Monday, October 31, 2016

[Botany • 2014] Banksia vincentia • Could this be Australia’s Rarest Banksia (Proteaceae)?, A New Species Known from Fourteen Plants from south-eastern New South Wales, Australia

Banksia vincentia  M.L.Stimpson & P.H.Weston

Possession of hooked, distinctively discolorous styles, a broadly flabellate common bract subtending each flower pair, and a lignotuber place a putative new speciesBanksia sp. Jervis Bay, in the B. spinulosa complex. Phenetic analysis of individuals from all named taxa in the B. spinulosa complex, including B. sp. Jervis Bay, based on leaf, floral, seed and bract characters support recognition of this species, which is described here as Banksia vincentia M.L.Stimpson & P.H.Weston. Known only from fourteen individuals, B. vincentia is distinguished by its semi-prostrate habit, with basally prostrate, distally ascending branches from the lignotuber, and distinctive perianth colouring. Its geographical location and ecological niche also separate it from its most similar congeners.

Keywords: Basipetally, Putative, discolorous, distally, ascending

FIG 6.   Banksia vincentia  M.L.Stimpson & P.H.Weston, in its natural habitat. 
 A. Habitat and habit of B. vincentia with MLS; B. Branch with developing conflorescence; perianth yellow; C. plant with developing conflorescences; perianth orange, styles turning red; D. Developing conflorescence: perianth yellow, styles turning purple–black.

Banksia vincentia Stimpson & P.H.Weston sp. nov.
With affinities to Banksia spinulosa sensu lato, differing from other taxa in the complex by a much lower stature with stems basally prostrate from lignotuber, distally ascending.

Distribution:— Banksia vincentia is restricted to a small area near Vincentia on the south coast of New South Wales.

Derivation of Epithet:— The specific epithet is a noun in apposition that refers to the named place nearest to the only known location of this species.

Margaret L. Stimpson , Jeremy J. Bruhl and Peter H. Weston. 2014. Could this be Australia’s Rarest BanksiaBanksia vincentia (Proteaceae), A New Species Known from Fourteen Plants from south-eastern New South Wales, Australia.
Phytotaxa 163 (5): 269–286. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.163.5.3

Could this be Australia’s rarest BanksiaBanksia vincentia sp. nov.

[Entomology • 2016] Loboschiza cambodiensis & L. flavobasis • Two New Species of Loboschiza (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Olethreutinae: Enarmoniini) from Cambodia and Vietnam

Loboschiza cambodiensis 
 Heppner & Bae, 2016    


Two new species of Loboschiza are described and illustrated: Loboschiza cambodiensis n. sp., from Cambodia and Loboschiza flavobasis n. sp., from Vietnam. The two new species bring the number of described species in the genus to 19.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Asia, Cambodia, distribution, Enarmoniini, Loboschiza, Olethreutinae, Southeast Asia, taxonomy, Tortricidae, Vietnam

 John B. Heppner and Yang-Seop Bae. 2016. Two New Species of Loboschiza from Cambodia and Vietnam (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Olethreutinae: Enarmoniini).
Zootaxa.  4169(1); 171–178. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4169.1.9

[Paleontology • 2016] Aquilonifer spinosusTiny Iindividuals attached to A New Silurian Arthropod from Herefordshire Lagerstätte of England, Suggest A Unique Mode of Brood Care

Aquilonifer spinosus 
Briggs, Siveter, Siveter, Sutton & Legg, 2016  

The paper reports a remarkable arthropod from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte of England. The fossil reveals a unique association in an early Paleozoic arthropod involving tethering of 10 tiny individuals each by a single thread to the tergites so that their appearance is reminiscent of kites. The evidence suggests that these are juveniles and that the specimen records a unique brooding strategy. This is part of a diversity of complex brooding behaviors in early arthropods heralding the variety that occurs today. The possibility that the small individuals represent a different arthropod, possibly parasitic, which colonized the larger individual, seems less likely.

The ∼430-My-old Herefordshire, United Kingdom, Lagerstätte has yielded a diversity of remarkably preserved invertebrates, many of which provide fundamental insights into the evolutionary history and ecology of particular taxa. Here we report a new arthropod with 10 tiny arthropods tethered to its tergites by long individual threads. The head of the host, which is covered by a shield that projects anteriorly, bears a long stout uniramous antenna and a chelate limb followed by two biramous appendages. The trunk comprises 11 segments, all bearing limbs and covered by tergites with long slender lateral spines. A short telson bears long parallel cerci. Our phylogenetic analysis resolves the new arthropod as a stem-group mandibulate. The evidence suggests that the tethered individuals are juveniles and the association represents a complex brooding behavior. Alternative possibilities—that the tethered individuals represent a different epizoic or parasitic arthropod—appear less likely.

Keywords: Arthropod; Silurian; brood care; juvenile; Herefordshire Lagerstätte

Aquilonifer spinosus is a new genus and species of arthropod from the Herefordshire Lagerstätte, a late Wenlock (mid-Silurian) volcaniclastic deposit in Herefordshire, United Kingdom. It is preserved, as are the other fossils from this Lagerstätte, in three dimensions as a calcitic void fill in a carbonate concretion. The name of the new taxon refers to the fancied resemblance between the tethered individuals and kites, and echoes the title of the 2003 novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (aquila, eagle or kite-fer, suffix meaning carry; thus aquilonifer, kite bearer; spinosusspiny, referring to the long lateral spines on the tergites). The material is a single specimen, the holotype OUMNH C.29695, registered at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Fig. 1 and Movie S1).

Diagnosis. Features include a head shield with rostrum-like anterior projection, large uniramous antenna, chelate limb, and two other biramous appendages in the head, the last similar to those of the trunk; an elongated trunk with long, slender lateral spines on the 11 tergites, with all trunk somites bearing limbs of which all but the last are biramous; and a short telson and long cerci.


Derek E. G. Briggs, Derek J. Siveter, David J. Siveter, Mark D. Sutton and David Legg. 2016. Tiny Iindividuals attached to A New Silurian Arthropod Suggest A Unique Mode of Brood Care.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(16) DOI:  10.1073/pnas.1600489113

[Botany • 2014] Notes on Benstonea (Pandanaceae) from the Islands of Halmahera, New Guinea and Sulawesi

Figure 1. AD. Benstonea verruculosa. EG. Benstonea stenocarpa. H. Benstonea celebica.

A, E. Axillary syncarp. B. Peduncle covered by prophylls. C, D, F. Details of pileus and stigmas. G. Habit. H. Polysyncarpic pending infructescence.
A–C: From Callmander & Lasut 1551 (Photos: M. Callmander). F: Munzinger & Bau 6745 (Photo: J. Munzinger). E, G. Bau s.n. (Photos: B. Bau). H. Purwanto & al. PSU42 (Photo: Y. Purwanto & R. Polosakan).
DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.175.3.6

Benstonea (Pandanaceae) was circumscribed to include 57 species formerly placed in the genus Pandanus. Field observations, accompanied by the study of available herbarium material have brought new insights for the delimitation of certain problematic species, especially in the difficult group of species characterized by an axillary infructescence on a short peduncle covered by prophylls and the abscission of the basal portion of the drupe at maturity. New combinations, based on names in Pandanus previously treated as synonyms of Benstonea stenocarpa, are proposed for three distinct species of this group from Halmahera (Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea. The identity of Benstonea celebica, endemic to Sulawesi (Indonesia), is also elucidated and an epitype is designated for this species.

Keywords: Benstonea, Pandanaceae, Halmahera, New Guinea, Sulawesi

Benstonea celebica (Warburg 1900: 80) Callmander & Buerki in Callmander & al. (2012: 332).
Benstonea jacobsii (Stone 1984: 210) Callm., Buerki & A.P. Keim, comb. nov.
Benstonea misimaensis (St. John ex Stone 1978: 54) Callm., Buerki & A.P. Keim, comb. nov
Benstonea verruculosa (Backer ex Stone 1978: 55) Callm., Buerki & Phillipson, comb. nov.    

Martin W. Callmander, Sven Buerki,  Ary P. Keim  and Peter B. Phillipson. 2014. Notes on Benstonea (Pandanaceae) from the Islands of Halmahera, New Guinea and Sulawesi. Phytotaxa. 175 (3): 161–165. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.175.3.6

[Diplopoda • 2013] Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis • The Millipede genus Tetracentrosternus Pocock, 1895 (Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae, Alogolykinae), with A Description of the First, New Species from Thailand

Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis 
Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, 2013

Figure 1. Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis sp. n., ♂ holotype. A habitus, live coloration B, D anterior part of body, lateral and dorsal views, respectively C, E, G segments 10 and 11, dorsal, ventral and lateral views, respectively F, H posterior part of body, dorsal and lateral views, respectively I, J sternal lobe between coxae 4, sublateral and subcaudal views, respectively.


The millipede subfamily Alogolykinae and the tribe Alogolykini are recorded in Thailand for the first time, being represented there by Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis sp. n. While the new species has characteristics that place it in the genus Tetracentrosternus, it also shows a number of unique features that make it necessary to rediagnose this Oriental genus, as well as to key its three currently known species and map their distributions. The tribes Alogolykini and Polydrepanini, as well as the subfamily Alogolykinae are also briefly redefined.

Keywords: Millipede, Alogolykinae, Alogolykini, Tetracentrosternus, taxonomy, new species, Thailand


Family Paradoxosomatidae Daday, 1889
Subfamily Alogolykinae Hoffman, 1963
Tribe Alogolykini Hoffman, 1963

Genus Tetracentrosternus Pocock, 1895

Type species: Tetracentrosternus subspinosus Pocock, 1895; by monotypy.

Other species include Tetracentrosternus hoffmani Golovatch, 2013 and Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis sp. n.

Tetracentrosternus theelorsuensis sp. n. 

 Holotype: ♂ (CUMZ), Thailand, Tak Province, Umphang District, Thee Lor Sue Waterfall, 590 m a.s.l., 15°55'38"N, 98°45'13"E (converted from GPS data), 19.01.2011, leg. N. Likhitrakarn.
Paratypes: ♂ (CUMZ), same District, Mokro Subdistrict, roadside, 1, 168 m a.s.l., 16°14'14"N, 98°59'23"E, 20.01.2011, leg. N. Likhitrakarn. 5 ♀, 1 juv. (CUMZ), same District, Pa Wai Waterfall, 804 m a.s.l., 16°34'30"N, 98°50'3"E, 20.01.2011, leg. S. Panha, C. Sutcharit & N. Likhitrakarn.

Name: After Thee Lor Sue Waterfall, the type locality, which is the largest and highest waterfall in Thailand.

 Likhitrakarn, N., Golovatch, S.I. and Panha, S. 2013 The Millipede genus Tetracentrosternus Pocock, 1895 (Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae, Alogolykinae, Alogolykini), with A Description of the First, New Species from Thailand.
ZooKeys. 358: 1–10. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.358.6582

[Ichthyology • 2016] A Review of the Callogobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Red Sea with the Description of A New Species, Callogobius pilosimentum

 Callogobius pilosimentum  
Delventhal, Mooi, Bogorodsky & Mal, 2016

FIGURE 2. Callogobius pilosimentum sp. nov., live coloration:
A. SMF 35756, holotype, female, 36.4 mm SL, Farasan Island, Saudi Arabia;  C. SMF 35760, paratype, female, 55.8 mm SL, Obhur, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Photos by SVB.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4179.2.3  


Five species of Callogobius Bleeker have been previously reported from the Red Sea: C. amikami Goren, Miroz & Baranes, C. clarki (Goren), C. dori Goren, C. flavobrunneus (Smith), and Cmaculipinnis (Fowler). Records of C. bifasciatus (Smith) in the Red Sea are referable to C. clarkiCallogobius amikami has been previously known only from a single specimen, the holotype from the Red Sea, and two photographs, a live juvenile from Oman and a live specimen at an aquarium at Coral World, Eilat. We obtained a possible additional juvenile from the Red Sea, although we are unable to definitively determine its identity. Red Sea specimens previously identified as C. maculipinnis [or C. irrasus (Smith)] represent a new species, distinguished from the latter by normally having four sets of transverse mandibular rows on each side (rather than three); this species is described here as Callogobius pilosimentum sp. nov. Four specimens of an additional, undescribed species of CallogobiusC. sp. A, have been collected from the Red Sea, but we withhold a formal description because this species is currently under study by colleagues. Callogobius sclateri (Steindachner), previously known from the Indo-West Pacific, is reported from the Red Sea for the first time. A key to all seven species is provided. Each species is photographed, habitat is described and a brief description with detailed comparisons is provided. The new species and C. clarki are endemic to the Red Sea.

Keywords: Pisces, taxonomy, endemism, key

Callogobius pilosimentum sp. nov.
Hairy-chinned Flapheaded Goby

Drombus irrasus (non Smith)—Goren 1979: 36.
Callogobius irrasus (non Smith)—Goren 1980: 213; Dor 1984: 241.
Callogobius maculipinnis (non Fowler)—Goren et al. 1991: 299; Goren & Dor 1994: 53; Golani & Bogorodsky 2010: 46.

Diagnosis. Callogobius pilosimentum is distinguished from all other known Callogobius species by the following combination of characters: interorbital canal normally containing pores B’, C, D, E, F, G and H’; preopercular canal containing pores M’, N, and O’; temporal canal containing pores K’ and L’; scales in lateral series 21–25 (usually 24); normally four transverse mandibular papillae rows (Row 16) on each side.

Etymology. The species name is derived from the Latin pilosus meaning “hairy” and mentum meaning “chin”, referring to the extra rows of papillae on the chin. Specific epithet to be treated as a noun in apposition. Suggested common name: hairy-chinned flapheaded goby.

Distribution and habitat. Restricted to the Red Sea. It is usually collected in shelters or close to shelters on small sand flats (about 0.5–1 m across) of steep slopes, sometimes at the base of coral reefs, in closed areas in bays and lagoons, at depths of 1–20 m.

FIGURE 3. Callogobius amikami Goren, Miroz & Baranes:
B. Aquarium specimen in 1993, Coral World, Eilat, about 40 mm TL, collected by A. Miroz. C. Callogobius cf. amikami, live coloration, SMF 35770, juvenile, 7.2 mm SL, Al Wajh bank, Saudi Arabia.
Photos by J.E. Randall (B) used with permission, SVB (C). 

Delventhal, Naomi R., Randall D. Mooi, Sergey V. Bogorodsky and Ahmad O. Mal. 2016. A Review of the Callogobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Red Sea with the Description of A New Species. Zootaxa. 4179(2); 225–243.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4179.2.3

Sunday, October 30, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. (Testudines, Pan-Trionychidae) from the Eocene Messel Pit and Geiseltal localities, Germany, Taxonomic and Phylogenetic insights

Figure 2: Palaeoamyda messeliana  SMF ME 1211. 
(A) articulated skeleton in dorsolateral view. (B) outline of the carapace and lateral plastral elements in dorsolateral view. (C) close-up of the right hindlimb. (D) close-up of the tail. (E) close-up of the right forelimb.
Abbreviations: co, costal bone; hyo, hyoplastron; hyp, hypoplastron; ne, neural bone; nu, nuchal bone.   


Abundant pan-trionychid (soft-shell) turtles specimens have been found in Eocene sequences of central Europe, particularly from two localities in Germany, the Messel Pit (a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site) and Geiseltal, traditionally attributed to Trionyx messelianus or Rafetoides austriacus. Over the last two decades new specimens of this taxon from these two localities have been discovered and fully prepared. However, they have remained unstudied, as well as their phylogenetic position inside Pan-Trionychidae is unknown.

Five new specimens of Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. from Messel Pit and Geiseltal localities are fully described here. A revised diagnosis for the species is also presented here, together with its inclusion in a phylogenetic analysis of Pan-Trionychidae that shows that this species is sister to the extant Amyda cartilaginea, one of the most abundant pan-trionychid (soft-shell) turtles from Asia, both members of the clade Chitrini. The specimens described in here are among the best and most complete fossil pan-trionychid skeletons so far known.

Systematic Paleontology

TESTUDINES Batsch, 1788

PAN-TRIONYCHIDAE Sensu Joyce, Parham & Gauthier, 2004

Palaeoamyda nov. gen.

Etymology: A fossil version of the extant genus Amyda, based on the important similarities between these two genera.

Type species: Palaeoamyda (orig. Trionyx) messeliana nov. comb. (Reinach, 1900).
Included species: Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb.

Diagnosis: Same as for the type species, Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb.

Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. (Reinach, 1900)

Revised diagnosis: Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb., shares the following synapomorphies with Pan-Trionychidae: contribution of the jugal to the upper temporal emargination, loss of a contribution of the fused premaxilla to the external nares, absence of carapacial and plastral scutes, the absence of pygal bones, sculpturing pattern that covers all metaplastic portions of the shell bones, V-shape entoplastron. Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. shares with Trionychinae the following synapomorphies: a nuchal bone at least three times wider than long, complete absence of peripheral bones, neural series always containing at least one reversal of neural orientation, and a short bridge. Inside Trionychinae (sensu Meylan, 1987), Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. resembles members of Chitrini in particular Amyda cartilaginea by: having a hypoplastron having only one processus hypoplastrales medialis posterior, a pair of processus cardinus masculi anterior, and a very short processus hypoplastralis medialis anterior, a narrow and well developed metischial process of ischium, a very advanced temporal emargination reducing the area of exposure of parietals at the roof top of the skull. Differs from other chitrinins by the following plesiomorphies: costals 7 having a medial contact between each other for half of more of their total medial margin, a shallow medial notch at the anterior margin of nuchal, seven neurals, with the neural reversal of orientation at neural 6. Potential autapomorphies of Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb., suggested by Karl (1998) brachial horn II with several ossifications, triturating surface completely flat or with solid symphyseal notch, entoplastron having acute angle and being straight at symphysis.

Taxonomic history
Trionyx messelianus Reinach, 1900
Trionyx messelianus var. lepsiusi Harassowitz, 1919
Trionyx (Amyda) messelianus var. kochi Hummel, 1927 (new combination)
Rafetoides austriacus Karl, 1997 (junior synonym).

Localities and horizons: SMF ME specimens were collected in the Messel Pit, near Darmstadt, Germany, middle Eocene (early Lutetian, MP11, ∼47 Ma) (Lenz et al., 2015). WDC specimen was collected in Geiseltal locality, Saxony-Anhalt region, Germany. The age for this locality is middle Eocene Haubold & Hellmund (1998). However, not specific information about the horizon or any other details of the collection are known.

Edwin Cadena​. 2016. Palaeoamyda messeliana nov. comb. (Testudines, Pan-Trionychidae) from the Eocene Messel Pit and Geiseltal localities, Germany, Taxonomic and Phylogenetic insights.    PeerJ. 4:e2647. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2647

[Herpetology • 2007] Dendrelaphis kopsteini • A New Species of Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Southeast Asia

 Dendrelaphis kopsteini 
Vogel & van Rooijen, 2007 


A new species of the colubrid genus Dendrelaphis Boulenger 1890 is described. Dendrelaphis kopsteini sp. nov. ranges from Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra. A detailed statistical analysis of the differences between D. kopsteini sp. nov., D. formosus (Boie, 1827) and D. cyanochloris (Wall, 1921) is provided as the three species have been mixed up frequently in the literature. D. kopsteini sp. nov. differs from all other Dendrelaphis species by a brick red neck coloration. A neotype is designated and described for D. formosus and a lectotype is designated and described for D. cyanochloris.

Keywords:  Serpentes: Colubridae: Dendrelaphis: Dendrelaphis kopsteini sp. nov., Dendrelaphis cyanochloris; Dendrelaphis formosus, Dendrelaphis humayuni, Southeast Asia

Dendrelaphis kopsteini sp. nov.

Ahaetulla formosa (non Dendrophis formosus Boie, 1827): Taylor (1965: 814).
Dendrelaphis formosus: Flower (1896: 883); Tweedy (1983: 63, 154, plate 4); Lim & Lee (1989: 53); Vogel (1990: 10,Abb. 4); Lim & Lim (1992 : 64) ; Manthey & Grossman (1997: 337, Abb. 246); Ziegler & Vogel (1999: 206); Pauwels et al. (2000: 141); Nutphand (2001: 148).
Dendrophis formosa: Frith (1977: 278)?
Dendrelaphis  formosus  (non  Dendrophis  formosus  Boie,  1827)  part.:  Flower  (1899:  605,  660);  Inger  &  Voris  (2001:889); Iskandar & Colijn (2002: 53).
Dendrelaphis spec. A: Rubeli (1988: 133.) 

Diagnosis. A rather stout species of the Dendrelaphis formosus group, with 15 dorsal scale rows at mid-body, 167-181 ventral scales, 140-154 subcaudal scales, 2 supralabials touching the eye and a first sublabialthat touches 2 infralabials. The eye is rather large. The vertebral scales are larger than the lowest dorsal row.There is one loreal plate. A black postocular stripe covers only the lower half of the temporal region and endsat the rear of the jaw. Vertebral scales with a broad black posterior margin. It differs from all other species ofthis genus by the red colour that is visible in life on the skin between the scales of the first part of the body. 

Etymology. This species is named after Dr. Felix Kopstein (1893-1939), who contributed so much to our knowledge of the snake fauna of Indonesia. Several of the specimens we used for our studies were collected by him. He was also the first to report delayed fertilisation.
Suggested English name: Kopstein’s Bronzeback.  

Range. The examined specimens of D. kopsteini originated from Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Sumatra.

G. Vogel and J. Van Rooijen. 2007. A New Species of Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Southeast Asia. Zootaxa. 1394: 25–45.

[Ichthyology • 2016] A Review of the Genus Garra Hamilton 1822 of Bhutan (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae), including the Descriptions of Two New Species and Three Additional Records

Garra arupi  Nebeshwar, Vishwanath & Das, 2009
Garra bimaculacauda & Garra parastenorhynchus  
Thoni, Gurung & Mayden, 2016 


Seven species of Garra are herein accounted for in Bhutan. Three new records of known species, Garra arupiGbirostris, and Glissorhynchus, and two new speciesGarra bimaculacauda sp. nov. and Garra parastenorhynchus sp. nov., are reported from central and southern Bhutan. Garra bimaculacauda sp. nov. is most notably different from its congeners by the presence of two dark spots on the lobes of the caudal fin, having one spot on each lobe. Meristic and morphometric differences from northeastern Indian congeners exist as well. Garra parastenorhynchus sp. nov. is differentiated from its congeners by the presence of a prominent, overhanging, club-shaped proboscis, and a suite of meristic and morphometric characters. Notes on the taxonomy are provided for some species. Notes are provided on the biology and ecology for most species, which have been inferred from field observations. Ranges are expanded for two recently described taxa from Northeast India Garupi, and Gbirostris. A key is provided to the currently known species of Garra within Bhutan.

Keywords: Pisces, Garrinae, Garra bimaculacauda sp. nov., Garra parastenorhynchus sp. nov.

Thoni, R. j., Dhan B. Gurung & R. L. Mayden. 2016. A Review of the Genus Garra Hamilton 1822 of Bhutan, including the Descriptions of Two New Species and Three Additional Records (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Zootaxa. 4169(1): 115–132.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4169.1.5


[Herpetology • 2016] Sphenomorphus sungaicolus • The First Riparian Skink (Genus: Sphenomorphus Strauch, 1887) from Peninsular Malaysia and Its Relationship to other Indochinese and Sundaic Species

Sphenomorphus sungaicolus 
Sumarli, Grismer, Wood, Ahmad, Rizal, Ismail, Izam, Ahmad & Linkem, 2016

(A) Holotype of Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov. (LSUHC 11722) from Hutan Lipur Sekayu, Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia. . Photograph by L. Grismer.
(B) Juvenile S. sungaicolus sp. nov. (not collected) from the Korbu Forest Reserve, Perak. Photograph by Z. Dzulkafly. 


Recently discovered populations of skinks of the genus Sphenomorphus from central Peninsular Malaysia represent a new species, Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov., and the first riparian skink known from Peninsular Malaysia. Morphological analyses of an earlier specimen reported as S. tersus from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Selangor indicate that it too is the new riparian species S. sungaicolus sp. nov. Additionally, two specimens from the Tembat Forest Reserve, Hulu Terengganu, Kelantan and another from Ulu Gombak, Selangor have been diagnosed as new the species. The latter specimen remained unidentified in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii since its collection in June 1962. Morphological and molecular analyses demonstrate that S. sungaicolus sp. nov. forms a clade with the Indochinese species S. maculatus, S. indicus, and S. tersus and is the sister species of the latter. Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov. can be differentiated from all other members of this clade by having a smaller SVL (66.5–89.6 mm); 39–44 midbody scale rows; 72–81 paravertebral scales; 74–86 ventral scales; a primitive plantar scale arrangement; and 20–22 scale rows around the tail at the position of the 10th subcaudal.

Keywords: Reptilia, Integrative taxonomy, New species, Scincidae, Southeast Asia, Sundaland

Etymology.Sungai” is the Malaysian word for river and “colus” is derived from the Latin meaning “dweller in”. The specific epithet sungaicolus refers the obligate riparian nature of this new species.

Distribution. Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov. is known from Hutan Lipur Sekayu, Hutan Lipur Chemerong, and the Tembat Forest Reserve, Hulu Terengganu, Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia—localities east of the Banjaran Titiwangsa. Localities on the western side of the Banjaran Titiwangsa are FRIM and Ulu Gombak, Selangor and the Korbu Forest Reserve, Perak to the north (Fig. 1). It is likely this species has a greater distribution throughout Peninsular Malaysia similar to what has been reported for other species of lizards whose distribution wraps around the southern end of the Banjaran Titiwangsa (Grismer 2011).

Juvenile Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov.  from the Korbu Forest Reserve, Perak. 
(not collected) Photograph by Z. Dzulkafly.  

Natural history. Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov. is a lowland species not known to occur above 300 m in elevation and found only in riparian areas coursing through lowland dipterocarp forest. All specimens were found along the edges of watercourses. ZRC.2.4915 from FRIM was found on boulders next to a large stream (Leong et al. 2002) and the holotype was found at night running in water at the edge of a small stream amongst rocks at Hutan Lipur Sekayu. The Hutan Lipur Chemerong and Ulu Gombak specimens were collected from along riverbanks. The Hulu Terengganu specimens were collected from pitfall traps located approximately 2.5–3 meters from the edge of a river. Sphenomorphus sungaicolus sp. nov. is the first obligate riparian skink known from Peninsular Malaysia. A hatchling S. sungaicolus sp. nov. from the Korbu Forest Reserve, Perak (Fig. 7) was photographed along the sandy edge of a rocky stream at an elevation of approximately 300 m (Zaharil Dzulkafly in litt. 2015).

Sumarli, Alexandra, L. L. Grismer, JR. P. L. Wood, Amirrudin B. Ahmad, Syed A. Rizal, Lukman H. B. Ismail, Nur A. M. Izam, Norhayati Ahmad and Charles W. Linkem. 2016. The First Riparian Skink (Genus: Sphenomorphus Strauch, 1887) from Peninsular Malaysia and Its Relationship to other Indochinese and Sundaic Species.
Zootaxa. 4173(1); 29–44.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4173.1.3

[Ichthyology • 2008] Symphurus thermophilus • A New Western Pacific Tonguefish (Pleuronectiformes: Cynoglossidae): The First Pleuronectiform discovered at active Hydrothermal Vents

Symphurus thermophilus  
  Munroe & Hashimoto, 2008


Symphurus thermophilus n. sp., described from 16 specimens collected by submersibles, ROV, epibenthic sled and dredge, occurs on a variety of substrata at several active hydrothermal sites located at 239–733 m between 21°N and 35°S in the western Pacific Ocean. Symphurus thermophilus, the only pleuronectiform fish known to inhabit hydrothermal vent areas, is characterized by the combination of a 1–2–2–2–2 pattern of interdigitation of dorsal proximal pterygiophores and neural spines, 14 caudal-fin rays, 5 hypurals, 9 abdominal vertebrae, 47–51 total vertebrae, 88–94 dorsal-fin rays, 74–80 anal-fin rays, 100–112 scales in longitudinal series, ocular-side pigmentation pattern featuring 5–8, black, mostly incomplete crossbands, uniformly white blind side, and black peritoneum. Of specimens examined, seven including the holotype, were collected on Kaikata Seamount off southern Japan; one specimen was collected at the Kasuga-2 hydrothermal vent, Marianas Islands; and six were collected at sites on the Kermadec Ridge. In addition to specimens captured, many other S. thermophilus were observed from submersibles and ROVs at hydrothermal sites in the western Pacific including those in the Marianas Islands, at Nikko Seamount near Minami-Iohjima Island, and at Minami-Ensei Knoll, Mid-Okinawa Trough. Many of the specimens examined have skeletal anomalies including fused bones in the caudal skeleton, and missing or partially developed and/or misshapen fin rays.

Key words: flatfish, Symphurus, hydrothermal vents

Symphurus thermophilus    Munroe & Hashimoto, 2008 

FIGURE 3. Photographs of the hydrothermal vent tonguefish, Symphurus thermophilus
AIn situ photograph of S. thermophilus observed at Rumble 3 site, western Pacific, an area where this species occurs in high abundance. B. In situ photograph of S. thermophilus (most individuals <10 cm TL) observed at Daikoku Seamount, western Pacific, an area where this species occurs in high abundance. C. Photo of recently captured juvenile S. thermophilus taken at the Barnacle Boulders site at Kasuga-2, Mariana Islands. 

Figures 3A–C provided courtesy of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Program and available from  and (Accessed 3 June 2008)

Thomas A. Munroe and Jun Hashimoto. 2008. A New Western Pacific Tonguefish (Pleuronectiformes: Cynoglossidae): The First Pleuronectiform discovered at active Hydrothermal Vents.  Zootaxa. 1839; 43–59.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[Botany • 2016] Pycnandra longiflora • A Species (Sapotaceae) Believed to be Extinct, rediscovered in New Caledonia

FIGURE 1. Pycnandra longiflora, A. Habit of open maquis, B. Flowering branch, C. Fruits with long persistent styles.

 Pictures AC from Rosa Scopetra. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.278.2.9 


Pycnandra longiflora (Sapotaceae) belongs to the largest endemic genus in New Caledonia. It is only known from the type collection made in 1861–67 at the obscure locality “Gatope”. Relocation of this species has been of high priority for more than a decade, but without success. Pycnandra longiflora was therefore recently declared extinct. However, a population was recently discovered near a mining site at Onajiele, in the Ouazangou-Taom massif, and it is revealed that P. longiflora has the most spectacular flowers in the entire genus, being large and bicoloured in red and yellow. A thorough description is here outlined and we propose a preliminary IUCN status as Critically Endangered.

Keywords: Extinct species, rediscovering, extended description, prospection, Eudicots

Pycnandra longiflora (Benth.) Munzinger & Swenson,
Austral. Syst. Bot. 28: 101 (2015)

Pycnandra longiflora is not extinct and grows less than 600 metres from the main road (RT1) of “Grande-Terre”, close to an accessible track (Figure 2). This is a very important locality of native vegetation as a new species of Myrtaceae, Eugenia plurinervia Snow, Munzinger & Callm. (2016: 212), also occurs here. Several other rare species such as Planchonella minutiflora Munzinger & Swenson (2009: 182), Croton cordatulus Airy Shaw (1978: 387), Euodia tietaensis (Guillaumin) T.G. Hartley (2001: 56) are also present, which clearly indicates that the place has high conservation value. The rediscovery of this P. longiflora supports continuing botanical surveys in New Caledonia, to provide sound data for conservation assessments.

  Jérôme Munzinger and Ulf Swenson. 2016. Pycnandra longiflora (Sapotaceae) A Species Believed to be Extinct, rediscovered in New Caledonia.
Phytotaxa. 278(2); 176–180.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.278.2.9

Jérôme Munzinger and Ulf Swenson. 2015. Revision of Pycnandra subgenus Leptostylis and description of subgenus Wagapensia (Sapotaceae), A Genus endemic to New Caledonia. Australian Systematic Botany. 28; 91–110. DOI:  10.1071/SB15010

Friday, October 28, 2016

[Entomology • 2013] Wallaceaphytis kikiae • An Unusual New Genus of Parasitoid Wasp (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) from Borneo

Wallaceaphytis kikiae 
Ayshford & Polaszek, 2013 

Wallaceaphytis Polaszek and Fusu gen. nov. (type species Wallaceaphytis kikiae Ayshford and Polaszek sp. nov.) is described from Danum Valley, Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. Although known from just a single female individual, the genus is extremely unusual morphologically, being the only member of the large subfamily Aphelininae with four-segmented tarsi. The form of the fore wings and head are also unique in the subfamily, and its status as a new genus is confirmed by analysis of nuclear ribosomal DNA. DNA sequence analysis was undertaken by comparison with more than 60 aphelinid sequences from GenBank. The sequence for the standard DNA barcode region (cytochrome oxidase c subunit I; COI) is provided. The new genus is named in honour of Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection. The new genus and species are published on the exact date of the centenary of his death.

Keywords: Aphelininae, Chalcidoidea, chalcids, phylogeny, Sabah, Malaysia, Alfred Russel Wallace, DNA barcode, non-destructive DNA extraction, 

Figure 11. Wallaceaphytis kikiae holotype female; habitus

Andrew Polaszek, Thomas Ayshford, Bakhtiar Effendi Yahya and Lucian Fusu. 2013. Wallaceaphytis: An Unusual New Genus of Parasitoid Wasp (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) from Borneo. Journal of Natural History. 48(19-20). DOI:  10.1080/00222933.2013.852264

BBC News - Evolution pioneer honoured by statue and new wasp genus
 New Wasp Genus Discovered, ‘Wallaceaphytis’ Named After Evolution Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace

[Entomology • 2016] Revision of the Genus Morphosphaera Baly (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae)

Morphosphaera chrysomeloides  
(Bates, 1866)  


The genus Morphosphaera Baly, 1861 is revised. Eleven species are considered as valid, including, Morphosphaera takizawai sp. nov. (Mt. Basor, 90 km N of Gua Musang, Malaysia, W. Kelantan), described from Malaysia and Indonesia. Color photos of habitus and drawings of diagnostic characters from eleven species are presented. The following synonymies are proposed: M. sodalis Chen, 1935 and M. brunnea Maulik, 1936 are junior synonyms of M. albipennis Allard, 1889; M. margaritacea Laboissière, 1930, M. viridipennis Laboissière, 1930, and M. prava Maulik, 1936 are junior synonyms of M. coomani Laboissière, 1930; M. gracilicornis Chen, 1963 is a junior synonym of M. maculicollis Baly, 1861; M. cavaleriei Laboissière, 1930, M. cincticollis Laboissière, 1930, M. marginata Laboissière, 1930, M. purpurea Laboissière, 1930, M. gingkoae Gressitt & Kimoto, 1963, and M. metallescens Gressitt & Kimoto, 1963 are junior synonyms of M. sumatrana Jacoby, 1886. The type material of M. impunctata Allard, 1890 from the Philippines was not found and its taxonomic status remains uncertain. Morphosphaera peregrina Weise, 1913 is transferred to the genus Borneola Mohamedsaid, 1998 nov. comb. A neotype is designated for Chrysomela japonica Hornstedt, 1788. Lectotypes are designated for the following species: Adorium chrysomeloides Bates, 1866, A. japonicum Baly, 1874, Morphosphaera albipennis Allard, 1889, M. bimaculata Chûjô, 1938, M. caerulea Jacoby, 1896, M. cavaleriei Laboissière, 1930, M. collaris Laboissière, 1930, M. formosa Laboissière, 1930, M. marginata Laboissière, 1930, M. montivaga Maulik, 1936, M. prava Maulik, 1936, M. purpurea Laboissière, 1930, M. sumatrana Jacoby, 1886, M. viridipennis Laboissière, 1930, and Galerucida simplex Weise, 1922.

Keywords: Coleoptera, taxonomy, new synonymy, new species, neotype, lectotype designations, leaf beetles, Moraceae, Urticaceae

Chi-Feng Lee and Jan Bezdĕk. 2016. Revision of the Genus Morphosphaera Baly (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae). Zootaxa. 4179(1); 1–41. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4179.1.1

Thursday, October 27, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Prospea holoserisc • A Burrowing Frog from the late Paleocene of Mongolia Uncovers A Deep History of Spadefoot Toads (Pelobatoidea) in East Asia

Prospea holoserisca  
Chen, Bever, Yi & Norell, 2016

Fossils are indispensible in understanding the evolutionary origins of the modern fauna. Crown-group spadefoot toads (Anura: Pelobatoidea) are the best-known fossorial frog clade to inhabit arid environments, with species utilizing a characteristic bony spade on their foot for burrowing. Endemic to the Northern Hemisphere, they are distributed across the Holarctic except East Asia. Here we report a rare fossil of a crown-group spadefoot toad from the late Paleocene of Mongolia. The phylogenetic analysis using both morphological and molecular information recovered this Asian fossil inside the modern North American pelobatoid clade Scaphiopodidae. The presence of a spade and the phylogenetic position of the new fossil frog strongly support its burrowing behavior. The late Paleocene age and other information suggestive of a mild climate cast doubt on the conventional assertion that burrowing evolved as an adaptation to aridity in spadefoot toads. Temporally and geographically, the new fossil provides the earliest record of Scaphiopodidae worldwide, and the only member of the group in Asia. Quantitative biogeographic analysis suggests that Scaphiopodidae, despite originating in North America, dispersed into East Asia via Beringia in the Early Cenozoic. The absence of spadefoot toads in East Asia today is a result of extinction.

Systematic Paleontology

Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758.
Anura Rafinesque, 1815.

Pelobatoidea Bolkay, 1919.
Scaphiopodidae Cope, 1865.

Prospea holoserisca gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: Prospea means “before the North American spadefoot toad Spea”, and holoserisca means “silk”, referring to its discovery on the ancient Silk Road.

Figure 1: IGM 2/001, holotype of Prospea holoserisca.
 (a) The original specimen in rock matrix and jackets before preparation, preserved in part and counterpart; (b) the specimen in ventral and dorsal view after the preparation.

Holotype: IGM 2/001 (Institute of Geology, Mongolia, Ulanbaatar, Mongolia), a nearly complete specimen preserved as part and counterpart in grey sandy clay (Fig. 1a). The rock matrix was later removed and the specimen was embedded in resin (Fig. 1b; see the Supplementary Experimental Procedures: fossil preparation). The two halves of the holotype were combined digitally to reconstruct the whole skeleton (Fig. 2; Supplementary Movie S1).

Jianye Chen, Gaberiel S. Bever, Hong-Yu Yi and Mark A. Norell. 2016. A Burrowing Frog from the late Paleocene of Mongolia Uncovers A Deep History of Spadefoot Toads (Pelobatoidea) in East Asia.
Scientific Reports. 
6, 19209. DOI: 10.1038/srep19209