Thursday, June 27, 2019

[Botany • 2019] The Callerya Group Redefined and Tribe Wisterieae (Fabaceae) Emended based on Morphology and Data from Nuclear and Chloroplast DNA Sequences

A, E. Afgekia mahidoliae, Thailand, Kanchanaburi. 
B, C Afgekia sericea Thailand. 

 D, F Sarcodum scandens Vietnam, Quang Binh Prov.
 G Sarcodum scandens Laos, Bolikhamxai Prov. 

in Compton, Schrire, Könyves, et al., 2019.

The Tribe Wisterieae (Zhu 1994), founded on the single genus Wisteria, is emended and recircumscribed based on morphology and data from nuclear ITS and ndhJ-trnFmatK and rbcL chloroplast DNA sequences. This newly enlarged tribe comprises 36 species and 9 infraspecific taxa within 13 described genera. Six genera are newtwo are reinstated and five were previously placed in Tribe Millettieae. The genus Adinobotrys is also reinstated comprising two species including the new combination A. vastus. Other reinstated genera include Whitfordiodendron, with four species, and Padbruggea, with three species, including the reinstatement of P. filipes and the new combination P. filipes var. tomentosa. The existing genera AfgekiaCalleryaEndosamara (with the new combination E. racemosa var. pallida), Sarcodum and Wisteria, with the new combinations W. frutescens subsp. macrostachya are evaluated. The new genera comprise three Australasian species in AustrocalleryaA. australis, A. megasperma and A. pilipesWisteriopsis with five species from east Asia has six new combinations: W. japonica, W. kiangsiensis, W. championii, W. eurybotrya, W. reticulata and W. reticulata var. stenophylla. Two species comprise the new Thai genus KanburiaK. tenasserimensis and K. chloranthaNanhaia comprises the two species: N. fordii and N. speciosa and the monotypic genera Sigmoidala and Serawaia are based respectively on the species S. kityana and S. strobilifera. Lectotypes are designated for the names Adinobotrys filipesA. myrianthusMillettia bonatiana, Millettia bracteosa, Millettia championii, Millettia cinerea, Millettia dielsiana, Millettia kityana, M. maingayi, Millettia nitida, Millettia oocarpa, Millettiapurpurea, M. reticulata, M. reticulata var. stenophylla, Padbruggea dasyphylla, Pterocarpus australis, Robinia racemosa, Whitfordiodendron scandens, W. sumatranum and Wisteria pallida. A neotype is designated for the name Millettia leiogyna.

Keywords: Tribe Wisterieae emended, Leguminosae, new genera, AustrocalleryaKanburiaNanhaiaSerawaiaSigmoidalaWisteriopsis, molecular phylogeny, morphological key

Figure 2. Distinctive morphological characters in Tribe Wisterieae.
 A Endosamara racemosa standard petal inner surface B Padbruggea dasyphylla standard petal inner surface C Padbruggea dasyphylla pod D Padbruggea dasyphylla seed lateral view E Austrocallerya australis standard petal inner surface F Austrocallerya pilipes pod G Austrocallerya pilipes seed lateral view H Padbruggea filipes standard petal I Afgekia sericea standard petal inner surface J Afgekia sericea seed lateral view K Afgekia sericea seed angled lateral view L Callerya nitida pod M Callerya nitida seed ventral view N Callerya nitida seed polar view O Callerya cinerea pod P Whitfordiodendron nieuwenhuisii pod Q Whitfordiodendron erianthum seed R Wisteriopsis eurybotrya gibbosity S Wisteriopsis championii gibbosity
A from Luang Vanpruk 188 B from Scortechini 429 C, D from Lamb 395/91 E from L.J.Brass 32129 F, G from B.Gray 04319 H from Maung Po Khant 15326 I from C. Chermsirivathana 996 J, K from Mrs Collins 104/9 L–N from Theophilus Sampson O from G.Forrest 19279 P from J.P.Mogea 4182 Q from photo Y.Sirichamorn s.n.. R from J. & M.S.Clemens 3637 S from Shiu Ying Hu 10476. See Appendix 1 for voucher details.
 Drawn by Margaret Tebbs.

Plate 1. EndosamaraSigmoidala and Kanburia.
A, B Endosamara racemosa, Thailand, Sakon Nakhon Prov., S.Mattapha s.n..
C, D Sigmoidala kityana Thailand, Nan Prov. S.Mattapha 1117
Kanburia chlorantha Thailand, Kanchanaburi Prov. Y.Sirichamorn Y2014-15-1 F Kanburia tenasserimensis Thailand, Ratchaburi, Khao Chon waterfall Y.Sirichamorn YS2015-8.

Figure 3. Sigmoidala kityana (Craib) J.Compton & Schrire.
A Habit B young leaf C lower surface of leaf D leaflet detail of hairs E inflorescence F flower bud with bracteole and pedicel G calyx external surface H standard petal inner surface I wing petal J keel petal K staminal column lateral view L staminal column ventral view M stamen dorsal and ventral views N ovary lateral view O style and stigma P pod Q pod detail of surface R seed ventral view S seed lateral view (all from Clark 245). Drawn by Margaret Tebbs.

Plate 2. Afgekia, Sarcodum and Padbruggea.
 A Afgekia mahidoliae, Thailand, Sai Yok distr. Kanchanaburi, Y.Sirichamorn s.n.. B, C Afgekia sericea Thailand S.Mattapha 1158 E Afgekia mahidiliae Thailand, Sai Yok distr. Kanchanaburi Y.Sirichamorn s.n..
Sarcodum scandens Vietnam, Quang Binh Prov. Lôc & Quang P11554 F Sarcodum scandens Vietnam, Quang Binh Prov. Lôc & Quang P11554 G Sarcodum scandens Laos, Sop Teuang, Bolikhamxai Prov. S.Lanorsavanh 1299
H, I Padbruggea filipes Thailand, Chiang Mai, Y.Sirichamorn & S.Mattapha YSM2017-1.

James A. Compton, Brian D. Schrire, Kálmán Könyves, Félix Forest, Panagiota Malakasi, Sawai Mattapha and Yotsawate Sirichamorn. 2019. The Callerya Group Redefined and Tribe Wisterieae (Fabaceae) Emended based on Morphology and Data from Nuclear and Chloroplast DNA Sequences. PhytoKeys. 125: 1-112. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.125.34877

[Herpetology • 2019] Lost and Found: Taxonomic Revision of the Speckled Skink (Oligosoma infrapunctatum; Reptilia; Scincidae) Species Complex from New Zealand reveals A Potential Cryptic Extinction, Resurrection of Two Species, and Description of Three New Species

Oligosoma newmani, 
O. robinsoni 

albornenseO. auroraensis O. salmo

Melzer, Hitchmough, Bell, Chapple & Patterson, 2019

New Zealand has a diverse skink fauna, comprising 45 described native species, and at least 15 undescribed taxa, within the single genus Oligosoma Girard, 1857. One of the earliest described, and best known, species is the speckled skink, Oligosoma infrapunctatum (Boulenger 1887). Despite a relatively stable taxonomic history for nearly 114 years, recent molecular work has indicated that O. infrapunctatum represents a species complex, comprising numerous genetically divergent, range restricted taxa. We completed the first stage of a taxonomic revision of O. infrapunctatum, conducting a morphological re-evaluation of existing voucher material, and newly collected specimens, and generated a molecular phylogeny for the species complex. This allowed us to distinguish six species: O. infrapunctatum, two species resurrected from synonymy (O. newmani, O. robinsoni), and three new species (O. salmo sp. nov., O. albornense sp. nov. O. auroraensis sp. nov.). The name bearing type population of O. infrapunctatum has not been located again for at least 130 years: it remains to be rediscovered and may already be extinct. Two of the six species here are considered ‘Nationally Critical’ (O. albornense sp. nov., O. salmo sp. nov.) under the New Zealand Threat Classification System, the others are Nationally Vulnerable (O. auroraensis sp. nov.) and At Risk—Relict (O. newmani, O. robinsoni). Further taxonomic work will be required to determine the taxonomy of other speckled skink genetic lineages in the South Island, particularly O. aff. infrapunctatum “cobble”, O. “Hokitika”, O. “Southern North Island” and O. “Westport”.

Keywords: Reptilia, cryptic species, morphology, taxonomy, speckled skink, Oligosoma infrapunctatumnewmanisalmo sp. nov., auroraensis sp. nov., albornense sp. nov., robinsoni, Chesterfield skink

Sabine Melzer, Rod A. Hitchmough, Trent Bell, David G. Chapple and Geoff B. Patterson. 2019. Lost and Found: Taxonomic Revision of the Speckled Skink (Oligosoma infrapunctatum; Reptilia; Scincidae) Species Complex from New Zealand reveals A Potential Cryptic Extinction, Resurrection of Two Species, and Description of Three New Species. Zootaxa. 4623(3); 441–484. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4623.3.2  

[Herpetology • 2019] Platypelis ando • A New Yellow-toed Platypelis Species (Microhylidae, Cophylinae) from the Maroantsetra Region, northeastern Madagascar

Platypelis ando
Scherz, Köhler, Vences & Glaw, 2019

We describe a new species of arboreal narrow-mouthed frog, genus Platypelis, from Ambodivoangy near Maroantsetra in northeastern Madagascar. The new species, Platypelis ando sp. nov., is characterised by small body size (under 19 mm), a generally rather slender body, yellowish finger and toe tips, and a dark brown dorsal chevron. Its advertisement call is a single, moderately long, high-pitched whistle repeated at regular intervals. It is the sister species of P. ravus from Marojejy National Park, but differs from that species by considerable pairwise genetic distances (7.9%) in a fragment of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene, and also in bioacoustic and morphological features, especially the absence of yellow on the posterior abdomen. It is also surprisingly similar in external appearance to Cophyla occultans and C. maharipeo, to which it is not, however, closely related; these species are most easily discerned based on their calls. Platypelis ando sp. nov. joins the ranks of several species recently described from Ambodivoangy with close affiliations to species in the nearby Marojejy National Park, that are still divergent at species level. The species qualifies as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List criteria, in line with other species recently assessed from this area, but we urge that more research be conducted in the nearby forests to extend the range of this and other species known only from Ambodivoangy.

Key Words: Amphibia, bioacoustics, systematics, taxonomy, morphology, molecular genetics

 Platypelis ando sp. nov.
 (a–b) Holotype (ZSM 293/2010)
 in (a) dorsolateral and (b) ventral view;
(c–d) paratype (ZSM 292/2010) in (c) lateral and (d) ventral view.

Platypelis ando sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: The new species is assigned to the genus Platypelis based on molecular phylogenetic relationships (Fig. 1). Platypelis ando sp. nov. is characterised by the following combination of characters: (1) Small size, with adult male SVL 16.9–18.7 mm; (2) manus with second finger shorter than fourth, pes with fifth toe shorter than third; (3) discs of fingers and toes yellowish to orangish in life; (4) presence of a dark dorsal chevron; (5) presence of dorsal tubercles; (6) short supratympanic dark brown marking; (7) males with prepollical tubercle but lacking a finger-like prepollex as typical for Anodonthyla Müller, 1892.

The new species is distinguished from Platypelis cowanii, P. mavomavo, P. grandis, P. tsaratananaensis, P. pollicaris, P. alticola, P. olgae, P. tuberifera, P. barbouri and P. milloti by considerably smaller size (16.9–18.7 vs >25 mm). Among Platypelis species of similar size, it can be distinguished from P. tetra by its smaller dorsal tubercles, absence of large white spots on the dorsum (vs presence), and presence of a brown chevron-shaped marking on the dorsum (vs absence); and from P. karenae by its brown colouration and dorsal patterning (vs yellow colouration and lack of dorsal patterning), short supratympanic dark brown marking (vs extended along the flank), and less pointed snout. Morphologically and genetically, P. ando sp. nov. most closely resembles P. ravus. It differs from that species in the lack of yellowish colour on its venter (vs present), yellowish to orangish dorsal finger and toe tip colouration (vs brownish), and by a chevron-shaped brown marking on dorsum (vs W-shaped).

Figure 2. Platypelis specimens in life. (e–f) holotype (ZSM 349/2005) of P. ravus in (e) dorsolateral and (f) ventral view.

Natural history: As is typical for Platypelis species, calling activity was only heard after dusk. ZSM 291/2010 was found calling 1.8 m above the ground. Nothing further is known about the habits of this species, but based on the reproductive ecology of congeners, it is likely to reproduce in phytotelms and have endotrophic nidicolous tadpoles.

Available names: Only two available synonyms of any Cophyla or Platypelis refer to small-sized species that could possibly refer to our new species. Cophyla tuberculata Ahl, 1929 ‘1928’ is currently a synonym of P. grandis. The two syntypes are juveniles according to Blommers-Schlösser and Blanc (1991), but have an SVL of 26 mm, and are therefore larger than the new species. Paracophyla tuberculata Millot & Guibé, 1951 is currently considered a synonym of P. barbouri. The holotype of that species, MNHN-RA-1957.715, differs from our new species in having a more rugose dorsum, broader finger discs, and a darker venter. Additionally, it is from Périnet (=Analamazaotra) in the Central East of Madagascar, more than 400 km south of Ambodivoangy. Blommers-Schlösser and Blanc (1991) concluded that it is conspecific with P. barbouri, and we agree that it is a member of that species complex, which is in need of revision.

Etymology: We dedicate this species to our friend and colleague, Dr. Andolalao Rakotoarison, in recognition of her valuable contributions to the systematics and taxonomy of the Malagasy microhylid fauna. The name is to be treated as an invariable noun in the nominative singular.

Distribution: The new species is reliably known only from the type locality Ambodivoangy, but the species is likely to be more widespread in low altitude forest of the adjacent Makira Natural Park. Glaw and Vences (1992) found a small Platypelis species (assigned to and figured as P. occultans) near Voloina (15.5775S, 49.6042S; voucher specimens ZFMK 52777–52779), ca. 30 km south of the type locality with similar calls and morphology, which is possibly conspecific with Platypelis ando, but further studies are necessary to confirm its identity.

 Mark D. Scherz, Jörn Köhler, Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw. 2019. A New Yellow-toed Platypelis Species (Anura, Microhylidae, Cophylinae) from the Maroantsetra Region, northeastern Madagascar. Evolutionary Systematics. 3(1): 75-83. DOI: 10.3897/evolsyst..33417 

[Botany • 2019] Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis (Celastraceae) • A New Species from South Africa

Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis Jordaan & A.E.van Wyk

in Jordaan & van Wyk, 2019. 

Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis, a new species from north-eastern South Africa, is described, illustrated, mapped, and compared with closely related species. It belongs to Gymnosporia sect. Buxifoliae, more specifically Group 1, the members of which are characterized by the capsules being (2)3(4)-valved, rugose or verrucose, and the seeds partially covered by the aril. The new species has a restricted distribution range and is near-endemic to the Sekhukhuneland Centre of Endemism. This biogeographical region rich in restricted-range plants is more or less congruent with surface outcrops of mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks belonging to the Rustenburg Layered Suite of the eastern Bushveld Complex. The range of the new species shows marginal intrusion into the far northern part of the nearby Wolkberg Centre of Endemism, where it is associated with dolomites of the Malmani Subgroup. Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis is a suffrutex mainly associated with rocky outcrops in open savannah. Diagnostic characters include its dwarf habit (up to 1.6 m tall), capsules that are relatively small (5–8 mm long), woody, scaly-rugose, with hard pointed apices, and leaves that are very laxly arranged on the stems, with some often present on the thorns. Also included is a key to the 10 currently accepted species in G. sect. Buxifoliae Group 1. The taxonomic significance of capsule and seed characters for demarcating sections and species in the genus Gymnosporia is emphasized.

Keywords: endemism, Gymnosporia sect. Buxifoliae, morphology, sections, Sekhukhuneland, taxonomy, ultramafic soils, Wolkberg, Eudicots

FIGURE 1. Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis, on the farm Hoogland 38JT, between Lydenburg (Mashishing) and Roossenekal in Mpumalanga province, South Africa.
 A. Plant with fruit; in natural habitat, amongst rocks of norite. B. Almost mature fruit.
Photographs: W. McCleland.

FIGURE 2. Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis.
A. Leafy branchlet with fruit. B. Twig with male flowers. C. Female flower. D. Male flower. E. Dehisced capsule with seed. F. Seed, with basal aril. Scale bar = 10 mm (A & B), 1 mm (C, D & F) and 2 mm (E). A from Winter 2585, B from Winter 2932, C from Schmidt 845, D from Stalmans 695, E & F from McMurtry 12408. Artist: Daleen Roodt.

Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis Jordaan & A.E.van Wyk, sp. nov. 

Closely related to Gymnosporia heterophylla (Ecklon & Zeyher 1834–1835: 120) Loesener (1892: 207), with which it shares being a suffrutex with the stems angular-ribbed and in having capsules with a rugose surface, but from which it differs in the leaves being laxly arranged on the stems (vs. very densely and compactly), usually longer than 35 mm (vs. usually shorter than 20 mm), and capsules with apices apiculate (vs. rounded). Also related to the widespread G. buxifolia (Linnaeus 1753: 197) Szyszylowicz (1888: 34), from which it differs in being a suffrutex up to 1.6 m tall (vs. usually a shrub or tree more than 2 m tall), with stems angularribbed (vs. terete) and capsules 5–8 mm long (vs. usually less than 5 mm long), with apices apiculate (vs. not apiculate).

Etymology:— The specific epithet is derived from Sekhukhuneland, the region to which the species is largely confined. 

Distribution:— Occurs along the north-eastern Great (Drakensberg) Escarpment of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces of South Africa and is considered near-endemic to the Sekhukhuneland Centre of Endemism, with marginal intrusion into the far northern adjoining part of the Wolkberg Centre of Endemism (Van Wyk & Smith 2001) (Fig. 3).

Common names:— The proposed common names for this plant are Sekhukhune spikethorn, sekhukhunependoring (Afrikaans).

Marie Jordaan and Abraham van Wyk. 2019. Gymnosporia sekhukhuniensis (Celastraceae), A New Species from South Africa. Phytotaxa. 408(1); 69–76.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.408.1.5

[Botany • 2019] Curcuma saraburiensis (Zingiberaceae) • A New Species from Thailand

Curcuma saraburiensis Boonma & Saensouk

in Boonma & Saensouk, 2019. 
สระบุรีรำลึก ||

Curcuma saraburiensis sp. nov. (Zingiberaceae), a new species from Saraburi Province, Central Thailand, is described, illustrated and photographed. The dominant characteristics of this species are; the fertile bracts are light green with light pale green or white longitudinal line and 2 white circles patch. Coma bracts; outer glabrous, light green with green longitudinal line alternating with light green or white lines, inner glabrous, white with green edges. Lateral staminodes narrowly oblong, white with 3‒4 red lines (2 red lines in the middle, half of the length of the staminodes and 1‒2 lines found at the edge of the staminodes). Labellum obovate, deep incision up to 9 mm, white with 2 purple patches on ether sides and 4 red lines, 2 lines at each side.

Keyword: Curcuma saraburiensis, New species, Saraburi, Thailand, Zingiberaceae

Fig. 1. Curcuma saraburiensis Boonma & Saensouk;
 A. rhizome; B. habitat and inflorescences; C. closed form of young inflorescence; D. mature inflorescence; E. top view of mature inflorescence; F. flower-side view; G. flower-front view; H. seeds with white arils.

Fig. 2. Curcuma saraburiensis Boonma & Saensouk;
A. dorsal corolla lobe; B. lateral corolla lobes; C. staminodes; D. stamen; E. labellum; F. flower-front view; G. inflorescence; H. bract; I. habit; J. flower-side view (Scale bars: A–E and J = 1 cm; G = 3 cm; H = 2 cm; I =10 cm); Drawn by Thawatphong Boonma.

Curcuma saraburiensis Boonma & Saensouk, sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific epithet of the new species is collected from ‘Saraburi Province’, the first discover place.

 Distribution: Endemic to Thailand, currently found in the type locality (Phra Phutthabat District, Saraburi Province) 

Ecology: Deciduous forest 50‒300 m above sea level. 

Vernacular names: "Saraburi-Rum-Luek - สระบุรีรำลึก” 

When comparing all Curcuma L. species reported in previous study by Sirirugsa et al. (2007) and many botanists, the morphology of Curcuma saraburiensis sp. nov. was similar to C. parviflora, C. larsenii and C. rhabdota in some characters but differs in its fertile bracts are light green with light pale green or white longitudinal line and 2 white circles patch. Coma bracts; outer glabrous, light green with green longitudinal line alternating with light green or white lines, inner glabrous, white with green edges. Lateral staminodes narrowly oblong, white with 3-4 red lines. Labellum obovate, deep incision up to 9 mm, white with 2 purple patches on ether sides and 4 red lines, 2 lines at each side. (Table 1 and Figs. 1‒2). 

Thawatphong Boonma and Surapon Saensouk. 2019. Curcuma saraburiensis (Zingiberaceae), A New Species from Thailand. Taiwania. 64(3); 245-248. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2019.64.245

[Ichthyology • 2019] Channa brunnea • A New Species of Snakehead (Teleostei: Channidae) from West Bengal, India

Channa brunnea  
Praveenraj, Uma, Moulitharan & Kannan, 2019

Channa brunnea, a new species of snakehead fish lacking pelvic fins, from West Bengal, India, is distinguished from its pelvic fin-less congeners by possessing an uniform dark brown body, ochre to bright-orange blotches on the caudal fin, fewer dorsal and anal-fin rays (35–37 vs. 47–51 and 24 vs. 28–32, respectively), fewer vertebrae (43 vs. 45–57), and fewer lateral-line scales (43–46 vs. 51–63). Though Channa brunnea superficially resembles C. bleheri, it can be distinguished from the latter by possessing dark-brown oblique markings on the upper half of the body; transverse scale rows (4½–5½ vs. 3½); pre-anal scales (22–26 vs. 17–20); 2 rows of teeth in the fifth ceratobranchial, the outer row with 16 large conical teeth (vs. 3 rows of teeth, the outer row with 13 large conical teeth); dentary with 20 large, stout, conical teeth in the inner row (vs. 32 medium-sized conical teeth); and a Kimura’s two parameter (K2P) distance of 9.8–10.6%.

Keywords: Pisces, Channa bleheri, Channa andrao, cox1 gene, Eastern Himalaya, freshwater fish

Jayasimhan Praveenraj, Arumugam Uma, Nallathambi Moulitharan and Rajesh Kannan. 2019. Channa brunnea, A New Species of Snakehead (Teleostei: Channidae) from West Bengal, India. Zootaxa. 4624(1); 59–70. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4624.1.4

[PaleoOrnithology • 2019] Pachystruthio dmanisensis • A Giant early Pleistocene Bird from eastern Europe: Unexpected Component of Terrestrial Faunas at the Time of early Homo arrival

Pachystruthio dmanisensis

in Zelenkov, Lavrov, Startsev, et al, 2019
  DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1605521
Illustration: Andrey Atuchin

Giant birds, comparable in size to elephant birds and moa, have never been reported from Europe. Here, we describe a femur from the lower Pleistocene of the north Black Sea area (Crimea) that is referred to Pachystruthio dmanisensis, comb. nov., a giant bird with an estimated body mass of about 450 kg. This value makes this extinct bird one of the largest known avians (comparable to Aepyornis maximus) and the only bird of such giant size in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere in general. In contrast to very large insular birds, Pachystruthio dmanisensis was a good runner, which may be explained by its coexistence with large carnivoran mammals. Pachystruthio dmanisensis and associated assemblage of fossil mammals are shared with the Dmanisi locality in Georgia (∼1.8–1.7 Ma); thus, this giant bird was likely a typical component of eastern European faunas at the time of early hominin arrival. We suggest that Pachystruthio dmanisensis, together with early Homo and a variety of mammals, reached the northern Black Sea region via the southern Caucasus and Anatolia, because the older (Pliocene) finds of this fauna are known from Georgia and Turkey.

Illustration: Andrey Atuchin 



Genus PACHYSTRUTHIO Kretzoi, 1954 

?PACHYSTRUTHIO DMANISENSIS (Burchak-Abramovich and Vekua, 1990), comb. nov.

FIGURE 2. Fossil femora of an extinct giant bird from the Crimean Peninsula (eastern Europe), with that of an average Recent ostrich for comparison.
A, C, E, F, Pachystruthio dmanisensis, comb. nov., specimen PIN 5644/56, from Taurida Cave, Crimean Peninsula (early Pleistocene);
B, D, Struthio camelus, osteological collection of PIN 1741-1. A, B, cranial view; C, D, caudal view; E, lateral view; F, proximal view.
 Abbreviations: cf, caput femoris; cl, condylus lateralis; cm, condylus medialis; ct, crista trochanteris; faa, facies articularis antitrochanterica; fop, fossa poplitea; fp, foramen pneumaticum; li, linea intermuscularis; sic, sulcus intercondylaris; sp, sulcus patellaris; tfi, trochlea fibularis.

FIGURE 3. Map showing distribution of bony remains of the giant species of Pachystruthio (large ostrich silhouettes) and smaller Struthio ostriches (small ostrich silhouettes) in the Black Sea region in the Pliocene (5.3–2.6 Ma; blue), Gelasian (2.6–1.8 Ma; green), and Calabrian (1.8–0.8 Ma; brown). Pachystruthio from Hungary (Kretzoi, 1954) is not shown. Localities: 1, Odessa catacombs (early Pliocene); 2, Kvabebi (late Pliocene); 3, Liventsovka (Gelasian); 4, Taurida Cave (Calabrian); 5, Dmanisi (Calabrian).

 Nikita V. Zelenkov, Alexander V. Lavrov, Dmitry B. Startsev, Innessa A. Vislobokova and Alexey V. Lopatin. 2019. A Giant early Pleistocene Bird from eastern Europe: Unexpected Component of Terrestrial Faunas at the Time of early Homo arrival. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.  e1605521 DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1605521
Half-tonne birds may have roamed Europe at same time as humans 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Pseudocalotes austeniana (Annandale, 1908) • Range Extension of the Rare Agamid (Sauria, Draconinae) in the East Himalaya, with Comments on Its Ontogenetic Shift

Pseudocalotes austeniana (Annandale, 1908)

in Wang, Ci, Jiang, et al., 2019.
 Abhor Hills Agama  || DOI: 10.15560/15.3.425

Despite its recognition since the early 1900s, the agamid lizard Pseudocalotes austeniana remains known based on 3 vouchered specimens only from the East Himalaya, and little is known about its general biology. During herpetological surveys of Tibet, China, we collected 3 specimens of P. austeniana from Medog County, southeastern Tibet, including the first juvenile specimen ever vouchered. We provide a detailed description based on new material of this enigmatic species, report on a range extension of 400 km northeastward from its type locality, its ontogenetic shift, and clutch size.

Keywords: Agamidae, Himalaya, Mictopholis, Salea, synonym

Figure 2. Adult female Pseudocalotes austeniana (KIZ 013873) in life.
A. Dorsolateral view of body. B. Ventral view of body. C. Lateral, close-up view of head. D. Dorsal, close-up view of body. Photographs by Kai Wang.

Figure 3. Photographed individuals of Pseudocalotes austeniana (not vouchered) in Medog County, Nyinchi Prefecture, Tibet, China. 
A. Dorsal view of an adult female from 62K, Medog. B. Lateral view of the same adult female from 62K, Medog. C. Juvenile from Hanmi, Medog. 
Photographs by Chao Wu and Zheng Shi.

Figure 5. Eggs of Pseudocalotes austeniana (produced by the vouchered female TMNH 20170001). 
Photograph by Shiyang Weng.


 Pseudocalotes austeniana (Annandale, 1908)
 Salea austeniana 

Identification. The recently collected adult and juvenile specimens from Tibet resemble closely the pholidosis characteristics of the vouchered holotype and topotypic specimen of Pseudocalotes austeniana (Table 1). In summary, these specimens are identified as P. austeniana based on the following morphological characters (following Mahony 2010): (1) tympanum exposed; (2) sub-ocular scale row singular, or multiple but one distinctively enlarged; (3) head robust, HW/HL > 59.7%, HD/HW > 72%, HD/HL > 43%; (4) distinct, strongly-developed cranial ridges present on dorsal and lateral surfaces of occipital region of head, forming rectangular, convex areas on temporal region of head and triangular concave area on posterior lateral region of head; (6) postorbital and postoccipital spines absent; (7) nuchal crest in triangular shape or short lanceolate shape, not strongly differentiated from dorsal crests; (8) mid-dorsal scale count less than 39; (9) longitudinal gular fold present, highly developed in dewlap, with a distinct, pointy tip toward posterior end; (10) transverse gular fold absent; (11) dorsal scales heterogeneous in size and shape, flat, feebly keeled or smooth, arranged irregularly in most parts, some enlarged ones in approximate transverse rows; (12) enlarged scales of dorsum not arranged into clear dorsolateral or V-shaped rows; (13) ventral body scales smooth or feebly keeled, larger than background dorsal scales, distinctively heterogeneous in size and shape, irregularly arranged; (14) antehumeral fold present; and (15) axillary fold present.

Figure 3. Photographed individuals of Pseudocalotes austeniana (not vouchered) in Medog County, Nyinchi Prefecture, Tibet, China.
A. Dorsal view of an adult female from 62K, Medog. B. Lateral view of the same adult female from 62K, Medog. C. Juvenile from Hanmi, Medog. Photographs by Chao Wu and Zheng Shi.

Distribution range. Prior to our observations of Pseudocalotes austeniana in the field, the species was thought to be a rare endemic to the southern parts of Southern Tibet (Mahony 2010, Venugopal 2010, 2013), and the species was not officially listed as a member of the Chinese herpetofauna (Zhao and Jiang 1977, Zhao and Adler 1993, Zhao et al. 1999, Cai et al. 2015). However, the newly discovered populations represent a range expansion of about 400 km northeastward from the species’ previous range limits in the East Himalaya. Given the recognized habitat connectivity and similar environment spanning this region, it is likely that P. austeniana is currently, or once was, distributed continuously across this area. Future survey efforts for this species should focus on habitat to the west in Bhutan. Additional studies of this enigmatic and secretive lizard are needed to better understand its ecology, population densities, and full geographic distribution.

 Kai Wang, Ping Ci, Ke Jiang, Shiyang Weng, Cameron D. Siler and Jing Che. 2019. Range Extension of the Rare Agamid, Pseudocalotes austeniana (Annandale, 1908) (Reptilia, Sauria, Draconinae) in the East Himalaya, with Comments on Its Ontogenetic Shift. Check List. 15(3); 425-433.  DOI: 10.15560/15.3.425

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] First Record of the Krait Bungarus slowinskii (Squamata: Elapidae) from Thailand

Bungarus slowinskii Kuch, Kizirian, Nguyen, Lawson, Donelly & Mebs, 2005
from Doi Phu Kha National Park, Nan Province, northern Thailand.

in Smits & Hauser, 2019. 

The Red River krait Bungarus slowinskii has hitherto been known only from six localities in northern and central Vietnam and central Laos. In this paper, the first country record of this species is reported for Thailand. One adult specimen was observed and photographed in the evergreen forest in the mountainous Doi Phu Kha National Park, Nan Province, eastern North Thailand. Its morphological characteristics closely matched those in the previous records of B. slowinskii. The new record extends the range of the species about 200 km to the west.

Keywords: Bungarus slowinskii, elapids, habitat, northern Thailand, zoogeography

FIGURE 1. QSMI 1601, Bungarus slowinskii from Nan Province, Thailand.

  FIGURE 2. Lateral view of the head and neck of QSMI 1601, Bungarus slowinskii from Nan Province, Thailand.

FIGURE 3. Details of white cross-bands with the black-edged scales of QSMI 1601, Bungarus slowinskii from Nan Province, Thailand. 

Ton Smits and Sjon Hauser. 2019. First Record of the Krait Bungarus slowinskii Kuch, Kizirian, Nguyen, Lawson, Donelly and Mebs, 2005 (Squamata: Elapidae) from Thailand. Tropical Natural History. 19(2); 43-50.


[Arachnida • 2019] The Mosaic Tiled Harvestmen — Taxonomic Review of Gonyleptellus Roewer, 1930 (Opiliones: Gonyleptidae)

Gonyleptellus angeloi
 Ázara & Kury, 2019

The genus Gonyleptellus Roewer, 1930 is revised and reordered; a new species Gonyleptellus angeloi sp. nov. is described from Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, three additional species are transferred from other genera and one species is removed, resulting in five species in this genus. The following nomenclatural acts are proposed herein: Gonyleptes pustulatus Sørensen, 1884 is transferred from Gonyleptes to Gonyleptellus; Gonyleptes cancellatus Roewer, 1917 and Progonyleptoides pustulosus Mello-Leitão, 1935, both currently under the synonymy of Gonyleptellus bimaculatus (Sørensen, 1884), are revalidated and transferred to Gonyleptellus. Stephanocranion bimaculatus Mello-Leitão, 1931, previously considered a junior synonym of Gonyleptes cancellatus Roewer, 1917, and thereby previously carried under the synonymy of Gonyleptes bimaculatus Sørensen, 1884, is here unlinked with the former but kept under the synonymy of the latter (of which it is also a junior secondary homonym). Stephanocranion serrulatum Mello-Leitão, 1940, currently under the synonymy of G. bimaculatus, is newly synonymized with P. pustulosus. Stephanocranion bufoninus Mello-Leitão, 1949 (currently combined under Gonyleptellus) is considered a junior subjective synonym of Discocyrtus crenulatus Roewer, 1913. The male of Gonyleptellus bimaculatus is described for the first time. The genus Gonyleptellus is restricted to the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil. A key and a map for all the five valid species are presented.

Keywords: Opiliones, Arachnida, taxonomy, Neotropics, Brazil, Atlantic Forest

 Ludson Neves de Ázara and Adriano Brilhante Kury. 2019. The Mosaic Tiled Harvestmen — Taxonomic Review of Gonyleptellus Roewer, 1930 (Opiliones: Gonyleptidae: Gonyleptinae). Zootaxa. 4623(2); 201–238. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4623.2.1