surat Thani, Phangnga; SOUTH-WESTERN: Kanchanaburi.

    Ecology.— Lowland evergreen forest on limestone soils. 

    Note.— The protologue of Paraboea monticolasuggests the flowers to be much larger: “lobes … 6–9 × c. 6.5 mm”. However, none of the material available for this study had lobes longer than 3.3 mm. 

    4. Middletonia reticulata (Barnett) C.Puglisi, comb. nov.
    Boea reticulata Barnett, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 20: 20. 1961.
    Type: Thailand, Chiang Mai, Mae Wang

    Ecology.— Mixed deciduous forest on granite bedrock. 

    Distribution.— Currently endemic to Thailand but possibly also occurring in Lao PDR and Myanmar.
    Thailand.— NORTHERN: Mae Hong Son; Chiang Mai; Lamphun; Lampang; Phrae; Sukhothai. 

     Note.— This species is resurrected from synonymy of Middletonia multiflora (R.Br.) C.Puglisi from which it differs in the distinctively reticulate venation pattern covered in loose brown indumentum on the lower surface of the leaves, and in the auriculate leaf base. Middletonia multiflora has a denser indumentum on the leaf and the tertiary venation is less densely reticulate and less visible altogether. Middletonia multiflora is widespread along the northern distribution of the genus (from India to Vietnam), but none of the material from Thailand studied can be attributed to M. multiflora.

    Carmen Puglisi and David J. Middleton. 2017. A Revision of Middletonia (Gesneriaceae) in Thailand. THAI FOREST BULL., BOT. 45(1); 35–41. DOI: 10.20531/tfb.2017.45.1.07

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    Spinosaurid cranial remains from Brazil.
    Sales & Schultz, 2017 


    Fossil sites from Brazil have yielded specimens of spinosaurid theropods, among which the most informative include the cranial remains of IrritatorAngaturama, and Oxalaia. In this work some of their craniodental features are reinterpreted, providing new data for taxonomic and evolutionary issues concerning this particular clade of dinosaurs. The mesial-most tooth of the left maxilla of the holotype of Irritator is regarded as representing the third tooth position, which is also preserved in the holotype of Angaturama. Thus, both specimens cannot belong to the same individual, contrary to previous assumptions, although they could have been the same taxon. In addition, the position of the external nares of Irritator is more comparable to those of Baryonyx and Suchomimus instead of other spinosaurine spinosaurids. In fact, with regards to some craniodental features, Brazilian taxa represent intermediate conditions between Baryonychinae and Spinosaurinae. Such a scenario is corroborated by our cladistic results, which also leave open the possibility of the former subfamily being non-monophyletic. Furthermore, the differences between spinosaurids regarding the position and size of the external nares might be related to distinct feeding habits and degrees of reliance on olfaction. Other issues concerning the evolution and taxonomy of Spinosauridae require descriptions of additional material for their clarification.

    Fig 1. Map of northeastern Brazil showing the location of the Araripe and São Luís-Grajaú basins. The (likely) provenance of the holotypes of local spinosaurid taxa is indicated. Modified from Bittencourt and Lange. 

    Fig 2. Specimen SMNS 58022, holotype of Irritator challengeri.
    A, Left lateral view. B, Right lateral view. The abbreviation for the third tooth of the left maxilla follows Hendrickx et al. [2015].

     Additional abbreviations: ao.f, antorbital fenestra; c.c, crista cranii; e.n, external naris; m, maxilla; m.r, mandibular ramus; n, nasal; n.c, nasal sagittal crest; n.p, nasal process; o, orbit; pm, premaxilla; s, stapes.

    Fig 11. Spinosaurid cranial remains from Brazil.
     A, Reconstruction of specimen SMNS 58022, the holotype of Irritator challengeri. B, Specimen USP GP/2T-5, the holotype of Angaturama limai. C, Specimen MN 6117-V, the holotype of Oxalaia quilombensis.

    The fragmentary maxilla (MN 6119-V) tentatively referred to O. quilombensis was not included. A is modified from Sues et al. [2002].

    Final remarks
    Spinosaurid dinosaurs have been surrounded by an enigmatic atmosphere due to their bizarre anatomy and morphology as well as the fragmentary nature of most collected specimens. The tragic loss of the holotype of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus also contributed to this condition. Despite being incomplete, spinosaurid cranial remains from Brazil are informative in multiple ways and help fill in some gaps in the knowledge on these theropods. The reinterpretation of certain craniodental features supports, for example, the distinction between Irritator and Angaturama at least at the individual level, and our cladistic results indicate the latter taxon and Oxalaia as successive outgroups of MSNM V4047. In addition, the evolution of spinosaurid craniodental features is likely related to different trends towards semiaquatic and/or piscivorous habits. These trends might have had a major impact on the position and size of the external nares, suggesting the reduction of the importance of olfaction in relation to other senses during foraging. However, other issues remain more disputable, such as the possible non-monophyly of Baryonychinae, the possible synonymy between the Araripe spinosaurids, and the sequence of morphological changes during the evolutionary history of Spinosauridae. Further study is needed to address these issues, including the formal description of additional cranial and postcranial remains. In this sense, although African materials are usually the focus of most investigations, Brazilian specimens play an important role in discussions concerning the evolution and paleobiology of Spinosauridae. This statement is clearly corroborated by new findings of these dinosaurs in understudied fossil sites.

    Marcos A. F. Sales and Cesar L. Schultz. 2017. Spinosaur Taxonomy and Evolution of Craniodental Features: Evidence from Brazil. PLoS ONE. 12(11); e0187070. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187070

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    Coilodera grandimaculata   Qiu, Xu & Chen, 2017


    The taxonomy of the Coilodera penicillata Hope, 1831 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae) species complex, which is recognized by the black body and elytra with larger tomentose maculae, is revised. Six Indochinese species assigned to this complex, including Coilodera grandimaculata new species from Tibet, China. Coilodera nigroscutellarisMoser, 1902 revised status and C. formosana Moser, 1910 revised status formerly treated as two subspecies of C. penicillata Hope, 1831 are elevated to species rank. The distribution of C. penicillata in China is confirmed based on examination of specimens from Yunnan and Tibet, and almost all previous Chinese literature records should be referred to C. nigroscutellaris. Coilodera dives(Gory & Percheron, 1833) revised status previously synonymized with C. penicillata is herein considered as a valid species based on the examination of types and additional specimens, and C. miksici Antoine, 1986 new synonymy is regarded as a junior synonym of C. dives. A lectotype is designated for Coilodera dives (Gory & Percheron, 1833). The record of C. mearesii (Westwood, 1842) in southeastern China is attributed to a misidentification of C. nigroscutellaris, and it is here newly recoreded from Tibet near the Nepal-China border. Diagnosis characters and intraspecific variations are illustrated for all six species, new distribution records and a key to species are also presented. Ecological information is provided for all species.

     Keywords: Coleoptera, Taenioderini, Taenioderina, revision, new species, synonym, lectotype, commensalism, China

     Jian-Yue Qiu, Hao Xu and Li Chen. 2017. Taxonomic Review of the Oriental Flower Beetle Coilodera penicillata species complex (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae).  Zootaxa. 4350(3); 511–537. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4350.3.5

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    Researchers have presented their results on specialization in pollination techniques in flowers of the genus Impatiens. For two months in 2014, they have studied 7 co-occurring species of the genus Impatiens in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

     Ruchisansakun, Tangtorwongsakul, Cozien, et al. 2016.

    Floral variation among closely related species is thought to often reflect differences in pollination systems. Flowers of the large genus Impatiens are characterized by extensive variation in colour, shape and size and in anther and stigma positioning, but studies of their pollination ecology are scarce and most lack a comparative context. Consequently, the function of floral diversity in Impatiens remains enigmatic. This study documents floral variation and pollination of seven co-occurring Impatiens spp. in the Southeast Asian diversity hotspot. To assess whether floral trait variation reflects specialization for different pollination systems, we tested whether species depend on pollinators for reproduction, identified animals that visit flowers, determined whether these visitors play a role in pollination and quantified and compared key floral traits, including floral dimensions and nectar characteristics. Experimental exclusion of insects decreased fruit and seed set significantly for all species except I. muscicola, which also received almost no visits from animals. Most species received visits from several animals, including bees, birds, butterflies and hawkmoths, only a subset of which were effective pollinators. Impatiens psittacina, I. kerriae, I. racemosa and I. daraneenae were pollinated by bees, primarily Bombus haemorrhoidalis. Impatiens chiangdaoensis and I. santisukii had bimodal pollination systems which combined bee and lepidopteran pollination. Floral traits differed significantly among species with different pollination systems. Autogamous flowers were small and spurless, and did not produce nectar; bee-pollinated flowers had short spurs and large floral chambers with a wide entrance; and bimodally bee- and lepidopteran-pollinated species had long spurs and a small floral chamber with a narrow entrance. Nectar-producing species with different pollination systems did not differ in nectar volume and sugar concentration. Despite the high frequency of bee pollination in co-occurring species, individuals with a morphology suggestive of hybrid origin were rare. Variation in floral architecture, including various forms of corolla asymmetry, facilitates distinct, species-specific pollen-placement on visiting bees. Our results show that floral morphological diversity among Impatiens spp. is associated with both differences in functional pollinator groups and divergent use of the same pollinator. Non-homologous mechanisms of floral asymmetry are consistent with repeated independent evolution, suggesting that competitive interactions among species with the same pollination system have been an important driver of floral variation among Impatiens spp.

    Keywords: autogamy; bee pollination; butterfly pollination; floral asymmetry; nectar robbing; nectar spur; pollen placement; sympatry; tropics

    Figure 3. Impatiens flowers, showing variation in colour and shape and floral visitors:
     I. muscicola (A); 
    I. santisukiipollinated byPolytremis lubricanslubricans (B) and Bombus haemorrhoidalis (C);
    I. racemosa pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (D);
    I. chiangdaoensispollinated by Notocrypta curvifascia (E) and visited by a nectar-robbing B. haemorrhoidalis (F);
     I. psittacina pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (G);
    I. kerriae pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (H) and visited by Apis cerana (I), Macroglossum belis (J), and Aethopyga gouldiae (K).
      I. daraneenaepollinated by an unknown bee species (Apidae) (L).

    Black arrow in (A) indicates the typical position of the shed anthers onto the lower lateral united petals, facilitating autonomous self-pollination. All other arrows indicate pollen placement sites on visiting bee species (C, D, G, H, L). Scale bar in (A) represents 1 mm, all other scale bars represent 10 mm.

    Saroj Ruchisansakun, Pornpimon Tangtorwongsakul, Ruth J. Cozien, Erik F. Smets FMLS and Timotheüs van der Niet. 2016. Floral Specialization for Different Pollinators and Divergent Use of the Same Pollinator Among Co-occurring Impatiens Species (Balsaminaceae) from Southeast Asia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181(4); 651–666.  DOI: 10.1111/boj.12427

    In a study in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers (including 4  from Naturalis) have presented their results on specialization in pollination techniques in flowers of the genus Impatiens. For two months in 2014, they have studied 7 co-occurring species of the genus Impatiens (see video) in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Impatiens develops diff. floral shapes to specialize in pollination techniques + avoid competition! Blog+video

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    Eoanabas thibetana
    Wu, Miao, Chang, Shi & Wang, 2017

    Understanding the Tibetan Plateau’s palaeogeography and palaeoenvironment is critical for reconstructing Asia’s climatic history; however, aspects of the plateau’s uplift history remain unclear. Here, we report a fossil biota that sheds new light on these issues. It comprises a fossil climbing perch (Anabantidae) and a diverse subtropical fossil flora from the Chattian (late Oligocene) of central Tibet. The fish, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov., is inferred to be closely related to extant climbing perches from tropical lowlands in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It has osteological correlates of a labyrinth organ, which in extant climbing perches gives them the ability to breathe air to survive warm, oxygen-poor stagnant waters or overland excursion under moist condition. This indicates that Eoanabas likewise lived in a warm and humid environment as suggested by the co-existing plant assemblage including palms and golden rain trees among others. As a palaeoaltimeter, this fossil biota suggests an elevation of ca. 1,000 m. These inferences conflict with conclusions of a high and dry Tibet claimed by some recent and influential palaeoaltimetry studies. Our discovery prompts critical re-evaluation of prevailing uplift models of the plateau and their temporal relationships with the Cenozoic climatic changes.

    Systematic Palaeontology  

    Teleostei Müller, 1845
    Anabantiformes sensu Wiley and Johnson, 2010

    Anabantoidei sensu Lauder and Liem, 1983
    Anabantidae Bonaparte, 1839

    Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov.

    Etymology. The generic name combines ‘Eo-’ (Greek, early/primeval) with ‘Anabas’, the type genus of Anabantidae from tropical Asia. The specific name refers to Tibet, China.

    Holotype. IVPP V 22782, a complete skeleton, part and counterpart (Fig. 1a,b).

    Paratypes. Sixteen specimens are designated as paratypes (Supplementary Information).

    Locality and Horizon. Jiangnongtangga (type locality) and Songwori in south Nima Basin and Dayu in Lunpola Basin in central Tibet (Supplementary Figs 1 and 2). Middle-upper part of Dingqing Formation, late Oligocene (Chattian) (ca. 26~23.5 Ma)6, 20, 26.

    Diagnosis. A labyrinth fish displaying anabantid characteristics including a posterior notch of the opercle bounded by spines, a V-shaped strut on inner side of opercle and six to nine anal-fin spines. It shares with Asian anabantids the following derived characters: broad infraorbitals 3–5 completely covering the cheek, a sensory canal pore just behind sphenotic/pterotic junction and pelvic plate lying flat; and it shares with African anabantids some derived characters, e.g., sensory canal opening in between the infraorbitals, supraorbital commissure of the sensory canal absent and male postocular contact organ present.

    Figure 1 A new fossil climbing perch, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov. from the upper Oligocene of central Tibet. It resembles its extant tropical relatives in having a labyrinth organ for air breathing and postocular contact organ in male fishes for stimulating the female during a mating clasp.
    (a) Photograph and (b) line drawing of holotype (IVPP V22782a), image horizontally rotated. (c) Photograph and (d) line drawing of the head of IVPP V18412a, red area in (d) representing muscular attachment facet.

    Abbreviations: alm, attachment facet of levator operculi muscle; Cbr1, ceratobranchial of first gill arch;, V-shaped struts on inner side of opercles.

    Figure 2 Fossil climbing perch, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov. from the upper Oligocene of central Tibet.
    (a) Line drawing of the head of IVPP V18414a. (b) Photograph of IVPP V18414a. (c) Photograph of IVPP V18581a. (d) Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of relics of labyrinth organ in (c), arrows pointing the pores on the lamellae. (e) Computerized tomography of labyrinth organ (lateral view) of Anabas testudineus (OP 435). (f) Cleared and stained head showing the labyrinth organ and associated structures of Anabas testudineus (collection no. OP 432). (g) Cleared and stained specimen of Anabas testudineus (collection no. OP 433). (h) Osteological restoration of Eoanabas, purported male; not to scale.

    Images in (c), (d) are horizontally rotated. Abbreviations: br, branchiostegal rays; hp1, hypural 1; m., muscle; php, parhypural.

    Feixiang Wu, Desui Miao, Mee-mann Chang, Gongle Shi and Ning Wang. 2017. Fossil Climbing Perch and Associated Plant Megafossils indicate A Warm and Wet Central Tibet During the late Oligocene. Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 878.  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-00928-9

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    Euspondylus excelsum 
    Chávez, Catenazzi & Venegas, 2017


    We describe a new species of arboreal gymnophtalmid lizard from the eastern Andean slopes in central Peru. Euspondylus excelsum sp. nov. is assigned tentatively to this genus for the presence of a transparent and divided lower palpebral disc, a pair of prefrontals, striated, subimbricated and homogeneous dorsal scales, lateral scales reduced in proximity to ventrals, and a discontinuous series of femoral pores in males and females. We include a revision of the type material of E. maculatus and clarify morphological differences with the new species. Finally, we discuss the taxonomic status of Peruvian species of Euspondylus.

    Keywords: Reptilia, Andes, new species, gymnophtalmid lizard, Cercosaurini, Squamata, taxonomy

    Euspondylus excelsum sp. nov.

    Etymology. The specific epithet “excelsum” is from Latin and means “tall”, in reference to the habitat of the new species in the canopy of the tropical rainforest.

    FIGURE 2. Views of the holotype (CORBIDI 16457; SVL= 69.4 mm);
    A) coloration in life; B) dorsal view of the coloration in preservative; C) ventral view of the coloration in preservative.
    Photographs by Lesly Luján (A), and GermánChávez (B,C).

    FIGURE 3. Views of the dorsum (left) and venter (right) of the paratypes in life,
     A–B) Adult male (CORBIDI 16465, SVL=83.7 mm); C–D) Adult female (CORBIDI 16463, SVL=81.4); E–F) Juvenile male (CORBIDI 16468, SVL=47.7). Photographs byLesly Luján. 

    Germán Chávez, Alessandro Catenazzi and Pablo J. Venegas. 2017. A New Species of Arboreal Microteiid Lizard of the Genus Euspondylus (Gymnophthalmidae: Cercosaurinae) from the Andean Slopes of central Peru with Comments on Peruvian EuspondylusZootaxa. 4350(2); 301–316. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4350.2.6

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    A coconut crab (Birgus latro) kills an adult red- footed booby (Sula sula) on Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) 
     Laidre, 2017.   
     DOI: 10.1002/fee.1730  

    Predation can exert life-or-death selection pressures on prey over evolutionary time. Even when the observed frequency of predation is low, predators may induce wide-spread avoidance behavior in prey, thereby creating “landscapes of fear” (Laundré et al. 2014), which indi-rectly transform species abundance and community composition. For some animals, especially in remote areas, we know little about their predatory capacities or their potential impact on communities.

    The coconut crab (Birgus latro) inhabits remote coral atolls and is the world’s largest terrestrial invertebrate, growing to what Charles Darwin described as “a monstrous size” (Darwin 1845), with a leg span exceeding 1 m and a weight of up to 4 kg. Following a brief larval stage in the ocean, these crabs spend the rest of their life on land, first as juveniles wearing remodeled gastropod shells (Laidre 2012) – like their closest evolutionary relatives, the terrestrial hermit crabs (Laidre 2014) – and then as adults living shell- free. Historically, coconut crabs were distributed across the Indo- Pacific on islands that for millions of years lacked any human presence. However, due to anthropogenic impacts, especially harvesting by humans, coconut crabs have been driven to local extinc-tion in many parts of their original range. Few studies of this remarkable animal’s behavior have been undertaken since Darwin’s Beagle voyage, but anecdotes abound, including rumors that the crabs ate Amelia Earhart (Nuwer 2013; though see Krieger et al. 2016 for well- documented predation on invertebrates). A review of the biology of coconut crabs emphasized that “behavioral ecology studies are few” and stressed “the need for further systematic research” (Drew et al. 2010).


    Figure 1. A coconut crab (Birgus latro) kills an adult red- footed booby (Sula sula) on Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) 

    Mark E Laidre. 2017. Ruler of the Atoll: the World's Largest Land Invertebrate. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 15(9); 527–528.  DOI: 10.1002/fee.1730 

    Giant coconut crab sneaks up on a sleeping bird and kills it