Saturday, October 31, 2020

[Botany • 2020] Henckelia siangensis (Gesneriaceae) • A Remarkable New Species from Northeast India

Henckelia siangensis Taram, D.Borah & Tag 

in Taram, Borah, Taku & Tag, 2020.

Henckelia siangensis, a new species from Arunachal Pradesh of Northeast India, is described and illustrated here. The new species is remarkably different from all other allied species by its 5-winged calyx and elliptic-ovate calyx segments. It superficially resembles H. calva in glabrous stem and petioles, but differs from it in having persistent bracts, a campanulate 5-winged calyx and a style with glandular indumentum. A detailed morphological description, photographic illustration, and distribution of the new species are presented.

Keywords: Arunachal Pradesh, flora of India, Himalaya, morphology, new taxon

Figure 1. Henckelia siangensis.
 A flowering stem B flower front view C flower side view (arrow indicates the bracteoles) D winged calyx (arrow indicates the wings) E dissected calyx segments F dissected corolla G stamens and staminodes H pistil (Photographs by Momang Taram).

Henckelia siangensis Taram, D.Borah & Tag, sp. nov.

Diagnosis: The species is remarkably different from all other species of Henckelia by its 5-winged calyx and elliptic-ovate calyx segments. It is superficially similar to H. calva (C.B.Clarke) D.J.Middleton & Mich.Möller in glabrous stem and petiole as well as lanceolate bracts, but can be easily distinguished by ovate to lanceolate lamina with denticulate to serrulate margins (vs. elliptic to oblong- elliptic with entire to sub-entire and ciliate margin), peduncle 0.4–0.8 cm, glabrous (vs. 2–3 cm long, glabrescent), bracts persistent (vs. deciduous), calyx segments elliptic to ovate, raised at margins forming wings (vs. narrowly triangular to lanceolate), corolla glandular pubescent inside (vs. glabrous) and glandular hairy style (vs. puberulent).

Etymology: The species is named after the type locality, the Siang valley.

Vernacular name: (assigned here). Libe lirak Appun (in Adi language)

Distribution: So far only known from East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Habitat and ecology: It grows in moist shady places in rock crevices in association with Henckelia mishmiensis (Debb. ex Biswas) D.J.Middleton & Mich.Möller, Aeschynanthus superbus C.B.Clarke, Begonia josephii A.DC., B. burkillii Dunn., Elatostema sessile J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Pilea umbrosa Blume, Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) C.Presl., Selaginella sp. etc.

 Momang Taram, Dipankar Borah, Ojar Taku and Hui Tag. 2020. Henckelia siangensis (Gesneriaceae): A Remarkable New Species from Northeast India.  PhytoKeys. 160: 1-6. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.160.54459

[Fungi • 2020] Three New Species of Cortinarius subgenus Telamonia (Cortinariaceae, Agaricales) from China

a, b Cortinarius laccariphyllus; c, d Cortinarius neotorvus
 & e, f Cortinarius subfuscoperonatus 

in Xie, Wei, Fu, ... et Li, 2020. 

Photographs by Meng-Le Xie.

Cortinarius is an important ectomycorrhizal genus that forms a symbiotic relationship with certain trees, shrubs and herbs. Recently, we began studying Cortinarius in China and here we describe three new species of Cortinarius subg. Telamonia based on morphological and ecological characteristics, together with phylogenetic analyses. Cortinarius laccariphyllus sp. nov. (section Colymbadini) is associated with broadleaf trees, with strongly hygrophanous basidiomata, special Laccaria-like lamellae and white and extremely sparse universal veil. Cortinarius neotorvus sp. nov. (section Telamonia) is associated with broadleaf trees and is easily confused with C. torvus, but can be distinguished by the colour of the fresh basidiomes and the stipe usually somewhat tapering towards the base. Cortinarius subfuscoperonatus sp. nov. (section Fuscoperonati) is associated with coniferous trees, with subglobose to broadly ellipsoid spores and is closely related to C. fuscoperonatus. A key to the new species and similar species in sections Colymbadini, Telamonia and Fuscoperonati is provided.

Keywords: Ectomycorrhizal fungi, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

Figure 2. Basidiocarps of three newly-described species. 
a, b Cortinarius laccariphyllus (a, b HMJAU44449, holotype); 
c, d Cortinarius neotorvus (c HMJAU44441, holotype; d HMJAU44439); 
e, f Cortinarius subfuscoperonatus (e HMJAU44444, holotype; f HMJAU44445). 
Scale bars: 2 cm (a, b, d–f). Photographs by Meng-Le Xie.

 Meng-Le Xie, Tie-Zheng Wei, Yong-Ping Fu, Dan Li, Liang-Liang Qi, Peng-Jie Xing, Guo-Hui Cheng, Rui-Qing Ji and Yu Li. 2020. Three New Species of Cortinarius subgenus Telamonia (Cortinariaceae, Agaricales) from China. MycoKeys. 69: 91-109. DOI: 10.3897/mycokeys.69.49437

Friday, October 30, 2020

[Arachnida • 2020] A Systematic Revision of Draculoides (Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) of the Pilbara, Western Australia, Part I: the Western Pilbara

Draculoides anachoretus (Harvey, Berry, Edward & Humphreys, 2008)

in Abrams, Huey, Hillyer, ... et Harvey, 2020. 

The schizomid fauna of mainland Australia currently comprises 60 species within seven named genera, of which five are endemic to the continent: Attenuizomus Harvey, 2000, Brignolizomus Harvey, 2000, Draculoides Harvey, 1992, Julattenius Harvey, 1992, Notozomus Harvey, 2000. Most Australian schizomids have been described from eastern and northern Australia, but there is also a significant subterranean fauna that has been found in hypogean habitats in the semi-arid Pilbara region of Western Australia. The vast majority of these species can be assigned to the genus Draculoides and this study is the first in a proposed series to revise this highly diverse genus. We treat the species found in the western Pilbara region, which includes 13 new species and 13 previously named species, using morphological characters and multi-locus sequence data. We also incorporate a molecular “mini-barcode” approach for COI, 12S and ITS2 to diagnose the new species. The new species are named: Draculoides akashae Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. belalugosii Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. carmillae Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. christopherleei Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. claudiae Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. immortalis Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. karenbassettae Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. mckechnieorum Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. minae Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. noctigrassator Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. nosferatu Abrams and Harvey, n. sp., D. piscivultus Abrams and Harvey, n. sp. and D. warramboo Abrams and Harvey, n. sp. We also provide the first descriptions of males of D. anachoretus (Harvey, Berry, Edward and Humphreys, 2008) and D. gnophicola (Harvey, Berry, Edward and Humphreys, 2008). All of the new species are subterranean-dwelling, short-range endemic species that occur in regions subject to mining activities, rendering them of high conservation significance.

Keywords: Arachnida, subterranean, taxonomy, systematics, molecular taxonomy, new species

Kym M. Abrams, Joel A. Huey, Mia J. Hillyer, Raphael K. Didham and Mark S. Harvey. 2020. A Systematic Revision of Draculoides (Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) of the Pilbara, Western Australia, Part I: the Western Pilbara. Zootaxa. 4864(1); 1-75. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4864.1.1

Abstract: We used molecular and morphological techniques to study troglobitic schizomids inhabiting a variety of subterranean landforms in semiarid Western Australia. The study was designed to explore the taxonomic and phylogenetic status of newly discovered populations of subterranean schizomids. Molecular sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and small subunit rRNA (12S) were obtained from a total of 73 schizomid specimens. Populations sampled from boreholes within mesa landforms in the Robe Valley were highly genetically distinct from species of Draculoides Harvey, 1992 found elsewhere in the Pilbara (Cape Range and Barrow Island). Pronounced genetic structuring was also evident at a fine spatial scale within the Robe Valley, with populations from each of the mesas examined exhibiting unique and highly divergent mtDNA lineages. These molecular data were generally supported by small but significant morphological features, usually in the secondary male structures, but some species were represented only by female specimens that possessed more conservative morphologies. The molecular data defined two major in-group clades, which were supported by morphological differences. One clade was widespread and included the type species of Draculoides, D. vinei (Harvey), along with D. bramstokeri Harvey & Humphreys, D. brooksi Harvey, D. julianneae Harvey, D. mesozeirus, sp. nov. and D. neoanthropus, sp. nov. The second clade was restricted to the Robe Valley and deemed to represent a new genus, Paradraculoides, which included four new species P. anachoretus, sp. nov., P. bythius, sp. nov., P. gnophicola, sp. nov. and P. kryptus, sp. nov. (type species).

Mark S. Harvey A D , Oliver Berry B , Karen L. Edward A and Garth Humphreys C. 2008. Molecular and morphological systematics of hypogean schizomids (Schizomida : Hubbardiidae) in semiarid Australia. Invertebrate Systematics. 22(2); 167-194. DOI: 10.1071/IS07026

[Ichthyology • 2020] Pomacentrus bangladeshius • A New Species of Damselfish (Perciformes, Pomacentridae) from Saint Martin’s Island, Bangladesh

 Pomacentrus bangladeshius 
Habib, Islam, Nahar & Neogi, 2020

A new species of damselfish, Pomacentrus bangladeshius, is described from 3 specimens, 67–77 mm standard length (SL), collected from Saint Martin’s Island, Bangladesh. The new species is distinguished from congeners in having the following combination of characters: XIV, 13 dorsal-fin elements; II, 14 anal-fin elements; 19 pectoral-fin rays; 18–19 lateral-line scales; 17–19 gill rakers on first arch; body depth 1.68–1.88 (1.88) in SL; snout 4.17–4.60 (4.17) in head length; head 2.91–3.09 (3.08) in SL; a prominent notch present between preorbital and suborbital; olive to dark brown body color, dark brown premaxilla, and yellow iris with a narrow bronze eye ring. The new species inhabits shallow reef flats around rock and coral outcrops. Phylogenetic analysis also shows the clear divergence of P. bangladeshius from other genetically closely related congeneric species retrieved from GenBank and that it represents a separate lineage.

Keywords: Pisces, Bengal demoiselle, morphology, DNA barcoding

Kazi Ahsan Habib, Md Jayedul Islam, Najmun Nahar and Amit Kumer Neogi. 2020. Pomacentrus bangladeshius, A New Species of Damselfish (Perciformes, Pomacentridae) from Saint Martin’s Island, Bangladesh. Zootaxa. 4860(3); 413–424. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4860.3.6  

[Entomology • 2020] Limnocoris rodriguesi • A New Species of Limnocoris Stål (Heteroptera: Naucoridae: Limnocorinae) and New State Records for Species of the Genus in Mexico

Limnocoris rodriguesi Reynoso 

in Reynoso-Velasco, 2020. 

The New World genus Limnocoris Stål includes 73 described species, of which 13 are distributed in North America. A new species, Limnocoris rodriguesi Reynoso n. sp., from Mexico is described and illustrated, bringing the total number of species distributed in the country to eight. An updated checklist of the Mexican fauna of Limnocoris is presented and includes new state records for six species: Limnocoris hintoni La Rivers, L. inornatus Montandon, L. insularis Champion, L. lutzi La Rivers, L. pygmaeus La Rivers, and L. signoreti Montandon. Additionally, distribution maps for each of the species of Limnocoris in Mexico are presented.

Keywords: Hemiptera, Nepomorpha, saucer bug, distribution, faunistics

Limnocoris rodriguesi Reynoso NEW SPECIES 
Limnocoris signoreti: Rodrigues & Sites, 2019: 487 (misidentification, in part).
Etymology. The specific epithet is a patronym in honor of Higor D. D. Rodrigues (Instituto Oswaldo Cruz), a dear friend, colleague, and the specialist in the saucer bug genus Limnocoris.

 ‪Daniel Reynoso-Velasco‬. 2020. A New Species of Limnocoris Stål (Heteroptera: Naucoridae: Limnocorinae) and New State Records for Species of the Genus in Mexico. Zootaxa. 4860(3); 375–392. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4860.3.3

[Botany • 2020] Chamaecrista (Leguminosae) of the Diamantina Plateau, Minas Gerais, Brazil, with Six New Species and Taxonomic Novelties

Chamaecrista rupertiana    

in Teixeira Cota, Rando & Mello-Silva, 2020.

Floras are still important for modern biodiversity studies, as they generate basic information, as well as improve understanding on the diversity of an area. This study aimed to the taxonomic study of the species of Chamaecrista from the Diamantina Plateau in Minas Gerais, Brazil, discussing morphological characteristics of the species and presenting taxonomic novelties. The work was based on the survey of herbaria collections, literature review and field expeditions. Descriptions, an identification key, illustrations of diagnostic features, photographic plates, and commentaries are presented for the 64 species of Chamaecrista from the Diamantina Plateau. Six new species are described, two lectotypifications (C. aurivilla and C. brachystachya) and one neotypification are made (C. echinocarpa), 11 new synonyms and taxonomic changes are proposed for C. astrochiton, C. claussenii, C. echinocarpa, C. exsudans, C. multipennis, and C. orbiculata. Chamaecrista sect. Xerocalyx is treated as a species complex with four taxa although more studies are needed to better understand this group.

Keywords: Campos rupestres; Espinhaço Range; inflorescences; Fabaceae; trichomes; Eudicots

Matheus Martins Teixeira Cota, Juliana Gastaldello Rando and Renato Mello-Silva. 2020. Chamaecrista (Leguminosae) of the Diamantina Plateau, Minas Gerais, Brazil, with Six New Species and Taxonomic Novelties. Phytotaxa. 469(1); 1-82. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.469.1.1

Thursday, October 29, 2020

[Paleontology • 2020] Dietary Diversity and Evolution of the earliest Flying Vertebrates revealed by Dental Microwear Texture Analysis

in Bestwick, Unwin, Butler & Purnell, 2020.
Illustration: Mark Witton

Pterosaurs, the first vertebrates to evolve active flight, lived between 210 and 66 million years ago. They were important components of Mesozoic ecosystems, and reconstructing pterosaur diets is vital for understanding their origins, their roles within Mesozoic food webs and the impact of other flying vertebrates (i.e. birds) on their evolution. However, pterosaur dietary hypotheses are poorly constrained as most rely on morphological-functional analogies. Here we constrain the diets of 17 pterosaur genera by applying dental microwear texture analysis to the three-dimensional sub-micrometre scale tooth textures that formed during food consumption. We reveal broad patterns of dietary diversity (e.g. Dimorphodon as a vertebrate consumer; Austriadactylus as a consumer of ‘hard’ invertebrates) and direct evidence of sympatric niche partitioning (Rhamphorhynchus as a piscivore; Pterodactylus as a generalist invertebrate consumer). We propose that the ancestral pterosaur diet was dominated by invertebrates and later pterosaurs evolved into piscivores and carnivores, shifts that might reflect ecological displacements due to pterosaur-bird competition.

Jordan Bestwick, David M. Unwin, Richard J. Butler and Mark A. Purnell. 2020. Dietary Diversity and Evolution of the earliest Flying Vertebrates revealed by Dental Microwear Texture Analysis. Nature Communications. 11, 5293. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19022-2

Pterosaurs undergo dental examination to reveal clues about diets and lifestyles
 Microscopic analysis of the teeth of pterosaurs has revealed new insights into the diets and behaviours of Earth’s earliest flying reptiles.

[Botany • 2020] Zehneria grandibracteata (Cucurbitaceae ) • An overlooked New Species from western Kenyan Forests

Zehneria grandibracteata G.W. Hu, Neng Wei & Q.F. Wang

in Wei, Zhong, Melly, Kipkoech, ... et Wang, 2020. 

Zehneria grandibracteata, a new species of Cucurbitaceae from western Kenya, is described here, based on morphological and molecular data. It has long been misidentified as the widely-distributed species Z. scabra. However, it differs by its ovate leafy probract at the base of the inflorescences, subglabrous condition of the entire plant, shorter receptacle-tube and filaments, as well as denser and sessile inflorescences. Furthermore, the molecular phylogenetic analysis of Zehneria, based on nrITS sequences, further supports the argument that Z. grandibracteata should be segregated from Z. scabra.

Keywords: East Africa, Flora of Kenya, phylogeny, taxonomy, Zehneria scabra

Figure 3. Photographs showing vegetative characters of Zehneria grandibracteata
A climbing stem of female plant in habitat B adaxial lamina C creeping stem D abaxial lamina E probracts at different developing stages F tendril and probract at base of female inflorescence.
 Scale in picture E represents cm.

Figure 4. Photographs showing reproductive characters of Zehneria grandibracteata
A male inflorescence B male flower, side view C male flower, top view D dissected male flower showing disc and stamens
 E female inflorescence F female flower, side view G female flower, top view H dissected female flower showing staminodes 
I pistil and disc J infructescence K cross-section of fruit.
Scale bars: 2 mm (B–D, F–I); 1 cm (J, K).

Zehneria grandibracteata G.W. Hu, Neng Wei & Q.F. Wang, sp. nov.
Diagnosis: It is close to Z. scabra, but differs by its consistently ovate leafy probracts (linear minute or even absent in Z. scabra), subglabrous condition of the entire plant (puberulous in Z. scabra), shorter receptacle-tube (1.8–3 mm long vs. 2–5.5 mm in Z. scabra) and filaments (ca. 1.5 mm long vs. 1–2.5 mm in Z. scabra), as well as sessile and denser inflorescences (cluster of 8–30 in male, 6–22 in female vs. 2–60 in male, 1–16 in female in Z. scabra) (Table 2).

Distribution and ecology: Numerous populations of this new species have been documented in the western parts of Kenya’s forests, including Morongiot and Kobujoi areas of South Nandi Forest, Kapsasur area of Nandi Centre, Yale River Trail of Kakamega Forest, Timbilil and Sambret Catchment area of south-western Mau Forest. It usually climbs over tree trunks or twines around shrubs in moist forests or at forest margin at elevations of 1950–2230 m.
Etymology: The epithet “grandibracteata” refers to the fairly large leafy probract of this new species.

 Neng Wei, Zhi-Xiang Zhong, David Kimutai Melly, Solomon Kipkoech, Benjamin Muema Watuma, Veronicah Mutele Ngumbau, Peris Kamau, Guang-Wan Hu and Qing-Feng Wang. 2020. Zehneria grandibracteata (Cucurbitaceae), An overlooked New Species from western Kenyan Forests. PhytoKeys. 165: 85-98. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.165.57399

[Cnidaria • 2020] Antipathes sylospongia, Alternatipathes venusta & Umbellapathes litocrada • New Species of Black Corals (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) from Deep-sea Seamounts and Ridges in the North Pacific

Umbellapathes litocrada 
Opresko & Wagner, 2020

 Photos courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

Three new species of antipatharian corals are described from deep-sea (677–2,821 m) seamounts and ridges in the North Pacific, including Antipathes sylospongia, Alternatipathes venusta, and Umbellapathes litocrada. Most of the material for these descriptions was collected on expeditions aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer that were undertaken as part of the Campaign to Address Pacific Monument Science, Technology, and Ocean Needs (CAPSTONE). One of the main goals of CAPSTONE was to characterize the deep-sea fauna in protected waters of the U.S. Pacific, as well as in the Prime Crust Zone, the area with the highest known concentration of commercially valuable deep-sea minerals in the Pacific. Species descriptions and distribution data are supplemented with in situ photo records, including those from deep-sea exploration programs that have operated in the North Pacific in addition to CAPSTONE, namely the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Keywords: Cnidaria; Black corals; morphology; taxonomy; Antipathidae, Schizopathidae, Hawaii, Johnston Atoll, new species

Order Antipatharia Milne Edwards, 1857 

Family Antipathidae Ehrenberg, 1834

Antipathes sylospongia sp. nov., in situ photographs:
A. holotype; B. paratype;
C. HURL-P4-228-Spec. 2; D. colony photographed at 1,357 m off Lisianski (specimen not collected);
E. Close-up in situ photograph of the paratype; F. Close-up photograph of colony at 1,800 m at West Northampton Seamount specimen not collected).
 Photos courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

Genus Antipathes Pallas, 1766

Antipathes sylospongia sp. nov. 

Diagnosis. Colonies found in association with glass sponges (Fig. 1); to date only recorded growing on Farrea occa and an unidentified sponge in the family Tretodictyidae. Corallum loosely branched, without a noticeable main stem or major branches. Branches very thin, extending out in all directions. End-branchlets small, mostly less than 2 cm, varying distances apart; tending to be arranged bilaterally along individual branches; but the arrangement can be quite irregular, in some places alternating, and often in subopposite pairs. Spines small, triangular in lateral view, with rounded apex; polypar spines up to 0.03 mm, abpolypar spines 0.01 to 0.02 mm. Polyps mostly about 1.5 mm in transverse diameter (maximum about 2 mm); arranged uniserially with 5 polyps per cm. 

Etymology. The species name “sylospongia” is derived from the Greek prefix “syl” meaning “with”, the connecting vowel “o” and “spongia” for the sponge hosts. To date, all known records of this species are in strict association with hexactinellid sponge hosts, either Farrea occa or an unidentified species in the family Tretodictyidae. 

Distribution. Currently only known from the Musician Seamounts and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands between Nihoa and Lisianski at depths ranging between 677–1,800 m (Fig. 5). 

Antipathes sylospongia sp. nov., in situ. 
 colony photographed at 1,357 m off Lisianski (specimen not collected).
Photo courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

In situ photograph of Alternatipathes venusta sp. nov. holotype (USNM 1404492) photographed near McCall Seamount at 2,638 m.
Photo courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

Family Schizopathidae Brook, 1889

Alternatipathes Molodtsova and Opresko, 2017

Alternatipathes venusta sp. nov. 

Diagnosis. Colony attached, monopodial, unbranched, and pinnulate. Pinnules simple, arranged alternately in two lateral rows along upper part of stem. Lower unpinnulated section of the stem up to two times longer than upper pinnulated section. Pinnules generally decreasing in length proximally (>13 cm) to distally (~3 cm) in a colony with a 17 cm long pinnulated section. Pinnules 4–6 mm apart on either side of axis; nine to 11 pinnules (total for both rows) per 3 cm. Polypar spines on pinnules, conical, smooth, acute, and up to 0.22 mm tall; a few are bifurcated. Abpolypar spines short, triangular, up to 0.08 mm tall. Five to six rows of spines visible in lateral view; with 4 spines per mm within each row on polypar side; 3–4 spines per mm on abpolypar side. Polyps about 5 mm in transverse diameter, with 2 polyps per cm. 

Etymology. From the Latin “venusta” meaning beautiful

Distribution. Currently only known from the Hawaiian Islands and Gorda Ridge at depths ranging between 2,638–2,821 m (Fig. 8). 

Umbellapathes litocrada sp. nov. holotype photographed in situ on Hutchinson Seamount at 1,529 m.
Photo courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

FIGURE 12. In situ photographs of colonies presumed to be Umbellapathes litocrada sp. nov. (specimens were not collected):
A. colony on Hutchinson seamount at 1,504 m; B. colony on unnamed seamount north of Johnston Atoll at 1,940 m;
C. colony on Rapano Ridge at 1,973 m. D. colony on Naifeh Seamount at 1839.
Photos courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (A–B) and Ocean Exploration Trust (C–D).

Umbellapathes Opresko, 2005

Umbellapathes litocrada sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Corallum monopodial, branched and pinnulate. Stem consisting of long lower unpinnulated section (stalk) and upper distal section with simple bilateral primary pinnules some of which develop into branches showing same pinnulation pattern as stem, and which together form a discoidally shaped crown. Secondary pinnules not present on primary pinnules of stem or branches. Branches developing mainly from basal-most pinnules on stem and a varying number of more distal ones. Corallum has up to three orders of branches. Pinnules on stem generally arranged alternately in two anterolateral to lateral rows. Pinnules not uniform in length; longest ones often in middle or on distal part of branch. Pinnular density 9–11 per 3 cm. Spines on pinnules short, triangular to semispherical in shape. Polypar spines up to 0.08 mm tall from midpoint of base to apex. Spines arranged in very irregular axial rows, five or six rows visible in lateral view, with about 4 spines per mm in each row. Polyps 3–4.5 mm in transverse diameter; with 2 to 3 polyps per cm. 

Etymology. From the Greek “litos” meaning “simple” and “crada” meaning “branch”, referring to the fact that the pinnules are not subpinnulate, as in U. helioanthes

Distribution. Currently only known from the Hawaiian Islands, the Musician Seamounts and seamounts near Johnston Atoll at depths ranging between 1,504–2,413 m (Fig. 13). 

  Dennis M. Opresko and Daniel Wagner. 2020. New Species of Black Corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia) from Deep-sea Seamounts and Ridges in the North Pacific. Zootaxa. 4868(4); 543–559. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4868.4.5 

New coral species discovered on seabed prized for mining potential


[Botany • 2020] Petalidium kaokoense (Acanthaceae) • A New Species from the Kaokoveld Centre of Endemism, northwestern Namibia

Petalidium kaokoense Swanepoel 

in Swanepoel, 2020. 
Petalidium kaokoense, here described as a new species, is only known from the Hartmann Mountains and one other location on the inland plateau in the Kaokoveld Centre of Endemism, northwestern Namibia, where it grows on hillsides and mountain slopes. Diagnostic characters for P. kaokoense include the stout trunk on older plants, white bark, peeling on the younger branches in long, narrow strips, stellate trichomes, short inflorescences of racemoid dichasia with acute linear-oblanceolate or linear-lanceolate bracts, flowers with maroon corollas with the two upper lobes connate towards the base and the lower lobe with two yellow spots near the base. A comparison of some of the more prominent morphological features to differentiate between Petalidium kaokoense and its presumed close relative, the morphologically similar P. physaloides, is provided. Based on IUCN Red List categories and criteria, a conservation assessment of Vulnerable (VU D1) is recommended for the new species.

Keywords: endemism, flora, Hartmann Mountains, Kaokoveld, taxonomy, General

Figure 1. Petalidium kaokoense Swanepoel.
 A. Flowers and leaves; greyish leaves are still densely covered in trichomes. B. Flowering shoot; leaves almost glabrous.
 Photographs: W. Swanepoel.

Figure 2. Petalidium kaokoense Swanepoel.
Plant in natural habitat at the type locality, Hartmann Mountains, Namibia, growing as a shrub about 1 m tall. 
Photograph: W. Swanepoel.

Petalidium kaokoense Swanepoel, sp. nov. 

 Diagnosis:— A woody shrub up to 1.2 m tall, morphologically similar to P. physaloides, from which it differs in having white bark on distal branches peeling in long narrow strips (vs. fawn bark, not peeling); leaf apex rounded, obtuse or acute (vs. acute); flowers usually in short racemoid dichasia (vs. inflorescences with flowers solitary or paired); inflorescence axis up to 60 mm long, sometimes becoming spiny with age (vs. up to 310 mm long, not becoming spiny with age); anticous calyx lobe entire or indistinctly bifid (vs. distinctly bifid); corolla with upper lobes connate over half their length, lateral and upper oblong, front one obovate (vs. upper lobes almost free to base, all lobes ovate).

 Etymology:— The specific epithet refers to the Kaokoveld in northwestern Namibia, a region forming part of the Kaokoveld Centre of Endemism (Van Wyk & Smith 2001, Craven 2009). This biogeographically well-defined region extends into southwestern Angola.

Wessel Swanepoel. 2020. Petalidium kaokoense (Acanthaceae), A New Species from Namibia. Phytotaxa. 468(3); 236-242. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.468.3.1


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

[Herpetology • 2020] Breviceps ombelanonga • A New Species of Rain Frog (Brevicipitidae, Breviceps) endemic to Angola

Breviceps ombelanonga 
 Nielsen, Conradie, Ceríaco, Bauer, Heinicke, Stanley & Blackburn, 2020

Recent molecular phylogenetic work has found that Breviceps Merrem, 1820 comprises two major clades, one of which, the B. mossambicus group, is widely distributed across southern sub-Saharan Africa. This group is notable for harboring abundant cryptic diversity. Of the four most recently described Breviceps species, three are members of this group, and at least five additional lineages await formal description. Although Breviceps has long been known to occur in Angola, no contemporary material has been collected until recently. The three most widespread taxa, B. adspersus, B. mossambicus, and B. poweri, may all occur in Angola, but accurate species assignment remains challenging given the rampant morphological similarity between these taxa, and, until recently, the lack of genetic resources. Phylogenetic, morphological, and acoustic analyses of recently collected samples from disparate localities within Angola provide evidence for an undescribed species that is sister to B. poweri. The new species can be diagnosed from its sister taxon by lacking pale spots along the flanks, a pale patch above the vent, and a short, dark band below the nares (all present in B. poweri). Additionally, the male advertisement call differs from the three other Breviceps that might occur in Angola in having both a longer interval between consecutive calls and a higher average dominant frequency. We here describe this lineage as a distinct species, currently only known from Angola, and discuss the presence of other Breviceps taxa within Angola.

Keywords: Afrobatrachia, Anura, Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov., cryptic species, multilocus, novel species, Sub-Saharan Africa

Figure 1. Geographic distribution and phylogenetic relationships of Breviceps spp. included in this study. 
A Map of Angola and surrounding countries with all known Breviceps spp. sampling localities indicated on legend. The proposed distributions of B. adspersus and B. poweri (blue and red polygons, respectively) are from IUCN (2013a, b), but should be considered tentative and worthy of reevaluation in light of recent studies. Furthermore, B. mossambicus is not mapped as no samples of certain identification occur west of Malawi (see Nielsen et al. 2018). 
B Multi-locus phylogeny of Breviceps, with select clades collapsed that are not relevant directly to the B. mossambicus group. The backbone is from the likelihood analysis, although Bayesian analyses produced a nearly identical topology (with any topological differences subtended by poor support). A black dot at each node indicates high support (e.g., Bayesian posterior probability > 0.95, Maximum Likelihood bootstrap > 90), while values below that cutoff are indicated for deep nodes only. Tapered bars to the right of voucher IDs indicate from which Angolan locality they were collected. 
C Median-joining networks for the two nuclear loci indicating a lack of shared haplotypes between candidate and recognized species. Hash marks indicate unique sequence differences between lineages, and black circles are hypothetical intermediate haplotypes.

Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov.
 Suggested common names: Angolan Rain Frog (English), 
Sapinho das Chuvas de Angola (Português).
Breviceps gibbosus: Bocage (1870: 68).
Breviceps gibbosus: Bocage (1873: 227).
Breviceps mossambicus: Bocage (1895: 182); Parker (1934: 194); Monard (1937: 29, 1938: 56); Laurent (1964: 156); Cei (1977: 17, 18); Ruas (1996: 23).
Rana mossambicus: Hellmich (1957: 30).
Breviceps mossambicus-adspersus” complex: Poynton (1982: 67); Ruas (2002: 142).
Breviceps adspersus [part]: Poynton and Broadley (1985: 52).
Breviceps sp.: Marques et al. (2018: 81); Ceríaco et al. (2020: 63).
Breviceps cf. adspersus: Baptista et al. (2019: 270).

Diagnosis: A species referable to Breviceps due to the following characteristics (Poynton 1964; Minter et al. 2017): snout extremely abbreviated; mouth narrow and downturned near jaw joint; short limbs which, at rest in life, are held close to the body, not projecting beyond the body outline; digits I and V short or rudimentary; inner metatarsal tubercle well developed and notably longer than pedal digit III, narrowly separated from a prominent conical outer metatarsal tubercle. Additionally, the results of the molecular phylogenetic analyses support this species as embedded within the diversity of Breviceps, specifically within the B. mossambicus group (Fig. 1B). Breviceps ombelanonga can be diagnosed from other species of Breviceps and especially those in the B. mossambicus group by the combination of lacking a visible tympanum, males having a single, uniformly dark gular patch that is continuous with the mask extending from the eye, having generally smooth dorsal skin, lacking many small tubercles on the palmar surfaces (as in, e.g., B. branchi and B. sylvestris; FitzSimons 1930; Channing 2012), lacking pale spots along flanks and a pale patch above the vent (both present in B. poweri; Parker 1934; du Preez and Carruthers 2017), lacking short dark band below nares (as in B. poweri; du Preez and Carruthers 2017), lacking confluent inner and outer metatarsal tubercles, having a relatively narrower head, shorter thigh, and shorter manual digit III (Fig. 2; Table 4), and having an advertisement call with both a longer interval between consecutive calls and a higher average dominant frequency (Fig. 3).

Figure 4. Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov. holotype male (UF Herp 187172): 
A in life photo B dorsal and ventral aspects C additional views of the holotype, including the left pes, frontal, right lateral, and left manus and mental.
Scale bar: 10 mm. 
Photographs by J. Cavagnaro (A) and SVN (B, C).

Figure 5. Variation in color and pattern within living paratypes of Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov.
A, B sub-adult (of unknown sex) from Embala Seque (14 km N of Cassumbi village), Bié Province (MHNCUP_ANF 0320)
C juvenile male, Cuito River source lake, Moxico Province (PEM A12537) D adult female, Cuando River source, Moxico Province (PEM A12770)
E adult male, Quembo River source lake, Moxico Province (PEM A12787) F adult male, Cuanavale River source lake, Moxico Province (PEM A12800).
Photographs by LMPC (A, B) and WC (C–F).

Distribution: Based on our phylogenetic analysis, this species is currently confirmed from three widely separated localities and elevations ranging from near sea level to > 1400 m: i) Kissama National Park, on the outskirts of Angola’s capital city, Luanda, in coastal western Angola (Luanda Province); ii) central Angola (Bié Province); and iii) the source of the Cuanavale, Cuito, Cuando and Quembo rivers (Moxico Province). The identity of other known Angolan localities for Breviceps (black diamonds) remain uncertain without additional sampling and genetic data (Fig. 1, Appendix 1; see Marques et al. 2018).

Figure 7. Photos of typical habitat of Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov.
A a view of the Kwanza River and bordering savannah, near the type locality, in Kissama National Park, Luanda Province
 B savannah near Embala Seque (14 km N of Cassumbi village), Bié Province 
C Cuanavale River source lake and associated miombo savannah woodland. 
Photographs by LMPC (A, B) and WC (C).

Habitat and natural history notes: 
The preferred habitat for B. ombelanonga ranges from typical western Angolan savannah, with sandy soils and vegetation dominated by Adansonia digitata, Euphorbia conspicua, Acacia welwitschii and Combretum sp., together with a good grass coverage (Grandvaux-Barbosa 1970), to dense Angolan wet miombo woodland in the east (Fig. 7). The type series was collected after gentle rains, either by hand or in traps. The holotype was first observed feeding on small, unidentified ants (family Formicidae). No information is available on egg deposit sites and clutch sizes. One of us (WC) has discovered remains of B. ombelanonga in the stomach contents of two snake species, Kladirostratus acutus (Psammophiidae; PEM R23450) and Causus bilineatus (Viperidae; PEM R23321) from the Cuando and Cuito River sources, respectively.

Etymology: The name ombelanonga is a derived combination of two words in Umbundu, a native Angolan language, for rain (ombela) and frog (anonga). The species epithet is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name.

Conservation status: Given that it appears widely distributed, we suggest that B. ombelanonga be included in the IUCN category of Least Concern. The type locality lies within Kissama National Park, which grants some legal protection from major habitat degradation and loss, though the park has recently experienced significant wildfires. Additionally, the paratype localities in southeastern Angola (visited during field activities related to the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project 2017) are relatively pristine and ecologically intact miombo savannah that comprise an area recently proposed for formal protection.

 Stuart V. Nielsen, Werner Conradie, Luis M. P. Ceríaco, Aaron M. Bauer, Matthew P. Heinicke, Edward L. Stanley and David C. Blackburn. 2020. A New Species of Rain Frog (Brevicipitidae, Breviceps) endemic to Angola. ZooKeys. 979: 133-160. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.979.56863

Resumo: Investigações moleculares recentes revelaram que o género Breviceps Merrem, 1820, é composto por duas linhagens principais, uma das quais, o grupo B. mossambicus, é amplamente distribuído na região sul da África subsaariana. Este grupo é notável por albergar uma abundante diversidade críptica. Das quatro espécies de Breviceps recentemente descritas, três pertencem a este grupo, e pelo menos outras cinco linhagens adicionais aguardam a sua descrição formal. Apesar de o género ser conhecido de Angola desde há muito tempo, só muito recentemente foram colhidos novos espécimes. Os três taxa mais amplamente distribuídos, B. adspersus, B. mossambicus e B. poweri podem todos, porventura, ocorrer em Angola, no entanto a correta identificação destas espécies têm sido problemática devido às semelhanças morfológicas extremas entre este taxa, e, até muito recente, a completa ausência de material genético. Análises filogenéticas, morfológicas e acústicas dos espécimes recentemente colhidos em diferentes locais de Angola apontam para a existência de uma espécie nova para a ciência, irmã de B. poweri. A nova espécie pode ser diferenciada do seu táxon irmão pela falta de marcas pálidas nos flancos, mancha pálida acima do ventre e pequena banda negra abaixo do nariz (presentes em B. poweri). Para além destas características, o chamamento dos machos difere das outras três espécies de Breviceps que podem ocorrer em Angola por ter um maior intervalo entre chamamentos consecutivos e uma maior frequência média dominante. Descrevemos aqui esta linhagem como uma espécie distinta, atualmente apenas conhecida de Angola, e discutimos a presença de outras espécies de Breviceps em Angola.

Palavras Chave: África Subsahariana, Afrobatrachia, Anura, Breviceps ombelanonga sp. nov., espécies crípticas, espécies novas, multilocus