Tuesday, February 28, 2017

[Paleontology • 2017] Keilhauia nui • A New Ophthalmosaurid (Ichthyosauria) from Svalbard, Norway, and Evolution of the Ichthyopterygian Pelvic Girdle

 Keilhauia nui 

Delsett, Roberts, Druckenmiller & Hurum, 2017
reconstruction: Esther van Hulsen


In spite of a fossil record spanning over 150 million years, pelvic girdle evolution in Ichthyopterygia is poorly known. Here, we examine pelvic girdle size relationships using quantitative methods and new ophthalmosaurid material from the Slottsmøya Member Lagerstätte of Svalbard, Norway. One of these new specimens, which preserves the most complete ichthyosaur pelvic girdle from the Cretaceous, is described herein as a new taxon, Keilhauia nui gen. et sp. nov. It represents the most complete Berriasian ichthyosaur known and the youngest yet described from the Slottsmøya Member. It is diagnosed on the basis of two autapomorphies from the pelvic girdle, including an ilium that is anteroposteriorly expanded at its dorsal end and an ischiopubis that is shorter or subequal in length to the femur, as well as a unique character combination. The Slottsmøya Member Lagerstätte ichthyosaurs are significant in that they represent a diverse assemblage of ophthalmosaurids that existed immediately preceding and across the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary. They also exhibit considerable variation in pelvic girdle morphology, and expand the known range in size variation of pelvic girdle elements in the clade.

Systematic Paleontology

Ichthyosauria de Blainville 1835
Neoichthyosauria Sander 2000
Thunnosauria Motani 1999

Ophthalmosauridae Baur 1887

Keilhauia gen. nov.

Keilhauia nui sp. nov.

Holotype and only specimen: PMO 222.655, an articulated, partial skeleton consisting of an incomplete rostrum, the dorsal and preflexural vertebrae, the right pectoral girdle and forefin, most of the pelvic girdle and both femora.

Etymology: Genus name in honor of Baltazar Mathias Keilhau (1797–1858), the first Norwegian geologist to do fieldwork in the Arctic. He was part of an expedition to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in 1827. His collection is housed at the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, where PMO 222.655 is also housed. Species name in honor of Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) working to protect the Arctic environment, who celebrate their 50 year anniversary in 2017.

Holotype locality: Island of Spitsbergen, north side of Janusfjellet, approximately 13 km north of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. UTM WGS84 33X 0518847 8696044

Holotype horizon and stage: Slottsmøya Member, Agardhfjellet Formation, Janusfjellet Subgroup, early Berriasian, Early Cretaceous. 44.8 metres above the echinoderm marker bed.

[lower] Fig 3. Skeletal map of Keilhauia nui (PMO 222.655) viewed from the side stratigraphically down, i.e. the prepared side. Vertebrae numbers (“x#”) indicate position relative to the anterior end of the preserved skeleton and do not correspond to their actual position in the column. Dashed lines show three faults. Scale bar equals 50 cm. Modified from Delsett et al. 2016.

 Lene Liebe Delsett, Aubrey J. Roberts, Patrick S. Druckenmiller and Jørn H. Hurum. 2017. A New Ophthalmosaurid (Ichthyosauria) from Svalbard, Norway, and Evolution of the Ichthyopterygian Pelvic Girdle. PLoS ONE. 12 (1): e0169971. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169971

Nyoppdaget fiskeøgle oppkalt etter Natur og Ungdom @NaturogUngdom

[Botany • 2017] Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. • An Enigmatic New Species and A New Section of Begonia (Begoniaceae) from Peru

Begonia elachista 
Moonlight & Tebbitt


The world’s smallest BegoniaBegonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov., is described and illustrated from a limestone outcrop in the Amazonian lowlands of Pasco Region, Peru. It is placed within the newly described, monotypic Begonia sect. Microtuberosa Moonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov. and the phylogenetic affinities of the section are examined. Begonia elachista sp. nov. is considered Critically Endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria.

Keywords: Begonia; sectional classification; limestone endemics; Peru; Amazonia

Fig 3. Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. 
[Begonia sect. Microtuberosa Moonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov.]A. Whole plant. B. Male and female flower, front view. C. Female flower, side view. D. Habit and associated vegetation. EF. Habitat and wild population.
Scale bars: A = 1 cm; B = 5 mm; C = 2 mm; D = 2 cm; E–F = 10 cm.
Photographed by Peter Moonlight. All from P. Moonlight & A. Daza 318 (E). 

Taxonomic Treatment

Class Equisetopsida C.Agardh (Agardh et al. 1825)
Subclass Magnoliidae Novák ex Takht. (Takhtajan 1967)
Superorder Rosanae Takht. (Takhtajan 1967)
Order Cucurbitales Juss. ex Bercht. & J.Presl (von Berchtold & Presl 1820)

Family Begoniaceae C.Agardh (Agardh 1824)

Genus Begonia L. (Linnaeus 1753)

Begonia sect. Microtuberosa Moonlight & Tebbitt sect. nov.

 Diagnosis: Begonia sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. is most closely related to B. sect. Trachelocarpus and three species of B. sect. Gaerdtia. Both of these sections are endemic to eastern Brazil and differ markedly from sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. in both their habit and floral characteristics (see Table 1). However, all three sections share their filaments fused at least at the base and B. sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. further shares its androecium morphology with B. sect. Pereira and its lack of bracteoles with B. sect. Trachelocarpus. The majority of both floral and vegetative characters are, however, markedly different among the three sections.

Begonia sect. Microtuberosa sect. nov. is readily identified as the only Neotropical section of Begonia with male flowers with four or fewer stamens, and the combination of ovaries with two or three locules and entire placentas, and a tuberous habit.

Etymology: The name ‘Microtuberosa’ emphasises the diminutive and tuberous habit of the type species. 

Type species: Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. 

Distribution: On a limestone outcrop in lowland Amazonian Peru to the east of the Chemillén Cordillera at an altitude of 430 m.

Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov. sect. Microtuberosa

Diagnosis: Begonia elachista sp. nov. is a highly distinct species with an unusual combination of features that is easily recognized as the only Peruvian species of Begonia that reaches maturity at fewer than 5 cm in height. It is also unique within Peru in having ovate leaves smaller than 3 × 3 cm and a combination of entire placentae and a tuberous habit.

Etymology: The epithet ‘elachista’ comes from the Greek for ‘least’ and emphasizes the diminutive size of this species, which is the smallest known species of Begonia.

Distribution and habitat: Begonia elachista sp. nov. is known only from the type locality in the Peruvian region of Pasco (Oxapampa Province) and has been collected on calcareous rocks by the entrance to a cave within primary lowland Amazonian forest, at an altitude of 430 m. It was observed growing on rocks free from other vascular plants in association with various bryophyte species in the almost continual shade of the surrounding forest.


Peter Watson Moonlight, Carlos Reynel and Mark Tebbitt. 2017.  Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov., An Enigmatic New Species and A New Section of Begonia (Begoniaceae) from Peru. European Journal of Taxonomy.  281: 1–13.  DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2017.281

[Mollusca • 2017] Not All Spotted Cats are Leopards: Evidence for A Hemilienardia ocellata species complex (Gastropoda: Conoidea: Raphitomidae)

Fig. 2. Species of the Hemilienardia ocellata complex. The SEM image with no letter denoted shows standard measurements.
 A–D. Hemilienardia ocellata (Jousseaume, 1884). A–B. Syntype, MNHN IM-2000-3128, Mauritius, 4.0 mm. C. Loyalty Islands, Lifou, Baie du Santal, Atelier Lifou 2000, stn 1429, 20°47.5' S, 167°07.1' E, 8–18 m, 4.4 mm. D. New Caledonia, Secteur de Koumac, Expedition Montrouzier, stn 1319, 20°44.7' S, 164°15.5' E, 15–20 m, 3.6 mm.
E–F. Hemilienardia acinonyx sp. nov. E. Holotype, MNHN IM-2013-33593, Philippines, 8.1 mm. F. Loyalty Islands, Lifou, Baie du Santal, Atelier Lifou 2000, stn 1441, 20°46.4' S, 167°02.0' E, 20 m, 5.4 mm.
G–H. Hemilienardia lynx sp. nov., holotype, MNHN IM-2013-5489, Papua New Guinea, 2.75 mm.
I–M. Hemilienardia pardus sp. nov. I. BMOO 17147, Society Islands, Moorea. K. Holotype, MNHN IM-2000-31661, 5.8 mm. L–M. Loyalty Islands, Lifou, Baie du Santal, Atelier Lifou 2000, stn 1454, 20°56.65' S, 167°02.0' E, 15–18 m, 5.2 mm.


The small conoidean Hemilienardia ocellata is one of the easily recognizable Indo-Pacific “turrids”, primarily because of its remarkable eyespot colour pattern. Morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed four species that share this “characteristic” colour pattern but demonstrate consistent differences in size and shell proportions. Three new species – Hemilienardia acinonyx sp. nov. from the Philippines, H. lynx sp. nov. from Papua New Guinea and H. pardus sp. nov. from the Society and Loyalty Islands – are described based on the results of phylogenetic analyses. Although the H. ocellata species complex clade falls in a monophyletic HemilienardiaH. ocellata and H. acinonyx sp. nov. possess a radula with semi-enrolled or notably flattened triangular marginal teeth, a condition that diverges substantially from the standard radular morphology of Hemilienardia and other raphitomids.

Keywords: integrative taxonomy; species delimitation; Indo-Pacific; COI; 16S

Alexander E. Fedosov, Peter Stahlschmidt, Nicolas Puillandre, Laetitia Aznar-Cormano and Philippe Bouchet. 2017. Not All Spotted Cats are Leopards: Evidence for A Hemilienardia ocellata species complex (Gastropoda: Conoidea: Raphitomidae).  European Journal of Taxonomy. 268(2017); 1-20. DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2017.268


[Mammalogy • 2017] Sciurus meridionalis • New Endemic Mammal Species (Rodentia, Sciuridae) for Europe

 Sciurus meridionalisLucifero 1907  
summer coat, from Sila massif, Calabria, Italy.

 Photograph by Antonio Mancuso  


Combining genetic, morphological and geographical data, we re-evaluate Sciurus meridionalis, Lucifero 1907 as a tree squirrel species. The species, previously considered a subspecies of the Eurasian red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, is endemic to South Italy with a disjunct distribution with respect to S. vulgaris. The new species has a typical, monomorphic coat colour characterized by a white ventral fur and a very dark-brown to blackish fur on the back, sides and tail. Specimens of S. meridionalis have a larger hind foot length and weigh about 35% more than live-caught S. vulgaris from northern Italy. S. meridionalis is larger than S. vulgaris specimens from three other regions in Italy for mandible length, skull width and skull (condylobasal) length, and principal component scores indicate significant shape differences of specimens from the Calabria population (S. meridionalis) compared to all other specimens (S. vulgaris). These morphological differences are further supported by genetic evidence at three mitochondrial markers (D-loop, cytochrome b and the DNA barcoding region COI) using the widest molecular dataset ever assembled for Sciurus vulgaris and S. meridionalis. All the investigated markers revealed exclusive haplotypes for S. meridionalis well separated from those of S. vulgaris and previously published results based on nuclear markers further support our taxonomic hypothesis. We suggest Calabrian black squirrel as common name for this new taxon.

Keywords: Sciuridae; Sciurus meridionalis; taxonomy; new species; Italy

Figure 2 – Sciurus meridionalis, in summer coat, from Sila massif, Calabria, Italy.
Photograph by Antonio Mancuso. 

Family Sciuridae Fischer von Waldheim, 1817

Genus Sciurus Linnaeus, 1758

Sciurus meridionalis, Lucifero 1907 

Geographical distribution: The range of Sciurus meridionalis Lucifero, 1907 includes the three main mountain blocks of Calabria: the whole Pollino massif (including Lucanian side) at the border between Calabria and Lucania, the Sila massif and the Aspromonte massif, with three once disjunct populations.Only recently the Pollino and Sila populations have become connec-ted by colonization of the Catena Costiera, which was made possible by replanting of conifers (Rima et al., 2009). The species has not been reported from the Serre Massif (Fig. 3). 

Lucas A. Wauters, Giovanni Amori, Gaetano Aloise, Spartaco Gippoliti, Paolo Agnelli, Andrea Galimberti, Maurizio Casiraghi, Damiano Preatoni and Adriano Martinoli. 2017. New Endemic Mammal Species for Europe: Sciurus meridionalis (Rodentia, Sciuridae).  Hystrix [the Italian Journal of Mammalogy]. DOI:  10.4404/hystrix-28.1-12015

[Herpetology • 2017] Rhombophryne nilevina • Diamond in the Rough: A New Species of Fossorial Diamond Frog (Rhombophryne) from Ranomafana National Park, southeastern Madagascar

Rhombophryne nilevina
Lambert, Hutter & Scherz, 2017   

We describe a new species from the cophyline microhylid genus Rhombophryne, a group of fossorial and terrestrial frogs endemic to Madagascar. Found during herpetofaunal surveys of moist montane forest in the remote north of Ranomafana National Park, Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n. exemplifies two difficulties that hinder taxonomic progress in Malagasy cophyline frogs: micro-endemicity and highly secretive habits. Known from only two adult male specimens, this new species is nonetheless easily distinguishable from all other known Rhombophryne using morphological data, and osteological data collected here via X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography, or " micro-CT ". This species is now the largest known Rhombophryne, and the only one known from Ranomafana National Park, which will make it the southern-most member of the genus pending a forthcoming taxonomic revision involving Plethodontohyla and Rhombophryne. Pairwise distances of the mitochondrial 16s rRNA marker show a minimum genetic distance of 4.9% from other nominal Rhombophryne. We also describe recordings of an advertisement call, emitted from a burrow by the holotype. Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n. is not known to be found syntopically with other Rhombophryne, nor to be present elsewhere in Ranomafana National Park, but it probably does co-occur with a few ecologically similar Plethodontohyla species. Although the type locality is within a protected area, we suggest an IUCN listing of Data Deficient for R. nilevina sp. n., as its area of occupancy is largely undetermined within the park.

Key Words: Amphibia, Anura, Microhylidae, Rhombophryne nilevina, taxonomy, osteology, micro-CT, endemicity, herpetology

Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n.
 Suggested common English name: Buried Diamond Frog
Suggested common Malagasy name: Sahona diamondra nilevina
Suggested common French name: La grenouille de diamant enterré

Diagnosis: A frog assigned to the cophyline genus Rhombophryne on the basis of its divided vomer, the possession of clavicles and knob-shaped terminal phalanges (see Scherz et al. 2016a). This species is characterized by the following suite of characters: large size (SVL at least up to 57.2 mm), wide, short head (HW 180.7% of HL), tympanum 58.6% of eye, forelimb 51.1% of SVL, tibia 42.2% of SVL, hindlimb 152.5% of SVL, large inner metacarpal and metatarsal tubercles, supratympanic fold distinct and raised, running from the posterior corner of the eye straight over the tympanum, then sharply down behind it, extending to join the front of the arm, distinct vomerine teeth forming curved rows posteromedial to the oblong choanae, separated medially by a small cleft, second finger shorter than fourth finger, fifth toe distinctly shorter than third, without finger or toe reduction, finger and toe tips not enlarged. Additionally, R. nilevina is separated from all nominal species of Rhombophryne by an uncorrected pairwise distance of at least 4.9% in the fragment of the 16S rRNA gene, and by at least 3.8% from all known candidate species in this genus.

Figure 3. Photos in life of Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n. 
(a) Dorsolateralview of the holotype (KU 340893). (b) Dorsal view of the holotype. (c) Ventral view of the holotype. (d) Dorsolateral view of the paratype (CRH 799, UADBA-A Uncatalouged). (e) Dorsal view of the paratype. (f) Ventral view of the paratype.

Etymology: The specific epithet “nilevina” is a Malagasy word meaning “buried.” This name was chosen to recognize the fossorial habits of this species. It is to be treated as an invariable noun in apposition.

Natural history. Both known specimens of R. nilevina were obtained from a relatively flat, poorly drained section of moist montane forest adjacent to a stream, with the holotype found along the bank of this stream. Nearby habitats include a swamp with many large Pandanus and steep forested slopes with relatively smaller trees. However, the calls of R. nilevina seemed to emanate mostly from the flatter, forested area. Males were heard calling during the day, particularly during overcast conditions and after rainfall. Advertisement calls were not heard at night, however, the night-time chorus of other frogs, including BoophisSpinomantisGephyromantis, and Anodonthyla, may have interfered with detection. When heard from a distance, the call is reminiscent of that of an owl. When heard from close proximity, the call sounds like a groan, and is far less melodic. Both specimens were both located by auditory tracking, and found calling from underground: one from a cavity under the roots of a large tree, and the other from a burrow in soft, moist soil alongside the stream. In order to collect the holotype from its burrow, excavation was required. Based on these observations and suggestive morphology, we presume that R. nilevina spend much of their lives underground, possibly coming to the surface for short periods during rainfall, similar to other fossorial Rhombophryne species (Glaw and Vences 2007, D’Cruze et al. 2010). We also note that R. nilevina was discovered in the middle of the wet season, and after a week-long period of particularly heavy, sustained rain.

Distribution: Rhombophryne nilevina has thus far been detected at a single site, near the former village of Andemaka, in the north-west of Ranomafana National Park (Fig. 2). This locality is relatively high-elevation for Ranomafana National Park (ca. 1240 m). To our knowledge, R. nilevina has not been detected by any previous survey, including several conducted by CRH and SML at similarly high-elevation sites in the northern (Miaranony), central (Vohiparara), and southern (Maharira) regions of Ranomafana. Nevertheless, we do not rule out here the possibility that R. nilevina occurs elsewhere in the park. This is in large part due to the secretive habits and potentially ephemeral activity periods of this species (see Natural history). In addition, much of the high-elevation forest of Ranomafana is difficult to access and thus remains sparsely or completely unsurveyed for herpetofauna. Although it is possible that R. nilevina has been overlooked in other eastern rainforest patches, current information suggests that this species is endemic to Ranomafana National Park, and potentially to a much smaller area within the park.

 Shea M Lambert, Carl R. Hutter and Mark David Scherz. 2017. Diamond in the Rough: A New Species of Fossorial Diamond Frog (Rhombophryne) from Ranomafana National Park, southeastern Madagascar. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 93(1); 143–155. DOI: 10.3897/zse.93.10188

Diamond in the rough: meet Madagascar's fat new frog
http://www.markscherz.com/archives/3147 via @MarkScherz

[Mammalogy • 2017] Paragalago gen. nov. • A New Genus for the eastern Dwarf Galagos (Primates: Galagidae)

The family Galagidae (African galagos or bushbabies) comprises five genera: Euoticus Gray, 1872; Galago Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1796; Galagoides Smith, 1833; Otolemur Coquerel, 1859; and Sciurocheirus Gray, 1872, none of which is regarded as monotypic, but some (Euoticus and Otolemur) certainly qualify as oligotypic. We argue for the recognition of a sixth genus, if the taxonomy is to reflect galagid evolution accurately. Genetic evidence has consistently demonstrated that the taxa currently referred to the genus Galagoides are not monophyletic but form two clades (a western and an eastern clade) that do not share an exclusive common ancestor; we review 20 years of genetic studies that corroborate this conclusion. Further, we compare vocalizations emitted by small-bodied galagids with proposed phylogenetic relationships and demonstrate congruence between these data sets. Morphological evidence, however, is not entirely congruent with genetic reconstructions; parallel dwarfing in the two clades has led to convergences in skull size and shape that have complicated the classification of the smaller species. We present a craniodental morphometric analysis of small-bodied galagid genera that identifies distinguishing characters for the genera and supports our proposal that five taxa currently subsumed under Galagoides (Galagoides cocosGalagoides grantiGalagoides orinusGalagoides rondoensis and Galagoides zanzibaricus) be placed in their own genus, for which we propose the name Paragalago.

Keywords: Biogeography, Bushbaby, Craniodental Morphometrics, Galagoides, Molecular Phylogeny, Paragalago, Vocalizations.

Map showing approximate geographic ranges of the two independent dwarf galago clades, Galagoides (red) and the eastern dwarf galagos [Paragalago] (blue). The type localities of the species comprising the genera are indicated by symbols. In the case of Galagoides demidoff, the type locality is estimated from Fischer’s (1806) description. 

A Kenya coast galago (Paragalago cocos).
Photo: Luca Pozzi

Judith C. Masters, Fabien Génin, Sébastien Couette, Colin P. Groves, Stephen D. Nash, Massimiliano Delpero and Luca Pozzi. 2017. A New Genus for the eastern Dwarf Galagos (Primates: Galagidae). Zool J Linn Soc. zlw028. DOI:  10.1093/zoolinnean/zlw028
African bush babies gain a new genus https://news.mongabay.com/2017/02/african-bush-babies-gain-a-new-genus/ via @mongabay

[Herpetology • 2017] Resurrection of Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878 for the Green Crested Lizard (Squamata, Agamidae) of southern Myanmar

Bronchocela burmana  
 Blanford, 1878 

Recent fieldwork in southern Tanintharyi revealed the presence of a small Green Crested Lizard in the wet evergreen forest. We generated mtDNA sequence data (ND2) that demonstrates that this population’s nearest relative is Bronchocela rayaensis Grismer et al., 2015 of Pulau Langkawi, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia and Phuket Island. Morphologically the Burmese Bronchocela shares many features with B. rayaensis, which potentially would make this recently described Thai-Malay species a synonym of Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878; however, we interpret the genetic and morphological differences to reflect evolutionary divergence and recommend the recognition of both species.

Keywords:  Reptilia, Southeast Asia, Tanintharyi Division, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, morphology, molecular phylogeny, synonymy, nomenclature

Figure 1. Distribution of Bronchocela burmana (solid circles) in southern peninsular Myanmar, Taylor’s (1963) two localities for B. cristatella (open squares) in southern Thailand, and B. rayaensis type locality (star) in northwestern Peninsular Malaysia and its newly reported localities (open circles) in Thailand (Grismer et al. 2016). A solid diamond denotes the type locality of B. burmana. The red dashed lines depict the political boundaries between Myanmar-Thailand, Cambodia-Thailand, and Malaysia-Thailand. 

Figure 3. Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878 from the Lenya area (circa 11.68N 99.42E). A dorsolateral view of a living Burmese Crested Lizard, USNM 587483. Photo by DGM. 

Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878
Burmese Green Crested Lizard

Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878,
Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 1878(6): 141.

A Bronchocela lizard with a short nuchal crest of six to nine erect triangular crest scales; no middorsal crest of raised scales on trunk. Snout-vent length of adults range from 80 to 94 mm with tail length 240 to 360% of snout-vent length; limbs slender, forelimbs 42–52% of SVL, hindlimbs 86–97% of SVL; digits long and slender with third finger slightly longer than fourth finger, fourth toe distinctly longer that third toe; head medium sized (25–27% of SVL); head with distinct canthal ridge, narrow triangular shaped from dorsal view, length > width ≈ height and approximately 26 % of SVL; moderately large eye (OrbD/HeadL ~26–28%) and about twice diameter of tympanum (continuous with temporal surface).

General description
Detailed metric and scalation features are presented above in the Results section, also Table 2. Bronchocela burmana is a slender green lizard with long tail, usually 2.5–3.5X snout-vent length. In spite of its 80 to 94 mm body length, its slenderness and thin legs give it a delicate appearance and make it immediately recognizable among the other lizards of southern Tanintharyi.
In life, Bronchocela burmana appears uniformly green (Fig. 2). Preservation changed the overall coloration to light olive but highlights a light rufous vertical bar in the temporal area.

George R. Zug, Daniel G. Mulcahy and Jens V. Vindum. 2017. Resurrection of Bronchocela burmana Blanford, 1878 for the Green Crested Lizard (Squamata, Agamidae) of southern Myanmar. ZooKeys. 657: 141-156. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.657.11600
Grismer, L. L., JR. P. L. Wood, Cheol H. Lee, Evan S. H. Quah, Shahrul Anuar, Ehwan Ngadi & Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2015. An Integrative Taxonomic Review of the Agamid Genus Bronchocela (Kuhl, 1820) from Peninsular Malaysia with Descriptions of New Montane and Insular Endemics. Zootaxa. 3948(1): 1–23. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3948.1.1

[Ichthyology • 2017] Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis • A New Species of Pseudocrenilabrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Mweru in the Upper Congo River System

Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis
Katongo, Seehausen & Snoeks, 2017  


Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis sp. nov. is described from Lake Mweru in the upper Congo River drainage, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. This species, which appears to be endemic to the lake, lives in sympatry with P. philander. Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis sp. nov. is distinguished from P. philander in nuptial males by the presence of an orange colour on the ventral part of the body and the proximal parts of the anal and caudal fins, a broad band of bright white on the distal edge of anal and caudal fins, a uniform grey head and dorsum, and a subtruncate caudal fin. In addition, P. pyrrhocaudalis has a shorter snout, a narrower head, a smaller interorbital distance, a smaller pre-anal distance, a more slender caudal peduncle and fewer scales around the caudal peduncle in both sexes.

Keywords: Pisces, Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis, description, south-eastern Africa

Cyprian Katongo, Ole Seehausen and Jos Snoeks. 2017. A New Species of Pseudocrenilabrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Mweru in the Upper Congo River System. Zootaxa.  4237(1); 181–190.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4237.1.10

Monday, February 27, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Lysipomia petrosa • A New Species of Lysipomia (Campanulaceae) from Ecuador

Lysipomia petrosa  T.J. Ayers

in Ayers, Sklenář & Fernández, 2017. 

Lysipomia petrosa from Azuay province, Ecuador, is described as new and compared with the related species L. bilineata and L. caespitosa.

Keywords: endemism, páramo, taxonomy, Eudicots

Figure 2.  Lysipomia petrosa  T.J. Ayers, Habitat.
Photos by T. Ayers. 

Lysipomia petrosa T.J. Ayers, sp. nov.  
Diagnosis:— Glabrous perennial with thick branching rhizomes covered with densely crowded, overlapping persistent leaves or leaf bases. Leaves narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acute with a terminal gland, the margins entire, slightly thickened and whitish with age, with 2–3 irregular pairs of glands. Flowers pseudo-resupinate, corolla bilabiate, fruit sessile, hidden among persistent leaf bases, globose, thickened, with 10 broad ribs

Etymology:— The species is named for its specific habitat perched well above ground level where it grows in mossy crevices of large boulders that rise above the shrubby páramo.

Tina J. Ayers, Petr Sklenář and Diana M. Fernández. 2017. A New Species of Lysipomia (Campanulaceae) from Ecuador. Phytotaxa. 297(1); 097–100. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.297.1.13


[Mammalogy • 2017] Galagoides kumbirensis • A Giant Among Dwarfs: A New Species of Galago (Primates: Galagidae) from Angola

Galagoides kumbirensis 
Svensson, Bersacola, Mills, Munds, Nijman, Perkin, Masters, Couette, Nekaris & Bearder. 2017


Based on vocalization recordings of an unknown galago species, our main objectives were to compare morphology and call structure with known closely-related taxa and describe a new species of galago.

Materials and methods
We conducted field surveys in three forest habitats along the escarpment region in western Angola (Kumbira Forest, Bimbe Area, and Northern Scarp Forest), and examined galago specimens from museums worldwide. We digitized and analyzed calls using Avisoft SASLab Pro software. We also compared museum specimens from Angola with other Galago and Galagoides specimens, and conducted comparative analyses (ANOVA and between group principle component analysis) based on a set of twelve linear measurements of skulls and teeth.

We describe the new species to which we give the name Angolan dwarf galago, Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. The new species has a loud and characteristic crescendo call, used by other Galagoides spp. (sensu stricto) in West Africa to attract companions and repel rivals. However, this call shows species-typical differences from its closest relatives. Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. is also distinguished by differences in the skull morphology, pelage color and facial markings, as well as a larger body size, similar to that of Galago moholi, which is not known to be sympatric.

This discovery points to the importance of Angolan forests as refuges for endemic biodiversity. These forests are under severe threat from overexploitation, and there is an urgent need to establish conservation measures and designate protected areas.

KEYWORDS: Bushbaby, cryptic species, Galagoides, morphology, strepsirrhine

FIGURE 2 (A, B) Skin and skull of one of the syntypes of Galagoides kumbirensis sp. nov. (FMHN 81756);
(C) paratype (in situ Kumbira Forest) 

Etymology: The species was first observed in situ in Kumbira Forest, an area undergreat pressure from commercial logging (Bersacola et al., 2015; Cáceres et al., 2016). Kumbira is considered a hotspot for many endemic species in Angola (Cáceres et al., 2015) and by using this name we aim to draw attention to the area.  
Suggested common name: Angolan dwarf galago (English), galago angolano (Portuguese)

 Magdalena S. Svensson, Elena Bersacola, Michael S. L. Mills, Rachel A. Munds, Vincent Nijman, Andrew Perkin, Judith C. Masters, Sébastien Couette, K. Anne-Isola Nekaris and Simon K. Bearder. 2017.  A Giant Among Dwarfs: A New Species of Galago (Primates: Galagidae) from Angola.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23175 ResearchGate.net/publication/313882784_A_giant_among_dwarfs_a_new_species_of_galago_Primates_Galagidae_from_Angola

This new primate is a ‘giant’ among tiny bush babies https://news.mongabay.com/2017/02/this-new-primate-is-a-giant-among-tiny-bushbabies/ via  @mongabay

[Mammalogy • 2017] Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci • A New Species of Monodelphis (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) from the Brazilian Amazon

Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci 
Pavan, Mendes-Oliveira & Voss, 2017 

We describe a new species of the didelphid marsupial genus Monodelphis from Brazil, where it appears to be widely distributed in the states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre. Monodelphis saci, new species, belongs to the subgenus Mygalodelphys, and analyses of DNA sequence data suggest that it is most closely related to M. handleyiM. osgoodi, and M. peruviana. Diagnostic morphological traits include pelage coloration, qualitative aspects of craniodental morphology, and a distinctive range of morphometric variation. The new species has sometimes been misidentified in the literature as Mkunsi, a distinct but apparently allopatric taxon. Monodelphis saci occurs sympatrically with MemiliaeMglirina, and M. touan in the rainforested lowlands south of the Amazon River.

FIG. 4. Adult female of Monodelphis saci (MPEG 42956), from Mina do Palito, Itaituba, Pará, Brazil.
Photos: A.O. Maciel. 

Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci, new species

Distribution: Monodelphis saci is currently known from at least 14 localities scattered along the south bank of the Amazon in the Brazilian states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre (fig. 2).

Habitats and sympatry: At Bom Jardim, Penedo, and Boca do Rato, Monodelphis saci was found in both primary and disturbed forest (logged areas and secondary vegetation) on both banks of the Rio Tapajós. Capture sites at these localities included terra firme forest characterized by a relatively low canopy (10–15 m) with numerous lianas (fig. 3A–B), as well as seasonally flooded riparian forest characterized by clayey soil, abundant epiphytes, palm trees, and herbaceous vegetation (fig. 3C).

Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to the Brazilian folkloric character Saci, a one-legged gnome with a red cap. Saci is allegedly derived from the Yaci Yaterê of Tupi-Guarani mythology, to which elements of African and European folklore have been added over the last several centuries (Cascudo, 1947).

Silvia E. Pavan, Ana C. Mendes-Oliveira and Robert S. Voss. 2017. A New Species of Monodelphis (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) from the Brazilian Amazon.
AMERICAN MUSEUM NOVITATES. Number 3872; 1-20.  DigitaLlibrary.AMNH.org/handle/2246/6696

New Redheaded Opossum Named After Magical Gnome 


[Entomology • 2017] Megatibicen harenosus • A New Species of Megatibicen (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) endemic to Mescalero-Monahans Shinnery Sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A

Megatibicen harenosus
Cole, 2017


Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.

Keywords: Hemiptera, bioacoustics, endemic, peripatric speciation, evolutionary species concept


 Jeffrey A. Cole. 2017. A New Species of Megatibicen endemic to Mescalero-Monahans Shinnery Sands (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae).
  Zootaxa.  4236(3); 553–562. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4236.3.9

Friday, February 24, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Seven New Species of Night Frogs (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with Remarkably High Diversity of Diminutive Forms

Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensisN. manalariN. pulivijayaniN. radcliffeiN. robinmooreiN. sabarimalai N. webilla 
Garg, Suyesh, Sukesan & Biju. 2017
 DOI:   10.7717/peerj.3007 


The Night Frog genus Nyctibatrachus (Family Nyctibatrachidae) represents an endemic anuran lineage of the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot, India. Until now, it included 28 recognised species, of which more than half were described recently over the last five years. Our amphibian explorations have further revealed the presence of undescribed species of Nights Frogs in the southern Western Ghats. Based on integrated molecular, morphological and bioacoustic evidence, seven new species are formally described here as Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus manalari sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei sp. nov., Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai sp. nov. and Nyctibatrachus webilla sp. nov., thereby bringing the total number of valid Nyctibatrachus species to 35 and increasing the former diversity estimates by a quarter. Detailed morphological descriptions, comparisons with other members of the genus, natural history notes, and genetic relationships inferred from phylogenetic analyses of a mitochondrial dataset are presented for all the new species. Additionally, characteristics of male advertisement calls are described for four new and three previously known species. Among the new species, six are currently known to be geographically restricted to low and mid elevation regions south of Palghat gap in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and one is probably endemic to high-elevation mountain streams slightly northward of the gap in Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, four new species are also among the smallest known Indian frogs. Hence, our discovery of several new species, particularly of easily overlooked miniaturized forms, reiterates that the known amphibian diversity of the Western Ghats of India still remains underestimated.

• Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis sp. nov.
 Athirappilly Night Frog

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/891, adult male, from Thavalakuzhipara (10°16′53″N 76°41′25.6″E, 530 m), Vazhachal forest division, Thrissur district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 11 September 2015.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/892–895, four adult males, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/896, adult female, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 11 July 2016.

Etymology. The species epithet is an adjective that refers to Athirappilly falls, which is in close vicinity of the type locality.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis is currently known only from its type locality in the southern Western Ghats state of Kerala. All the specimens were collected from shallow streams or marshy areas covered with thick vegetation or leaf litter. Collection site was located inside a secondary forest. Calling males were found hiding under vegetation either inside the shallow stream or on the edges. Calls were heard and recorded during the late evening between 18:00–22:00 h.

Remark. Biju et al. (2011) erroneously interpreted the “fourth toe disc with dorso-terminal groove, cover rounded distally” in Nyctibatrachus kempholeyensis. In the present study we confirm that the fourth toe disc of N. kempholeyensis has a dorso-terminal groove with cover notched distally.

• Nyctibatrachus manalari sp. nov.
 Manalar Night Frog

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/897, adult male, from Upper Manalar (09°34′29.31″N 77° 20′10.27″E, 1564 m), Periyar Tiger Reserve, Idukki district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 15 July 2016.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/898–901, four adult males, collected along with the holotype.

Etymology. The species is named after the type locality Upper Manalar in Periyar Tiger Reserve, from where the type series was collected. The specific name manalari is a noun in the genitive case.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus manalari is currently known only from its type locality, which is located south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hiding under herbs and grasses growing on or at the edges of a large rocky area inside a primary evergreen forest patch. Calling males were located and recorded at night (between 19:00–21:00 h), but calls were also heard during the day (around 14:00 h). One of the calling males was found next to an egg clutch (eight eggs) deposited under the ground vegetation.

• Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani sp. nov. 
Vijayan’s Night Frog 

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/902, adult male, from Pandipath (08°40′42.0″N 77°11′38.6″E, 1,250 m), Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB, SG and Vijayan on 19 June 2016.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/903–905, three adult males collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/906, adult male, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 29 June 2015.

Etymology. This species is named after Mr. Vijayan Kani for consistently offering tremendous field support over two decades to SDB and his students during studies in the Western Ghats. Vijayan, a tribal from Agasthyamala hills of Kerala, acquired the name ‘Pulivijayan’ after he braved a leopard’s attack. The name is derived from two words; ‘puli’ meaning leopard in Malayalam (official language of Kerala state) and ‘vijayan’. The species epithet ‘pulivijayani’ is used as a noun in the genitive case. The specific word ‘puli’ also refers to leopard-like spots observed on the dorsal surface of this species.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in Agasthyamala Hills, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hiding under herbs and grasses on marshy ground (usually away from water) inside an evergreen forest. Males were observed calling during the day (around 11:00 h) and in the late evening (18:00 h).

• Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov. 
Radcliffe’s Night Frog 

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/920, adult male, from Thiashola estate (11°13′48.2″N 76° 37′02.1″E, 1920 m), Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 09 July 2016.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/921–922, two adult males, collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/923–924, two adult males, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 08 July 2016.

Etymology. This species is named after the late Major Richard Radcliffe in recognition of his contribution towards biodiversity conservation in the Nilgiris. The species name radcliffei is a noun in the genitive case.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus radcliffei sp. nov. is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in the Nilgiris, north of Palghat gap in the southern Western Ghats state of Tamil Nadu. All the specimens were found in crevices under rocks in a hill stream inside the tea estate. In our study, we observed tadpoles of this species during the month of October 2014 and confirmed their identity using DNA. Since calls or breeding activity was not observed at the time of collection (in July), we presume that this species breeds during the early monsoon period. Collections were made between 20:00–23:00 h.

• Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei sp. nov. 
Robin Moore’s Night Frog 

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/925, adult male, from Kakkachi (08°33′02.6″N, 77°23′29.6″E, 1290 m), Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu state, India, collected by SDB on 30 August 2002.

Etymology. The species is named for Dr Robin Moore, a wildlife photographer and conservationist, in appreciation of his contribution to amphibian conservation. The species name robinmoorei is considered as a noun in the genitive case.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei is currently known only from its type locality, which is located in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Tamil Nadu. Animals were collected from a marshy area covered with thick ground vegetation, close to a rivulet inside primary forest. Males were heard calling during daytime (12:00–14:00 h) and in the late evening (around 18:00 h).

• Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai sp. nov. 
Sabarimala Night Frog 

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/927, adult male, from Pamba (09°24′17.6″N 77°04′11.6″E, 210 m), Pathanamthitta district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 17 July 2016.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/928–931, four adult males collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/932, adult female, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB, SG, RS, SS on 02 July 2015.

Etymology. The species is named after Sabarimala, a pilgrim site located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, from the surroundings of which the type series was collected. The species name is considered as a noun in the genitive case.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai is currently known only from its type locality, which is located close to Sabarimala in Periyar Tiger Reserve, south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Individuals were located under leaf litter in a shallow forest stream or under the grasses on wet rocky terrain. A calling male was found positioned next to an egg clutch (10 eggs) deposited inside a slit on a tree stump about one foot above ground. Males were observed calling both during the day (between 15:00–17:00 h) and night (20:00–22:00 h).

• Nyctibatrachus webilla sp. nov. 
Kadalar Night Frog 

Holotype. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/933, adult male, from Kadalar (10°07′52.0″N 77°00′01.8″E, 1429 m), Idukki district, Kerala state, India, collected by SDB and SG on 08 June 2016.

Paratypes. ZSI/WGRC/V/A/934, adult male, collected along with the holotype, and ZSI/WGRC/V/A/935–936, two adult males, collected from the same locality as holotype, by SDB and SG on 18 August 2013.

Etymology. The species name is derived from the English term ‘web’ between toes and the Malayalam word ‘illa’, meaning ‘no’— referring to the prominently reduced foot webbing in this species in comparison to its close relative Nyctibatrachus deccanensis. The species name is treated as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name.

Distribution and natural history. Nyctibatrachus webilla is currently known only from its type locality, which is located south of Palghat gap in the Western Ghats state of Kerala. Animals were found hidden either under leaf litter or vegetation on marshy ground close to a shallow rivulet. The specific collection site was located inside a disturbed forest patch adjacent to tea estate. Males were collected and observed calling both during the day (around 10:00–12:00 h) and night (between 19:00–22:00 h).

 Figure 12: Phylogenetic relationships and distribution of the seven new Nyctibatrachus species described in the study.
(A) Maximum Likelihood phylogram (GTR +G +I; −Ln L = 3621.582) for the 16S mitochondrial DNA dataset of 540 bp representing 35 Nyctibatrachus species (28 previously known +seven new species) from the Western Ghats of India and an outgroup taxa. Bayesian Posterior Probabilities (BPP) and RaxML bootstrap values of >50 are indicated above and below the branches, respectively. (B) Type localities of the new species in the southern Western Ghats of Peninsular India. Distribution points are referenced with species names in Fig. 12A. The Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot region is shaded orange. 

Sonali Garg, Robin Suyesh, Sandeep Sukesan and S.D. Biju. 2017. Seven New Species of Night Frogs (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with Remarkably High Diversity of Diminutive Forms. PeerJ. 5:e3007. DOI:   10.7717/peerj.3007