Monday, September 30, 2019

[Botany • 2019] Begonia joshii (Begoniaceae, sect. Eupetalum) • A New Species of Tuberous Begonia from Andean Peru

Begonia joshii 

in Moonlight, Hollands, Cano & Purvis, 2019. 

A striking new species of Begonia, B. joshii, is described from Amazonas Region, Peru. The new species is unusual among the South American members of the genus both in its combination of tuberous habit with peltate leaves and in living in a seasonally dry tropical forest environment. A phylogeny of this and closely related species is presented, and its sectional affiliation and IUCN conservation status are discussed. A key to the peltate Peruvian species of Begonia is provided.

Keywords: Begonia sect. Eupetalum, large genera, new species, Peru

P. W. Moonlight, R. Hollands, A. Cano and D. A. Purvis. 2019. A New Species of Tuberous Begonia (Begoniaceae) from Andean Peru. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. First View. DOI: 10.1017/S0960428619000301  

[Herpetology • 2019] Hebius sangzhiensis • A New Species of the Genus Hebius (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Hunan Province, China

Hebius sangzhiensis Zhou, Qi, Lu, Lyu & Li

in Zhou, Sun, Qi, et al., 2019. 
Sangzhi Keelback Snake  ||  桑植腹链蛇 ||  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4674.1.3

A new snake species of the genus Hebius is described on the basis of three specimens from Hunan Province, China. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners by a significant genetic divergence of 6.1%–12.9% of the mitochondrial cytb gene and a combination of the following morphological characters: (1) tail long, approximately 25% of the total length; (2) dorsal scale rows 19-19-17, vertebral scales enlarged, smooth, 2nd–10th rows distinctly keeled; (3) anterior temporals 2, preocular 1, postoculars 3; (4) ventrals 160–164; (5) internasals narrowed anteriorly; (6) a pair of occipital spots and a pale postparietal streak; (7) a pale brown or beige dorsolateral stripe on the 4th–6th scale rows; (8) ventral scales brick-red at their outer border, with a row of well-defined dark blotches; (9) maxillary teeth 21, gradually enlarged, followed by 2 moderately enlarged posterior teeth, without diastema; (10) nostrils lateral.

Keywords: Reptilia, Hebius sangzhiensis sp. nov., Natricinae, new species, taxonomy

Hebius sangzhiensis sp. nov., General view of the holotype (SYNU 08070350) in life. 

Photo by Z.Y. Zhou.

Hebius sangzhiensis sp. nov. Zhou, Qi, Lu, Lyu & Li

Etymology. The specific epithet sangzhiensis refers to the type locality, Sangzhi County, Hunan Province, China. We suggest the common name as the “Sangzhi Keelback Snake”, and the Chinese formal name as “sâng zhí fù liàn shé ” (桑植腹链蛇).

Zhengyan Zhou, Zhiyong Sun, Shuo Qi, Yuyan Lu, Zhitong Lyu, Yingyong Wang, Pipeng Li and Jianzhang Ma. 2019. A New Species of the Genus Hebius (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Hunan Province, China. Zootaxa. 4674(1); 68–82.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4674.1.3

[Entomology • 2019] A Taxonomic Monograph of the Genus Solariola Flach, 1908 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Entiminae)

 Solariola doderoi A. & F. Solari (1923)

in Bellò, Osella & Baviera, 2019. 

A revision of the genus Solariola Flach, 1908 of the tribe Peritelini Lacordaire (1863) (Curculionidae: Entiminae) which includes forty-three species is completed. According to morphological characters and distribution, the species are divided into three informal groups (the number of species ascribed to the group is in brackets). These are the Solariola doderoi group (15), the Solariola gestroi group (14) and the Solariola paganettii group (14). We present keys for the identification of the genus among the Palaeartic Peritelini and keys to identify all species groups and species. Distribution maps and data on ecology and phenology are also provided. In addition to the following nine species already belonging to the genus we list 34 new species as well: Solariola gestroi (A. & F. Solari, 1903), Solariola paganettii (Flach, 1905), Solariola doderoi A. & F. Solari (1923), Solariola hirtula (A. & F. Solari,1923), Solariola vitalei A. & F. Solari (1923), Solariola ruffoi Osella & Di Marco (1996), Solariola angelae Baviera (2015), Solariola fraterna Baviera (2015), Solariola pesarinii Baviera (2015); Solariola angelinii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola benellii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola bucolorum Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola cajetanibelloi Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola calida Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola comata Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola diottii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola fancelloi Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola forbixi Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola gratiensis Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola hyblensis Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola ientilei Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola margaritae Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola mariaeclarae Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola mariaesilvanae Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola mariaetheresiae Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola melonii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola nemoralis Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola normanna Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola obsoleta Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola pacei Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola paulimagrinii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola pentaphyllica Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola petriolii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola poggii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola raphaelis Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola rosae Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola sabellai Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola saccoi Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola sbordonii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola selinusia Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola tedeschii Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola venusta Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n., Solariola zoiai Bellò, Osella & Baviera sp.n..

Keywords: Coleoptera, Biodiversity, Southern Italy, weevils, taxonomy, new species, zoogeography

Cesare Bellò, Giuseppe Osella and Cosimo Baviera. 2019. A Taxonomic Monograph of the Genus Solariola Flach, 1908 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Entiminae). Zootaxa.  4676(1);1-261. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4676.1.1

[Botany • 2019] Trichophorum scabriculme • The Rediscovery of the Rare Vietnamese Endemic Eriophorum scabriculme redefines Generic Limits in the Scirpo-Caricoid Clade (Cyperaceae)

Trichophorum scabriculme (Beetle) J. R. Starr, Lév.-Bourret & B. A. Ford

in Starr​, Léveillé-Bourret, Tài, et al., 2019.

For those familiar with boreal bogs and wet tundra, species of Eriophorum (“the cotton grasses”) will undoubtedly represent some of the most striking and memorable taxa they have encountered. This small genus of 20 Holarctic sedge species (Cyperaceae) is remarkable because its inflorescences produce large, brilliantly white to rusty-red cottony masses when its flowers develop a perianth of highly elongated bristles after anthesis. In this study, we document the rediscovery of Eriophorum scabriculme, a narrow Vietnamese endemic known from only two collections made approximately 7 km apart near Sa Pa in Lào Cai Province over 75 years ago. Using plastid DNA sequences (matK, ndhF), embryology, and morphology, we test whether E. scabriculme is aligned within the Scirpo-Caricoid Clade (genus Khaosokia and tribes Cariceae, Dulichieae, Scirpeae, and Sumatroscirpeae) or the Ficinia Clade (Cypereae), and we determine whether its unique character combinations (≥10 elongated bristles, reduced sheathing basal leaves, 1–4 spikelets) could be evidence for a new genus or simply mark it as an unusual species within currently recognised genera. In addition, we document the discovery of seven new populations, and we extend its range westward to Lai Châu Province and southward in Lào Cai Province by more than 47 km. Our results demonstrate that Eriophorum scabriculme is best treated in the genus Trichophorum, thus re-circumscribing both genera and their limits with Scirpus s.str. In addition, we emend the description of Trichophorum scabriculme (Beetle) J.R.Starr, Lév.-Bourret & B.A. Ford, provide the first pictures and accurate illustration of the species, and assess its conservation status in Vietnam (VU, Vulnerable). Our study corroborates the fact that in such a diverse and taxonomically difficult family like the sedges, conspicuous characters like highly elongated bristles may be useful for dividing diversity, but they are no guarantee that the groups they mark are natural.

Keywords: Vietnam, Trichophorum, Eriophorum, Conservation, Embryology, Phylogeny, Scirpus, Morphology, Cyperaceae, cpDNA

Figure 3: Illustration of Trichophorum scabriculme.
(A) Habit. (B) Inflorescence with three spikelets. (C) Bract with antrorsely scabrous awn. (D) Glume (proximal) with awn, abaxial and lateral views. (E) Flower with developing bristles (note single stamen). (F) Bristles, showing minute distally antrorse barbs. (G) Stamen, adaxial and abaxial views. (H) Gynoecium (note style branches with abundant large papillae as long as wide). (I) Nutlet (mature) with full length bristles. (J) Nutlet (mature), close up with abbreviated bristles. Nutlet (mature), in cross-section and with abaxial and lateral views.
Drawn from Ford 1227A & al. (WIN). Illustration by Bobbi Angell.

Trichophorum scabriculme (Beetle) J. R. Starr, Lév.-Bourret & B. A. Ford comb. nov. 
Type: Indo-chine (Vietnam), Tonkin, Chapa. Parois siliceuses du ravin à la Cascade, vers 1,200 m. Février 1931, A. Pételot 6128 (holotype, GH!); isotypes P!, VNM (Photo!).

Basionym: Scirpus scabriculmis Beetle, American Journal of Botany 33: 665–666 (1946).
Eriophorum scabriculme (Beetle) Raymond (1957: 147).

Recognition: The type was originally identified as Scirpus subcapitatus Thwaites & Hook. (=Trichophorum subcapitatum (Thwaites & Hook.) D.A. Simpson), but it differs markedly from this species and all other southern Chinese and Vietnamese Trichophorum by culms scabrous on one edge from their base to apex versus culms smooth or scabrous apically only; by bracts with long scabrous awns (4–10 mm long) versus bracts lacking awns or shorter (0–5 mm long), and by fruits subtended by long bristles exsert from glumes versus bristles only slightly exceeding glume length or entirely lacking, amongst other characters. Like all Trichophorum species, it cannot be confused with Eriophorum or Scirpus because all its leaves are basal, and with highly reduced blades (except in T. planifolium), whereas species of Eriophorum and Scirpus have both well-developed basal and cauline leaves, with few exceptions.

Trichophorum scabriculme has also been provisionally determined as a Carex (D.K. Harder et al. 6826), a Fimbristylis (A. Pételot 5498, Fimbristylis cf. pauciflora; Fimbristylis sp. for all specimens in Hoàng Liên National Park Herbarium) and an Eleocharis (N.T. Hiep, P.H. Hoang & L. Averyanov 2846). This is understandable as it can superficially resemble single-spiked Carex species, and Fimbristylis and Eleocharis species with inflorescences composed of single spikelets. Carex can be distinguished from T. scabriculme by unisexual flowers and the presence of a perigynium; Eleocharis by distinct, thickened and persistent style-bases (tubercles) and eligulate leaves, and Fimbristylis by the absence of bristles and a deciduous style. It could also be possible to confuse T. scabriculme with Isolepis species that have just one or a few spikelets, but like Fimbristylis species, they lack bristles.

Figure 5: Habitat of Trichophorum scabriculme.
(A) The largest population observed in Vietnam on the right bank of the suô´i Vàng (Gold Stream). The arrows indicate plants on cliff face. The picture is taken from the type locality for Trichophorum scabriculme (“La Cascade”) with the French power station constructed in 1925 visible in the lower left corner. (B) Plants growing in fissures on edge of waterfall. (C) Plants growing in mossy substrate.
Photo credit: Julian Starr.

Distribution: Việt Nam, Hoàng Liên Mountains, Lào Cai province from Sa Pa District south to Văn Bàn District and Lai Châu Province, from Tam Ðường District south to Tân Uyên District.

Habitat: Mountains (612 m to 2,878 m) in full sun on vertical rock walls and road cuts, along steep cascading streams and on the edges and foot of waterfalls where moisture is present. Plants typically grow within a moss substrate. Carex hypolytroides and Scirpus ternatanus Reinwardt ex Miquel were seen at all localities near Sa Pa where this species was collected (Ford et al. 1225, 1227, 1256).

Conservation status: Vulnerable (VU) category of IUCN (2012) based on criterion B1 (a, b). Only nine populations are known (<10) and the extent of occurrence is 252.8 km2 (<20,000 km2). Owing to intense anthropogenic activity near most populations (roads, agriculture, fish farming, tourism), there is reason to believe that subpopulations could be lost or a significant decline in the number of mature individuals could occur in the near future.

Etymology: The epithet scabriculme combines the Latin word for rough or scabrous (scabri-) with the Latin for culm (culmus) in reference to the culms of T. scabriculme that are scabrous from their base to their apex, a character that is unique in Trichophorum.

Although Trichophorum scabriculme possesses a unique combination of characters within sedges, DNA data, morphology and embryology strongly support its position within the Scirpo-Caricoid Clade including its placement within the genus Trichophorum. Trichophorum now consists of 14 species, but it is likely that future studies will conclude that its limits include species of Cypringlea and Oreobolopsis as well. Eriophorum s.str. now consists of approximately 18 species, but it is likely that future studies will find that the aberrant E. transiens is best aligned with elements in the Ficinia Clade. Eriophorum is nested in Scirpus s.str. but further research is required to determine whether the limits of Scirpus are appropriately defined.

Despite discovering seven new populations and extending its range westward to Lai Châu Province and southward in Lào Cai Province by more than 47 km, the conservation status of Trichophorum scabriculme in Vietnam is Vulnerable (VU). Only 56% of populations are found in protected areas and intense anthropogenic activity continues to threaten the existence of this unique sedge species.

Julian R. Starr​, Étienne Léveillé-Bourret, Vũ Anh Tài, Nguyễn Thị Kim Thanh and Bruce A. Ford. 2019.  The Rediscovery of the Rare Vietnamese Endemic Eriophorum scabriculme redefines Generic Limits in the Scirpo-Caricoid Clade (Cyperaceae). PeerJ. 7:e7538. DOI:  10.7717/peerj.7538


Sunday, September 29, 2019

[Paleontology • 2019] Nurhachius luei • A New Istiodactylid Pterosaur (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province (China) and Comments on the Istiodactylidae

Nurhachius luei 
Zhou​, Pêgas, Leal & Bonde, 2019

A new istiodactylid pterosaur, Nurhachius luei sp. nov., is here reported based on a complete skull with mandible and some cervical vertebrae from the lower part of the Jiufotang Formation of western Liaoning (China). This is the second species of Nurhachius, the type-species being N. ignaciobritoi from the upper part of the Jiufotang Formation. A revised diagnosis of the genus Nurhachius is provided, being this taxon characterized by the presence of a slight dorsal deflection of the palatal anterior tip, which is homoplastic with the Anhangueria and Cimoliopterus. N. luei sp. nov. shows an unusual pattern of tooth replacement, with respect to other pterodactyloid species. The relationships within the Istiodactylidae and with their closest taxa are investigated through a phylogenetic analysis by parsimony.

Figure 1: Nurhachius luei sp. nov., BPMC-0204, holotype, photograph, and line drawing. The scale bar in the line drawing equals 50 mm.

Abbreviations: alv, alveolus; an, angular; art, articular; ax, axis; ceI, ceratobranchial I; ch, choana; cv, cervical vertebra; d, dentary; f, frontal; j, jugal; la, lacrimal; m, maxilla; n, nasal; naof, nasoantorbital fenestra; odp, odontoid process; or, orbit; pa, parietal; pf, prefrontal; pmax, premaxilla; po, postorbital; prid, palatal ridge; pty, pterygoid; q, quadrate; vo, vomer. Isolated numbers indicate tooth positions. Note: the visible region of the pterygoid corresponds to the medial process of the bone. Photo by Xuanyu Zhou. Drawing by Maria Eduarda Leal.

Systematic Paleontology: 
Pterosauria Kaup, 1834
Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901
Istiodactylidae Howse, Milner & Martill, 2001 (sensu Andres, Clark & Xu, 2014)

Nurhachius Wang et al., 2005

Type species. Nurhachius ignaciobritoi Wang et al., 2005
Synonym. Longchengpterus zhaoi Wang et al., 2006

Emended Diagnosis. Istiodactylids that share the following features: slight dorsal deflection of the palatal anterior tip; orbit piriform; craniomandibular joint located under the anterior margin of the orbit; dentary symphysis about one-third the length of the mandible; dentary symphysis with gradual taper of the lateral margins; triangular, laterally compressed teeth lacking carinae; crowns with both labial and lingual slight concavities; slight constriction between tooth crown and root.

Nurhachius luei sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific name luei (/lyi/) honors the late Prof. Junchang Lü, who has made great contributions to the study of Chinese pterosaurs.

Holotype. Skull, mandible and seven cervical vertebrae (BPMC-0204). The specimen is permanently deposited and available for researchers at a public repository, the Beipiao Pterosaur Museum of China, Beipiao, Liaoning Province, China (Fig. 1).

Type Locality and Horizon. Huanghuatan village, Dapingfang town, Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province, China (Fig. 2); lower part of the Jiufotang Formation, Early Cretaceous (Aptian).

Differential diagnosis. The new species is diagnosed based on the following features: quadrate inclined at 150°; medial process of the pterygoid broad and plate-like; dorsal median sulcus of the mandibular symphysis extending up to the first pair of mandibular teeth; dorsally directed odontoid (pseudotooth) of the mandibular symphysis, lacking a foramen on the lateral side and with a blunt occlusal surface; ceratobranchial I of the hyoids accounting for 60% of mandibular length; mandibular teeth extending distally beyond the symphysis.

The new specimen here described represents the second species for the genus Nurhachius, previously restricted to its type-species N. ignaciobritoi. A slight dorsal deflection of the palatal anterior tip revealed to be a synapomorphy of N. ignaciobritoi and N. luei. That feature was previously thought to be restricted to the Anhangueria and Cimoliopterus. Unlike other pterodactyloids, the holotype of N. luei sp. nov. shows an anterolabial tooth replacement. The position of Hongshanopterus lacustris and Haopterus gracilis as close taxa to the Istiodactylids is supported by the performed phylogenetic analysis. Ikrandraco avatar and Lonchodraco giganteus resulted to be sister taxa, and closer to istiodactylids than to other lanceodontians. The phylogenetic analysis supports the reinterpretation of Archaeoistiodactylus linglongtaensis as a non-pterodactyloid monofenestratan, probably a wukongopterid.

Xuanyu Zhou​, Rodrigo V. Pêgas3, Maria E.C. Leal and Niels Bonde. 2019. Nurhachius luei, A New Istiodactylid Pterosaur (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province (China) and Comments on the Istiodactylidae.  PeerJ. 7:e7688. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7688

New Pterosaur Was Fossilized with a Ridiculous Grin via @sciam

Friday, September 27, 2019

[Invertebrate • 2019] Petroscolex centenarius • A New Central African Earthworm (Crassiclitellata, Eudrilidae), Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Pietro Omodeo

Petroscolex centenarius Csuzdi, Szederjesi & Sherlock

in Csuzdi, Rota, Szederjesi, Sherlock, Brown, et al. 2019.

Prof. Pietro Omodeo (University of Siena, Italy), the world-renowned earthworm taxonomist and evolutionary biologist, was born in Cefalù, Sicily, Italy on the 27th September, 1919. He celebrates his 100th birthday in 2019 and members of the international community of earthworm taxonomists salute him with Petroscolex centenarius gen. et sp. nov., a new megadrile taxon discovered in 1991 by him but which has not been formally described until now. The many important contributions of Omodeo to oligochaetological research are briefly mentioned.

Keywords: Annelida, Centenarium, Oligochaeta, taxonomy, new genus, Central-Africa

FIGURE 2. Petroscolex centenarius sp. nov., photographs of type material.
 A. Holotype, complete worm, ventral view. B. Details of A, enlarged. C. Paratype NHMUK 1997.1595, ventral view, anterior body end.
pe = penis (=everted bursa copulatrix); prp = prostatic pore; stp = spermathecal pore. 
Scale bar = 1 mm.

Family Eudrilidae Claus, 1880
Subfamily Eudrilinae Claus, 1880

Petroscolex Csuzdi, Szederjesi & Sherlock, gen. nov.

Type species. Petroscolex centenarius sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Eudrilinae with single midventral prostatic pore in xiii and single midventral spermathecal pore in xviii. Female pores paired in xiv close to 14/15 near d. Oesophageal gizzard in vi, intestinal gizzards absent. Dorsal blood vessel simple throughout. Paired calciferous glands in xiv and unpaired chylus-sacs in ix, x, xi. Male genital apparatus proandric with sperm reservoirs in x and vesicles in xi. Excretory system holoic, vesiculate. Ovo-spermathecal apparatus paired with a dorsal interconnecting duct. Penial setae lacking.

Etymology. The new genus is named in honour of Prof. Pietro Omodeo.

Remarks. The new genus is unique among Eudrilidae due to the forward shift of the prostatic pore and the position of calciferous glands in segment xiv.

Petroscolex centenarius Csuzdi, Szederjesi & Sherlock, sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet refers to the 100th birthday of Prof. Pietro Omodeo.

 Csaba Csuzdi, Emilia Rota, Tímea Szederjesi, Emma Sherlock, George G. Brown, Chih-Han Chang, Darío Diaz Cosin, Carlos Fragoso, et al. 2019. Description of A New Central African Earthworm, Petroscolex centenarius gen. et sp. nov. (Crassiclitellata, Eudrilidae), Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Pietro Omodeo. Zootaxa. 4674(5); 501-508. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4674.5.1

Riassunto: Pietro Omodeo (Università di Siena, Italia), oligochetologo e biologo evoluzionista di fama mondiale, è nato a Cefalù, in Sicilia, Italia, il 27 settembre 1919. Celebra il suo centesimo compleanno nel 2019 e la comunità internazionale di tassonomia dei lombrichi lo saluta con Petroscolex centenarius gen. et sp. nov., un nuovo taxon di megadrili da lui scoperto nel 1991, fino ad oggi non formalmente descritto. I molteplici importanti contributi di Omodeo alla ricerca oligochetologica sono brevemente ricordati.

[Herpetology • 2019] Scinax fontanarrosai • A Review of the Elusive Bicolored Iris Snouted Treefrogs (Anura: Hylidae: Scinax uruguayus group)

Scinax fontanarrosai
 Baldo, Araujo-Vieira, Cardozo, Borteiro, Leal, Pereyra, Kolenc, Lyra, Garcia, Haddad & Faivovich, 2019

The genus Scinax currently includes more than 120 species, recovered in two major clades, the S. catharinae and the S. ruber clades. The latter comprises 75 species, most of which remain unassigned to any species groups, while 12 are included in the S. rostratus and S. uruguayus groups. In this paper we present a taxonomic review of the two species currently included in the S. uruguayus group, discussing some putative phenotypic synapomorphies of this group. Although S. pinima and S. uruguayus have been considered as distinct species, this has been based on scant evidence, and several authors doubted of their distinctiveness. Our study of available specimens of S. pinima and S. uruguayus corroborates that both are valid and diagnosable species based on phenotypic evidence. Furthermore, our results show that S. pinima previously known only from its type locality, has a much widespread distribution than previously thought (including the Brazilian states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul), which, added to the biological information presented here allows to suggest the removal of this species from the “Data Deficient” IUCN Red List category to “Least Concern”. Also, we describe a new species formerly reported as S. aff. pinima and S. uruguayus from NE Argentina and some localities from the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul. All species are diagnosed and characterized using adult and larval morphology, osteology, vocalizations, cytogenetics, and natural history.

Fig 1. Dorsal (left) and ventral (right) views of the body.
 (A) Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. (LGE 4451, holotype), (B) S. pinima (WCAB 46238, holotype; now MZUSP 73668), and (C) S. uruguayus (FMNH 10567, holotype). Scale bars = 50 mm. 

Fig 3. Adult external morphological characters. Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. (left), S. pinima (central), and S. uruguayus (right).
(A) Head in dorsal view. (B) Color pattern of the bicolored iris. (C) Dorsal views of right hand and foot showing the color pattern of the discs in life. (D) Color pattern of the posterior surface of thighs in life.

Males of (A–B) Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. and (C–D) Suruguayus calling at breeding sites. 

Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n.

Hyla uruguaya—non Schmidt [15]. Giraudo et al. [14], partim.
Scinax uruguayus—Leite et al. [51], partim. Kwet et al. [52], partim. Vaira et al. [54]. Zaracho et al. [55]. Marin da Fonte et al. [56], partim.
Scinax aff. pinima—Alcalde et al. [53].
Julianus uruguayus—Duellman et al. [9], partim. Ferrão et al. [57], partim.
Diagnosis: The new species is assigned to the Scinax uruguayus group of the S. ruber clade based on the presence of bicolored iris in adults and two keratinized and dark colored plates on the sides of the lower jaw sheath in larvae; the two known putative synapomorphies of this group [3,6]. Additionally, it could be diagnosed by the following set of characters: (1) small size in females (SVL 24.1–24.2 mm; n = 2); (2) head sub-elliptical in dorsal view; (3) presence of two or three poorly distinguishable interorbital grooves; (4) anterior portion of the choanae not concealed by the palatal shelf of the maxillary arch when roof of mouth is viewed from below; (5) V-shaped cephalic blotch; (6) bicolored iris with a golden upper half and a dark brown to black lower half; (7) discs of the fingers and toes gray to dark brown in life; (8) hidden surfaces of thighs and tibia orange in life; (9) frontoparietals juxtaposed or slightly separated, almost completely concealing fontanelle; (10) laminar dentigerous process of the vomers without teeth; (11) palatines reduced to thin slivers; (12) intercalary elements between ultimate and penultimate phalanges partially mineralized; (13) larynx with oval arytenoids, which have a slight medial constriction in dorsal view; (14) advertisement call composed of a single, short (49–66 ms), and pulsed note (25–31 pulses/note), emitted at a rate of 3.9–4.9 notes/s; (15) pulse rate of 490–540 pulses/s; (16) notes with pulses that are increasingly modulated for the first quarter of the note, remaining with relatively constant amplitude in the second quarter, and then decrease up to the end; (17) highly pitched advertisement call, with harmonic structure; and (18) dominant frequency between 5513–6159 Hz.

Etymology: The new species is named in honor to the writer and cartoonist Roberto “El Negro” Fontanarrosa (1944−2007), in recognition of his vast contribution to the Argentinean culture. His work always included elements of nature, like the amphibians.

Fig 4. Color pattern of Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. in life.
 (A–C) Dorsolateral, (D–F) dorsal, and (G–I) ventral views.

Fig 11. Calling males, defensive behavior, and egg clutches. Males of (A–B) Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. and (C–D) S. uruguayus calling at breeding sites. Male of (E) S. fontanarrosai sp. n. and a juvenile of (F) S. uruguayus performing the passive defensive “crouching down” behavior. (G) and (H) egg clutches of S. uruguayus. Note the dark brown to black animal pole and a dark cream vegetal pole in G.

Geographic distribution: Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. occurs in open areas of at least ten localities in the Provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, northeastern Argentina, and two localities in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil (95–163 m a.s.l.). These areas are part of the Southern Cone Mesopotamian Savanna and the western part of the Uruguayan Savanna Ecoregions, respectively (Fig 10).

Natural history: Adult specimens of Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. were collected at night, when breeding in temporary ponds after heavy rains. Males called from herbaceous and shrubby vegetation perched between 5 and 120 cm high (Fig 11A and 11B). This species has explosive reproduction (sensu [59]), most commonly during spring and summer seasons (between October and early April), and was occasionally detected in reproductive activity during July. Tadpoles and juveniles were collected at the same temporary ponds where adult males are calling. Tadpoles can be included in the nektonic guild [36]. Two specimens (male and juvenile) of S. fontanarrosai sp. n. were observed performing the passive defensive behavior “crouching down” (Fig 11E).

At the type locality, Scinax fontanarrosai sp. n. is sympatric with Melanophryniscus atroluteus (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1920), Rhinella azarai (Gallardo, 1965) (Bufonidae), Dendropsophus nanus (Boulenger, 1889), S. fuscovarius (Lutz, 1925), S. similis (Cochran, 1952), S. squalirostris (Lutz, 1925) (Hylidae), Leptodactylus fuscus (Schneider, 1799), L. gracilis (Duméril and Bibron, 1840), L. mystacinus (Burmeister, 1861), Physalaemus albonotatus (Steindachner, 1864), P. cuvieri Fitzinger, 1826, Pseudopaludicola falcipes (Hensel, 1867) (Leptodactylidae), Elachistocleis bicolor (Guérin-Méneville, 1838) (Microhylidae), and Odontophrynus sp. aff. americanus (Odontophrynidae).

Diego Baldo, Katyuscia Araujo-Vieira, Dario Cardozo, Claudio Borteiro, Fernando Leal, Martín O. Pereyra, Francisco Kolenc, Mariana L. Lyra, Paulo C. A. Garcia, Célio F. B. Haddad and Julián Faivovich. 2019. A Review of the Elusive Bicolored Iris Snouted Treefrogs (Anura: Hylidae: Scinax uruguayus group). PLoS ONE. 14(9): e0222131. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222131

Una nueva especie de rana fue nombrada en homenaje a Fontanarrosa via @CHACOdxd 
Una nueva especie de rana fue nombrada en homenaje a Fontanarrosa

Thursday, September 26, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Boiga thackerayi • A New Species of Boiga Fitzinger, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from The Northern Western Ghats of India

Boiga thackerayi 
Giri, Deepak, Captain, Pawar & Tillack, 2019

A new species of colubrid snake of the genus Boiga Fitzinger, 1826 is described, based on three specimens. Boiga thackerayi sp. nov. is presently known only from its type locality from a hill stream near Koyna, Satara district in northern Western Ghats of peninsular India. A medium sized Boiga characterized by smooth dorsal scales arranged in 19/19-17/15 rows, ventrals 211-221; subcaudals 93-101, dorsum with indistinct bands and belly distinctly marked. This is the second species of Boiga after B. dightoni that is endemic to the Western Ghats and the first new species of Boiga described after 125 years from the Western Ghats. The molecular data also proved the distinctiveness of this species from its congeners from India and Sri Lanka, which was supported by a limited but precise set of morphological variations. This is apparently the first known species of Boiga which feeds on frog eggs.

Keywords: Boiga ceylonensis, Cat Snake, DNA, Taxonomy, Types, Wet Zones.

Boiga thackerayi sp. nov.

Varad B. Giri, V. Deepak, Ashok Captain, Swapnil Pawar and Frank Tillack. 2019. A New Species of Boiga Fitzinger, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from The Northern Western Ghats of India. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society. 116DOI: 10.17087/jbnhs/2019/v116/144901

[Herpetology • 2019] Crocodylus halli • Divergent Morphology among Populations of the New Guinea Crocodile, Crocodylus novaeguineae (Schmidt, 1928): Diagnosis of An Independent Lineage and Description of A New Species

 Crocodylus halli
Murray, Russo, Zorrilla & McMahan, 2019

Hall's New Guinea Crocodile  || DOI: 10.1643/CG-19-240 

The freshwater crocodile inhabiting Papua New Guinea, currently recognized as Crocodylus novaeguineae, exhibits morphological, molecular, and ecological divergence between the northern and southern versants of the Central Highlands and occupies separate evolutionary trajectories. A robust body of work has long encouraged the formal description of New Guinea crocodiles from the southern versant of the highlands as a distinct lineage with a taxonomy that reflects diagnosed relationships. Here, we use geometric morphometric techniques to assess cranial shape variation between specimens from both versants and add to the diagnostic evidence supporting a more accurate taxonomy. Further, herein, we formally describe the southern variant as a distinct lineage (Hall's New Guinea Crocodile; Crocodylus halli, new species).

Ventral cranial shape variation with corresponding example specimen among drainages in Papua New Guinea.
 Populations in northern drainages (i.e., Sepik; FMNH 14048; Crocodylus novaeguineae) exhibit an extended maxilla and reduced postcranial elements relative to southern populations from Lake Murray/Binaturi ( Crocodylus halli; LSUMZ 44740) and the Aramia River (C. halli; USNM 211290), exhibiting strikingly shorter maxilla and enlarged postcranial elements.

Fig. 7: Holotype of  Crocodylus halli, USNM 211290.

Fig. 6: Live individual of  Crocodylus halli at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

Crocodylus halli, new species
Hall's New Guinea Crocodile

Diagnosis.— Crocodylus halli is readily separated from C. novaeguineae based on a longer frontal bone (versus shorter in C. novaeguineae); a shorter maxilla and nasal (versus longer in C. novaeguineae); long and wide postorbital and squamosal (versus short and narrow in C. novaeguineae); and a wider palatine of pterygoid that extends posteriorly (versus narrow and medially oriented in C. novaeguineae). Additionally, C. halli possesses no more than four non-contiguous post-occipital scutes, versus four to six contiguous post-occipital scutes in C. novaeguineae.

Species description and variation.— Variation in morphology of adult Crocodylus halli exists among drainages, with specimens from Lake Murray exhibiting a skull width that is more than half of the skull length (posteromedial squamosal to anteromedial premaxilla), resulting in the appearance of a stocky and wide head in adults. Specimens from Aramia River have generally longer maxilla and shorter postcranial elements than Lake Murray individuals, while maintaining shorter maxilla and longer postcranial elements than C. novaeguineae. Juveniles retain morphology consistent with ontogenetic constraints, exhibiting a relatively enlarged orbit and compressed postcranial elements.

Fig. 2: Map of localities for specimens examined; Crocodylus novaeguineae from the Sepik (circle) and Hunstein (pentagon) drainages, and  Crocodylus halli from Lake Murray (square), Binaturi (triangle), and Aramia (star) rivers.

Distribution.— Crocodylus halli occurs within drainages south of the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea in swamps, rivers, lakes, and occasionally estuaries.

Natural history.— Females of C. halli nest in the rainy season (November–April) and lay larger eggs in smaller clutches than C. novaeguineae, which nests near end of the dry season (July–November; Cox, 1985; Hall, 1985; Hall and Johnson, 1987).

Etymology.— The specific epithet recognizes the fieldwork and research of Philip Hall whose contributions provided the initial framework for supporting distinctiveness of this species.

Christopher M. Murray, Peter Russo, Alexander Zorrilla and Caleb D. McMahan. 2019. Divergent Morphology among Populations of the New Guinea Crocodile, Crocodylus novaeguineae (Schmidt, 1928): Diagnosis of An Independent Lineage and Description of A New Species. Copeia. 107(3); 517-523. DOI: 10.1643/CG-19-240

[Ichthyology • 2019] The Sandy Zebra Shark: A New Color Morph of the Zebra Shark Stegostoma tigrinum, with A Redescription of the Species and A Revision of Its Nomenclature

Stegostoma tigrinum Forster, 1781

in Dahl, Sigsgaard, Mwangi, et al., 2019.

The Zebra Shark, in recent years known as Stegostoma fasciatum (Hermann, 1783), is well known for its dramatic ontogenetic change of color pattern, from striped (“zebra”) juveniles to spotted (“leopard”) adults. Nevertheless, many aspects of the species' biology, ecology, and morphology are still unknown or inadequately described, and its nomenclature is contentious. This study introduces a hitherto undescribed color morph of the Zebra Shark and provides an updated diagnosis and redescription of the species. Firstly, we establish that the Zebra Shark remains a single species based on genetic data from mitochondrial COI and ND4 markers. Secondly, through morphological analyses, we conclude that there are two morphs of the species, the known, zebra striped morph and a new, sandy colored morph. Both morphs were studied morphometrically to expose any ontogenetic changes, such as a decrease in the relative length of the tail with increasing total length (TL). The external coloration pattern clearly differentiates the two morphs, and both morphs can be further divided into three stages based on color pattern and size: juveniles (255–562 mm TL), transitionals (562–1395 mm TL), and adults (>1300 mm TL). The transitional sandy morph is dorsally covered by a swirly pattern of thin, dark brown bands edged with freckle-like brown spots. The adults are a uniform sandy beige, partially covered with brown freckles. A mature male of the zebra morph displayed a yet unknown feature of the claspers: a small, triangular spike extruding from the dorsal terminal of the clasper glands. Finally, we reviewed the nomenclature of the species and suggest that the original name Stegostoma tigrinum Forster, 1781 should be used as the senior synonym for the species.

Stegostoma Müller and Henle, 1837
Squalus Seba, 1759; Forster, 1781; Hermann, 1783; Bloch, 1784; Broussonet, 1784; Bonnaterre, 1788; Gmelin, 1789; Pennant, 1791; Shaw, 1804; Bleeker, 1852; Gronow, 1854.
Scyllia van Hasselt, 1823.
Scyllium Rüppel, 1837.
Stegostoma Müller and Henle, 1837; Blyth, 1847; Günther, 1870; Garman, 1913; Whitley, 1939; Bass et al., 1975; Dingerkus, 1986; Compagno, 2001; Goto, 2001; Weigmann, 2016.
Stegostonea Regan, 1929: 293, possible error for Stegostoma Müller and Henle, 1837.
Stegastoma Herre, 1934: 10, possible error for Stegostoma Müller and Henle, 1837.
Stegastoma Last and Stevens, 1994: 138 apparent error for Stegostoma Müller and Henle, 1837.

Type species.— Squalus fasciatus Bloch and Schneider, 1801, by original designation, equals Squalus fasciatus Hermann, 1783.

Fig. 5: The three ontogenetic stages of the external morphology of the zebra morph of Stegostoma tigrinum:
 juvenile (A), transitional (B–F), and adult (G).

Stegostoma tigrinum
Zebra Shark

Diagnosis: Stegostoma tigrinum is characterized by a long caudal fin (49.9–54.2% TL) and five dorsolateral ridges along the body, visible even in hatchlings. Spiracles bean shaped, large (length 0.4–1.7% TL); eyes small (length 0.9–2.1% TL); barbels two, short (0.6–2.8% TL); gill slits five, but fourth and fifth partly fused so only four noticeable from a distance; pectoral fins large (anterior margin length 10.4–19.1% TL), broad and rounded; first dorsal fin originates far posteriorly above pelvic fins. Two color morphs, with a three-stage ontogenetic color and pattern change. Zebra morph: juveniles with dark brown background and cream colored bands (zebra-like); transitionals light brown with dark bands, broken up by dots; adults beige to yellow with spotted pattern (can be leopard-like). Sandy color morph: transitionals light beige background with swirly pattern of narrow, darker brown bands with tiny spots breaking up the pattern; adults uniformly sandy beige with tiny dark brown freckles. Maximum length 2050 mm TL, hatchlings approx. 250 mm TL; pectoral-fin rays of semi-plesodic structure, reaching approx. 66–88% of pectoral fin. Total vertebrae 207–262, monospondylous precaudal vertebrae 43–49, diplospondylous precaudal vertebrae 38–50, diplospondylous caudal vertebrae 120–175, precaudal vertebrae 81–101. Tooth rows upper jaw: 13–30, lower jaw: 22–30, and series count, upper jaw: 7–27, lower jaw: 8–16. Ring-type intestine with 18–20 valvular turns.

Distribution: The sandy color morph of S. tigrinum has in the present study been documented from a single location, off the coast of Kenya, ca. 10 km north of Malindi (Fig. 9). Six specimens of this morph were caught in June 2016 (rainy season) at a depth of 12 m, on a sandy substrate. A seventh specimen was caught in May 2017, 15 km north of Malindi on sandy bottom, also at 12 m depth.

Etymology: The name Stegostoma tigrinum is made up of the Greek stego meaning cover, and stoma meaning mouth, and can thus be translated to ‘covered mouth' (Froese and Pauly, 2018). The epithet tigrinum refers to the juveniles’ banded pattern.

Fig. 7: Specimens of Stegostoma tigrinum from Kenya in the transitional stage, shown from smallest to largest body size (no. 1–24) in dorsal and lateral view.
No. 1–6: 565–670 mm TL, no. 7–12: 675–710 mm TL, no. 13–18: 740–800 mm TL, and no. 19–24: 802–975 mm TL.


Rikke Beckmann Dahl, Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard, Gorret Mwangi, Philip Francis Thomsen, René Dalsgaard Jørgensen, Felipe de Oliveira Torquato, Lars Olsen and Peter Rask Møller. 2019. The Sandy Zebra Shark: A New Color Morph of the Zebra Shark Stegostoma tigrinum, with A Redescription of the Species and A Revision of Its Nomenclature. Copeia. 107(3); 524-541.  DOI: 10.1643/CG-18-115