Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Primate • 2014] Asian Primates: An Updated Taxonomy and Conservation Status Review

The present paper summarises and updates information on the taxonomy and status of Asian non-human primates from a new multi-author synthesis. For each species we include taxonomic authority, species type locality, subspecies, current distribution and conservation status. Including taxa described since the synthesis was published, the Asian non-human primate fauna comprises 119 species and 183 taxa, in 22 Asian countries. We give a breakdown of species by country, by conservation status category, and the number of species per status category in each family and genus. Of the 113 Asian primate species that have been assessed, 17 (15%) are Critically Endangered, 45 (40%) are Endangered and 25 (22%) are Vulnerable. The most endangered genera are RhinopithecusPygathrixNasalisSimiasHylobatesNomascusSymphalangus and Pongo.





Christian Roos, Ramesh Boonratana, Jatna Supriatna, John R Fellowes, Colin P. Groves, Stephen D. Nash, Anthony B. Rylands and Russell A. Mittermeier. 2014. An Updated Taxonomy and Conservation Status Review of Asian Primates. Asian Primates Journal. 4(1): 2-38.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2014] ค้างคาวยอดกล้วยหลังสีทอง | The Discovery of Kerivoula krauensis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in southern Peninsular Thailand provides New Information on the Distribution and Conservation Status of this Data Deficient Species

Figure 2: Latero-ventral view (A) and the mid-dorsal (B) and mid-ventral (C) pelage of Kerivoula krauensis, PSUZC-MM2013.50, ♂, from Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand.
Figure 1: Distribution map of K. krauensis. Black circle represents new locality in Thailand and black star is the type and only known locality from Malaysia.

In August 2013, an adult male Kerivoula krauensis was captured in a harp trap set in forest understorey in Bala Forest, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Narathiwat Province, Thailand. This is only the second locality record for the species, the first outside Malaysia and represents a range extension of 254 km, northwards from Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia. This discovery has important conservation implications suggesting that the species is more widespread than previously thought but also confirms previous findings that it appears to live in very low population densities as compared to other Kerivoula found in the same habitat. Information on its taxonomy, echolocation call, distribution and ecology is included. In addition, the new material from Thailand is briefly compared to other known species from the country. 

Keywords: Kerivoula krauensis, first record, echolocation, Thailand 

Figure 2: Latero-ventral view (A) and the mid-dorsal (B) and mid-ventral (C) pelage of Kerivoula krauensis, PSUZC-MM2013.50, ♂, from Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand.

Bounsavane Douangboubpha, Sara Bumrungsri, Pipat Soisook, Sunate Karanpan and Paul J. J. Bates. 2014. The Discovery of Kerivoula krauensis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in southern Peninsular Thailand provides New Information on the Distribution and Conservation Status of this Data Deficient Species. Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology. 36 (5), 577-582.

[Botany • 2013] Thismia hexagona • A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) the first recod of the Genus and Family from Brunei Darussalam, Borneo

 Thismia hexagona
 Dančák,  Hroneš, Kobrlová & Sochor

A new species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from Borneo is described. Thismia hexagona was discovered in 2013 in lowland mixed dipterocarp forest in Ulu Temburong, Brunei Darussalam. The species is circumscribed, illustrated and its position within the Malesian species of the genus is characterised by insertion into the existing determination key. Its most conspicuous feature is bright yellow, sharply hexagonal flower annulus.

 Martin Dančák, Michal Hroneš, Michal Sochor, Lucie Kobrlová, Radim Hédl, Záboj Hrázský, Anna Vildomcová, Rahayu Sukmaria Sukri and Faizah Metali. 2013. A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from Brunei Darussalam, Borneo. Phytotaxa. 125:33-39. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.125.1.5

[Botany • 2013] Thismia gongshanensis • A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from Yunnan, China

Thismia gongshanensis Hong-Qing Li & Yu-Ke Bi

Thismia Griffith (1844: 221) usually grows among leaf litter in shady wet forests and comprises 47 small mycoheterotrophic species (Chiang & Hsieh 2011, Mancinelli et al. 2012). Individual plants live underground through most of the year, only emerging briefly to flower and fruit after periods of heavy rain (Ho et al. 2009). Although several species have been described in temperate regions, Thismia occurs mainly in tropical portions of America and Asia.

Keywords: Thismiaceae, new species, china

FIGURE 1. Morphology of Thismia gongshanensis.
 A. Habit. B. Magnified flower. C. Dissected flower, showing stamens, style and stigmas. D. Flower from holotype.

Distribution:—Known only from the type locality at Maku Village, Dulongjiang Town, Gongshan 
County, Yunnan Province, China. 
Ecology:—This species grows among leaf litter in shady wet bamboo forest. The dominant species is Chimonobambusa Makino (Poaceae). Other accompanying species include: members of genera Aeschynanthus Jack (Gesneriaceae), Agapetes D.Don ex G.Don (Ericaceae), Amomum Roxb (Zingiberaceae), Balanophora J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (Balanophoraceae), Beccarinda Kuntze (Gesneriaceae), Curculigo Gaertn. (Hypoxidaceae), Monotropa L. (Ericaceae) and Myrmechis (Lindl.) Blume (Orchidaceae). The mitriform perianth suggests myophily (Stone 1980), and a small dipteran species was found visiting T. gongshanensis at the time of collection.

Etymology:— The name of the species was chosen for the place where it was collected. Maku village is in the Dulong River watershed of Gongshan County, northwestern Yunnan, China, neighboring Burma in the west. Its Chinese name should be spelled “gongshan shui yu bei

HONG-QING LI and YU-KE BI. 2013. A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from Yunnan, China. Phytotaxa. 105 (1): 25–28. 
A new species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from Yunnan, China …

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

[Botany • 2012] Thismia betung-kerihunensis • A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from West Kalimantan, Borneo

Thismia betung-kerihunensis Tsukaya & H. Okada

A new species of Thismiaceae, Thismia betung-kerihunensis Tsukaya et H. Okada, found during a botanical survey of Betung-Kerihun National Park, West Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia, is described and illustrated. This species closely resembles Thismia clavigera (Becc.) F. Muell, which is distributed in Borneo, Sumatra, Langkawi, and Thailand; however, it differs in flower shape, size, and color, having conspicuous hood-like appendages at the tip of the brilliant blue-green colored mitre formed by the three inner tepals. Moreover, it differs in the shape of the anther connectives that lack acutely elongated apices and has rectangular glands. The smaller stature of the species also distinguishes it from T. clavigera.

Keywords: Borneo; Burmanniaceae; Kalimantan; Thismia betung-kerihunensis; Thismiaceae; key to Malaysian species of Thismia; mycoheterotrophic plant; new species

 Hirokazu Tsukaya and Hiroshi Okada. 2012. A New Species of Thismia (Thismiaceae) from West Kalimantan, Borneo. Systematic Botany. 37(1): 53-57.

[Mammalogy • 2009] Distribution of Spiny Tree Mouse Platacanthomys lasiurus Blyth, 1859 in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India

Platacanthomys lasiurus | Malabar Spiny Dormouse
photo: Kalyanvarma |


Spiny Tree Mouse Platacanthomys lasiurus is a rarely known endemic rodent, one of the two representatives of the rodent family Placanthomyidae. It inhabits the tropical forests of the Western Ghats of South India. A field survey was conducted from February 2002 to June 2005 in the Western Ghats to determine the status and distribution of this species. Intensive surveys were conducted in the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and the population status was assessed in 17 protected areas and 25 forest divisions using live trapping, questionnaire survey, direct observation and spot lighting. This species was recorded from 10 protected areas and 21 forest ranges, and except for the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary all reports from other sanctuaries, namely the Neyyar, Thattekkad, Idukki, Chinnar, Eravikulam, Chimmony, Parambikulam and Aralam Wildlife Sanctuaries and Periyar Tiger Reserve, were new. This species occur in extremely low densities, and apart from the tropical evergreen forests it was also recorded in the riverine patches in the tropical moist deciduous forests. The status of this species should be elevated from the Least Concern (IUCN) category to the next category, i.e., Near Threatened.

Keywords: India; Kerala; Muroidea; Platacanthomys lasiurus; rodent; Rodentia; tropical forests; Western Ghats

Jayson, E. A.; Jayahari, K. M. 2009. Distribution of Spiny Tree Mouse (Platacanthomys lasiurus Blyth, 1859) in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. Mammalia. 73 (4): 331–337.

 Divya Mudappa, Ajith Kumar and Ravi Chellam. 2001. Abundance and habitat selection of the Malabar spiny dormouse in the rainforests of the southern Western Ghats, India. 

[Mammalogy • 2014] An enigmatic Pygmy Dormouse: Molecular and Morphological Evidence for the Species Taxonomic Status of Typhlomys chapensis (Rodentia: Platacanthomyidae)

  Typhlomys chapensis (Osgood 1932)
Vietnamese Pygmy Dormouse [or Soft-furred Tree Mouse] 

Figure 4. Typhlomys cinereus. Adult female from Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam.
Photographed by A. V. Abramov | doi: 10.3897/zookeys.164.1785

Background: The taxonomic position of enigmatic pygmy dormouse Typhlomys (Rodentia: Platacanthomyidae) from Vietnam is reconsidered based on both morphology and sequence data. 

Results: The analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear genes has shown that the pygmy dormouse from Lao Cai Province of northern Vietnam belongs to a distinct phylogenetic lineage of Typhlomys. The DNA analysis has demonstrated a strong genetic difference (0.245 to 0.252 for the cytochrome oxidase gene (COI), 0.079 to 0.082 for interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein gene (IRBP), and 0.028 for the growth hormone receptor gene (GHR) between this lineage and the sample from South China. Multivariate analysis of cranial and dental data, as well as of some external characters, has also separated the Vietnamese population from the pygmy dormouse from Fujian in southern China, the type locality of Typhlomys cinereus (Bull Soc Philomath Paris 12:8–10, 1877). 

Conclusions: Both genetic and morphological data confirm that there is a second species, Typhlomys chapensis (Field Mus Nat Hist Zool Ser 18:193–339, 1932), in the heretofore monotypic genus Typhlomys.

 Alexei V Abramov, Alexander E Balakirev and Viatcheslav V Rozhnov. 2014. An enigmatic Pygmy Dormouse: Molecular and Morphological Evidence for the Species Taxonomic Status of Typhlomys chapensis (Rodentia: Platacanthomyidae). Zoological Studies. 53:34. DOI: 10.1186/s40555-014-0034-2

Alexei V. Abramov, Vladimir M. Aniskin and Viatcheslav V. Rozhnov. 2012. Karyotypes of two rare rodents, Hapalomys delacouri and Typhlomys cinereus (Mammalia, Rodentia), from Vietnam. ZooKeys. 164: 41–49, DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.164.1785

Monday, July 28, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Three New Species of Pseudocalotes (Squamata: Agamidae) from southern Sumatra, Indonesia; Pseudocalotes cybelidermus, P. guttalineatus & P. rhammanotus

We describe three new species of Pseudocalotes from the Bukit Barisan Range of southern Sumatra, Indonesia. Pseudocalotes cybelidermus, P. guttalineatus, and P. rhammanotus differ from most congeners in having serrate dorsal crests that extend to the base of the tail and a dorsolateral series of enlarged heavily keeled scales. In these new species, subdigital lamellae of Toe III have prominent preaxial keels and lack or have greatly reduced postaxial keels. In contrast, P. rhammanotus resembles P. tympanistriga by having bicarinate subdigital lamellae at the base of Toe III. Like most congeners, these new species appear to be restricted to humid forests above 1000 m. We report several new morphological characters for Pseudocalotes and discuss their diagnostic value. Future systematic studies of this genus should assess presence/absence of interparietals, four different kinds of modified scales on the neck, a dorsolateral series of heavily keeled scales, and unicarinate lamellae under the distal phalanges of most fingers and toes. Our comparisons among congeners demonstrate the diagnostic value of width of the gap between the nuchal and dorsal crests and frequency data for contact between the nasal and supralabials and between the postmentals and infralabials. Finally, we discuss variation in morphology of subdigital lamellae at the base of Toe III and describe new conditions intermediate between the serrate fringe of most Indochinese species and the bicarinate lamellae of the P. tympanistriga.

Keywords: Color change, Draconinae, Pseudocalotes cybelidermus new species, Pseudocalotes guttalineatus new species, Pseudocalotes rhammanotus new species, Sauria

Harvey, Michael B., Amir Hamidy, Nia Kurniawan, Kyle Shaney & Eric N. Smith. 2014. Three New Species of Pseudocalotes (Squamata: Agamidae) from southern Sumatra, Indonesia. Zootaxa 3841(2): 211–238. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3841.2.3

Sunday, July 27, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Phylogenetic Relationships of Semaphore Geckos (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae: Pristurus) with an Assessment of the Taxonomy of Pristurus rupestris

A molecular phylogeny of the sphaerodactylid geckos of the genus Pristurus is inferred based on an alignment of 1845 base pairs (bp) of concatenated mitochondrial (12S) and nuclear (acm4, cmos, rag1 and rag2) genes for 80 individuals, representing 18 of the 23–26 species, and the three subspecies of P. rupestris. The results indicate that P. rupestris is polyphyletic and includes two highly divergent clades: the eastern clade, found in coastal Iran and throughout the Hajar Mountain range in northern Oman and eastern UAE; and the western clade, distributed from central coastal Oman, through Yemen, Saudi Arabia and north to southern Jordan. Inferred haplotype networks for the four nuclear genes show that the eastern and western clades of “P. rupestris” are highly differentiated and do not share any alleles. Moreover, although the two clades are differentiated by a morphological multivariate analysis, no one character or set of characters was found to be diagnostic. Based on the molecular analysis of specimens from the type locality of P. rupestris rupestris, the name P. rupestris is applied to the eastern clade. The name that should apply to the western clade cannot be clarified until morphological and genetic data for “P. rupestris” is available from the vicinity of Bosaso, Somalia, and therefore we refer to it as Pristurus sp. 1. The phylogenetic tree of Pristurus supports the hypothesis that P. celerrimus is sister to all the other species in the analyses and that the Socotra Archipelago was independently colonized a minimum of two times.

Keywords: gecko, Arabia, phylogeny, taxonomy, systematics, Socotra Archipelago, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA

Badiane, Arnaud, Joan Garcia-Porta, Jan Červenka, Lukáš Kratochvíl, Roberto Sindaco, Michael D. Robinson, Hernan Morales, Tomas Mazuch, Thomas Price, Fèlix Amat, Mohammed Shobrak, Thomas M. Wilms, Marc Simó-Riudalbas, Faraham Ahmadzadeh, Theodore J. Papenfuss, Alexandre Cluchier, Julien Viglione & Salvador Carranza. 2014. Phylogenetic Relationships of Semaphore Geckos (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae: Pristurus) with an Assessment of the Taxonomy of Pristurus rupestrisZootaxa. 3835(1): 33–58.

Friday, July 25, 2014

[Paleontology • 2014] Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus • A Jurassic ornithischian Dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus Godefroit, Sinitsa, Dhouailly, Bolotsky, Sizov, McNamara, Benton & Spagna, 2014
wanders the lake-dotted lowlands of Jurassic Siberia
illustration: Andrey Atuchin

Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits from northeastern China have yielded varied theropod dinosaurs bearing feathers. Filamentous integumentary structures have also been described in ornithischian dinosaurs, but whether these filaments can be regarded as part of the evolutionary lineage toward feathers remains controversial. Here we describe a new basal neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Siberia with small scales around the distal hindlimb, larger imbricated scales around the tail, monofilaments around the head and the thorax, and more complex featherlike structures around the humerus, the femur, and the tibia. The discovery of these branched integumentary structures outside theropods suggests that featherlike structures coexisted with scales and were potentially widespread among the entire dinosaur clade; feathers may thus have been present in the earliest dinosaurs.

Pascal Godefroit, Sofia M. Sinitsa, Danielle Dhouailly, Yuri L. Bolotsky, Alexander V. Sizov, Maria E. McNamara, Michael J. Benton and Paul Spagna. 2014. A Jurassic ornithischian Dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales. Science. 345(6195): 451-455. 

Feathers More Common Among Dinosaurs Than Previously Thought

[Mammalogy • 2014] Murine Rodents (Rodentia: Murinae) of the Myanmar-Thai-Malaysian peninsula and Singapore: Taxonomy, Distribution, Ecology, Conservation Status, and Illustrated Identification Keys

Fig. 51. Seven common murine genera in peninsular Myanmar-Thai-Malaysia.  (A): Maxomys (M. surifer); (B): Niviventer (N. cremoriventer); (C): Rattus (R. tanezumi); (D): Leopoldamys (L. sabanus); (E): Berylmys (B. bowersi); (F): Bandicota (B. indica); (G): Sundamys (S. muelleri).
Not to scale. | Pimsai, et al. 2014 [Fulltext

Based on field surveys undertaken between 2010 and 2013, museum studies in Thailand and the UK, and an extensive literature review, this paper provides information on the 28 species and 12 genera of murine rodents currently known from peninsular Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia and Singapore. It incorporates a detailed summary of past research, 1851–2013, of the Murinae in the study area and includes descriptive characters of the external, cranial and dental morphology and measurements for each of the rodent species. It lists and maps the 93 murine taxa described from the peninsula, 84 of which are currently considered to be synonyms at species level. Each of the 389 different localities on the 28 distribution maps is numbered and linked to its source, either literature or museum specimen, and listed in the online gazetteer. The global conservation status of each species is obtained from the IUCN Red List. Remarks are made, where data are available, on the ecology, karyology, fossil history, sperm morphology, phylogeny, and taxonomic history and ambiguities. Recommendations are made for further research. A series of illustrated matrix keys is provided to assist with the identification of all the murine genera and species within the study area.

Key words: Taxonomy, distribution, identification keys, karyology, ecology, conservation status.

Fig. 1. Study area: peninsular Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, and Singapore. 

Uraiporn Pimsai, Malcolm J. Pearch, Chutamas Satasook, Sara Bumrungsri & Paul J.J. Bates. 2014. Murine Rodents (Rodentia: Murinae) of the Myanmar-Thai-Malaysian peninsula and Singapore: Taxonomy, Distribution, Ecology, Conservation Status, and Illustrated Identification Keys. Bonn zoological Bulletin. 63 (1): 15–114

Thursday, July 24, 2014

[Botany • 2014] A Key to the Genus Zingiber (Zingiberaceae) in Thailand with Descriptions of 10 New Taxa | พรรณพฤกษชาติ สกุลขิง ในประเทศไทย

FIGURE 11. A. Zingiber brachystachys Triboun & K. Larsen; B. Z. callianthus Triboun & K. Larsen; C. Z. chantaranothaii Triboun & K. Larsen; D.-E. Z. cornubracteatum Triboun & K. Larsen; F. Z. isanense Triboun & K. Larsen; G. Z. parishii Hook.f. subsp. phuphanense Triboun & K. Larsen, H.-I. Z. pyroglossum Triboun & K. Larsen; J. Z. sadakornii Triboun & K. Larsen; K. Z. tenuiscapus Triboun & K. Larsen; L. Z. vittacheilum Triboun & K. Larsen.

        A key to the genus Zingiber in Thailand is presented and 10 new taxa are described and illustrated: Z. brachystachys Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. callianthus Triboun & K. Larsen, Z.chantaranothaii Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. cornubracteatum Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. isanense Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. parashii Hook.f. subsp. phuphanense Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. pyroglossum Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. sadakornii Triboun & K. Larsen, Z. tenuiscapus Triboun & K. Larsen and Z. vittacheilum Triboun & K. Larsen.

KEYWORDS: new taxa, Zingiber, Zingiberaceae, Thailand

 PRAMOTE TRIBOUN, KAI LARSEN and PRANOM CHANTARANOTHAI. 2014. A Key to the Genus Zingiber (Zingiberaceae) in Thailand with Descriptions of 10 New Taxa. Thai Journal of Botany. 6(1): 53-77. 

[Entomology • 2014] Helictophanes flava & Cyphophanes khitchakutensis • Two New Species of Enarmoniini (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) from eastern Thailand

FIGURE 1. Adults of Helictophanes and Cyphophanes.
A. Helictophanes flava, n. sp. (holotype male). B. H. flava, n. sp. (paratype female).
C. Cyphophanes khitchakutensis, n. sp. (holotype male). D. C. khitchakutensis, n. sp. (paratype female)
(scale bar=2 mm).

Two new species of the tribe Enarmoniini (Tortricidae) are described from the Chanthaburi and Trat provinces of eastern Thailand: Helictophanes flava Muadsub and Pinkaew, n. sp., and Cyphophanes khitchakutensis Muadsub and Pinkaew, n. sp. Illustrations of adults and genitalia are provided.
Key words: Cyphophanes, Helictophanes, Enarmoniini, Khao Khitchakut National Park, Olethreutinae, Trat Agroforestry Research and Training Station

Muadsub, Sawitree & Nantasak Pinkaew. 2014. Two New Species of Enarmoniini (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) from eastern Thailand. Zootaxa. 3841(1): 127–134.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

[Herpetology • 2012] Report on the Life Colouration of the enigmatic Burrowing Skink Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata (Grandidier, 1869) from southwestern Madagascar

Fig. 1. Habitat of Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata: corn plantation (in foreground) near the village of Andranomaitso, Commune rurale de Sakaraha.  
Fig. 2. Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata individual (MRSN R3726) in life from Andranomaitso village, southwestern Madagascar, found on the 11 December 2009:
A. dorso-lateral overview; B. dorsal view; C. head close up; D. individual burrowing in the substrate.
Photos by Gonçalo M. Rosa.

 Voeltzkowia is a monophyletic genus of burrowing skinks endemic to Madagascar. The fossorial habits of these species make them hard to see and study, and witness their life history traits. During two herpetological surveys in southwestern Madagascar (in 2009 and 2011) we found several Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata individuals in a corn plantation, a habitat that differs from the forested habitat reported in the literature. Life colouration for this shy scincid is described for the first time.
Key words. Southwestern Madagascar, corn plantation, Squamata, Scincidae.

Fig. 2. Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata individual (MRSN R3726) in life from Andranomaitso village, southwestern Madagascar, found on the 11 December 2009:
A. dorso-lateral overview; B. dorsal view; C. head close up; D. individual burrowing in the substrate.
 Photos by Gonçalo M. Rosa.

Gonçalo M. Rosa, Paolo Eusebio Bergò, Angelica Crottini & Franco Andreone. 2012. Report on the Life Colouration of the enigmatic Burrowing Skink Voeltzkowia rubrocaudata (Grandidier, 1869) from southwestern Madagascar. Bonn zoological Bulletin. 61 (1): 31–34

[Herpetology • 2009] Thamnosophis mavotenda • Phylogenetic Relationships of A New Species of pseudoxyrhophiine Snake (Reptilia: Lamprophiidae) Suggest A Biogeographical Link Between western and northern Madagascar

Thamnosophis mavotenda
Glaw, Nagy, Köhler, Franzen & Vences, 2009

We describe a new species of the pseudoxyrhophiine snake genus Thamnosophis from a dry forest of the karstic massif Tsingy de Bemaraha in central western Madagascar. Thamnosophis mavotenda sp. n. is characterised by 19 dorsal scale rows, 188 ventrals, 110 subcaudals, and by colouration (e.g. yellow head sides). Morphological and molecular phylogenetic data indicate that the species is most closely related to the recently described Thamnosophis martae from the far north of the island which inhabits dry karstic forest and subhumid lowland rainforest. This species pair represents a well-supported example of a sister-group relationship in snakes between northern Madagascar and the Tsingy de Bemaraha plateau, and corroborates preliminary observations in other reptile species. We discuss this finding in the light of recent hypotheses on the biogeographic zonation of Madagascar.

Keywords: Serpentes; Pseudoxyrhophiinae; Thamnosophis; New species; Madagascar; Biogeography

Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from the Malagasy words “mavo” (yellow) and “tenda” (throat) and refers to the yellow throat of the holotype. It is to be treated as a noun in apposition for the purposes of nomenclature.

Distribution and Conservation: Thamnosophis mavotenda is only known from a single individual captured in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Thus, any statements on the species’ distribution and conservation status must remain tentative. Several Malagasy reptile and amphibian species are known only from this nature reserve (e.g. Schimmenti and Jesu 1996; Puente et al. 2005; Glaw et al. 2007a; Köhler et al. 2007), suggesting its importance as a center of endemism. It is therefore possible that T. mavotenda is endemic to the Tsingy de Bemaraha as well. We did not notice any obvious threat to the species, and its occurrence in a relatively large, protected area seems to indicate that it is not severely threatened, although it is remarkable that intensive surveys in this park (Bora et al. in press) did not reveal further specimens. Using the same rationale and IUCN criteria as applied during the Global Amphibian Assessment for Malagasy amphibians (Andreone et al. 2005), we classify T. mavotenda as “Data Deficient”. [>> Near Threatened (]

 F. Glaw, Z.T. Nagy, J. Koehler, M. Franzen and M. Vences. 2009. Phylogenetic Relationships of A New Species of pseudoxyrhophiine Snake (Reptilia: Lamprophiidae: Thamnosophis) Suggest A Biogeographical Link Between western and northern Madagascar. Organisms, Diversity & Evolution 9:13-22.

Monday, July 21, 2014

[PaleoMammalogy • 2014] Eodelphinus kabatensis • A New Name for the Oldest True Dolphin Stenella kabatensis Horikawa, 1977 (Cetacea, Odontoceti, Delphinidae), from the upper Miocene of Japan, and the Phylogeny and Paleobiogeography of Delphinoidea

Eodelphinus kabatensis (Horikawa, 1977)
Illustration: R. Boessenecker |

The oldest reported fossil record of Delphinidae is from the late Miocene (11 Ma) of California. Reliable Miocene fossil delphinids, however, are few. “Eodelphis kabatensis from the upper Miocene Mashike Formation (8.5-13.0 Ma), Hokkaido, northern Japan, is the oldest described Miocene delphinid including a skull. Therefore, this species is a significant clue to understanding the early evolutionary history of Delphinidae. The original taxonomic assignment of this species within the genus Stenella is questionable; thus, we propose a new combination for the species, Eodelphis kabatensis Horikawa, 1977. Eodelphis is a basal delphinid, and comprehensive morphological cladistic analysis, including molecular topological constraints, supported this taxonomic revision. Paleobiogeographic analyses based on the present morphological cladistic analysis and analysis under the molecular constraints suggest that the origin and early diversification of Delphinidae occurred in the middle Miocene Pacific Ocean or elsewhere, respectively.


CETACEA Brisson, 1762
ODONTOCETI Flower, 1867

EODELPHIS, new genus

Type and Only Known Species: “Eodelphis kabatensis (new combination).

Diagnosis: As for the type species.
Etymology: From the Ancient Greek ‘Eo,’ for dawn referring to the earliest delphinid; and from Latin ‘delphis,’ for dolphin.

EODELPHIS KABATENSIS (Horikawa, 1977), new combination

Delphinidae, gen.
et sp. indet. Horikawa and Fujita, 1972:177, pl. 1.
Stenella kabatensis: Horikawa, 1977:98, figs. 2–8, pls. 1, 2.
Delphinidae, gen. indet. Ichishima, 2005:11.

We redescribed the late Miocene delphinid, Stenella kabatensis (8.5–13.0 Ma), from Hokkaido, northern Japan, as a new genus “Eodelphis”. Both a comprehensive morphological cladistic analysis and this analysis under the constraint tree of molecular phylogenetic analyses support a new combination of the species; i.e., Eodelphis is significantly more archaic than the Stenella complex. Those analyses also indicate that the two extinct species Stenella rayi and Tursiops osennae are not included in the Stenella complex. “Eodelphis is significant for understanding the origin, early evolution, and paleobiogeography of Delphinidae, as well as calibration of the molecular divergence estimates: “Eodelphis” kabatensis is the oldest and only valid Miocene delphinid species yet described. However, paleobiogeographic analyses based on the present phylogenetic analyses suggest different biogeographic scenarios: origin and early diversification in the middle Miocene Pacific Ocean or outside the Pacific Ocean. To resolve the origin of Delphinidae, we need to include more fossil delphinids and kentriodontids in phylogenetic analyses.

 Mizuki Murakami, Chieko Shimada and Yoshinori Hikida. 2014. “Eodelphis kabatensis, a new name for the oldest true dolphin Stenella kabatensis Horikawa, 1977 (Cetacea, Odontoceti, Delphinidae), from the upper Miocene of Japan, and the phylogeny and paleobiogeography of Delphinoidea. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(3); 

 Therefore, here we propose Eodelphinus  gen. nov. for the late Miocene delphinid Eodelphis kabatensis Horikawa, 1977 to replace Eodelphis Murakami et al.,2014, which is a junior homonym of  Eodelphis Matthew, 1916. Anew combination for the species is Eodelphinus kabatensis. The diagnosis and content of the new genus follows Murakami et al.(2014). 

Eodelphinus derives its name from the Ancient Greek ‘Eo,’ for dawn referring to the earliest delphinid; and delphinus,the Latin name for dolphin.

Mizuki Murakami, Chieko Shimada, Yoshinori Hikida and Yuhji Soeda. 2014. Eodelphinus kabatensis, a replacement name for Eodelphis kabatensis (Cetacea: Delphinoidea: Delphinidae). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(5). DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.938159

Unfortunately as it turns out - Eodelphis  is a preoccupied name for Cretaceous marsupial. So, it will require an additional paper proposing yet another replacement name.

Dolphins swam the oceans six MILLION years earlier than thought via @MailOnline

Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi • A New Species of Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Karst Forest of Luang Prabang Province, northern Laos

Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi
Schneider, Nguyen, Le, Nophaseud, Bonkowski & Ziegler, 2014

We describe a new species of the gekkonid genus Cyrtodactylus on the basis of two specimens collected from limestone forests of Luang Prabang Province, northern Laos. Morphologically, the new species is distinguishable from its congeners by a combination of the following diagnostic characters: maximum SVL 86.1 mm; supralabials 9 or 10; infralabials 7–9; dorsal tubercles in 15 or 16 rows at midbody; ventral scale rows 34–36 at midbody; precloacal groove absent; femoral scales not distinctly enlarged; precloacal pores absent in females (unknown in males); subdigital lamellae under the fourth finger 18 or 19, under the fourth toe 18–20; subcaudals not transversally enlarged; dorsal bands white, 4 or 5 between limb insertions plus another one between hind limbs; tail banded. Based on molecular analyses, the new species is clustered in the same clade with C. wayakonei and two other species from Luang Prabang and Houaphan provinces.

Keywords: Bent-toed gecko, limestone forest, phylogeny, taxonomy, Luang Prabang Province

Schneider, Nicole, Truong Q. Nguyen, Minh D. Le, Liphone Nophaseud, Michael Bonkowski & Thomas Ziegler. 2014. A New Species of Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Karst Forest of northern Laos. Zootaxa. 3835(1): 80–96.

[Herpetology • 2014] Cyrtodactylus puhuensis • DNA Barcoding of Vietnamese Bent-toed Geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae) and the Description of A New Species from northwestern Thanh Hóa Province, northern Vietnam

 Pù Hu Bent-toed Gecko | Cyrtodactylus puhuensis
Nguyen, Yang, Thi Le, Nguyen, Orlov, Hoang, Nguyen,
Jin, Rao, Hoang, Che, Murphy & Zhang, 2014

Species of bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus) in Vietnam have been described at a rate of nearly four species per year since 2007 mostly based on morphological data. A tool that guides species delimitation will accelerate the rate of documentation, and at a time when the recognition of species greatly benefits conservation. We use DNA barcoding using COI (550 bp) to re-examine the levels of genetic divergence and taxonomic status of 21 described species of Vietnamese bent-toed geckos. Tree-based analyses resolve all sampled species and identify potential undescribed taxa. Kimura 2-parameter genetic distances between the described species average 21.0±4.2% and range from 4.3% to 28.7%. Further, our analyses discover two potentially new species from Vietnam, two from Laos and one from China. Herein we describe the new species Cyrtodactylus puhuensis sp. nov. from Vietnam on the basis of both genetics and morphology. Genetically, it differs from the remaining species by an average K2P distance of 24.0±1.8%. Morphologically, the new species is diagnosed by its medium-size (snout-vent length 79.24 mm and tail length 82.59 mm, for the single known individual), in having a series of moderately enlarged transverse subcaudals and a series of moderately enlarged femoral scales that extend from precloacal scales, in possessing femoral scales without pores, with males having five precloacal pores, and in exhibiting 8 supralabials, 10 infralabials, 23 narrow subdigital lamellae on its fourth toe, and 36 transverse ventrals. 

Key words: Cyrtodactylus puhuensis, Indochina, Thanh Hoa, genealogy

FIGURE 3. Bayesian inference tree for species of Cyrtodactylus from Vietnam and adjacent areas.

Etymology. The specific epithet puhuensis refers to the type locality, Pù Hu Nature Reserve, where the new species was discovered. 

Distribution and Habitat. Cyrtodactylus puhuensis sp. nov. is known only from the Pù Hu Nature Reserve, in northwestern Thanh Hóa Province, northern Vietnam (Fig. 2). The single known specimen of this new gecko was found at night on a large tree (diameter about 1.5 m), at about 2.5 m above the forest floor. The habitat was evergreen forest intermixed with bamboo. Limestone was not observed in the area and the recorded elevation was 638 m.

Nguyen, Sang N., Jun-xiao Yang, Thanh-ngan T. Le, Luan T. Nguyen, Nikolai L. Orlov, Chung V. Hoang, Truong Q. Nguyen, Jie-qiong Jin, Ding-Qi Rao, Thao N. Hoang, Jing Che, Robert W. Murphy & Ya-Ping Zhang. 2014. DNA Barcoding of Vietnamese Bent-toed Geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) and the Description of A New Species. Zootaxa. 3784(1): 48–66. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3784.1.2