Thursday, April 22, 2021

[Paleontology • 2021] Kunpengopterus antipollicatus • A New Darwinopteran Pterosaur (Darwinoptera: Wukongopteridae) reveals Arborealism and An opposed Thumb


Kunpengopterus antipollicatus 
 Zhou, Pêgas, Ma, Han, Jin, ... et Ji. 2021.

• Opposed thumbs are adaptations to arborealism and rare for non-mammal vertebrates
• A new pterosaur shows the oldest record of such a feature, the first for the group
• A comprehensive ecomorphological analysis corroborates arborealism for the species
• It shared a complex forest habitat with close relatives through niche partitioning

Pterosaurs, which lived during the Mesozoic, were the first known vertebrates to evolve powered flight. Arboreal locomotion has been proposed for some taxa, and even considered to have played a role in the origin of pterosaur flight. Even so, there is still need for comprehensive quantitative ecomorphological analyses. Furthermore, skeletal adaptations correlated to specialized lifestyles are often difficult to recognize and interpret in fossils. Here we report on a new darwinopteran pterosaur that inhabited a unique forest ecosystem from the Jurassic of China. The new species exhibits the oldest record of palmar (or true) opposition of the pollex, which is unprecedented for pterosaurs and represents a sophisticated adaptation related to arboreal locomotion. Principal-coordinate analyses suggest an arboreal lifestyle for the new species but not for other closely related species from the same locality, implying a possible case of ecological niche partitioning. The discovery adds to the known array of pterosaur adaptations and the history of arborealism in vertebrates. It also adds to the impressive early bloom of arboreal communities in the Jurassic of China, shedding light on the history of forest environments.

Keywords: Pterosauria, Wukongopteridae, Yanliao Biota, Mesozoicopposed thumb, arborealism, functional morphology, ecomorphology, niche partitioning, vertebrate evolution

 Xuanyu Zhou, Rodrigo V. Pêgas, Waisum Ma, Gang Han, Xingsheng Jin, Maria E.C. Leal, Niels Bonde, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Stephan Lautenschlager, Xuefang Wei, Caizhi Shen and Shu’an Ji. 2021. A New Darwinopteran Pterosaur reveals Arborealism and An opposed Thumb. Current Biology. In Press. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.030 

[Herpetology • 2021] Cyrtodactylus hantu & C. miriensis • Genetically diverse yet morphologically conserved: Hidden Diversity Revealed among Bornean Geckos (Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus)

Intraspecific variation and interspecific overlap in live individuals of the Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus complex. 
 (B–C) C. pubisulcus s.s.; (E–F) C. hantu sp. nov.; and (H–I) C. miriensis sp. nov.

 Davis, Das, Leaché, Karin, Brennan, Jackman, Nashriq, Chan & Bauer, 2021 
The appreciation of cryptic biological diversity, and the pace at which it is recognized, has greatly increased with the use of molecular systematic techniques. The gekkonid genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 is one example of a group that has undergone a particularly rapid increase in recognized diversity due to molecular systematic studies. Many of these new species result from recognizing closely related but diagnosable lineages into sister taxa. Our study implements a multi‐faceted approach to delimit cryptic Cyrtodactylus lineages on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo using morphological, ecological, and multilocus genetic data. We use multiple species delimitation models to assess species boundaries and identify clades that warrant further investigation. Unlike most morphologically cryptic species that have recently diverged, we find evidence of cryptic lineages being polyphyletic. Using multivariate statistical analyses, we show minimal phenotypic distinction between putative cryptic species within the C. pubisulcus complex. Despite not finding morphologically diagnostic characters, we demonstrate strong evidence for the specific recognition of C. hantu sp. nov. and C. miriensis sp. nov., which are currently considered conspecific with C. pubisulcus, from Sarawak, Malaysia. Our new concept for C. pubisulcus restricts the geographic range of the species to specific regions in western Sarawak, Malaysia, thus underscoring the need to conserve the limited remaining habitats of these species, as well as the considerable undescribed diversity across Borneo.

ancestral state reconstruction, cryptic species, new species, species delimitation, Squamata

Intraspecific variation and interspecific overlap in live individuals of the Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus complex. 
Upper row (a–c) C. pubisulcus s.s.; middle row (d–f) C. hantu sp. nov.; and lower row (g–i) C. miriensis sp. nov.
Border colors correspond to the map presented in Figure 1

Cyrtodactylus hantu Davis et al., sp. nov. 
(C. sp. nov. Sibu) 
Pelagus Bent‐toed Gecko.

Etymology: The specific epithet hantu is in reference to the Malay word for ghost. We chose this specific epithet for two reasons: (1) the species was found around the Pelagus Resort, a now abandoned resort in the middle of the rainforest that is said to be haunted; (2) the cryptic characteristics of this species have enabled it to hide in plain sight.

Cyrtodactylus miriensis Davis et al., sp. nov. 
(C. sp. nov. Miri)
Miri Bent‐toed Gecko

Etymology: The specific epithet miriensis is in reference to the distribution of the species in the Miri Division of Sarawak.

Ancestral state estimation of Bornean Cyrtodactylus and their closely related congeners. Ancestral estimation performed using a Bayesian approach in the the R package “phytools” (Revell, 2012) with a mitochondrial ND2 ML phylogeny as the input tree.
Light green and dark blue = two banding patterns for medium‐sized rock dwelling, banded; light blue = small to medium‐sized forest dwelling, often blotchy; pink = large‐bodied forest dwelling, often banded; dark green = species that do not fit into these generalized patterns. Focal species in this study are highlighted with a yellow box

Hayden R. Davis, Indraneil Das, Adam D. Leaché, Benjamin R. Karin, Ian G. Brennan, Todd R. Jackman, Izneil Nashriq, Kin Onn Chan and Aaron M. Bauer. 2021. Genetically diverse yet morphologically conserved: Hidden Diversity Revealed among Bornean Geckos (Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12470


[Herpetology • 2019] Calotes paulus & C. zolaiking • On the Systematic Status of the Genus Oriocalotes Günther, 1864 (Agamidae: Draconinae) with the Description of A New Species from Mizoram state, Northeast India

Calotes paulus (Smith, 1935)

in Giri, Chaitanya, Mahony, ... et Deepak, 2019. 

The montane agamid lizard genus Oriocalotes is currently considered monotypic, represented by the species, O. paulus. The systematic status of this taxon has remained questionable since its initial descriptions in the mid-1800s. A detailed molecular and morphological study was carried out to assess the validity of this genus, and its systematic position within the Asian agamid subfamily, Draconinae. Freshly collected and historical museum specimens from the type locality of O. paulus were examined morphologically, along with additional samples collected from localities in Mizoram state, Northeast India. Utilising newly generated molecular sequences (two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes), combined with those previously published for representative genera from the subfamilies Draconinae and Agaminae, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic trees were constructed. Phylogenetic results suggest that Oriocalotes is part of the widespread South and Southeast Asian radiation of Calotes. Comparative morphological studies (including external morphology, hemipenis and osteology) between Oriocalotes and related genera further support this systematic placement. Oriocalotes is herein regarded as a junior subjective synonym of Calotes. Calotes paulus comb. nov. is also assigned a lectotype and given a detailed redescription based on the lectotype, paralectotypes and additional topotypic material. Furthermore, the specimens collected from Mizoram populations are found to be morphologically and genetically distinct from Calotes paulus comb. nov., and are described herein as a new species, Calotes zolaiking sp. nov.

Keywords: Reptilia, Agamids, biodiversity, Calotes, Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, taxonomy

Varad. B. Giri, R. Chaitanya, Stephen Mahony, Samuel Lalrounga, C. Lalrinchhana, Abhijit Das, Vivek Sarkar, Praveen Karanth and V. Deepak. 2019. On the Systematic Status of the Genus Oriocalotes Günther, 1864 (Squamata: Agamidae: Draconinae) with the Description of A New Species from Mizoram state, Northeast India. Zootaxa. 4638(4); 451–484. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4638.4.1

[Botany • 2021] Catasetum kamatawara (Orchidaceae: Catasetinae) • A New Species, Lectotypification and New Records in Catasetum from Peruvian Amazon

Catasetum kamatawara Damián, Mitidieri & Bonilla

in Damián, Mitidieri, Bonilla & Huayllani, 2021.
We describe and illustrate Catasetum kamatawara from the Loreto Department of the Amazonian wetlands in Peru. An extensive comparison with several related species is presented including Catasetum cotylicheilum which is morphologically close to our species but differs mainly in having a three-lobed labellum with a three-dentate apex formed by its obtuse apices of lateral lobes and mid-lobe (vs. unlobed labellum with obtuse-rounded apex), and the presence of 4–5 transversely verrucose keels (vs. elevated, smooth callus). Additionally, we also report C. boyi, C. longifolium and C. semicirculatum which have not been previously reported for the Peruvian orchid flora. Finally, we propose a lectotype for the rare C. peruvianum based on the original illustration of the species.

KEYWORDS: Amazonian wetlands, Loreto, Parinari, Kukama-Kukamiria, Peru

Figure 2. Catasetum kamatawara Damián, Mitidieri & Bonilla.
Lankester Compositae Digital Plate (LCDP);
 A. habit; B. inflorescence; C. flower; D. column and lip in lateral view; E. dissected perianth; F. column; G. pollinia and anther. Plate by A. Damian based on Damian & Mitidieri 130 (USM).

Catasetum kamatawara Damián, Mitidieri & Bonilla 

Etymology: The specific epithet makes references to the Niapitsara kamatawara Conservation Association based in Parinari (Loreto), which aims to conserve the Amazonian wet-lands called “aguajales”, dominated by the palm Mauritia flexuosa (aguaje). Members of this association belong to Kukama-Kukamiria, an indigenous Amazonian commu-nity which inhabits inside the basin of the Marañon, Huallaga, Ucayali, and Amazonas rivers. The language of Kukama-kukamiria is known by the same name and reflects the deep knowledge of animals and plants of their territories including at least 120 terms for birds, more than 100 for fish, and 25 referring to various species of palms (Vallejos and Amias 2015). The term “niapitsara kamatawara”, after which the association is named, means “working man”. According to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, the Kukama-kukamiria language is at high risk of extinction due to its currently low rate of native speakers. Therefore, the epithet chosen is an attempt to revive the traditional use of this ancestral language.

Alexander Damián, Nicole Mitidieri, Miguel Bonilla and Javier Tapara Huayllani. 2021. A New Species, Lectotypification and New Records in Catasetum (Orchidaceae: Catasetinae) from Peruvian Amazon. Botany Letters.  DOI: 10.1080/23818107.2020.1871404


[Herpetology • 2021] Mokopirirakau galaxias • A New, Enigmatic Species of Black-eyed Gecko (Gekkota: Diplodactylidae: Mokopirirakau) from North Otago, New Zealand

Mokopirirakau galaxias  
Knox, Hitchmough, Nielsen, Jewell & Bell, 2021

The New Zealand endemic gecko genus, Mokopirirakau, is notable for its ecology, with some species inhabiting extreme alpine environments, as well as for the large number of geographically circumscribed, species-level lineages awaiting formal description. In, 2018, a population superficially similar in colour and morphology to the black-eyed gecko (M. kahutarae) was discovered in alpine greywacke rock outcrops in the Oteake Conservation Park, North Otago, ~400 km south of the nearest M. kahutarae populations in the upper South Island. Genetic and morphological data indicate that this population is distinct, sister to a clade comprising M. granulatus and M. kahutarae. It can be distinguished from all but one Mokopirirakau species by colour pattern, and from M. kahutarae by smaller adult body size, eye and supraciliary characters, mouth and throat colour, ventral scale row count, tail length, toe shape, and lamellar count. Using an integrated taxonomic approach, we here formally describe this form as a new species, Mokopirirakau galaxias sp. nov., as well as discuss its ecology, likely distribution (particularly with respect to M. kahutarae), and potential conservation issues and requirements. Mokopirirakau galaxias sp. nov. should be considered “Threatened—Nationally Endangered” (qualifiers Data Poor) in the New Zealand Threat Classification System due to the low abundance and restricted known distribution, with potential threats from invasive predatory mammals and climate change. It should be considered Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List system.

Keywords: New Zealand, Gekkota, Diplodactylidae; taxonomy, alpine zone, Mokopirirakau galaxias sp. nov.

Carey Knox, Rodney A. Hitchmough, Stuart V. Nielsen, Tony Jewell and Trent Bell. 2021. A New, Enigmatic Species of Black-eyed Gecko (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Mokopirirakau) from North Otago, New Zealand. Zootaxa. 4964(1); 140–156. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4964.1.7

[Arachnida • 2021] Selenops bullerengue • The Flattie Spiders of the Selenops isopodus Species Group (Araneae: Selenopidae) with A Review of Selenops records from Colombia

Selenops bullerengue  
Crews, Galvis, Torres, Gutiérrez-Estrada, Sarmiento & Esposito, 2021

Here we examine the species of the Selenops isopodus species group: S. isopodus Mello-Leitão, 1941, S. arikok Crews, 2011, and S. curazao Alayón, 2001. We describe the female and male of S. bullerengue sp. nov. from Colombia and synonymize S. marilus Corronca, 1998a with S. isopodus, providing diagnoses and complete descriptions of both sexes of S. isopodus. Detailed images and a key to species in the group are provided. The distribution of all selenopid species in Colombia is reviewed using published records, museum specimens, and citizen science data from

Keywords: Taxonomy, new species, synonymy, selenopids, Colombia, South America, Caribbean, citizen science,, Araneae

Selenops bullerengue sp. nov. 

Sarah C. Crews, William Galvis, Richard A. Torres, Miguel A. Gutiérrez-Estrada, Jessica Sarmiento and Lauren A. Esposito. 2021. The Flattie Spiders of the Selenops isopodus Species Group (Araneae: Selenopidae) with A Review of Selenops records from Colombia. Zootaxa. 4964(1); 61–82. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4964.1.3  

[Crustacea • 2021] Tethysbaena dioscorida • A New Thermosbaenacean of the Genus Tethysbaena (Peracarida, Thermosbaenacea, Monodellidae) from Socotra Island, Yemen

Tethysbaena dioscorida
 Wagner & Van Damme, 2021

A new species of the thermosbaenacean genus Tethysbaena Wagner, 1994 (Crustacea: Peracarida: Thermosbaenacea) is described based on females from a freshwater cave lake and a brackish coastal well on Socotra Island (Yemen) as Tethysbaena dioscorida n. sp. It is the first representative of the Thermosbaenacea that is described from the Socotra Archipelago and the first member of the order known from an Indian Ocean island. The new species is the eighth known member of what is considered the “Tethysbaena relicta” species-group, which is known from Oman (four species), Somalia (one species), Israel (two species) and now Socotra Island (one species). The new species shows closest morphological affinities with T. barbatula Wagner, 2020 from Oman. We suggest that the speciation in this well-defined species-group is due to regressions of the Tethys Sea and the appearance of dry land since the Oligocene-Miocene boundary to the present time, forming major barriers and creating isolated populations of the ancestral species. Also the potential biocrisis in Socotra as a result of developmental activities during the last decades is mentioned, which may affect the subterranean faunas in particular in coastal areas, exemplified by the destruction of one of only two localities where the new species was found.

Tethysbaena dioscorida n. sp.

  H. P. Wagner and K. Van Damme. 2021. A New Thermosbaenacean of the Genus Tethysbaena (Peracarida, Thermosbaenacea, Monodellidae) from Socotra Island, Yemen. Crustaceana. 94(4); 487–506. DOI: 10.1163/15685403-bja10115

[Ichthyology • 2021] Yunnanilus chuanheensis • A New Loach Species (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae) from the upper Lixianjiang River in Yunnan, China

Yunnanilus chuanheensis  
Jiang, Zhao, Du & Wang, 2021

川河云南鳅 || DOI:  10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.287 

A new loach species (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae: Yunnanilini), Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov., was caught from Chuanhe in the upper reaches of the Lixianjiang River, a tributary of the Red River in Nanjian County, Yunnan Province, China. This species is a member of the traditional Y. pleurotaenia species group based on the presence of a lateral line and cephalic lateral-line canals. It can be distinguished from other species in the Y. pleurotaenia species group by the following characters: lips without papillae, anterior and posterior nostrils separated, whole body scaled, eye diameter smaller than interorbital width, outer gill raker absent on first gill arch, eye diameter greater than 18% of head length, 10–11 inner gill rakers on first gill arch, and lateral line not extending to vertical through dorsal fin insertion. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first Yunnanilus species recorded from the Red River drainage.

Keywords: Loach, New species, Nemacheilidae, Yunnanilus, Red River, Yunnan

Figure 1. Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov.
Pictures show living (A) and preserved paratype (B, male, KIZ 2016007380);
 living(C) and lateral, dorsal, ventral, and X-ray views of preserved holotype (D, female, KIZ 2016007379);
habitat photo of type locality at time of collection (E). 


Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov. Jiang, Zhao, Du & Wang

Diagnosis: The new species belongs to the Y. pleurotaenia species group and is distinguished from the Y. nigromaculatus species group based on lateral line and cephalic lateral-line canals present (vs. sensory canals absent). For the other species within the Y. pleurotaenia species group, Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from: (1) Y. cruciatus and Y. pulcherrimus by papillae on lips absent (vs. present); (2) Y. jinxiensis by anterior and posterior nostril separated (vs. closely placed); (3) Y. analis, Y. beipanjiangensis, Y. chui, Y. discoloris, Y. elakatis, Y. forkicaudalis, Y. macrositanus, Y. nanpanjiangensis, Y. paludosus, and Y. sichuanensis by whole body scaled (vs. scaleless or only caudal peduncle scaled); (4) Y. jiuchiensis and Y. longibulla by eye diameter smaller than interorbital width (vs. larger); (5) Y. ganheensis, Y. macrolepis, and Y. spanisbripes by outer gill raker on first gill arch absent (vs. present); (6) Y. macrogaster by eye diameter greater than 18% of head length (vs. smaller than 12%); (7) Y. parvus by 10–11 inner gill rakers on first gill arch (vs. 8–9); and (8) Y. pleurotaenia by lateral line not extending to vertical through dorsal fin insertion (vs. extending to).

Distribution map of Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov. 

Distribution and habitat: Specimens were collected from Chuanhe in the upper reaches of the Lixianjiang River, a tributary of the Red River basin (Figure 1F). The type locality at the time of capture (dry season) consisted of clear and slow-flowing water, with a sand- and cobble-covered bottom and water depth mostly less than 1 m. The banks were fully covered with secondary forest, mostly shrubs (Figure 1E). Another Nemacheiline loach, Schistura fasciolata, was the only species collected syntopically with this new species.

Etymology: The name of the new species, chuanheensis, is derived from the Chinese name of the locality river, Chuanhe (川河), and therefore the Chinese name of this new species is "川河云南鳅".

phylogenetic position of Yunnanilus chuanheensis sp. nov. 

Wan-Sheng Jiang, Ya-Peng Zhao, Li-Na Du and Mo Wang. 2021. Yunnanilus chuanheensis, A New Loach Species (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae) from the upper Lixianjiang River in Yunnan, China. Zoological Research. 42(2); 241-245. DOI:  10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.287 

[Herpetology • 2021] Lepidophyma lusca • A New Species of Lepidophyma (Squamata: Xantusiidae) from San Luis Potosí, México, with Notes on Its Physiological Ecology

Lepidophyma lusca 
Arenas-Moreno, Muñoz-Nolasco, Moral, Rodríguez-Miranda, Domínguez-Guerrero & Cruz, 2021

In recent years, there has been an increase in the descriptions of members of the lizard genus Lepidophyma. Herein, we describe a new species of Lepidophyma from the Huasteca Potosina region of Mexico, previously confused with L. gaigeae, from which it differs in lacking parietal spot, among other characteristics. We inferred its phylogenetic position and provide information on its thermal and hydric physiology, as well as on some other aspects of natural history. Molecular and morphological data supported the independent taxonomic status of the new species, indicating its placement as the sister taxon of L. gaigeae and a wide morphological separation between these species. Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. has a diurnal-crepuscular activity period and occurs at lower elevations than L. gaigeae. Also, the new species differ from its sister taxon in its physiology, as reflected by its tendency toward higher thermal parameters and water loss rates. With the description of L. lusca sp. nov., the number of species in the genus Lepidophyma rises to 21.

Keywords: Reptilia, Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov., Huasteca, tropical night lizards, phylogenetic relationships, ecophysiology, diurnality

the holotype of Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. (CNAR IBH 32556). 
Dorsal (A), lateral (B), and ventral (C) views of the head
Bar represents 5 mm.

Holotype (CNAR IBH 32556) of Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. in life.

Lepidophyma lusca, sp. nov.
 Lepidophyma gaigeae Ahumada-Carrillo (2013) 

 Etymology: The specific epithet, “lusca”, is the singular feminine noun in Latin for “one eyed”, due the absence of parietal eye.

Habitat and microhabitat of  Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. at the Tamul waterfall, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
 (A) Semi-evergreen forest at the banks of the Gallinas river;
(B) limestone outcrops where lizards are found.

Distribution records of  Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. and L. gaigeae.

Diego M. Arenas-Moreno, Francisco J. Muñoz-Nolasco, Adán Bautista-Del Moral, Luis A. Rodríguez-Miranda, Saúl F. Domínguez-Guerrero and Fausto R. Méndez-De La Cruz. 2021. A New Species of Lepidophyma (Squamata: Xantusiidae) from San Luis Potosí, México, with Notes on Its Physiological Ecology. Zootaxa. 4949(1); 115–130. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4949.1.6

[Invertebrate • 2020] Bulaceros newcannorum • A Rare Polyclad Genus Bulaceros (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida: Pseudocerotidae): New Species and New Record from Indian Coral Atolls

Bulaceros newcannorum 
Dixit, Manjebrayakath & Saravanane, 2020

The genus Bulaceros (Polycladida: Pseudocerotidae) erected by Newman & Cannon (1996) is a rare genus found only in the Pacific Ocean and is known by only one species, Bulaceros porcellanus Newman & Cannon, 1996 so far. The present work, based on collection from the Lakshadweep Islands, which are the only coral atolls in India, describes a second species Bulaceros newcannorum sp. nov. under this genus and also reports the occurrence of Bulaceros porcellanus for the first time from the Indian Ocean. Bulaceros newcannorum sp. nov. is described based on external and internal morphology supported with histological studies and photographs of external and internal details. Bulaceros newcannorum sp. nov. is characterized by knobbed pseudotentacles with white tips, translucent background with brown gut diverticula, darker medially, irregular white spots on the dorsum, margin of white spots and submarginal band in a mixture of brown and black. This is the first report of the genus Bulaceros from the entire Indian Ocean region.
KEYWORDS: Rhabditophora, marine flatworm, taxonomy, novel species, Lakshadweep, Agatti Island, Indian Ocean

Sudhanshu Dixit, Hashim Manjebrayakath and N. Saravanane. 2020. A Rare Polyclad Genus Bulaceros (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida: Pseudocerotidae): New Species and New Record from Indian Coral Atolls. Marine Biology Research. 16(8-9); 632-642. DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2020.1870044

New marine flatworm from rare group discovered from the coral atolls of Lakshadweep