Friday, August 18, 2017

[Paleontology • 2017] Thaumatodracon wiedenrothi • A Morphometrically and Stratigraphically Intermediate New Rhomaleosaurid Plesiosaurian from the Lower Jurassic (Sinemurian) of Lyme Regis, England

Thaumatodracon wiedenrothi  Smith & Araújo, 2017

Illustration: L. Soares. DOI: 10.1127/pala/308/2017/89  


An excellently preserved partial skeleton of a rhomaleosaurid plesiosaurian (NLMH 106. 058) from the Sinemurian (Lower Jurassic) of Lyme Regis, England, is described. The material consists of a complete cranium, mandible, and articulated cervical vertebral column. It is noteworthy because large-headed rhomaleosaurids are rare from this stratigraphic horizon and it is taxonomically distinct. The material is referred to a new taxonThaumatodracon wiedenrothi gen. nov. et sp. nov, diagnosed by two autapomorphies: 1. a pronounced transverse trough on the posterior margin of the dorsal ramus of the squamosal; 2. possibly paired anteriorly tapering triangular basioccipital processes. It also possesses a unique combination of other characters including a ‘short’ premaxillary rostrum (length and width subequal), five premaxillary alveoli, premaxilla-maxilla sutures parallel anterior to the external nares, frontals contact on the midline, prefrontal-frontal suture convex and gently curved medially, mandibular symphyseal region spatulate and ‘short’ (length and width subequal), prominent dorsally concave medial flange anteromedial to the articular glenoid, robust rod-like axis neural spine with a circular transverse cross section, and cervical neural spines with a mediolaterally expanded apex. The taxon shares some of these characters with earlier Hettangian rhomaleosaurids (e. g. Atychodracon, Eurycleidus), and other characters with later Toarcian rhomaleosaurids (e. g. Rhomaleosaurus sensu stricto and Meyerasaurus). Inclusion of Thaumatodracon as an additional operational taxonomic unit in several existing cladistic analyses demonstrates that it occupies a relatively derived position within Rhomaleosauridae. A morphometric multivariate analysis of Lower Jurassic rhomaleosaurids shows that Thaumatodracon is also proportionally intermediate between known rhomaleosaurid taxa. Thaumatodracon is therefore a stratigraphically and anatomically intermediate taxon that fills a gap in our knowledge of the evolution of this macro-predatory plesiosaurian clade.

Keywords: Plesiosauria, Sauropterygia, Rhomaleosauridae, Lower Jurassic, Lyme Regis

Thaumatodracon wiedenrothi
Illustration: Luzia Soares. 

 Adam S. Smith and Ricardo Araújo. 2017. Thaumatodracon wiedenrothi, A Morphometrically and Stratigraphically Intermediate New Rhomaleosaurid Plesiosaurian from the Lower Jurassic (Sinemurian) of Lyme Regis. Palaeontographica, Abt. A: Palaeozoology – Stratigraphy 4-6; 89 - 125.  DOI: 10.1127/pala/308/2017/89  

 Adam S. Smith and Ricardo Araújo. 2017. Morphometric data and phylogenetic analysis of Thaumatodracon wiedenrothiPANGAEA. DOI: 10.1594/PANGAEA.870543


[Herpetology • 2017] Oreosaurus serranus • Formal Recognition of the Species of Oreosaurus (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae) from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Oreosaurus serranus 
Sánchez-Pacheco, Nunes, Rodrigues & Murphy, 2017

Oreosaurus is one of the two genera extracted from the former Riama sensu lato, which was recently recognized as polyphyletic. Oreosaurus is a small clade (five named and two undescribed species) of montane gymnophthalmid lizards and exhibits an exceptional distributional pattern. Its nominal and undescribed species are discontinuously distributed on the Cordillera de la Costa of Venezuela, the tepuis from the Chimantá massif in Venezuela, the highlands of the island of Trinidad, and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia (SNSM). Herein, we describe the species of Oreosaurus that is endemic to the SNSM. Historically, this species associates with two names that are currently nomina nudaProctoporus serranus and P. specularis. Formal nomenclatural recognition of Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. renders specularis a permanently unavailable name for this taxon. Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. is the sister of all remaining congeners, and differs primarily from them in having only one pair of genial scales, as well as a unique pattern of scutellation. We provide an identification key to the species of Oreosaurus.

Keywords: Microteiid lizard, Oreosaurus serranus, nomenclatural recognition, Proctoporus serranusProctoporus specularisnomina nuda, South America, taxonomy

Figure 2. Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. (paratype, ROM 53609 [68.6 mm SVL]) in life.
Photos: S.M.S.

Figure 2. Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. (paratype, ROM 53609 [68.6 mm SVL]) in life.
Photo: Jhon Jairo Ospina-Sarria 

Diagnosis: Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. can be distinguished from all its congeners by the number of genial pairs (1 in O. serranus sp. n. versus 2 in the other species). It also differs from all other species of Oreosaurus, except O. mcdiarmidi, by the number of supraoculars (3 in O. serranus sp. n. and O. mcdiarmidi versus 4 in the other species), and dorsal scale relief (smooth in O. serranus sp. n. and O. mcdiarmidi versus keeled or slightly keeled in the other species). Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. also differs from O. mcdiarmidi by the absence of prefrontal scales (present in O. mcdiarmidi).


Distribution and natural history: Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. is known exclusively from the type locality (Figs 4, 5) and San Lorenzo (Ayala and Castro unpublished data, Ayala 1986), two adjacent cloud forest localities on the northwestern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (SNSM) at elevations of about 1800–2156 m (Fig. 4). This forest-dwelling lizard is often found under fallen, rotten trunks or logs. Holotype and paratypes were collected manually during the day. The new species was found at the type locality in sympatry with Anadia pulchella, another gymnophthalmid endemic to the SNSM.

Etymology: The specific epithet serranus, which is an adjective derived from the Spanish adjective serrano (meaning from the sierra), refers to the location of the species’ type locality in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and preserves the original etymological intent of Harris, as stated by Ayala and Castro (unpublished data).

 Santiago J. Sánchez-Pacheco, Pedro M. Sales Nunes, Miguel T. Rodrigues and Robert W. Murphy. 2017. Formal Recognition of the Species of Oreosaurus (Reptilia, Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae) from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.  ZooKeys. 691; 149-162.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.691.13595

Resumen: Oreosaurus es uno de los dos géneros que fueron extraídos de Riama sensu lato, el cual fue reconocido recientemente como polifilético. Oreosaurus es un clado pequeño (cinco especies nominales y dos indescritas) de gimnoftálmidos de montaña y presenta un patrón de distribución excepcional. Sus especies nominales e indescritas se distribuyen discontinuamente sobre la Cordillera de la Costa de Venezuela, los tepuyes del macizo de Chimantá en Venezuela, las tierras altas de la isla de Trinidad, y la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta en Colombia (SNSM). Describimos la especie de Oreosaurus que es endémica de la SNSM. Históricamente, esta especie se asocia con dos nombres que son nomina nuda: Proctoporus serranus P. specularis. El reconocimiento formal de Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. hace que specularis sea un nombre permanentemente indisponible para este taxón. Oreosaurus serranus sp. n. es la especie hermana de todos los congéneres restantes, y se diferencia de ellos principalmente por tener un único par de escamas geneiales, así como por presentar un patrón único de escamación. Proveemos una clave de identificación para las especies de Oreosaurus.

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Anatoliadelphys maasae • Skeleton of An Unusual, Cat-sized Marsupial Relative (Metatheria: Marsupialiformes) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian) of Turkey

Anatoliadelphys maasae  Maga & Beck, 2017


We describe a near-complete, three-dimensionally preserved skeleton of a metatherian (relative of modern marsupials) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian: 44–43 million years ago) Lülük member of the Uzunçarşıdere Formation, central Turkey. With an estimated body mass of 3–4 kg, about the size of a domestic cat (Felis catus) or spotted quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), it is an order of magnitude larger than the largest fossil metatherians previously known from the Cenozoic of the northern hemisphere. This new taxon is characterised by large, broad third premolars that probably represent adaptations for hard object feeding (durophagy), and its craniodental morphology suggests the capacity to generate high bite forces. Qualitative and quantitative functional analyses of its postcranial skeleton indicate that it was probably scansorial and relatively agile, perhaps broadly similar in locomotor mode to the spotted quoll, but with a greater capacity for climbing and grasping. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a total evidence dataset comprising 259 morphological characters and 9kb of DNA sequence data from five nuclear protein-coding genes, using both undated and “tip-and-node dating” approaches, place the new taxon outside the marsupial crown-clade, but within the clade Marsupialiformes. It demonstrates that at least one metatherian lineage evolved to occupy the small-medium, meso- or hypo-carnivore niche in the northern hemisphere during the early Cenozoic, at a time when there were numerous eutherians (placentals and their fossil relatives) filling similar niches. However, the known mammal fauna from Uzunçarşıdere Formation appears highly endemic, and geological evidence suggests that this region of Turkey was an island for at least part of the early Cenozoic, and so the new taxon may have evolved in isolation from potential eutherian competitors. Nevertheless, the new taxon reveals previously unsuspected ecomorphological disparity among northern hemisphere metatherians during the first half of the Cenozoic.

Systematic palaeontology

Mammalia; Theria
Metatheria; Marsupialiformes

Anatoliadelphys gen. nov.  
Anatoliadelphys maasae sp. nov.  

Etymology: Anatolia (Greek): the geographic name for the Asian part of Turkey; delphys (Greek): uterus, a common suffix for marsupials and their fossil relatives; maasae: in honour of Dr. Mary Maas and her contributions to Paleogene mammalian palaeontology, particularly in Turkey.

Holotype: Ankara Üniversitesi Jeoloji Müzesi (AÜJM) specimen 2002–25, which comprises a fragmented partial cranium, both dentaries, and associated postcranial elements, including most of the vertebral column, partial pectoral and pelvic girdles, all of the long limb bones, both calcanei, two metapodials, and a few phalanges.

Locality and age: AÜJM 2002–25 was collected from the Lülük member of the Uzunçarşıdere Formation (UCF), which is part of the small Orhaniye-Güvenç sedimentary basin located at the northwestern edge of the city of Ankara, approximately 5 km southwest of the town of Kazan, in central Turkey. The Lülük member is the lowest of the three members currently recognised within the UCF (together with the Gökdere [middle], and Sarıbeyler [upper] members), and is the source of all fossil mammals known from the UCF to date. AÜJM 2002–25 is from locality AK33, which is approximately 90m above the base of the UCF, at Memlik village. Until recently, the age of the UCF was poorly constrained, but a combination of U-Pb dating of zircons and magnetostratigraphy now support a date of 44–42 MYA (= Lutetian) for the formation as a whole, and 44–43 MYA for the Lülük member.

Diagnosis: Anatoliadelphys maasae differs from all other metatherians in the following combination of features: comparatively large size (estimated body mass 3–4 kg); premolars increase markedly in size posteriorly (occlusal area of p1 less than one sixth that of p3); P3 and p3 very large (similar in occlusal area to M2 and m2 respectively) and also broad (labiolingual width:mesiodistal length ratio is 0.89 for P3 and 0.7 for p3); modified tribosphenic molar dentition, in which M1-3 and m1-4 increase markedly in size posteriorly (occlusal area of M1 approximately one third that of M3; occlusal area of m1 approximately one seventh that of m4); upper molars with cingula extending along the anterior and posterior margins; protocone large but conules indistinct or absent; metacone taller than the paracone on M3 but smaller than the paracone on M4; centrocrista v-shaped on M3, with the premetacrista extending labially to stylar cusp D; centrocrista straight on M4; parastylar lobe very large on M4; anterior cingulid weakly developed on m3-4; m4 trigonid dominated by enormous protoconid, with paraconid and metaconid both greatly reduced; preentocristid and cristid obliqua of m3-4 both with carnassial notch; posterior cingulid present but very faint on m3-4; strongly curved radius and tibia; femur with prominent third trochanter, well-marked trochlea and distal condyles of approximately equal width; calcaneus with medially-inflected tuber, large peroneal process with prominent groove for peroneus longus tendon, concave calcaneocuboid facet, and prominent pit (probably for plantar calcaneocuboid ligament) on ventral surface.


Fig 1. Holotype skeleton of Anatoliadelphys maasae (AÜJM 2002–25). Scale bar = 5 cm. 

Reconstruction of the Anatoliadelphys maasae.
Illustration: Peter Schouten 

A. Murat Maga and Robin M. D. Beck. 2017. Skeleton of An Unusual, Cat-sized Marsupial Relative (Metatheria: Marsupialiformes) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian: 44-43 million years ago) of Turkey.  PLoS ONE. 12(8); e0181712.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181712

Cenozoic carnivore from Turkey may have evolved without placental competitors via @physorg_com
Ancient Carnivorous Dread-Possum Is Upending The History Of Mammals | Gizmodo Australia (via @GizmodoAU)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Melicope stonei section Pelea (Rutaceae) • A New Species from Kaua‘i, Hawaiian Islands: with Notes on Its Distribution, Ecology, Conservation Status, and Phylogenetic Placement

Melicope stonei K.R. Wood, Appelhans & W.L. Wagner

Melicope stonei K.R. Wood, Appelhans & W.L. Wagner (section Pelea, Rutaceae), a new endemic tree species from Kaua‘i, Hawaiian Islands, is described and illustrated with notes on its distribution, ecology, conservation status, and phylogenetic placement. The new species differs from its Hawaiian congeners by its unique combination of distinct carpels and ramiflorous inflorescences arising on stems below the leaves; plants monoecious; leaf blades (5–)8–30 × (4–)6–11 cm, with abaxial surface densely tomentose, especially along midribs; and very long petioles of up to 9 cm. Since its discovery in 1988, 94 individuals have been documented and are confined to a 1.5 km2 region of unique high canopy mesic forest. Melicope stonei represents a new Critically Endangered (CR) single island endemic species on Kaua‘i.

Keywords: Rutaceae, MelicopeM. section Pelea, new species, conservation, Hawaiian Islands, Kaua‘i, Critically Endangered

Among the most striking characters of Melicope stonei are the ramiflorous inflorescences, meaning that the flowers spring directly from the branches below the leaves.
photo: Kenneth R. Wood

Figure 1. Melicope stonei  K.R. Wood, Appelhans & W.L. Wagner.
A Flowering branch B Adaxial leaf surface near margin toward apex C Abaxial leaf surface near margin toward apex D Ramiflorous inflorescence arising below leaves on stem E Female flower, lateral view F Immature fruit and flowers G Dehisced fruit, showing seeds.
 A-C from Wagner & Wood 6891 (US) D from Wood 8431 (US) E from Wood 15101 (PTBG) F from Wood & Lee 16729 (photo) G from Lorence et al. 6454 (photo) (Illustration by Alice Tangerini).

Melicope stonei K.R.Wood, Appelhans & W.L.Wagner, sp. nov.

Diagnosis: Differs from Hawaiian congeners by its combination of distinct carpels and ramiflorous inflorescence; plants monoecious; leaf blades (5–)8–30 × (4–)6–11 cm, with abaxial surface tomentose, especially along midribs; and very long petioles of up to 9 cm.

Etymology: We are pleased to name Melicope stonei in honor of Benjamin Clemens Masterman Stone, British-American botanist, born in Shanghai, China in 1933 and passed in 1994 while working at the Philippine National Museum on the Flora of the Philippines Project. He contributed over 300 publications to science during his career, including taxonomic monographs of Hawaiian Pelea (Stone 1969) and Platydesma (Stone 1962). For all his contributions, especially his keen insights into Hawaiian Melicope, we gratefully extend him due recognition.


 Kenneth R. Wood, Marc S. Appelhans and Warren L. Wagner. 2017. Melicope stonei, section Pelea (Rutaceae), A New Species from Kaua‘i, Hawaiian Islands: with Notes on Its Distribution, Ecology, Conservation Status, and Phylogenetic Placement.
  PhytoKeys. 83: 119-132.  DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.83.13442

A new critically endangered tree species depends on unique habitat found only on Kaua'i @physorg_com
A new critically endangered tree species depends on unique habitat found only on Kaua'i


[Botany • 2017] Argostemma cordatum • A New Species (Rubiaceae) from southern Vietnam

Argostemma cordatum Nuraliev


Argostemma cordatum, a new species of Rubiaceae, is described and illustrated. The species was discovered in 2014 during a botanical survey of the Chu Yang Sin National Park (Dak Lak province, Southern Vietnam). Argostemma cordatum possesses a solitary large leaf per plant (along with one very small leaf). The new species differs from morphologically similar species mainly by the small size of the enlarged leaf and cordate base of the enlarged leaf. It is also characterized by the following features: plant completely glabrous, stipules minute and reduced to papillate warts, inflorescence with all axes elongated, anthers coherent into anther cone and dehiscent by longitudinal slits, style slightly exserted. An extended description of the vegetation in the area inhabited by A. cordatum is provided.

Keywords: Argostemma, taxonomy, Southern Vietnam, Chu Yang Sin National Park, flora, biodiversity, Eudicots

FIGURE 2. Argostemma cordatum at type locality.
A. General view of population. B. Flowering individual. D. Dichasium with flower buds. E. Flower, apical and oblique view.
Nuraliev, Kuznetsov, Kuznetsova 960. All photos by M. Nuraliev.  

Argostemma cordatum Nuraliev, sp. nov.

Etymology:— The specific epithet “cordatum” refers to the prominently cordate base of large leaf which distinguishes the new species from its relatives.  

Maxim S. Nuraliev, Anton S. Beer, Andrey N. Kuznetsov and Svetlana P. Kuznetsova. 2017. 
Argostemma cordatum (Rubiaceae), A New Species from Vietnam.
 Phytotaxa. 317(1); 42–52. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.317.1.4

[Ichthyology • 2017] Taxonomic Revision of the Seasonal Killifish Genus Nothobranchius (Cyprinodontoidei: Aplocheilidae) from Zanzibar, East Africa

Nothobranchius guentheri and Nothobranchius melanospilus, the two seasonal killifishes of the genus Nothobranchius occurring in Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, were involved in past taxonomical mistakes and are still misidentified in museum collections. A historical review is herein presented and both species are redescribed on the basis of type material and recent collections. Nothobranchius guentheri, a popular aquarium fish, is endemic to Zanzibar, and N. melanospilus, geographically widespread in East Africa, occurring both in Zanzibar and in continental river basins. These species are distinguished by a series of morphological features not previously reported in the literature, including pre-dorsal length and relative position of the anterior portion of the dorsal-fin skeletal support and vertebrae; number of gill-rakers of the first branchial arch, caudal-fin rays, scales of the longitudinal series, series of scales around caudal peduncle, and vertebrae; frontal squamation; and arrangement and number of neuromasts of the supraorbital series. The present taxonomic revision comprising N. guentheri and N. melanospilus, the oldest species names of the genus in the East African biodiversity hotspot, is important to improve the knowledge of the genus in a region where its taxonomy is still problematic

KEYWORDS: Biodiversity hotspot, East African coastal forests, systematics, Unguja Island

Figure 2. Nothobranchius guentheri (Pfeffer 1893), live exemplars: (a) UFRJ 8420, male, 33.1 mm SL; (b) UFRJ 8420, female, 29.3 mm SL.
Figure 6. Nothobranchius melanospilus (Pfeffer 1896), live exemplars: (a) UFRJ 6515, male, 32.6 mm SL; (b) UFRJ 6515, female, 31.1 mm SL.

Wilson J. E. M. Costa. 2017. Taxonomic Revision of the Seasonal Killifish Genus Nothobranchius from Zanzibar, East Africa (Cyprinodontoidei: Aplocheilidae). Journal of Natural History. 51(27-28); 1069-1624.  DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2017.1330976

[Mammalogy • 2017] Reconstructing the Molecular Phylogeny of Giant Sengis (Macroscelidea; Macroscelididae; Rhynchocyon)

Rhynchocyon stuhlmanni  Matschie, 1893

photo: Jabruson/NPL/Minden Pictures

Giant sengis (Macroscelidea; Macroscelididae; Rhynchocyon), also known as giant elephant-shrews, are small-bodied mammals that range from central through eastern Africa. Previous research on giant sengi systematics has relied primarily on pelage color and geographic distribution. Because some species have complex phenotypic variation and large geographic ranges, we used molecular markers to evaluate the phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus, which currently includes four species: R. chrysopygus, R. cirnei (six subspecies), R. petersi (two subspecies), and R. udzungwensis. We extracted DNA from fresh and historical museum samples from all taxa except one R. cirnei subspecies, and we generated and analyzed approximately 4700 aligned nucleotides (2685 bases of mitochondrial DNA and 2019 bases of nuclear DNA) to reconstruct a molecular phylogeny. We genetically evaluate Rhynchocyon spp. sequences previously published on GenBank, propose that the captive R. petersi population in North American zoos is likely R. p. adersi, and suggest that hybridization among taxa is not widespread in Rhynchocyon. The DNA sample we have from the distinctive but undescribed giant sengi from the Boni forest of northern coastal Kenya is unexpectedly nearly identical to R. chrysopygus, which will require further study. Our analyses support the current morphology-based taxonomy, with each recognized species forming a monophyletic clade, but we propose elevating Rhynchocyon cirnei stuhlmanni to a full species [Rhynchocyon stuhlmanni].

Keywords: Rhynchocyon, Giant sengis, Elephant-shrews, Africa, Macroscelididae, Phylogenetics, Taxonomy

 Elizabeth J. Carlen, Galen B. Rathbun, Link E. Olson, Christopher A. Sabuni, William T. Stanley and John P. Dumbacher. 2017. Reconstructing the Molecular Phylogeny of Giant Sengis (Macroscelidea; Macroscelididae; Rhynchocyon). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 113; 150–160.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.05.012

Collections at the California Academy of Sciences [@calacademy] aid researchers in revising a mammal branch on tree of life via @physorg_com

[Entomology • 2017] Anisogomphus yingsaki • A New Gomphid Species (Odonata: Gomphidae) from Thailand

 Anisogomphus yingsaki  Makbun‎, 2017

แมลงปอเสือต่างลายขาว | DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4306.3.10 


Anisogomphus yingsaki sp. nov. (holotype male: Ban Na Kha, Ban Muang, Sakon Nakhon province, Thailand, altitude 170–175 m, 22-vi-2016) is described and illustrated. The new species is most similar to A. bivittatus from India and Nepal, and also A. flavifacies, and A. resortus from China in the shape of anal appendages. However, it can be separated from all of these by a combination of the following characters: shape of antehumeral stripes, abdominal pattern, shape of vesica spermalis and female valvula vulvae. The behavior of the new species, including crepuscular activity, is briefly discussed.

Keywords: Odonata, dragonfly, Odonata, Anisoptera, Gomphidae, Anisogomphus, new species, Thailand

Noppadon Makbun‎. 2017. Anisogomphus yingsaki (Odonata: Gomphidae) sp. nov., A New Gomphid Species from Thailand. Zootaxa. 4306(3); 437–443. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4306.3.10

[Entomology • 2017] Protohermes burmanus • New Species and Records of Corydalidae (Insecta: Megaloptera) from Myanmar

Protohermes burmanus  Liu & Dvorak, 2017

   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4306.3.9 


Seven species of the family Corydalidae (Insecta: Megaloptera) are newly recorded from Myanmar, including a new species of the dobsonfly genus Protohermes van der Weele, 1907, Protohermes burmanus sp. nov. A total of 18 species of Megaloptera are now known from Myanmar.

Keywords: Megaloptera, Corydalinae, Chauliodinae, Protohermes, taxonomy, Burma

 Xingyue Liu and Libor Dvorak. 2017. New Species and Records of Corydalidae (Insecta: Megaloptera) from Myanmar. Zootaxa. 4306(3); 428–436. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4306.3.9

[Gastropoda • 2017] Attenborougharion gen. nov. (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Helicarionidae): A Likely Case of Convergent Evolution in southeastern Tasmania

Attenborougharion rubicundus (Dartnall & Kershaw, 1978)

Hyman & Köhler, 2017  

Helicarion Férussac, 1821 from southeastern Australia currently comprises five species of endemic semislugs. Analyses of comparative morphological data and partial sequences of the mitochondrial genes cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S rRNA (16S) reveal that one of these species, Helicarion rubicundus Dartnall & Kershaw, 1978, which is restricted to southeastern Tasmania, is not closely related to the other known species of this genus. This species is distinguished from Helicarion in several key morphological characters, such as the bright two-toned red and green colouration of its larger body with a flattened tail that is keeled only at the tip, the triangular shape of the pneumostome, the degree and type of folding present in the spermoviduct and free oviduct, the presence of a longer, more slender bursa copulatrix, the presence of a small epiphallic caecum and a hooked flagellum, and the presence of irregular longitudinal pilasters in the penial interior in contrast to the v-shaped rows of papillose lamellae seen in Helicarion. Moreover, the mitochondrial phylogeny provides evidence that this species is phylogenetically distinct from Helicarion as well as any other currently described genus from southeastern Australia. Based on these findings, we here describe a new genusAttenborougharion, for this species.

Keywords: Helicarionoidea; morphology; mitochondrial DNA; land snail; taxonomy.

Figure 1. Living animal of Attenborougharion rubicundus from Forestier Peninsula (QVM 9:15514).
photo: Simon Grove, TMAG. 


Attenborougharion gen. nov.
 Type species. Helicarion rubicundus Dartnall & Kershaw, 1978.

Etymology. Named for Sir David Attenborough, Lifetime Patron of the Australian Museum, in recognition of his lifetime’s contribution to the fields of natural science and conservation. The Latin noun arion refers to a “kind of snail or slug”; masculine.

A new genus of snail has been named Attenborougharion in honour of Sir David Attenborough.
Photographer: James Morgan / 

Diagnosis External appearance. Large, shell ear-shaped, flattened, thin, golden, glossy, whorls rounded, base membraneous. Protoconch with radial wrinkles near suture; otherwise sculptured with very faint beading and indistinct to absent spiral grooves; teleoconch with very fine, indistinct spiral grooves and more prominent radial growth lines. Body colour green and burgundy. Mantle lobes and shell lappets of moderate size, none fused; shell lappets elongate, lacking pigmented warts; slime network prominent; caudal horn well-developed. Keel confined to very tip of tail; most of tail dorsally

Attenborougharion rubicundus (Dartnall & Kershaw, 1978) comb. nov. 
Helicarion rubicundus Dartnall & Kershaw, 1978: 2; Kershaw, 1980: 213.

Distribution and conservation status: Attenborougharion rubicundus is found only on the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas in Tasmania (Taylor, 1991; Otley et al., 1999). The total known extent of occurrence of this species is 85, leading to its listing as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In addition to its restricted range, within this area Attenborougharion rubicundus inhabits only closed wet forests and is not found in dry forests or damp sclerophyll forests (Otley eal., 1999), making it vulnerable to habitat loss through the effects of climate change as well as habitat destruction through changed land use.

  Isabel T. Hyman and Frank Köhler. 2017. Attenborougharion gen. nov. (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Helicarionidae): A Likely Case of Convergent Evolution in southeastern Tasmania. Records of the Australian Museum. 69(2): 65–72.  DOI: 10.3853/j.2201-4349.69.2017.1676

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

[PaleoEntomology • 2017] Mesosticta davidattenboroughi • Mesostictinae subfam. nov., An Archaic Group of Platystictid Damselflies (Odonata: Zygoptera) from mid-Cretaceous Burmese Amber

Mesosticta davidattenboroughi
 Zheng, Wang, Nel, Jarzembowski, Zhang & Chang, 2017


Odonatans are quite rare in the fossil record compared with the other insects, especially in Cretaceous amber inclusions. The extant family Platystictidae is one of the most diverse Zygoptera, but short of fossil records. In this paper, a new species, Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov., is described from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber, representing the third-known fossil species of Platystictidae. Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov. has a long IR1 beginning one cell distal of the base of RP2, confirming the previous attribution of Mesosticta Huang, Azar, Cai & Nel, 2015 to Platystictidae. It differs from other species of Mesosticta in having a long IR1 and a basally crossed subdiscoidal cell. The fossil genus Mesosticta shares the diagnostic characters of the modern platystictid genera, viz. a basally recessed ‘CuP’ (shared by all species), a very long IR1 (only in Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov.), and a specialized subdiscoidal area mostly rhomboidal in shape (only in Mesosticta electronica Zheng, Zhang, Chang & Wang, 2016). Based on the platystictid damselflies from Burmese amber, a new subfamily Mesostictinae subfam. nov. is established. Mesostictinae subfam. nov. represents the first fossil group of modern platystictid damselflies, documenting the appearance of Platystictidae as early as mid-Cretaceous. It differs from modern Platystictidae by the presence of fewer postnodal and postsubnodal crossveins, a short MP, the base of RP2 being nearer to the subnodus and the nodus lying more distally.

Keywords: Platystictidae, Zygoptera, Odonata, Cenomanian, Cretaceous, Burmese amber

Figure 1. Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov., holotype, NIGP164541, photograph of specimen. 

Order Odonata Fabricius, 1793
Suborder Zygoptera Selys-Longchamps, 1854
Superfamily Platystictoidea Kennedy, 1920
Family Platystictidae Kennedy, 1920
Subfamily Mesostictinae subfam. nov.
Type genus. Mesosticta Huang, Azar, Cai & Nel, 2015.

Mesosticta Huang, Azar, Cai & Nel, 2015 
Type species. Mesosticta burmatica Huang, Azar, Cai & Nel, 2015. 
Included species. Mesosticta electronica Zheng, Zhang, Chang & Wang, 2016; Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov. 

Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov. 

Type species. NIGP164541, two complete forewings attached to body.

 Diagnosis. Forewing characters: IR1 long, originating one cell distal of base of RP2, nearer to N than to Pt; Arc aligned with Ax2; subdiscoidal cell basally crossed by one vein. 

Etymology. In honour of Sir David Attenborough, on his 90th birthday, for his appreciation of dragonflies. 

Locality and horizon. Hukawng Valley, Kachin Province, Myanmar; lowermost Cenomanian, lowermost Upper Cretaceous.

Figure 7. Hypothetical position of Mesosticta davidattenboroughi sp. nov. in phylogenetic tree of Zygoptera. All line drawings are based on forewings (phylogeny based on Dijkstra et al. 2014; line drawing of Sinosticta ogatai Matsuki & Saito, 1996 after Wilson 1997; line drawing of Palaemnema picicaudata Kennedy, 1938 after Kennedy 1938; line drawings of Platysticta deccanensis Laidlaw, 1915 and Protosticta himalaiaca Laidlaw, 1917 after Fraser 1933).

Daran Zheng, Bo Wang, André Nel, Edmund A. Jarzembowski, Haichun Zhang & Su-Chin Chang. 2017. Mesostictinae subfam. nov., An Archaic Group of Platystictid Damselflies (Odonata: Zygoptera) from mid-Cretaceous Burmese Amber.  Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.   DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1348395

David Attenborough gains new species namesake @physorg_com

[Botany • 2017] Phanera larseniana | เครือศักดิ์สุวรรณ • A New Species (Leguminosae: Cercidoideae) from northeastern Thailand

Phanera larseniana Chantaranothai, Mattapha & Wangwasit


Phanera larseniana, a new species from north–eastern Thailand, is described and illustrated.  It most closely resembles P. rubro-villosa but differs in the length of the floral parts, and in the number and position of the staminodes. The species is known only from a single locality in north-eastern Thailand. An illustration and photos of the new species are provided.

Keywords: Bauhinia, Cercideae, Fabaceae, IUCN Red List, Phu Phan National Park, woody climber, Eudicots

Phanera larseniana Chantaranothai, Mattapha & Wangwasit, sp. nov. 
Phanera larseniana is similar to P. rubro-villosa but differs in having a shorter hypanthium, smaller calyces and petals, longer fertile filaments, longer ovary and style. Fertile filaments and style are much exserted (vs. inserted in P. rubro-villosa).

Etymology:— The species is named after Supee Saksuwan Larsen and the late Professor Kai Larsen, prominent botanists who contributed the account of the genus Bauhinia to the Flora of Thailand. 
 Vernacular name:— Khruea Saksuwan (เครือศักดิ์สุวรรณ), "เสี้ยวกำมะหยี่".

Distribution:— Only known from north–eastern Thailand (Fig. 3). 
Habitat and Ecology:— Dry evergreen forest, elevation of ca. 200 m.
 Phenology:— Flowering March–April. Fruiting April–May.


ดร.คณิต แวงวาสิต รักษาการหัวหน้าสวนพฤกษศาสตร์ขอนแก่น เปิดเผยว่า สวนพฤกษศาสตร์ขอนแก่น ได้ดำเนินการศึกษาวิจัยและรวบรวมข้อมูลด้านพฤกษศาสตร์และความหลากหลายของพันธุ์พืช ในภาคตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ ซึ่งในการดำเนินการดังกล่าว ได้ค้นพบพันธุ์ไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลกเพิ่ม อีก 1 ชนิด มีลักษณะเป็นไม้เลื้อยที่มีเนื้อไม้ ดอกมีกลิ่นหอมอ่อน ๆ ออกดอกในช่วงเดือนมีนาคม - เมษายน ใบมีลักษณะคล้ายกับใบเสี้ยวฝักมีลักษณะมีขนนุ่มคล้ายกำมะหยี่ จึงเรียกชื่อง่ายๆ ว่า "เสี้ยวกำมะหยี่" โดยพบเพียงกลุ่มเดียว จำนวน 8 - 9 ต้น ที่บริเวณเทือกเขาภูพาน เมื่อปี 2542 ต่อมาได้ตั้งชื่อใหม่ว่า "เครือศักดิ์สุวรรณ” มีชื่อวิทยาศาสตร์ว่า Phanera larseniana Chantaranothai, Mattapha & Wangwasit เพื่อเป็นเกียรติให้แก่ ศาสตราจารย์ ไค ลาร์เซน (Professor Kai Larsen) นักพฤกษศาสตร์ชาวเดนมาร์ก ที่เป็นผู้ก่อตั้งโครงการพรรณพฤกษชาติแห่งประเทศไทย และภรรยา ทั้งนี้ ปัจจุบัน สวนพฤกษศาสตร์ขอนแก่น ได้รวบรวมต้นพันธุ์จากธรรมชาติซึ่งอยู่ในภาวะใกล้สูญพันธุ์มาเพาะขยายและปลูกลงแปลงที่สวนพฤกษศาสตร์ขอนแก่น เพื่อศึกษาวิจัยด้านพฤกษศาสตร์และต่อยอดในการใช้ประโยชน์ต่อไป

Pranom Chantaranothai, Sawai Mattapha and Khanit Wangwasit. 2017. Phanera larseniana (Leguminosae: Cercidoideae), A New Species from Thailand. Phytotaxa. 303(2); 187–193. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.303.2.9