Tuesday, March 31, 2015

[Mammalogy • 2015] Eudiscoderma thongareeae | ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงทองอารีย์ | Thongaree’s Disc-nosed Bat • A New Genus and Species of False Vampire (Chiroptera: Megadermatidae) from Bala Forest, Narathiwat Province, peninsular Thailand

Eudiscoderma thongareeae
Soisook, Prajakjitr, Karapan, Francis & Bates, 2015
ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงทองอารีย์ | Thongaree’s Disc-nosed Bat


A new genus and associated species of false vampire, family Megadermatidae, are described based on three specimens from Bala Forest, Narathiwat Province, peninsular Thailand. The new taxon is characterised by a unique combination of distinctive dental, cranial, and external characters, some of which are shared with exclusively African genera and some with Asian genera. These characters are comparable to, or exceed in number, those differentiating currently recognised genera in the family Megadermatidae. They include the absence of a first upper premolar; greatly enlarged upper canine without an anterolingual cingular cusp but with a robust posterolingual cusp; unmodified upper first molar with the preparacrista subequal in length to the postmetacrista, the metastyle not reduced and situated labially; robust lower canine without an anterolingual cusp; the first lower premolar enlarged, equal to or larger than the second lower premolar. In the skull, there is a pronounced rostral depression but no well developed frontal shield with preorbital and/or postorbital processes; the coronoid process is greatly enlarged in each half mandible. Externally, the body size is relatively large and the posterior noseleaf is rounded. The baculum has a robust shaft and two short prongs—the bacula of all five other species of megadermatid are illustrated for the first time; extraordinarily, those of Macroderma gigas and Megaderma lyra comprise two separate bones. DNA barcoding indicate a genetic divergence of about 20 percent (sequence divergence in the mitochondrial gene CO1) between the new genus and species of Megaderma and Cardioderma. Currently, despite numerous bat surveys in peninsular Thailand, the new genus is only known from Bala Forest. The small area of this forest and the very low capture rate suggest that the new species may be extremely rare. Its natural history is little known, although its robust dental and cranial features when coupled with chance observations of its feeding behaviour, suggest it may specialise in eating large beetles. Its conservation status is considered to be at risk owing to the rapid loss of forest habitat in much of the Thai-Malay peninsula.

Keywords: False vampire, Halabala Wildlife Research Station, Megadermatidae, new genus, new species, taxonomy, Thailand, tropical rainforest, Southeast Asia

Eudiscoderma thongareeae
photo: P. Soisook | www.seabcru.org


Megadermatidae Allen, 1864

Eudiscoderma gen. nov. | Disc-nosed Bat

Type species. Eudiscoderma thongareeae sp. nov.
Soisook, Prajakjitr, Karapan, Francis & Bates, 2015

Etymology. The genus name is derived from the well-defined disc-shaped noseleaf of the type species. The genus gender is neuter.

Eudiscoderma thongareeae sp. nov.
Thongaree’s Disc-nosed Bat | ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงทองอารีย์

Etymology. The species thongareeae is named in honour of Ms Siriporn Thongaree, the former head of Halabala Wildlife Research Station [HalaBalaWRS], who dedicated her life to researching the diversity and ecology of wildlife in the southernmost part of Thailand and to promoting its conservation. The proposed English name is “Thongaree’s Disc-nosed Bat”.


The relationship of M. spasma and M. lyra remains unresolved. Genetic data included here (Fig. 11), the extraordinary differences in the baculum (Fig. 9), and differences in the dentition and skull support the view that M. lyra is generically discrete from M. spasma. However, in view of the contradictory interpretations presented by Hand (1985) and Griffiths et al. (1992), discussed above, and the weak bootstrap support for the deeper branches in our phylogeny (Fig. 11), we prefer to leave this particular issue for a further study. Additional genetic data, incorporating nuclear genes with slower evolutionary change, may help to resolve the phylogeny. On the basis of data presented here, it is not possible to place the newly discovered megadermatid from peninsular Thailand into any one of the five previously recognised genera, including the sympatric Megaderma. As noted above, it has a unique combination of characters, incorporating features, some of which are found exclusively in African genera and others in Asian genera. These differences are supported by genetic data. Therefore, we have attributed the new species thongareeae to a new genus Eudiscoderma.

Hand (1995) suggested that where megadermatids live sympatrically over part of their range, they are either significantly different in size (Megaderma spasma v M. lyra) or represent two distinct lineages (L. frons v C. cor). She also suggested that the latter species in each of these pairs consumes significantly more vertebrate prey than the other. In the case of Eudiscoderma, it is both larger and phylogenetically distinct from M. spasma and may have a more specialised diet. M. spasma is known to eat large flying insects, such as grasshoppers, moths, bush-crickets, and beetles but not vertebrates (Bates & Harrison 1997). In contrast, Eudiscoderma has features, that appear highly developed for crushing hard prey. In the dentition, this includes the robust upper canines and, in the skull, the enlarged coronoid processes and well developed sagittal crest, both of which are indicative of strong musculature.

These adaptations sit well with information on the diet. E. thongareeae was observed catching and eating beetles, the carapaces of which are made from chitin, one of the hardest of natural materials.

Soisook, Pipat, Amorn Prajakjitr, Sunate Karapan, Charles M. Francis & Paul J. J. Bates. 2015. A New Genus and Species of False Vampire (Chiroptera: Megadermatidae) from peninsular Thailand.  Zootaxa. 3931(4): 528–550. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3931.4.4

ทีมวิจัยนานาชาติ นำโดยนักวิจัยสัตว์ป่าจากสถานีวิจัยสัตว์ป่าป่าพรุ ป่าฮาลา-บาลา กลุ่มงานวิจัยสัตว์ป่า กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติ สัตว์ป่าและพรรณพิืช ร่วมกับนักวิจัยจากพิพิธภัณฑสถานธรรมชาติวิทยา ๕๐ พรรษา สยามบรมราชกุมารี มหาวิทยาลัยสงขลานครินทร์ รายงานการค้นพบ ค้างคาวสกุลและชนิดใหม่ [New Genus and Species of False Vampire] ของโลกในประเทศไทย จากบริเวณป่าบาลา จังหวัดนราธิวาส อันเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของผืนป่าฮาลาบาลาที่สมบูรณ์ทางภาคใต้ตอนใต้สุดของไทย

ค้างคาวสกุลใหม่นี้ได้ชื่อว่า ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงทองอารีย์ (Eudiscoderma thongareeae | Thongaree’s Disc-nosed Bat) เป็นสมาชิกชนิดที่ 6 (สกุลที่ 5) ในวงศ์ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลง (Family Megadermatidae - ซึ่งกระจายพันธุ์ในเขตร้อนของแอฟริกา อินเดีย เรื่อยมาถึงเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้) มีลักษณะเด่นที่แตกต่างจากสมาชิก 4 สกุลในวงศ์นี้คือมี แผ่นจมูก (posterior noseleaf) เป็นรูปวงกลม ทีมวิจัยจึงตั้งชื่อสกุลว่า Eudiscoderma หมายถึง แผ่นจมูกเป็นรูปวงกลมคล้ายแผ่นดิสก์ และตั้งชื่อชนิดว่า Eudiscoderma thongareeae เพื่อเป็นเกียรติแด่ คุณศิริพร ทองอารีย์ อดีตหัวหน้าสถานีวิจัยสัตว์ป่าป่าพรุ ป่าฮาลา-บาลา ผู้มีคุณูปการณ์ต่อการอนุรักษ์และศึกษาวิจัย สัตว์ป่า ความหลากหลายทางชีวภาพ และนิเวศวิทยา ในบริเวณภาคใต้ของไทย ตลอดชีวิตราชการกระทั่งเกษียณอายุเมื่อไม่กี่ปีที่ผ่านมา

ค้างคาวสกุลใหม่นี้ถูกค้นพบครั้งแรก เมื่อ 14 ปีที่แล้ว โดย คุณอมร ประจักษ์จิตร ขณะเป็นผู้ช่วยวิจัยของคุณศิริพร ที่ สถานีวิจัยสัตว์ป่าป่าพรุ ป่าฮาลา-บาลา ขณะนั้นเข้าใจว่าน่าจะเป็นค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลง (สกุล Megaderma) ชนิดใหม่ ที่พบได้ทั่วทวีปเอเชีย กระทั่งมีตัวอย่างเพิ่มเติมและได้เทียบเคียงกับตัวอย่างค้างคาวสกุลต่าง ๆ ที่พบในแอฟริกาและออสเตรเลีย ทำให้ได้ผลว่าเป็นค้างคาวสกุลใหม่ของโลก ซึ่งรายงานการค้นพบนี้ได้รับการตีพิมพ์เผยแพร่อย่างเป็นทางการในวารสารวิชาการ Zootaxa เมื่อกลางเดือนมีนาคม 2558 ที่ผ่านมา [DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3931.4.4]

ลักษณะภายนอกคล้ายกับค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงเล็ก (Megaderma spasma) แต่แผ่นจมูกใหญ่กว่าและเป็นรูปวงกลม ส่วนลำตัวมีขนาดใหญ่กว่าแวมไพร์แปลงใหญ่ (Megaderma lyra) เล็กน้อย ค้างคาวชนิดนี้เกาะนอนในโพรงไม้และกินด้วงปีกแข็งเป็นอาหาร

ค้างคาวแวมไพร์แปลงทองอารีย์ พบได้ยากมาก ทีมวิจัยพบเพียง 3 ตัวจากการลงพื้นที่ศึกษาตลอด 14 ปีที่ผ่านมา ถือเป็นค้างคาวเฉพาะถิ่น (endemic species) ชนิดเดียวของไทย อย่างไรก็ดีหากมีการศึกษาเพิ่มเติมคาดว่าน่าจะมีการกระจายพันธุ์ในคาบสมุทรมลายูด้วย

ทั่วโลกมีค้างคาว 202 สกุล พบได้ในประเทศไทย 43 สกุล

กรมอุทยานฯ จับมือทีมวิจัยคณะวิทยาศาสตร์ ม.สงขลานครินทร์ค้นพบค้างคาวสกุลใหม่ของโลก

http://bankaonews.com/?p=28438   facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=927917523918916

Scientists discover a new genus of false vampire bat in Thailand

A new genus and new species of the Old World false vampire bat (family Megadermatidae) is described based on specimens from Halabala Wildlife Research Station, the southernmost forest complex in peninsular Thailand. The paper reporting this discovery is published in the latest issue of Zootaxa.

The new bat, with a scientific name Eudiscoderma thongareeae, is named to reflect its disc-shaped noseleaf and to honor Ms Siriporn Thongaree, former head of Halabala Wildlife Research Station.

The species is believed to be very rare as it is known from only 3 specimens collected during the last 15 years from a very small area around the wildlife research station. It was initially suspected to be just a new species of the well-known Megaderma which is the common genus in the area. However, after a comparison to specimens of other known genera of the family in natural history museums, it turns out that it cannot be assigned to any existing genera.

“It seems the new genus is the evolutionary link, as it shares characters with both Asian (Megaderma) and African (Lavia and Cardioderma) genera. And we have a plan to continue studying more in details of the phylogeography of this interesting family. It is a very rare bat - but we believe that it is very likely to be found in peninsular Malaysia too” said Dr. Pipat Soisook, [PSUNHM], Prince of Songkla University, the senior author of the paper.

Although there are groups of scientist have been working actively in Southeast Asia, the find of this new bat suggests that there are more species out there, particularly in forest habitats, in the region to be discovered.

“This is a fantastic discovery. To find a new genus of mammal is extraordinarily rare. After over 250 years of research there are only 202 bat genera known worldwide and only 43 recorded from Thailand. It represents Thailand's only endemic genus of bat and only its third endemic bat species. PSU team has done a brilliant piece of scientific detective work to discover and describe this fascinating new bat” said Dr. Paul Bates, Harrison Institute, a co-author of the paper.

Scientists find a new genus of false vampire from Thailand


Endemic mammals of Thailand: Limestone Rat Niviventer hinpoon, a horseshoe bat Rhinolophus thailandensis, the Bala Tube-nosed Bat Murina balaensis, Williamson’s Mouse-deer Tragulus williamsoni. A genus of false vampire bat, Eudiscoderma thongareeae. The extinct Schomburgk's Deer Rucervus schomburgki.

[Invertebrate • 2015] Desmoxytes rhinoceros & D. rhinoparva • Two New Sspecies of Dragon Millipedes, Genus Desmoxytes Chamnerlin, 1923, from Laos (Diplopoda: Polydesmida: Paradoxosomatidae), with Redescriptions of All Four Species of Attems from Vietnam

Desmoxytes rhinoceros (Top) is found in southern Laos, whereas D. rhinoparva (Bottom) is from northern Laos
 (Credit: Animal Systematics Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University)
Two new species of Desmoxytes are described and abundantly illustrated: D. rhinoceros sp. n. and D. rhinoparva sp. n., from southern and northern Laos, respectively. Illustrated redescriptions of all four Vietnamese Desmoxytes species proposed by Carl Attems are also provided, based on type material.

Keywords: Millipede, Desmoxytes, new species, Laos

Desmoxytes rhinoceros is found in southern Laos,
 (Credit: Animal Systematics Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University)

Likhitrakarn, Natdanai, Sergei I. Golovatch & Somsak Panha. 2015. Two New Sspecies of Dragon Millipedes, Genus Desmoxytes Chamnerlin, 1923, from Laos (Diplopoda: Polydesmida: Paradoxosomatidae), with Redescriptions of All Four Species of Attems from Vietnam. Zootaxa. 3931(4): 483–504.

Scientists have named two new species from the bizarre-looking group of dragon millipedes – the first to be discovered in Laos

Sergei I. Golovatch, Youbang Li, Weixin Liu, and Jean-Jacques Geoffroy. 2012. Three new cavernicolous species of dragon millipedes, genus Desmoxytes Chamberlin, 1923, from southern China, with notes on a formal congener from the Philippines (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae). Zookeys. 2012; (185): 1–17.  doi:  10.3897/zookeys.185.3082

[Mollusca • 2015] Illustrated Type Catalogue of Amphidromus Albers, 1850 in the Natural History Museum, London, and Descriptions of Two New Species; Amphidromus (Syndromus) globonevilli & A. (S.) principalis, from Thailand

Shells and live snails characteristics.
  A Living snail of Amphidromus (Syndromus) globonevilli Sutcharit and Panha, sp. n. from the type locality with a shell height of approximately 20 mm
Living snail of A. (Syndromus) principalis Sutcharit and Panha, sp. n. from the type locality with a shell height of approximately 25 mm
A. (Syndromus) globonevilli Sutcharit and Panha, sp. n. C holotype CUMZ 4925 and D–F paratypes CUMZ 4927
G–I Syntypes UMZC of A. sinensis (Benson, 1851) from China
A. (Syndromus) principalis Sutcharit and Panha, sp. n. J holotype CUMZ 2543 and K, L paratypes CUMZ 2478.

The collection of the Southeast Asian tree snail genus Amphidromus Albers, 1850 at the Natural History Museum, London includes more than 100 lots of type specimens representing 85 name-bearing types, 9 paratypes and 6 paralectotypes, and one nomen nudum. Lectotypes are here designated for A. cambojiensis, A. perakensis globosus, A. columellaris gloriosa, A. maculiferus inflata, A. lepidus, A. sinistralis lutea, A. moniliferus, A. maculiferus obscura, A. sinistralis rosea and A. sinensi vicaria. In addition, the missing types of A.A. Gould were discovered and their type status is discussed. A complete catalogue of these types, including colour photographs is provided for the first time. After examining these type specimens, two new Amphidromus species, Amphidromus (Syndromus) globonevilli Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n. and Amphidromus (Syndromus) principalis Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n. were recognized and are described herein.

Keywords: Tree snails, systematics, molluscs, type specimen, Southeast Asia, NHM, taxonomy

Amphidromus (Syndromus) principalis Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n.
(แอมฟิโดรมัส พรินซิพาลิส)
Type locality: Koh Kra, about 30 km off the east coast of Pak Phanang, Nakhon Srithammarat in the Gulf of Thailand 

Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from the Latin “principalis” meaning “leader” and refers to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who chaired the Plant Genetic Conservation Project as a Royal Initiation to support biodiversity in Thailand. The malacological survey on Koh Kra in 2000 was part of an expedition supported by this project.

Distribution: This new species is known only from the type locality.

Remarks: Amphidromus principalis Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n. is known only from the type locality, the granitic island. The forestation type on the island was dry evergreen forest, the snails were found crawling on the tree leaves, trunks or branches of almost all trees up to 10 m height. We also explored two other satellite islands but found no Amphidromus on these islands or any other terrestrial snails other than subulinids.

เก็บตัวอย่างมาตั้งแต่ปี พ.ศ. 2543 จากการลงสำรวจพื้นที่เกาะกระ จังหวัดนครศรีธรรมราช ซึ่งเป็นพื้นที่โครงการอนุรักษ์พันธุกรรมพืนอันเนื่องจากมาจากพระราชดำริสมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดาฯ สยามบรมราชกุมารี และได้ค้นพบหอยต้นไม้สวยงามชนิดใหม่มีสีเหลืองสดใส ซึ่งสมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดาฯ พระราชทานชื่อหอยว่า 'หอยบุษราคัม' ชื่อวิทยาศาสตร์ว่า Amphidromus principalis Sutcharit & Panha, 2015 (แอมฟิโดรมัส พรินซิพาลิส) ทั้งนี้ คำว่า 'principalis' เป็นภาษาละติน มีความหมายว่า 'of the princess' อันหมายถึงองค์สมเด็จพระเทพฯ

                      "สำหรับคุณลักษณะของหอยบุษราคัมนั้น เปลือกมีสีเหลืองแวววาวเปรียบดั่งพลอยบุษราคัมล้ำค่า และมีลายเส้นสีเหลืองเข้มพาดตั้งฉากกับแนววงเปลือก เปลือกวงสุดท้ายมีสีเหลืองเข้มกว่าวงเปลือกด้านบน ขนาดเปลือกสูง 2.5 - 3.6 เซนติเมตร (ซม.) กว้าง 1.5 - 2.0 ซม. ส่วนลำตัวสีขาวนวลถึงสีครีมไม่มีลวดลาย ชอบอาศัยอยู่บนต้นไม้ในป่าดิบชื้นตามเกาะในอ่าวไทย บริโภคสาหร่ายและไลเคนบนผิวต้นไม้ ดำรงชีวิตบนต้นไม้ตลอดชีวิต มีเปลือกเวียนทางด้านซ้ายทุกตัวทั้งประชากร ศัตรูธรรมชาติ คือนกหลายชนิดและหนู มีการผลิตเมือกจากเท้าและแมนเทิลที่ทำสีขาวใส ช่วยเคลือบผิวลำตัวให้ขาวมันแวววาว มีสารที่เป็นประโยชน์ต่อการบำรุงผิวพรรณที่ละเอียดอ่อน มีศักยภาพไปสู่อุตสาหกรรมเวชสำอางได้อีกด้วย โดยปัจจุบันพบหอยบุษราคัม ที่เกาะกระ เพียงแห่งเดียว จึงถือเป็นทรัพยากรสำคัญและมีมูลค่าแก่การอนุรักษ์บนผืนป่าในหมู่เกาะแห่งท้องทะเลไทย"

'หอยนกเหลืองแม่สอด' หรือ หอยนกขมิ้นขอบวงน้ำตาล
Amphidromus globonevilli Sutcharit & Panha, 2015 (แอมฟิโดรมัส โกลโบเนวิลไล

พบที่อำเภอแม่สอด จังหวัดตาก หอยชนิดนี้อาศัยเฉพาะถิ่นบนต้นไม้ตลอดชีวิต เปลือกมีสีเหลืองและใต้ขอบวงมีแถบสีน้ำตาล เปลือกวงสุดท้ายมีแถบสีน้ำตาลสองแถบตามแนววงเปลือกใกล้กับปากเปลือก ขนาดเปลือกสูง 1.8 - 2.3 ซม. กว้าง 1.2 - 1.5 ซม. ลำตัวหอยสีขาวนวลถึงสีครีม หรือน้ำตาลอ่อน

Chirasak Sutcharit, Jonathan Ablett, Piyoros Tongkerd, Fred Naggs and Somsak Panha. 2015. Illustrated Type Catalogue of Amphidromus Albers, 1850 in the Natural History Museum, London, and Descriptions of Two New Species. ZooKeys. 492: 49-105. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.492.8641 

เปิดตัว หอยบุษราคัม หอยต้นไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลก http://www.manager.co.th/science/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9580000102060 via @ASTVScience
'หอยบุษราคัม'ชนิดใหม่-ชื่อพระราชทาน: http://www.komchadluek.net/detail/20150909/213093.html

Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Pristimantis mutabilis • Phenotypic Plasticity raises Questions for Taxonomically Important Traits: A Remarkable New Andean Rainfrog (Pristimantis) with the Ability to Change Skin Texture

Figure 2. Skin texture variation in one individual frog (Pristimantis mutabilis) from Reserva Las Gralarias (Pichincha, Ecuador). Note that skin texture shifts from highly tubercular to almost smooth; also, note the relative size of tubercles on the eyelid, lower lip, and limbs. The frog was found on a leaf during the night (left photograph) and photographed in the laboratory (photograph with white background) the following morning.


We describe a new frog, Pristimantis mutabilis sp. nov., from the Andes of Ecuador. Individuals of the new species are remarkable for their ability to change skin texture from tuberculate to almost smooth in a few minutes, being the first documented amphibian species to show such dramatic phenotypic plasticity. The new taxon is assigned to the P. myersi group. It differs from other members of its group by body size (adult males 17.2–17.4 mm; adult females 20.9–23.2 mm), arboreal habitat, and red flash coloration in females. We document three call types for the new species, which differ through their number of notes and amplitude peaks. The three types are pulsed calls that share a dominant frequency of 3186.9–3445.3 Hz. Surprisingly, we also document similar skin texture plasticity in species (P. sobetes) from a different species group, suggesting that this ability might be more common than previously thought. The discovery of these variable species poses challenges to amphibian taxonomists and field biologists, who have traditionally used skin texture and presence/absence of tubercles as important discrete traits in diagnosing and identifying species. Reciprocal monophyly and genetic distances also support the validity of the new species, as it has distances of 15.1–16.3% (12S) and 16.4–18.6% (16S) from the most similar species, Pristimantis verecundus. Additionally, each of the two known populations of Pristimantis mutabilis are reciprocally monophyletic and exhibit a high genetic distance between them (5.0–6.5%). This pattern is best explained by the presence of a dry valley (Guayllabamba River) that seems to be acting as a dispersal barrier. 

Figure 3. Pristimantis mutabilis sp. nov. in life.
A, B, Sub-adult male, MZUTI 2191, photographed in its natural habitat during the night (top left) and under laboratory conditions during the day (top right). C, Adult female in dorsolateral view, MZUTI 910. D, Adult female in ventral view, MZUTI 911.

Pristimantis mutabilis Guayasamin, Krynak, Krynak, Culebras, & Hutter, sp. nov

Common English name: Mutable Rainfrog.
Common Spanish name: Cutín Mutable.

Juan M. Guayasamin, Tim Krynak, Katherine Krynak, Jaime Culebras and Carl R. Hutter. 2015. Phenotypic Plasticity raises Questions for Taxonomically Important Traits: A Remarkable New Andean Rainfrog (Pristimantis) with the Ability to Change Skin Texture. 
Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 173(4); 913–928. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12222

[Mammalogy • 2014] Taxonomic Notes and Distribution Extension of Durga Das’s Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros durgadasi Khajuria, 1970 (Chiroptera: Hipposideridae) from south India

Durga Das’s leaf-nosed bat, Hipposideros durgadasi, male (NHM.OU.CHI. K10.2014)
from Hanumanhalli, Kolar district, Karnataka, India
[upper left] Skull and mandible: c. maxilla lateral view; e. mandible lateral view
  [lower left] Distribution map of Hipposideros durgadasi, showing known locality records (in yellow) from Madhya Pradesh and new records (in red) in Karnataka, India.
doi: 10.3897/BDJ.2.e4127

Durga Das’s leaf-nosed bat Hipposideros durgadasi Khajuria, 1970 is endemic to India, and was known only from Katanga, Katangi, and Richhai villages, in Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh. During surveys conducted in Kolar district, Karnataka, India, we successfully mist-netted a few individuals belonging to the bicolor species group which, upon detailed external, craniodental and bacular studies were identified as Durga Das’s leaf-nosed bat. This paper reports the presence of this species in southern India, extending its distribution range by almost 1300 km. We also provide a detailed morphological description for this species.

Keywords: Hipposideros durgadasi, Kolar, India, Hanumanhalli, Therahalli, range extension, morphological description

Figure 1. Durga Das’s leaf-nosed bat, Hipposideros durgadasi, male (NHM.OU.CHI. K10.2014) from Hanumanhalli, Kolar district, Karnataka, India

Harpreet Kaur, Srinivasulu Chelmala, Bhargavi Srinivasulu, Tariq Ahmed Shah, Gundena Devender and Aditya Srinivasulu. 2014. Taxonomic Notes and Distribution Extension of Durga Das’s Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros durgadasi Khajuria, 1970 (Chiroptera: Hipposideridae) from south India. Biodiversity Data Journal. 2: e4127 (20 Nov 2014)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Revision and Phylogeny of Narrow-mouthed Treefrogs (Cophyla) from northern Madagascar: Integration of Molecular, Osteological, and Bioacoustic Data reveals Three New Species; Cophyla puellarum, C. noromalalae & C. maharipeo

Cophyla puellarum, C. noromalalae et C. maharipeo   Rakotoarison, Crottini, Müller, Rödel, Glaw & Vences. 2015


We provide a revision of microhylid treefrogs of the genus Cophyla, the type genus of the subfamily Cophylinae. A phylogeny inferred from DNA sequences of multiple mitochondrial and nuclear genes, with representatives of all cophyline genera except Madecassophryne and including representatives of the two most divergent intrageneric lineages within Cophyla, placed Cophyla as sister group of Platypelis and confirmed both genera as reciprocally monophyletic. We describe three new Cophyla species based on osteological, morphological and bioacoustic characters as well as genetic differentiation in one nuclear and several mitochondrial markers. As in the vast majority of cophylines, all species of Cophyla emit long, stereotyped repetitions of a single tonal note, and we here consider one of these notes as a call; call duration thus equals note duration and the intervals between calls are named inter-call intervals. Cophyla maharipeo sp. nov. collected in Joffreville and Forêt d’Ambre Special Reserve (adult SVL 22–27 mm) is characterized by having long calls (1166–1346 ms) with long inter-call intervals (2154–3881 ms). Cophyla noromalalae sp. nov. collected in Montagne d’Ambre National Park (adult SVL 22–29 mm) is characterized by having short calls (662–821 ms) and short inter-call intervals (874–1882 ms). Cophyla puellarum sp. nov., also from Montagne d’Ambre National Park, is larger than the other two species (adult SVL 27.3–33.6 mm) and characterized by the shortest calls (326–390 ms) and long inter-call intervals (1961–3996 ms). Osteological analyses based on micro-CT scans and cleared and stained specimens confirms that the shape of the posterior vomer (centrally divided vs. undivided) may be a useful character to diagnose most species as belonging to either Platypelis and Cophyla, and suggest the absence of clavicles (present in Platypelis) is a derived character of most Cophyla. However, clavicles were present in C. puellarum, the only known Cophyla occurring at relatively high elevations (1250–1300 m a.s.l.) while otherwise in northern Madagascar, forests at higher elevations up to 2700 m a.s.l. are occupied by Platypelis species. Cophyla maharipeo was found at relatively low elevations (630–720 m a.s.l.), similar to the three previously known congeners (C. berara, C. occultans, C. phyllodactyla). Cophyla noromalalae occurs at intermediate elevations (900–1050 m a.s.l.). The molecular phylogeny inferred herein suggests that the ancestor of a clade containing all Cophyla species except C. puellarum evolved a modified shoulder girdle structure without ossified clavicles, and adapted to low-elevation habitats.

Keywords: Amphibia, Anura, Microhylidae, Platypelis, conservation status, integrative taxonomy, Montagne d'Ambre, micro-CT scanning

Rakotoarison, Andolalao, Angelica Crottini, Johannes Müller, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences. 2015. Revision and Phylogeny of Narrow-mouthed Treefrogs (Cophyla) from northern Madagascar: Integration of Molecular, Osteological, and Bioacoustic Data reveals Three New Species.
Zootaxa. 3937(1): 61–89. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3937.1.3

Vences, M., Andreone, F. and Glaw, F. 2005. A new microhylid frog of the genus Cophyla from a transitional forest in northwestern Madagascar. African Zoology. 143-149.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Pareas atayal • Diversity of the Snail-eating Snakes Pareas (Serpentes, Pareatidae) from Taiwan

Pareas from Taiwan, the Ryukyus and adjacent regions: Pareas atayal sp. nov., P. komaii, P. formosensis and P. iwasakii.
Figure 4. A comparison of body coloration, iris coloration and scales among;
Pareas atayal
sp. nov. is characterized by its yellow iris and slightly keeled dorsals (A, B, and C);

P. komaii is characterized by its yellow iris, strongly keeled dorsals and usually darker coloration (D, E and F).
Pareas formosensis is especially distinguishable from the formers by its red iris and totally smooth dorsals (G, H and I), and
P. iwasakii is distinguishable by its extra-elongated head and jaw (J, K and L).
Photographed by C.-W. You. | DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12111

Pareatidae are a group of mollusc-eating snakes widely distributed in Southeastern Asia. Due to their dietary specialization, the asymmetric dentition of pareatids has recently become an interesting issue in evolutionary biology. However, phylogenetic relationships and species diversity of pareatids are still poorly studied. A total of three Pareas species, P. formosanus (Van Denburgh 1909), P. compressus (Oshima 1910) and P. komaii (Maki 1931), have been reported for Taiwan. However, only P. formosanus is currently regarded as a valid species. Using mitochondrial sequence phylogeny, nuclear c-mos haplotype network, as well as multivariate morphometrics, we re-evaluated the taxonomic status of Pareas from Taiwan, the Ryukyus and adjacent regions. These lines of evidence showed congruent results for the coexistence of three Pareas species in Taiwan, with prominent genetic and morphological differentiation and differing level of dentition asymmetry. The currently used name P. formosanus should be applied only to the snakes with red iris, comparatively short lower jaw and totally smooth dorsal scales. An examination of the type material indicated that the name P. compressus should be regarded as a junior synonym of P. formosensis sensu stricto. Pareas komaii (Oshima 1910) is confirmed as a valid taxon with yellow iris, elongated lower jaw and strongly keeled dorsals. The third clade is characterized by a yellow iris, elongated lower jaw and weakly keeled dorsals. Despite their sympatric occurrence, every examined individual showed consistent grouping from mitochondrial, nuclear and morphological markers, indicating there is no gene flow among these three clades. Here, we describe the third clade as a new specie, Pareas atayal sp. nov. 

Etymology: The new species is named with reference to its distribution which is similar to the native Taiwan aboriginal people, the Atayal, inhabiting mountain regions of northern Taiwan. Common name in English: ‘Atayal Slug-eating Snake’.

Chung-Wei You, Nikolay A Poyarkov and Si-Min Lin. 2015. Diversity of the Snail-eating Snakes Pareas (Serpentes, Pareatidae) from Taiwan. Zoologica Scripta. 00:0-0. DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12111

很高興為大家正式介紹這個大家最近常聽到的新朋友:「泰雅鈍頭蛇」(Pareas atayal),和一個失聯已久的老朋友:「駒井氏鈍頭蛇」(Pareas komaii)。我們關於台灣三種鈍頭蛇的描述文章已經於近日公開在 Zoological Scripta 的期刊網站。.... 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Paleontology • 2015] Carnufex carolinensis • Early Crocodylomorph increases Top Tier Predator Diversity During Rise of Dinosaurs

Carnufex carolinensis  Zanno, Drymala, Nesbitt & Schneider, 2015

Triassic predatory guild evolution reflects a period of ecological flux spurred by the catastrophic end-Permian mass extinction and terminating with the global ecological dominance of dinosaurs in the early Jurassic. In responding to this dynamic ecospace, terrestrial predator diversity attained new levels, prompting unique trophic webs with a seeming overabundance of carnivorous taxa and the evolution of entirely new predatory clades. Key among these was Crocodylomorpha, the largest living reptiles and only one of two archosaurian lineages that survive to the present day. In contrast to their existing role as top, semi-aquatic predators, the earliest crocodylomorphs were generally small-bodied, terrestrial faunivores, occupying subsidiary (meso) predator roles. Here we describe Carnufex carolinensis a new, unexpectedly large-bodied taxon with a slender and ornamented skull from the Carnian Pekin Formation (~231 Ma), representing one of the oldest and earliest diverging crocodylomorphs described to date. Carnufex bridges a problematic gap in the early evolution of pseudosuchians by spanning key transitions in bauplan evolution and body mass near the origin of Crocodylomorpha. With a skull length of >50 cm, the new taxon documents a rare instance of crocodylomorphs ascending to top-tier predator guilds in the equatorial regions of Pangea prior to the dominance of dinosaurs.


Figure 1: Three dimensional skull reconstruction and representative elements of Carnufex carolinensis (NCSM 21558).

Systematic Paleontology
Archosauria Cope, 1869. Pseudosuchia Zittel, 1887–1890. 

Crocodylomorpha Walker, 1968 sensu Nesbitt 2011. 

Carnufex carolinensis gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: Carnufex (Latin) butcher; carolinensis, in reference to the region of discovery.

Figure 2: Evolutionary relationships, chronostratigraphic distribution, and estimated body size for putatively terrestrial, carnivorous archosaurians of the Triassic and earliest Jurassic.
(a) Chronostratigraphically calibrated strict consensus tree showing taxonomy and relationships of the pseudosuchian clade Loricata. Carnufex carolinensis posited as a basalmost crocodylomorph. (b) Chronostratigraphically calibrated, bivariate plots of body size in terrestrial carnivorous archosaur clades with clade-specific temporal distributions summarized on the y-axis, and Triassic and earliest Jurassic body size ranges summarized on lower and upper x-axes, respectively. (c) Body size distribution in the Triassic divided by proto-Laurasia and proto-Gondwana. (d) Tetrapod composition of the Carnian-aged Pekin Formation (~231 Ma) to scale. Size estimates based on the proxy femur length (FL) in mm. Error bars denote stratigraphic and FL uncertainty.

Lindsay E. Zanno, Susan Drymala, Sterling J. Nesbitt and Vincent P. Schneider. 2015. Early Crocodylomorph increases Top Tier Predator Diversity During Rise of Dinosaurs. Scientific Reports. 5, Article number: 9276 doi: 10.1038/srep09276

Carnivorous Croc Cousin Stalked the Triassic Carolinas
http://on.natgeo.com/1Gzvkcz   @ngphenomena

Friday, March 20, 2015

[PaleoMammalogy • 2015] Ancient Proteins resolve the Evolutionary History of Darwin’s South American Ungulates

The South American native ungulate Macrauchenia patachonica may have had a mobile proboscis, as pictured here.
Illustration: Peter Schouten

No large group of recently extinct placental mammals remains as evolutionarily cryptic as the approximately 280 genera grouped as ‘South American native ungulates’. To Charles Darwin, who first collected their remains, they included perhaps the ‘strangest animal[s] ever discovered’. Today, much like 180 years ago, it is no clearer whether they had one origin or several, arose before or after the Cretaceous/Palaeogene transition 66.2 million years ago, or are more likely to belong with the elephants and sirenians of superorder Afrotheria than with the euungulates (cattle, horses, and allies) of superorder Laurasiatheria. Morphology-based analyses have proved unconvincing because convergences are pervasive among unrelated ungulate-like placentals. Approaches using ancient DNA have also been unsuccessful, probably because of rapid DNA degradation in semitropical and temperate deposits. Here we apply proteomic analysis to screen bone samples of the Late Quaternary South American native ungulate taxa Toxodon (Notoungulata) and Macrauchenia (Litopterna) for phylogenetically informative protein sequences. For each ungulate, we obtain approximately 90% direct sequence coverage of type I collagen α1- and α2-chains, representing approximately 900 of 1,140 amino-acid residues for each subunit. A phylogeny is estimated from an alignment of these fossil sequences with collagen (I) gene transcripts from available mammalian genomes or mass spectrometrically derived sequence data obtained for this study. The resulting consensus tree agrees well with recent higher-level mammalian phylogenies. Toxodon and Macrauchenia form a monophyletic group whose sister taxon is not Afrotheria or any of its constituent clades as recently claimed, but instead crown Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses). These results are consistent with the origin of at least some South American native ungulates from ‘condylarths’, a paraphyletic assembly of archaic placentals. With ongoing improvements in instrumentation and analytical procedures, proteomics may produce a revolution in systematics such as that achieved by genomics, but with the possibility of reaching much further back in time.


Figure 2: Relationship of Toxodon (Notoungulata) and Macrauchenia (Litopterna) to other placental mammals.

Fauna and flora of a South American dry forest during the Pleistocene.
Illustration: Peter Schouten (from "Biggest, Fiercest, Strangest", W. Norton Publishers, in production)

Frido Welker, Matthew J. Collins, Jessica A. Thomas, Marc Wadsley, Selina Brace, Enrico Cappellini, Samuel T. Turvey, Marcelo Reguero, Javier N. Gelfo, Alejandro Kramarz, Joachim Burger, Jane Thomas-Oates, David A. Ashford, Peter D. Ashton, Keri Rowsell, Duncan M. Porter, Benedikt Kessler, Roman Fischer, Carsten Baessmann, Stephanie Kaspar, Jesper V. Olsen, Patrick Kiley, James A. Elliott, Christian D. Kelstrup, Victoria Mullin, Michael Hofreiter, Eske Willerslev, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Ludovic Orlando, Ian Barnes and Ross D. E. MacPhee. 2015. Ancient Proteins resolve the Evolutionary History of Darwin’s South American Ungulates. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14249

Protein is the clue to solving a Darwinian mystery
Bone collagen sequences prove that South American native ungulates are closely related to horses, rhinos and tapirs but not to elephants

​Paleontologists Solve the Mystery of Darwin’s 'Strangest Animals Ever'

Darwin’s “Strangest” Beast Finds Place on Tree
http://on.natgeo.com/1LAcxEt  @ngphenomena

[Ichthyology • 2014] DNA Barcoding reveals Novel Insights into Pterygophagy and Prey Selection in Distichodontid Fishes (Characiformes: Distichodontidae)

DNA barcoding was used to investigate dietary habits and prey selection in members of the African-endemic family Distichodontidae noteworthy for displaying highly specialized ectoparasitic fin-eating behaviors (pterygophagy). Fin fragments recovered from the stomachs of representatives of three putatively pterygophagous distichodontid genera (Phago, Eugnathichthys, and Ichthyborus) were sequenced for the mitochondrial gene co1. DNA barcodes (co1 sequences) were then used to identify prey items in order to determine whether pterygophagous distichodontids are opportunistic generalists or strict specialists with regard to prey selection and, whether as previously proposed, aggressive mimicry is used as a strategy for successful pterygophagy. Our findings do not support the hypothesis of aggressive mimicry suggesting instead that, despite the possession of highly specialized trophic anatomies, fin-eating distichodontids are opportunistic generalists, preying on fishes from a wide phylogenetic spectrum and to the extent of engaging in cannibalism. This study demonstrates how DNA barcoding can be used to shed light on evolutionary and ecological aspects of highly specialized ectoparasitic fin-eating behaviors by enabling the identification of prey species from small pieces of fins found in fish stomachs.

Keywords: Ectoparasitic fin-eating behaviors; mtDNA; stomach contents; trophic ecology

Figure 2. Characteristically damaged fins in Phago specimens victims of pterygophagy. Scale bars represent 1 cm.

Figure 1. Variation in jaw anatomy in pterygophagous distichodontids represented in this study by the genera Phago (A), Eugnathichthys (B), and Ichthyborus (C).
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1321

Jairo Arroyave and Melanie L. J. Stiassny. 2014. DNA Barcoding reveals Novel Insights into Pterygophagy and Prey Selection in Distichodontid Fishes (Characiformes: Distichodontidae). Ecology and Evolution. 4(23); 4534–4542. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1321

NEW RESEARCH: DNA Barcoding Reveals Cannibal Fish With a Broad Appetite for Fins

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Rhacophorus malkmusi • A New Species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Gunung Kinabalu, Borneo

Figure 7. Photographs of live specimens of Rhacophorus malkmusi and morphologically similar Bornean Rhacophorus species.
A) Rhacophorus belalongensis, adult female (holotype) from Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre, Brunei Darussalam; B) R. gadingensis, adult female from Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia;
C) Rhacophorus gauni, adult female from Sungai Melinau Paku, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia; D) Rhacophorus malkmusi, adult female (paratype) from Sungai Langanan, Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Malaysia (Photo: R. Malkmus);
E) Rhacophorus gauni, adult male from Sungai Melinau Paku, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia; F) Rhacophorus malkmusi, adult male (topotype) from Sungai Langanan, Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Malaysia.

A new species of Rhacophorus from the eastern slope of Gunung Kinabalu (Sabah, North Borneo) is described. It is similar to, and has previously been confused with, R. gauni, but differs from it by length and shape of head, less extensive webbing between fingers and toes, presence of vomerine ridges and teeth, absence of a pointed tubercle on the upper eyelid, relatively larger interorbital width, and a smaller thenar tubercle. Characteristics of the advertisement call and ecological data are provided.
Key words. Amphibia, Rhacophorus malkmusi sp. n., R. gauni, Sabah, Malaysia, taxonomy

J. Maximilian Dehling. 2015. A New Species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Gunung Kinabalu, Borneo. SALAMANDRA. 51(1); 1–11

Monday, March 16, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Multilocus Phylogeny and A New Classification for Southeast Asian and Melanesian Forest Frogs (family Ceratobatrachidae)

Figure 2. Molecular phylogenetic estimate of major ceratobatrachid relationships based on maximum likelihood analysis of two mitochondrial gene partitions (12S–16S) and three nuclear genes (proopiomelanocortin, recombinase activating gene 1, and tyrosinase; 11-partition model: Table 2). Maximum likelihood bootstrap and Bayesian posterior probability values are included. Boxed letters denoting selected nodes of interest are discussed in the text. Node B is Ceratobatrachidae. As illustrated, the tree is unrooted, and to save space the outgroups (Node A) are shown as if they form a clade, which they do not. The root of the tree lies on the branch between Kaloula and all other taxa. Photographs of selected species are included (approximately to scale), with current taxonomy summarized at tree tips (compare with revised taxonomy, summarized in Fig. 3). Nodal support: black dots ≥ 0.95 and ≥ 70 maximum likelihood bootstrap support (MLBS); grey dots ≥ 0.75, posterior probabilities (PP) ≤ 0.95, and ≥ 50 MLBS ≤ 70. Support values provided (as MLBS/PP) for weakly supported nodes and nodes with disparate levels of support between analyses.

We present a near comprehensive, densely sampled, multilocus phylogenetic estimate of species relationships within the anuran family Ceratobatrachidae, a morphologically and ecologically diverse group of frogs from the island archipelagos of Southeast Asia and the South-West Pacific. Ceratobatrachid frogs consist of three clades: a small clade of enigmatic, primarily high-elevation, semi-aquatic Sundaland species currently assigned to Ingerana (for which we erect a new genus), which is the sister taxon of two large, monophyletic radiations, each situated on islands on either side of Wallace's Line. One radiation is composed of Philippine species of Platymantis and the other contains all taxa from the eastern Indonesian, New Guinean, Solomon, Bismarck, and Fijian archipelagos. Several additional genera (Batrachylodes, Discodeles, Ceratobatrachus, and Palmatorappia) are nested within Platymantis, and of these Batrachylodes and Discodeles are nonmonophyletic. To address the widespread paraphyly of the genus Platymantis and several additional nomenclatural issues, we undertook a wholesale nomenclatural reorganization of the family. Given our partially unresolved phylogeny, and in order to impart a conservative, stable taxonomy, involving a minimal number of genus-species couplet changes, we propose a conservative classification representing a few compromises. These changes are designed to preserve maximally the presumed original intent of taxonomy (widely used group names associated with morphological and ecological diversity of particular species or groups of species) while implementing a hierarchical system that is consistent with the estimate of phylogeny based on new molecular data.

Keywords: admiralty webbed frogs; evolutionary radiation; new genus; New Guinean wrinkled frogs; Philippine forest frogs; phylogenetic taxonomy; Solomon horned frogs; Solomon palm frogs; Solomon sticky-toed frogs; Sundaland mountain frogs; subgenera; taxonomy

Figure 1. Distribution of the frog family Ceratobatrachidae.
Numbers of species per major region are included in parentheses.

Ranked Taxonomy for Ceratobatrachidae

Family: Ceratobatrachidae

Subfamily: Alcalinae subfam. nov.

Genus: Alcalus new genus

Subfamily: Ceratobatrachinae

Genus: Cornufer
   Cornufer (subgenus)
   Potamorana new subgenus
   Ceratobatrachus (subgenus)
   Discodeles (subgenus)
   Palmatorappia (subgenus)
   Batrachylodes (subgenus)
   Aenigmanura new subgenus

Genus: Platymantis
   Platymantis (subgenus)
   Lahatnanguri new subgenus
   Tirahanulap new subgenus
   Tahananpuno new subgenus
   Lupacolus new subgenus

Rafe M. Brown, Cameron D. Siler, Stephen J. Richards, Arvin C. Diesmos and David C. Cannatella. 2015. Multilocus Phylogeny and A New Classification for Southeast Asian and Melanesian Forest Frogs (family Ceratobatrachidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 174(1); 130–168. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12232