Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[Herpetology • 2017] Endemic Diversification in the Mountains: Genetic, Morphological, and Geographical Differentiation of the Hemidactylus Geckos in southwestern Arabia

 Hemidactylus asirensis Halfarraji 
Šmíd, Shobrak, Wilms, Joger & Carranza, 2016

In this study, we provide genetic, morphological, and geographical comparisons for 11 species of the southwestern Arabian radiation of Hemidactylus geckos, nine of which are endemic to the region. By using a coalescence-based species-tree reconstruction in combination with divergence time estimations and speciation probability testing, we show that most of the speciation events occurred in the Pliocene, which is more recent than previously thought based on calibrations of concatenated data sets. The current dating indicates that the changing climate at the beginning of the Pliocene, from hot and dry to cold and wet, is likely responsible for increased speciation in Hemidactylus. Analyses of geographic and altitudinal overlap of the species and their morphological differentiation show that most species do not occur in sympatry. Those that overlap geographically are usually differentiated by their altitudinal preference, head shape, body size, or their combination. Our results indicate that the topographically complex mountains of southwestern Arabia support a significant radiation of Hemidactylus geckos by allowing multiple allopatric speciation events to occur in a relatively small area. Consequently, we describe two new species endemic to the Asir Mountains of Saudi Arabia, H. alfarraji sp. n. and H. asirensis sp. n., and elevate two former subspecies of H. yerburii to species levelH. montanus and H. pauciporosus.

Keywords: Allopatry; Diversity; Gekkonidae; Radiation; Species delimitation; Species tree; Speciation

Figure 5: Holotypes and type localities of Hemidactylus alfarraji sp. n. and  H. asirensis sp. n.
a General body habitus of H. alfarraji sp. n. holotype (NMP 75269); b detail of its head; c detail of its precloacal region with preanal pores visible; d lamellae under the toes of left hind limb; e type locality 32 km W of Najran (1969 m a.s.l.), Najran Province, Saudi Arabia.
f General body habitus of H. asirensis sp. n. holotype (NMP 75271); g detail of its head; h detail of the precloacal region with preanal pores visible; i lamellae under the toes of left hind limb; j type locality Al Balhy (2376 m a.s.l.), Asir Province, Saudi Arabia 

Jiří Šmíd, Mohammed Shobrak, Thomas M. Wilms, Ulrich Joger and Salvador Carranza. 2016. Endemic Diversification in the Mountains: Genetic, Morphological, and Geographical Differentiation of the Hemidactylus Geckos in southwestern Arabia. Organisms Diversity & Evolution.  DOI: 10.1007/s13127-016-0293-3

[Crustacea • 2016] Geosesarma batak & G. tagbanua • Two New Species of Geosesarma De Man, 1892 (Brachyura: Sesarmidae) from Palawan, the Philippines

Geosesarma batak 
  Manuel-Santos, Ng & Freitag, 2016 


Two new and relatively large species of semi-terrestrial sesarmid crabs of the genus Geosesarma De Man, 1892, are described from Palawan Island, Philippines. They are distinguishable from congeners by the characteristic structure of their carapace, chelipeds, ambulatory legs and male first gonopods. Aspects of their ecology are briefly discussed.

Key words: Crustacea, Brachyura, Decapoda, Sesarmidae, Geosesarma, Palawan, Philippines, taxonomy, new species

Geosesarma tagbanua  Manuel-Santos, Ng & Freitag, 2016 

Marivene Manuel-Santos, Peter K. L. Ng and Hendrik Freitag. 2016. Two New Species of Geosesarma De Man, 1892 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Sesarmidae) from Palawan, the Philippines. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 64: 335–342

[Crustacea • 2016] Cambarus (Depressicambarus) clairitae • A New Species of Crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from Alabama with A Review of the halli Group in the Subgenus Depressicambarus

Cambarus (Depressicambarusclairitae 
Schuster & Taylor, 2016


Cambarus (Depressicambarusclairitae, new species, is an epigean crayfish from two drainages of the Locust Fork system in Blount and Jefferson counties, Alabama. It belongs to the halli Group in the subgenus Depressicambarus. The new species is morphologically most similar to Cambarus (Depressicambarus) englishi. They differ in a several morphological characters. Cambarus englishi has a more strongly recurved central projection, a wider areola, and a more distinct and set off rostral acumen than the new species. It also has light gray to white antennae while the antennae of the new species are brown. In addition to the description of the new species, the halli Group in Alabama is discussed.

Keywords: Crustacea, CambarusDepressicambarusclairitaehalli Group, latimanus Group, new species, crayfish, Alabama

The zebra crayfish, Cambarus (Depressicambarusclairitae, a new species discovered in Alabama tributaries of the Locust Fork. (photo: Guenter Schuster) 

FIGURE 1. Cambarus (Depressicambarus) clairitae n. sp.: Holotype, Jefferson County, AL, dorsal view. 

Etymology. Named in honor of our wives Claire Schuster and Rita Taylor, who have supported us faithfully since the beginning. They have endured weeks alone at home while we were in the field or in some museum chasing crayfishes. Without their continued support we would not have been able to follow our research paths. We are forever grateful to them. This honor is a small token of that appreciation.

Common name. The suggested common or vernacular name for this species is the Zebra Crayfish because of its very distinct and contrasting light and dark coloration. This is especially evident on the dorsum of the abdomen where it resembles the stripes of a zebra.

A new species of crayfish, Cambarus clairitae, belonging to the halli Group of the subgenus Depressicambarus in the genus Cambarus is described. It is most closely related to Cambarus englishi, and can be separated from it by the curvature of the central projection of the gonopod of the MI, by the shape the acumen and rostrum, by the width of the areola and by the color of the antennae and body. The two species are allopatric. Cambarus clairitae has only been found from two streams within the Locust Fork drainage. It was not common in either stream at any location, and should be considered for conservation status.

Schuster, Guenter A. & Christopher A. Taylor. 2016. Cambarus (Depressicambarusclairitae, A New Species of Crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from Alabama with A Review of the halli Group in the Subgenus DepressicambarusZootaxa. 4193(2): 332–346.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4193.2.8

Meet the zebra crayfish, a new species discovered in Alabama

[Herpetology • 2013] Nototriton mime • A New Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Parque Nacional Montaña de Botaderos in northeastern Honduras

Nototriton mime 
Townsend, Medina-Flores, Reyes-Calderón & Austin, 2013

   DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3666.3.6   


The highlands of northeastern Honduras remain under-characterized in terms of biological diversity, as exemplified by the regularity of new amphibian and reptile taxa discoveries. Following the recent description of a new species of Nototriton from the Sierra de Agalta in northeastern Honduras, we report the discovery of a second new species of Nototriton from the nearby Parque Nacional Montaña de Botaderos. This new taxon, Nototriton mime sp. nov., is distinguished from other Nototriton by its distinctive pale brown dorsal coloration in adult males, relatively large nares, a relatively broad head, mitochondrial sequence divergence, and phylogenetic relationships, and is geographically isolated from other populations of Nototriton.

Keywords: Nototriton mime sp. nov., mtDNA, 16S, cytochrome b, Nototriton picucha, sexual dichromatism

Etymology. The specific epithet “mime” is a noun in apposition to the generic name, given to honor our late friend Arquimides Gabriel Rosales Martinez, or “Mime” (pronounced me-may), a young Honduran biologist passionate about amphibians. Mime and his sister, Novy Hortensia Rosales Martinez, were killed by a drunken driver on 17 December 2010 in Tegucigalpa.

Natural history: The habitat at the type locality is tropical montane cloud forest, in the Lower Montane Wet Forest formation. The male holotype (USNM 579870; Fig. 3A) was active at night among the leaves of an orchid growing on a small stump on the ground along a wet ridge at 1,705 m elevation. The male paratype (USNM579871; Fig. 3C) was collected from underneath a small log embedded in the ground at 1,720 m elevation. The female paratype (MVZ 269306; Fig. 3B) was found in a bromeliad on the ground at 1,705 m elevation, near the holotype. The juvenile paratype (USNM 579872; Fig. 3D) was collected during the late afternoon from within a small bromeliad approximately 2 m above the ground on a large fallen branch at 1,710 m elevation.

Remarks. With the description of Nototriton mime, there are 17 named species of Nototriton distributed from Guatemala to Costa Rica, six of which are endemic to Honduras (Townsend et al. 2011; Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).Each of these six endemic species have distributions restricted to cloud forest habitat in the upper reaches of isolated mountain ranges, with only one species (N. limnospectator) known to occur at premontane elevations aslow as 800 m. In addition to these six species, there are two as yet undescribed species currently referred to the taxon N. barbouri , one from Parque Nacional Pico Bonito (N. sp A in Townsend et al. 2011) and one from Refugiode Vida Silvestre Texíguat (N. sp. B, op. cit.).

The coloration seen in Nototriton mime appears to be the first documented case of sexual dichromatism in thegenus Nototriton, and one of few documented cases in tropical salamanders. Another endemic Honduras salamander, Bolitoglossa diaphora, from the Sierra de Omoa in northwestern Honduras, also exhibits marked dichromatism, with males being bluish-gray and females being a mottled red-orange coloration (McCranie &Wilson 1995).

Townsend, Josiah H., Melissa Medina-Flores, Onán Reyes-Calderón & James D. Austin. 2013. A New Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Parque Nacional Montaña de Botaderos in northeastern Honduras. Zootaxa. 3666(3): 358–368.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3666.3.6

[Mammalogy • 2014] Thyroptera wynneae • Extraordinary Local Diversity of Disk-Winged Bats (Thyropteridae: Thyroptera) in Northeastern Peru, with the Description of a New Species and Comments on Roosting Behavior

Thyroptera wynneae  
 Velazco, Gregorin, Voss & Simmons, 2014

 DOI:  10.1206/3795.1  

Species of Thyroptera are insectivorous foliage-roosting bats that inhabit lowland moist forests (including gallery formations in savanna landscapes) from Mexico to southeastern Brazil. Although four species are currently recognized, only one or two species were previously known to occur at most localities. Recent inventory work in northeastern Peru has documented the local cooccurrence of four species of Thyroptera, one of which is here described as new. The new species (Thyroptera wynneae), which also occurs in Brazil, can easily be recognized by a combination of diagnostic morphological traits. The latter include small size, tricolored ventral pelage, long and woolly hairs between the shoulders, a uropatagium with the proximal half densely covered by long hairs, wing tips sparsely covered by long hairs, a calcar with two lappets and five tiny skin projections between the foot disk and the proximal lappet, a rostrum considerably shorter than the braincase, third lower incisors that are subequal in height to the first and second lower incisors, and third lower incisors with two well-developed accessory cusps. We illustrate the crania of all five known species of Thyroptera and provide a key based on craniodental and external characters. Unexpectedly high local diversity of these elusive bats poses a challenge for future inventory research and raises interesting questions about ecological-niche partitioning in Neotropical bat communities and the evolutionary history of thyropterids.


Paúl M. Velazco, Renato Gregorin, Robert S. Voss and Nancy B. Simmons. 2014. Extraordinary Local Diversity of Disk-Winged Bats (Thyropteridae: Thyroptera) in Northeastern Peru, with the Description of a New Species and Comments on Roosting Behavior. American Museum Novitates. 3795 :1-28. doi:  10.1206/3795.1

Thyroptera wynneae was discovered in the Amazon rain forest by a scientist from the American Museum of Natural History.
Photo:  Burton Lim  

How ‘biology’s Indiana Jones’ discovered a tiny, bizarre suction-cup bat in the western Amazon

[Ichthyology • 2016] Revision of the South American Genus Tetragonopterus Cuvier, 1816 (Teleostei: Characidae) with Description of Four New Species

Tetragonopterus argenteus  Cuvier, 1816
MUSM 39445, live specimen, 78.0 mm SL, Río Purus, Peru.

Photo by T.P. Carvalho. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4200.1.1 


The systematics of the characid genus Tetragonopterus is reviewed based on morphological and molecular data of specimens from its entire geographical range encompassing all major South American river drainages from Orinoco basin southward to the La Plata basin. Eight previously described species (T. anostomus, T. araguaiensis, T. argenteus, T. carvalhoi, T. chalceus, T. denticulatus, T. georgiae n. comb., and T. rarus) are recognized as valid, four of which are redescribed (T. argenteus, T. chalceus, T. georgiae, and T. rarus), and four new species from the Brazilian Shield in the Amazon and São Francisco river basins are herein described. We also provide evidence for the reallocation of Moenkhausia georgiae into Tetragonopterus and recognize T. akamai as junior synonym of T. anostomus. DNA barcodes of Tetragonopterus revealed genetic support for each recognized species and provided valuable population-level information within T. argenteus, T. chalceus, T. georgiae, and T. rarus.

Keywords: Pisces, Amazon basin, Characiformes, DNA barcode, Moenkhausia, Neotropical region

Silva, Gabriel S. C., Bruno F. Melo, Claudio Oliveira and Ricardo C. Benine. 2016. Revision of the South American Genus Tetragonopterus Cuvier, 1816 (Teleostei: Characidae) with Description of Four New Species. Zootaxa. 4200(1); 1–46.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4200.1.1

[Entomology • 2016] Amphinemura apicilobata & A. bimaculata • Two New Species of Amphinemura (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) from the Gaoligong Mountains of Yunnan, China

Amphinemura bimaculata 
 Li, Wang & Yang, 2016


Two new species of the nemourid genus AmphinemuraA. apicilobata sp. nov. and A. bimaculata sp. nov. are described from the Gaoligong Mountains of Yunnan Province, China. The new species are compared with related congeners.

Keywords: Plecoptera, Nemouridae, Amphinemura, new species, China

  Weihai Li, Ying Wang and Ding Yang. 2016. Two New Species of Amphinemura (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) from the Gaoligong Mountains of Yunnan, China.
 Zootaxa. 4200(3); 381–388. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4200.3.3

[Ichthyology • 2016] Oreonectes daqikongensis • A New Blind Species of the Cave Genus Oreonectes (Balitoridae: Nemacheilinae) from Guizhou, China

 Oreonectes daqikongensis  
Deng, Wen, Xiao & Zhou, 2016 

This study aimed to describe a new specimen of cavefish collected from a karst cave in the Daqikong area of Libo County, Guizhou. Twenty-six cavefish specimens were collected and identified as a new species of Balitoridae: Nemacheilinae, and named Oreonectes daqikongensis sp. n. A genetic analysis was performed and showed that its genetic distances from Oreonectes shuilongensis and Oreonectes platycephalus are higher than intraspecific distances. Discovery of this species will be helpful to understand the distribution of Oreonectes.

Keywords: Cavefish, Libo, new species, Oreonectes daqikongensis sp. n.

Figure 1. a Holotype of  Oreonectes daqikongensis sp. n. NO.CNGZNU20110128002.
 A living Oreonectes daqikongensis sp. n.

Diagnosis: The species has a large head, and the width of the head is larger than its depth. The frontal torso is nearly cylindrical, the backend gradually compresses, and the head is slightly flattened. There is a short distance between the anterior and posterior nostrils, and the anterior nostril forms a short and tubular structure, which is truncated backward. The pectoral fin extends backward to or beyond the starting point of the pelvic fin. The body is naked. The eyes are completely degraded; and eye socket was filled in fat tissue and without any outside remnant indicating their presence. The superior and inferior caudal peduncles have well-developed soft finfolds. No carneous fin flaps are present in the pelvic fin axilla. The air bladder is wrapped in a bony capsule, and the posterior chamber of the air bladder is developed into a membranous chamber, which is separated from the abdominal cavity and connected to the anterior chamber by a short duct. The whole body is white and transparent, when they are alive, they look a little red because the blood inside, and is unlikely to become black when it is fed in sunlight for a long term.

Habitat:  This species was found only in the Daqikong scenic area. The opening of the cave was halfway up the mountain, and the distance from the opening to the pool was about 15–20 m. The cave got no sunshine because of the twisty pathway. A large number of Hipposideros armiger lived in the cave and a thick layer of bat dung was found on the ground. Groundwater extended into the cave, and the water rushed outside the cave in the case of heavy rain. So far, no other fish, shrimps, or aquatic animals were found in the cave. The subterranean river belonged to the Dagou river system, and was the main river of the Libo County, which runs through the whole county, enters Guangxi from the Laocun Xiang, and was the major tributary of the Duliu River system (Figure 2).

 Huaiqing Deng, Huamei Wen, Ning Xiao and Jiang Zhou. 2016. A New Blind Species of the Cave Genus Oreonectes from Guizhou, China (Nemacheilinae).
  ZooKeys. 637: 47-59. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.637.10202

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Ozimek volans • An Early Late Triassic Long-necked Reptile with A Bony Pectoral Shield and Gracile Appendages

Ozimek volans 
Dzik & Sulej, 2016  

 DOI: 10.4202/app.00276.2016 

Several partially articulated specimens and numerous isolated bones of Ozimek volans gen. et sp. nov., from the late Carnian lacustrine deposits exposed at Krasiejów in southern Poland, enable a reconstruction of most of the  skeleton. The unique character of the animal is its enlarged plate-like coracoids presumably fused with sterna. Other aspects of the skeleton seem to be comparable to those of the only known specimen of Sharovipteryx mirabilis from the latest Middle Triassic of Kyrgyzstan, which supports interpretation of both forms as protorosaurians. One may expect that the pectoral girdle of S. mirabilis, probably covered by the rock matrix in its only specimen, was similar to that of O. volans gen. et sp. nov. The Krasiejów material shows sharp teeth, low crescent scapula, three sacrals in a generalized pelvis (two of the sacrals being in contact with the ilium) and curved robust metatarsal of the fifth digit in the pes, which are unknown in Sharovipteryx. Other traits are plesiomorphic and, except for the pelvic girdle and extreme elongation of appendages, do not allow to identify any close connection of the sharovipterygids within the Triassic protorosaurians.

Key words: Archosauromorpha, Sharovipteryx, protorosaurs, gliding, evolution, Carnian, Poland.

Systematic palaeontology

Archosauromorpha von Huene, 1946
Family Sharovipterygidae Tatarinov, 1989

Genus Ozimek nov.
Type species: Ozimek volans gen. et sp. nov.; see below

Etymology: After the borough town Ozimek nearby the type locality.

Diagnosis.—As for type and only species.

Ozimek volans gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: From Latin volansflying.

Holotype: Incomplete skeleton ZPAL AbIII/2512 (Fig. 7).

Type locality: Krasiejów near Ozimek, Upper Silesia, Poland.

Type horizon: Lacustrine bed, probably late Carnian, early Late Triassic.

Diagnosis.— Enlarged coracoids that meet along the mid-line forming a slightly convex ventral shield; low, crescentshaped scapula.

Jerzy Dzik and Tomasz Sulej. 2016. An Early Late Triassic Long-necked Reptile with A Bony Pectoral Shield and Gracile Appendages. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.  61(4); 805-823. DOI: 10.4202/app.00276.2016


[Botany • 2016] Hydnophytum puffii • A New Ant-plant (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae) from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Hydnophytum puffii 
Y.W.Low, Sugau & K.M.Wong  


Background – Hydnophytum puffii Y.W.Low, Sugau & K.M.Wong, a linear-leaved epiphytic ant-plant is described as new from Borneo using morphological characters based on specimens preserved in the Sandakan and Singapore Herbaria. This new species is so far known only from Sabah, Malaysia.

Methods – This study is based on herbarium materials and field observations in Sabah. Conventional herbarium techniques were applied for taxonomy, while the IUCN conservation status was assessed using GeoCAT.

Results – Hydnophytum puffii is closely related to H. angustifolium Merr. but differs in having glabrous young twigs, 4–5 pairs of leaf secondary veins on the lower leaf surface, a corolla tube that is densely covered with translucent hairs inside the throat around the anthers, and prolate mature fruits. This new taxon is the only species in Borneo to have linear leaves as the other two taxa, namely H. coriaceum Becc. and H. formicarum Jack have broad elliptic leaves.

Key words – Borneo, conservation status, Hydnophytum, Malaysia, new species, Psychotrieae, Rubiaceae, Sabah.

   Yee Wen Low, John B. Sugau and Khoon Meng Wong. 2016. Hydnophytum puffii (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae), A New Ant-plant from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Plant Ecology and Evolution. 149(1):123-130. DOI: 10.5091/plecevo.2016.1102 


[Arachnida • 2016] Leaf Masquerade in An Orb Web Spider Genus Poltys C.L. Koch, 1843, (Araneidae)

The ultimate leaf masquerade in an orb web spider, an undescribed species of Poltys (Araneidae) from Yunnan.
 A female had hung dead leaves from a twig that also included live leaves to masquerade itself from visual predators. Upon slight disturbance, she withdrew higher onto the twig where it remained motionless


Leaf masquerade—an animal resembling leaves that are inedible for predators or innocuous for prey—is well known in insects but less so in arachnids. We report a case of a striking morphological and behavioral adaptation that can be labeled as leaf masquerade in an undescribed spider species (Poltys C.L. Koch, 1843, Araneidae) from southwest China. The female abdomen has anatomical analogues of a leaf pedicel and venation, and its color is both green and brown, thus resembling both live and dry leaves. The spider camouflages itself with pulled dead leaves among live ones. This novel natural history in a spider adds an arachnid model to the growing literature on animal masquerade.

Keywords: Passive defenses, anachoresis, crypsis, Poltys, Araneidae


Figure 1.— The ultimate leaf masquerade in an orb web spider, an undescribed species of Poltys (Araneidae) from Yunnan.
AC, A female had hung dead leaves from a twig that also included live leaves to masquerade itself from visual predators (A). Upon slight disturbance, she withdrew higher onto the twig (B, C) where it remained motionless; D, lateral view of female pose in nature, note her abdomen resembling a dead leaf ventrally and a live, green leaf dorsally, both parts extending into a long and straight, apical abdominal hairy pedicel; E, female placed on a flat surface, showing her flexible abdominal pedicel, now curved; F, same, dorsal close up, note ‘‘leaf venation’’ and long hairy pedicel. 

Matjaž Kuntner, Matjaž Gregorič, Ren-Chung Cheng and Daiqin Li. 2016. Leaf Masquerade in An Orb Web Spider. Journal of Arachnology. 44(3);397–400.

This Never Before Seen Spider Looks Like a Leaf via @NatGeo

Saturday, November 26, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Amblygobius calvatus & A. cheraphilus • Two New Gobies (Gobiidae: Amblygobius) from the tropical western Pacific Ocean

Figure 1. Amblygobius nocturnus species group:
A) A. calvatus n. sp., Miniloc Island, Palawan, Philippines; B) A. esakiae, Bali, Indonesia; C) A. cheraphilus n. sp., Alotau, Papua New Guinea; D) A. nocturnus, Alotau, Papua New Guinea (all G.R. Allen).


Two new species belonging to the Indo-Pacific gobiid genus Amblygobius are described from mud-bottom habitats. Amblygobius calvatus n. sp. is described on the basis of 9 specimens, 23.7–48.0 mm SL, from the El Nido area of northern Palawan in the Philippines. Diagnostic features for the new species include usual counts of 15 segmented dorsal and anal-fin rays, scales entirely cycloid, no scales on the head (including the side of the nape and upper opercle), 80–86 longitudinal body scales, 24–26 transverse body scales, a strongly lanceolate caudal fin, a grayish-brown color in life with two orange-brown stripes on the head and body, 8–11 small black spots or saddles on the upper back, a blackish moustache-like marking above the upper lip, a horizontally oval orange-brown spot on the opercle, and a white pectoral-fin base with a central, horizontally-elongate, reddish-brown marking. Amblygobius cheraphilus n. sp. is described from 11 specimens, 14.6–32.9 mm SL, collected near the town of Alotau in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. It differs from congeners on the basis of a combination of features, including usual counts of 13 segmented dorsal and anal-fin rays, scales entirely cycloid, no scales on the head except for the side of the nape, 56–60 longitudinal scales, 14–18 transverse scales, a moderately lanceolate caudal fin, a grayish color in life with two reddish-brown stripes on the head and body with the lower stripe containing a prominent oval dark-brown spot on the opercle and ending in a dark-brown spot on the caudal-fin base, a series of small brown saddles on the back and predorsal region, and a faint ocellus on the upper caudal-fin rays.

Amblygobius calvatus Allen & Erdmann, 2016
Amblygobius cheraphilus Allen & Erdmann, 2016

Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann. 2016. Descriptions of Two New Gobies (Gobiidae: Amblygobius) from the tropical western Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 24; 10–23.

[Herpetology • 2015] Indirana salelkari • A New Species of Leaping Frog (Anura: Ranixalidae) from Western Ghats of Goa, India

Indirana salelkari 
Modak, Dahanukar, Gosavi & Padhye, 2015 


Indirana salelkari, a new species of leaping frog, is described from Netravali, Goa, India.  The species can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of morphological characters, viz., head longer than wide, narrow and deep buccal cavity, vomerine teeth large and acutely placed close to each other, oval choanae, distinct canthus rostralis, first finger longer than or equal to second, presence of double outer palmer tubercles, elongated inner metatarsal tubercle, moderate webbing, discs of fingers and toes with crescentic deep marginal grooves restricted only to the anterior side of the discs, dorsal skin with glandular folds but without warts, ventral skin granular with some mottling on throat and, palms and soles dark brown.  Indirana salelkari differs from its sister taxa, I. chiravasi, in the placement and structure of vomerine teeth and choanae.  The new species is genetically distinct from I. chiravasi, with a genetic distance of 3.8% for the 16S rRNA gene.  We also provide phylogentic placement of Indirana salelkari based on mitochondrial 12S and 16S ribosomal genes and nuclear rhodopsin gene along with molecular clock analysis, which further confirms its genetic distinctness from other related taxa.

Keywords: Buccal cavity structure; molecular phylogeny; multivariate analysis; new species; tadpole oral apparatus structure; taxonomy

Image 4. Indirana salelkari sp. nov. in life (female paratype, AGCZRL-amphibia-210, 30.9mm SUL).

  Nikhil Modak, Neelesh Dahanukar, Ninad Gosavi and Anand D. Padhye. 2015. Indirana salelkari, A New Species of Leaping Frog (Anura: Ranixalidae) from Western Ghats of Goa, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 7(9): 7493–7509. DOI: 10.11609/JoTT.o4262.7493-509

[Ornithology • 2016] Resolving Taxonomic Uncertainty and Historical Biogeographic Patterns in Muscicapa Flycatchers and their allies

• We use mitochondrial and nuclear genes to resolve relationships in Muscicapa and allies.
• We use our phylogenetic results to reconstruct biogeographic history in the group.
• We find several genera to be non-monophyletic.
• The group originated in Africa, and subsequently colonized Eurasia.
• The Congolian region of Africa is ancestral for one of the two major clades in the group.

Muscicapa flycatchers and their allies (Bradornis, Dioptornis, Empidornis, Fraseria, Myioparus, Namibornis, and Sigelus) are widely distributed in Africa, Europe and Asia. This broad distribution and the wide variety of habitats occupied by the group, ranging from arid to tropical forests, presents an interesting opportunity to explore the evolution of biogeographic patterns and habitat associations. Sequence data (up to 3310 base pairs from two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes) were generated for 36 of 42 species which comprise the assemblage. Complementary data from an additional species was retrieved from GenBank, as was an additional gene which was available for 21 of our included taxa. Using model-based phylogenetic methods and molecular clock dating, we constructed a time-calibrated molecular phylogenetic hypothesis for the lineage. Ancestral area reconstructions were performed on the phylogeny using LaGrange and BioGeoBEARS. Our results indicate that BradornisFraseria, and Muscicapa are each non-monophyletic, with the latter being shown to comprise five separate clades each more closely related to other genera. Two new genera (Chapinornis Chapinia and Ripleyornis Ripleyia) are erected to account for these results. Muscicapa and allies originated c. 7.4 Ma, most likely in Africa given that their sister lineage is almost entirely from there, and rapidly achieved a Eurasian distribution by c. 7.1 Ma. A second divergence at c. 6.1 Ma resulted in two clades. The first is a largely Eurasian clade that subsequently recolonized Africa, perhaps as the result of the loss of migration. The second is an African clade, and ancestral reconstructions suggest a Congolian (e.g. tropical forest) origin for this clade, with several subsequent diversifications into more arid habitats. This is a unique result, as most tropical forest lineages are confined to that habitat. As with other studies of African bird lineages, Afrotropical forest dynamics appear to have played a significant role in driving diversification in Muscicapa and allies, and our results include just the second recorded case of southern to northern African colonization patterns.

Keywords: Africa; Eurasia; Historical biogeography; Muscicapa; Muscicapidae; Systematics

Molecular phylogeny and taxonomic implications

Using molecular data from 20 taxa, Sangster et al. (2010) defined Muscicapini as comprising the genera Muscicapa, Melaenornis and, Fraseria; they did not include Myioparus in their analysis but it is clearly also a member of Muscicapini ( Fig. 1). Other genera ascribed to Muscicapini historically were excluded by their results, which also indicated issues with the monophyly of each of the remaining three genera (Muscicapa, Melaenornis, and Fraseria; Sangster et al., 2010).

Our study represents the most extensively sampled molecular phylogenetic analysis of Muscicapini species to date. Overall, we included 37 of 42 Muscicapini species (see Section 2). Of the five taxa we are missing in our analyses, two are insular forms from Southeast Asia (Muscicapa randi – Philippines and Muscicapa segregata – Lesser Sundas), and both have been considered as conspecific with Muscicapa dauurica ( Taylor, 2006). The remaining three species have patchy or restricted ranges in Afrotropical rainforests (Muscicapa lendu, Muscicapa epulata, Melaenornis annamarulae). Our attempts to extract DNA from museum specimens of Muscicapa lendu and Muscicapa epulata were unsuccessful.

Although comprising just four species in recent taxonomy (e.g., Taylor, 2006), the genus Melaenornis has previously been considered to include species now ascribed to Empidornis, Sigelus, Dioptrornis, Bradornis, and Fraseria ( Mayr and Cottrell, 1986). Our results indicate, (1) that a larger Melaenornis (to include the aforementioned four genera) would be non-monophyletic (see also Sangster et al., 2010), (2) that Melaenornis (edolioides is the type) could be restricted to as little as three and perhaps four species (depending on the eventual systematic placement of annamarulae), and (3) that Melaenornis could be expanded to include Dioptrornis, Empidornis, Sigelus and Namibornis ( Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). Due to the morphological distinctiveness of the latter four genera (three of which are monotypic) relative to Melaenornis, which are all black or dark gray in color, we agree with the more strict usage of Melaenornis (e.g., Taylor, 2006).

Our results also indicate that Bradornis is non-monophyletic, with species falling into two distinct clades ( Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). The Bradornis type is mariquensis ( Mayr and Cottrell, 1986), and thus that genus should be applied to mariquensis, pumilus and microrhyncus. There is an available synonym, Haganopsornis, which was applied to infuscatus (Roberts, 1922 fide Mayr and Cottrell, 1986) and we suggest resurrecting that genus to include infuscatus and pallidus ( Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). The genus Fraseria is also non-monophyletic, with ocreata being more closely related to the genus Myioparus; our results conflict as to the phylogenetic position of cinerascens ( Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). Regardless, Fraseria would apply to ocreata ( Mayr and Cottrell, 1986). We find no synonym to apply to cinerascens, which then requires the designation of a new genus for that species which we propose as:

Chapinia, new genus Voelker & Bowie
Type species. – Chapinia cinerascens.

Diagnosis – A genus of muscicapid flycatcher differing from all other genera of the family Muscicapidae by the following combination of characters: large size, diagnostic white supra-loral spot, dark upperparts, and mottled gray underparts with dark but poorly demarcated crescents on the breast.

Etymology – This name honors Dr. James P. Chapin, for his extensive documentation of, and research on, the birds of the Belgian Congo.

Finally, the genus Muscicapa appears to have been a taxonomic dumping ground for any small to medium sized Muscicapini flycatcher, as our results show it to be comprised of five distinct lineages (Fig. 1). The type for the genus is striata, thus Muscicapa would apply to the large clade of 11 species (Fig. 1). There are several synonyms available for other clades. The genus Apatema could be applied to olivascens, and Cichlomyia or Butalis (it is unclear to us which has priority) could apply to the closely related caerulescens, and thus to tessmani as well (Fig. 1). For comitata, the genus Pedilorhynchus is available, and Artomyias is available for infuscata and thus also for the closely related ussheri (Fig. 1). Although sister to infuscata + ussheri, boehmi is highly distinct from them morphologically (Sinclair and Ryan, 2010). We therefore suggest applying the name Bradyornis to boehmi, following the original description of this species (Reichenow, 1884, fide Mayr and Cottrell, 1986). We find no available synonym for ruficauda, which is the first species to diverge within Muscicapini (Fig. 1). This requires the designation of a new genus for that species which we propose as:

Ripleyia, new genus Voelker & Bowie
Type species. – Ripleyia ruficauda.

Diagnosis – A genus of muscicapid flycatcher differing from all other genera of the family Muscicapidae by the following combination of characters: rufous uppertail-coverts and tail, faint supercilium, and entirely orange lower mandible.

Etymology – This name honors Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, for his extensive work on the birds of India and southern Asia.

Gary Voelker, Jerry W. Huntley, Joshua V. Peñalba and Rauri C.K. Bowie. 2016. Resolving Taxonomic Uncertainty and Historical Biogeographic Patterns in Muscicapa Flycatchers and their allies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 94, Part B; 618–625. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.09.026




Earlier this year, two of us (GV & RB) introduced the genus-group names Chapinia and Ripleyia (in Voelker et al. 2016) for two species of African flycatchers allied to Muscicapa. We recently became aware that both of these genus-group names are preoccupied within Animalia (Chapinia by Chapinia Ewing, 1927 [Insecta: Phthiraptera] and Ripleyia by Ripleyia Cossman, 1920 [Mollusca]), rendering them junior homonyms. Following Article 60 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999) we herein provide replacement names for the two generic names introduced in Voelker et al. (2016).

Keywords: ChapiniaRipleyia, Passeriformes, Muscicapidae, Aves

Chapinornisnew replacement name
Type species: Fraseria cinerascens Hartlaub, 1857

Etymology: A combination of the surname Chapin and the Greek ὄρνις (Ornis), a bird, and a common suffix for bird genera. This name honors James P. Chapin, for his extensive documentation of, and research on, the birds of the Belgian Congo. Gender masculine.

Remarks: Replacement name for Chapinia Voelker & Bowie in Voelker, Huntley, Peñalba & Bowie, 2016.

Ripleyornisnew replacement name
Type species: Muscicapa ruficauda Swainson, 1838

Etymology: A combination of the surname Ripley and the Greek ὄρνις (Ornis), a bird, and a common suffix for bird genera. This name honors S. Dillon Ripley, former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, for his extensive work on the birds of India and southern Asia. Gender masculine.

Remarks: Replacement name for Ripleyia Voelker & Bowie in Voelker, Huntley, Peñalba & Bowie, 2016.

 Gary Voelker, Rauri C K Bowie and Kevin W. Conway. 2016. Replacement names for Chapinia and Ripleyia (Aves: Passeriformes: Muscicapidae).
Zootaxa. 4107(4); 599. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4107.4.9