Tuesday, July 4, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Boulengerula spawlsi • A New Species of Boulengerula Tornier, 1896 (Gymnophiona: Herpelidae) from Kenya and the “Rediscovery” of Boulengerula denhardti

Boulengerula spawlsi
Wilkinson, Malonza & Loader, 2017


A new species of herpelid caecilian, Boulengerula spawlsi sp. nov., is described based on nine specimens from Ngaia (= Ngaya or Ngaja) Forest Reserve, Nyambene Hills, Meru County, Kenya collected between 2007 and 2013. The new species differs from all other Boulengerula in having more anteriorly positioned tentacular apertures and tentacular grooves that are partly or completely covered by the maxillopalatines. Specimens of the new species were previously erroneously reported as a rediscovery of the poorly known congener Boulengerula denhardti Neiden, 1912 together with a biogeographic scenario to explain their disjunct distribution that is not required.

Keywords: Amphibia, Africa, biogeography, caecilians, morphology, systematics, taxonomy

Boulengerula spawlsi sp. nov.; whole body (with the smaller paratype BMNH 2005.2264) of holotype in life.

FIGURE 2. Boulengerula spawlsi sp. nov.
(A) head and terminus and (B) whole body (with the smaller paratype BMNH 2005.2264) of holotype in life. (C) Habitat at type locality. 

Boulengerula spawlsi sp. nov. 
Boulengerula cf. denhardti Nieden, 1912: Loader et al. (2011: 6, figure 1) 
Boulengerula denhardti Nieden, 1912: Measey et al. (2012: 187–191, figure 1)

Diagnosis. A Boulengerula that differs from all congeners in having the anterior part of the tentacular canal covered by maxillopalatine. It differs further from B. boulengeri Tornier, 1896 and B. denhardti in having inner mandibular teeth, from B. changamwensis Loveridge, 1932 and B. fisheri Nussbaum and Hinkel, 1994 in having a mainly darker blue or purple, rather than pink, body colour, and from all other Boulengerula (B. taitanus, Loveridge, 1935, B. niedeni Müller, Measey, Loader & Malonza, 2005, B. uluguruensis Barbour & Loveridge, 1928) in having more (> 150) annuli.

Etymology. The species is named in honour of Stephen Spawls in recognition of his substantial contributions to African herpetology, including his discovery of this species of caecilian.
Suggested English name. Spawls’ boolee

Mark Wilkinson, Patrick K. Malonza and Simon P. Loader. 2017. A New Species of Boulengerula Tornier, 1896 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Herpelidae) from Kenya and the “rediscovery” of Boulengerula denhardti.
4286(4); 525–534. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4286.4.5

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