Tuesday, September 28, 2021

[PaleoOrnithology • 2021] Archaehierax sylvestris • An Exceptional Partial Skeleton of A New Basal Raptor (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae) from the late Oligocene Namba Formation, South Australia


Archaehierax sylvestris
Mather, Lee, Camens & Worthy, 2021

 
ABSTRACT
The Australian pre-Pleistocene fossil record of Accipitridae (eagles, hawks, old-world vultures) comprises one latest Oligocene or early Miocene and one middle Miocene species, each represented by partial bones. Globally, most fossil accipitrids are based on single bones. The recent discovery of an older and considerably more complete accipitrid from late Oligocene sediments in Australia is therefore significant. It is derived from the Pinpa Local Fauna from the Namba Formation at Lake Pinpa, South Australia (~26–24 Ma). The fossil, described as Archaehierax sylvestris gen. et sp. nov., represents a raptor that was larger than the black-breasted buzzard Hamirostra melanosternon but smaller and more gracile than the wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax. Comprehensive morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses resolved Archaehierax as a basal accipitrid, not closely related to any living subfamily and perhaps the sister taxon to all other accipitrids exclusive of elanines. Relatively short wings similar to species of Spizaetus and Spilornis suggest it was adapted for flight within enclosed forests. Additional accipitrid fossils from the Namba Formation, a distal femur and a distal humerus, are incomparable with the holotype of A. sylvestris; they may represent distinct species or smaller individuals of the new taxon.  

KEYWORDS: Lake Pinpa, Accipitriformes, Cenozoic fossil birds, accipitrid evolution, Australia


Skeleton of an osprey by Eyton (1867) with shaded sections indicating which bones are preserved in the fossil of Archaehierax sylvestris.


 A comparison of the prepared fossil tarsometatarsus (foot bone) and a hypothesised silhouette of Archaehierax sylvestris (left) compared to the wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax (right).
The scale bar is 10 mm long.

Systematic palaeontology
Class Aves Linnaeus, 1758
Order Accipitriformes Vieillot 1816 Family Accipitridae Vigors, 1824

Subfamily: Archaehieraxinae subfam. nov.
Type genus: Archaehierax gen. nov.

Remarks: 
The fossil is identified as an accipitrid due to the following combination of characters: Skull – Rostrum deep and narrow, with hooked tip and a large, broad nasal aperture; Tibiotarsus – Pons supratendineus ossified, aligned steeply transversely, medially placed, with unbranched canalis tendinosus, and distal condyles much wider than craniocaudally deep; Tarsometatarsus – Robust, with monosulcate hypotarsus, the lateral and medial hypotarsal crests widely separated and trochleae metatarsorum splayed both medially and laterally, and dorsally arched in distal view; Foot – Four digits with raptorial unguals, those of digits 1 and 2 relatively large; Digit IV – phalanges 2 and 3 are very short compared to phalanx 4.

The fossil can be excluded from Falconiformes (Falconidae) and the other families of Accipitriformes (Cathartidae, Sagittariidae, Pandionidae) by the morphology of the tarsometatarsal hypotarsus cristae and sulcus. The cristae are fused or partially fused together to enclose the sulcus in Cathartidae, Sagittariidae, and Pandionidae, while in Falconidae the medial crista is connected to the shaft by a ridge that extends two-thirds of its length, features that are absent in the fossil.

Diagnosis: 
Accipitrids in which the following autapomorphic features are found: the pila medialis of the sternum dorsally separates two deep pneumatic fossae, the humerus has the caput humeri only slightly elevated proximally past the tuberculum ventralis, the tip of the processus procoracoideus of the coracoid sharply curves inwards ventrally towards the medial face of the bone, the tibiotarsus has the lateral/distal retinaculum scar in a deep fossa, the tarsometatarsus is relatively elongate with narrow trochleae metatarsorum that are separated by wide incisurae, and the incisura for the m. flexor hallucis brevis tendon is large, distinct, and extends distal to the fossa metatarsi I. In addition to this, the following features occur: the rostral tip of the rostrum is hooked below the tomial margin at a relatively shallow 30–40° angle, the quadrate has a deep, distinct foramen pneumaticum caudomediale, and the sternum has the apex carinae displaced caudally from the base of the spina externa.,


Genus Archaehierax Mather, Lee, Camens and Worthy gen. nov.
 
Etymology: Archaehierax is derived from the Greek words ‘archaios’, meaning ancient, and ‘hierax’, meaning hawk. Gender masculine.


Archaehierax sylvestris Mather, Lee, Camens and Worthy gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: The species name ‘sylvestris’ is derived from the Greek world ‘sylvas’, meaning forest, and the Latin suffix ‘-estris’, meaning ‘belonging to’.


Ellen K. Mather, Michael S. Y. Lee, Aaron B. Camens and Trevor H. Worthy. 2021. An Exceptional Partial Skeleton of A New Basal Raptor (Aves: Accipitridae) from the late Oligocene Namba Formation, South Australia. Historical Biology: An International Journal of PaleobiologyDOI: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1966777

25-million-year-old ancient eagle ruled the roost in Australia
63 bone fossil finding in desert is one of the “best preserved” eagles ever and a very rare discovery

Monday, September 27, 2021

[Entomology • 2021] Integrative Taxonomy reveals Remarkable Diversity in Australian Protomiltogramma (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)


Protomiltogramma sp. 
Johnston, Wallman, Szpila & Pape, 2021

 
Abstract
Protomiltogramma Townsend is the largest and most diverse genus of miltogrammine flesh flies in Australia. However, no comprehensive taxonomic work had been completed on the Australian members of this genus in almost a century. This study presents the first taxonomic revision of all Australian species of Protomiltogramma (Sarcophagidae: Miltogramminae), completed using an integrative approach combining molecular and morphological data. Eight new species endemic to Australia are described: Protomiltogramma dalbiensis sp. n., P. grandis sp. n., P. incana sp. n., P. kapnos sp. n., P. nigrisensa sp. n., P. popularis sp. n., P. rubra sp. n. and P. subtilis sp. n. In addition, P. australis Malloch, 1930 is synonymised with P. cincta Townsend, 1916, syn. n. and P. mallochi Verves, 1987 is synonymised with P. laticeps Malloch, 1930, syn. n. Molecular phylogenetics is used to place the Australian Protomiltogramma among the miltogrammine genera of the world.

Keywords: Australia, DNA barcoding, flesh flies, Miltogramminae, phylogenetics, Diptera
 


 Nikolas P. Johnston, James F. Wallman, Krzysztof Szpila and Thomas Pape. 2021. Integrative Taxonomy reveals Remarkable Diversity in Australian Protomiltogramma (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). Zootaxa. 5043(1); 1-104. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5043.1.1

[Paleontology • 2022] Eptalofosuchus viridi • First Upper Cretaceous notosuchians (Crocodyliformes) from the Uberaba Formation (Bauru Group), southeastern Brazil: Enhancing Crocodyliform Diversity


 Eptalofosuchus viridi
Marinho, Martinelli, Basilici, Soares, Marconato, Ribeiro & Iori, 2022

Illustration by Júlia d'Oliveira

Highlights: 
• Here we describe the first crocodyliforms fossils from the Uberaba Formation.
• The material comprises of isolated teeth and a fragmentary mandible of notosuchians.
• The isolated teeth represent Bauruchidae and a probable longisrotrine Peirosauridae.
• The fragmentary mandible was identified as a new taxon, Eptalofosuchus viridi gen et sp. nov..

Abstract
Notosuchians are the most diverse group and are frequently found in rocks of the Upper Cretaceous Bauru Group of southeastern Brazil. These crocodyliforms occupied several different terrestrial ecological niches, ranging from small to large bodied forms, including hypercarnivore to strictly herbivore animals. Most of this diversity comes from the Adamantina and Serra da Galga formations, where baurusuchids, peirosaurids and the so called “advanced notosuchians” are common occurrences. In this context, the Serra da Galga Formation (formerly Serra da Galga Member of the Marília Formation), that crops out at the Uberaba region, stands out as one of the most prolific Upper Cretaceous units in Brazil. The Uberaba Formation is another unit present in this area, underlying the Serra da Galga Formation, but to date, its crocodyliform diversity is virtually unknown. Here we describe the first notosuchians remains from the Uberaba Formation, and the first new taxon from this unit, Eptalofosuchus viridi gen. et sp. nov., based on a partial dentary with some teeth of an “advanced notosuchian”. The other remains include isolated teeth of a large baurusuchid and a possible longirostrine peirosaurid, suggesting that the Uberaba Formation shared a similar notosuchian fauna with that present in the Adamantina and São José do Rio Preto formations.

Keywords: Notosuchia, Baurusuchidae, Peirosauridae, Bauru Basin, Minas Gerais State



Archosauria Cope, 1869
Crocodylomorpha Walker, 1970 (sensu Clark, 1986)
Crocodyliformes Hay, 1930 (sensu Clark, 1986)
Mesoeucrocodylia Whetstone and Whybrow, 1983
Notosuchia Gasparini, 1971 (sensu Pol et al., 2014)

Eptalofosuchus gen. nov.
Type species: Eptalofosuchus viridi sp. nov.

Etymology. Generic name from the Greek eptá for seven and lófos for hills, in allusion to Uberaba's nickname “cidade das sete colinas” (“the city of the seven hills”), plus souchus, Greek for crocodile, leading to Latin, suchus.


Eptalofosuchus viridi sp. nov.

Etymology. Specific name derives from the Latin viridi, meaning green, in allusion to the typical greenish color of the Uberaba Formation.


 Thiago S. Marinho, Agustín G. Martinelli, Giorgio Basilici, Marcus Vinícius T. Soares, André Marconato, Luiz C.B. Ribeiro and Fabiano V. Iori. 2021. First Upper Cretaceous notosuchians (Crocodyliformes) from the Uberaba Formation (Bauru Group), southeastern Brazil: Enhancing Crocodyliform Diversity. Cretaceous Research. In Press, 105000. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2021.105000

 

[Herpetology • 2021] Amolops chaochin • Taxonomic Revision of Amolops chunganensis (Pope, 1929) (Anura: Ranidae) and Description of A New Species from southwestern China, with Discussion on Amolops monticola group and Assignment of Species Groups of the Genus Amolops


Amolops chaochin Jiang, Ren, Lyu & Li, 

in Jiang, Ren, Lyu, Wang, ... et Li, 2021.
Chaochin’s Torrent Frog | 钊琴湍蛙 || DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.107

Abstract
Amolops chunganensis is a species complex and reported widely from eastern, southern, and southwestern China. Based on molecular data of 19 populations of A. chunganensis sensu lato from China, including the population from Mt. Wuyi (type locality), we recognize A. chunganensis sensu stricto and provide an expanded description based on the topotypic specimens. Combining morphological and molecular data, we describe a new species, Amolops chaochin sp. nov., from southwestern China, which was previously identified as A. chunganensis. The new species is distinguished from all other species in the A. monticola group by: (1) moderate body size, SVL 35.3−39.2 mm in males (n=7), and 50.5−54.4 mm in females (n=7); (2) distinct tympanum, larger than half of eye diameter; (3) small tooth-like projection on anteromedial edge of mandible; (4) circummarginal groove on all fingers; (5) white tubercles on dorsal side of posterior body in both sexes; (6) distinct tubercles on dorsal thigh and white spinose tubercles on dorsal tibia in both sexes; (7) white tubercles on posterior region of tympanum in males; (8) toe webbing reaching disk by dermal fringe on inner side of toe II; (9) vomerine teeth present; (10) transverse bands on dorsal limbs; (11) external vocal sacs present in males. We further reviewed the assignment of Amolops groups, with an overall revision of membership and diagnosis of all species groups.

Keywords: Amolops chaochin sp. nov., Complex, Distribution, Amolops gerbillus, Amolops chayuensis group, Amolops spinapectoralis group

Figure  7.  General and close-up views of Amolops chaochin sp. nov. in life, showing color variation among individuals and features in amplexus
A: Adult male from Jiguanshan, Chongzhou, Chengdu, Sichuan; B–C: Adult males from Xiling Snow Mountain, Dayi, Chengdu, Sichuan; D: General view of mating pairs in amplexus in axillary amplectic positions, upper: male, lower: female; E: Close-up view of pair of developed external subgular vocal sacs in male (see arrows); F: Close-up views of male forelimbs in axillary amplectic positions.
Photos by Jin-Long Ren.

Amolops chaochin sp. nov. Jiang, Ren, Lyu, and Li

Diagnosis: According to the morphological characters of the A. monticola group stated by Stuart et al. (2010), Amolops chaochin sp. nov. is placed in the A. monticola group based on the following diagnosis: (1) skin relatively smooth; (2) dorsolateral fold distinct; (3) lateral side of head black, upper lip stripe yellowish white extending to shoulder.

Amolops chaochin sp. nov. is distinguished from all other congeners in the A. monticola group by the following combination of characters: (1) moderate body size, SVL 35.3−39.2 mm in males (n=7) and 50.5−54.4 mm in females (n=7); (2) tympanum distinct, larger than half of eye diameter; (3) small tooth-like projection on anteromedial edge of mandible; (4) circummarginal groove on all fingers; (5) white tubercles on dorsal side of posterior body in both sexes; (6) distinct tubercles on dorsal thigh and white spinose tubercles on dorsal tibia in both sexes; (7) white tubercles on posterior region of tympanum in males; (8) toe webbing reaching disk by dermal fringe on inner side of toe II; (9) vomerine teeth present; (10) transverse bands on dorsal limbs; (11) external vocal sacs present in males.

Etymology: Specific epithet “chaochin” is named after Prof. Ch’eng-Chao Liu (1900–1976) and his wife Prof. Shu-Chin Hu (1914–1992), combining the last words of their given names “Chao” and “Chin”. Prof. Liu and Prof. Hu both greatly contributed to Chinese herpetology and established the Herpetological Museum at the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. During their fieldwork in Mt. Emei, Prof. Liu and Prof. Hu found the first pair of specimens of this new species. Furthermore, based on field observations from 1938 to 1940, Prof. Liu published the detailed life history of this new species under the name “Staurois chunganensis” (Liu 1941), and the specimens collected by Prof. Liu are still preserved in CIB (Figure 8A). 
We suggest the English common name as “Chaochin’s Torrent Frog” and the Chinese common name as “钊琴湍蛙 (in Chinese Pinyin: Zhāo Qín Tuān Wā)”.


Habitat of Amolops chaochin sp. nov. at 1,179 m a.s.l. on Jiguanshan, Chongzhou, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Figure  9.  Habitat of Amolops chaochin sp. nov. at 1,179 m a.s.l. on Jiguanshan, Chongzhou, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Type series were found across rocky, flowing streams (A) and adjacent pools (B, mating pair in situ on stones), ditches, and shrubs.
Photos by Jin-Long Ren.


Ke Jiang, Jin-Long Ren, Zhi-Tong Lyu, Dan Wang, Zeng Wang, Ke Lv, Jia-Wei Wu and Jia-Tang Li. 2021. Taxonomic Revision of Amolops chunganensis (Pope, 1929) (Amphibia: Anura) and Description of A New Species from southwestern China, with Discussion on Amolops monticola group and Assignment of Species Groups of the Genus AmolopsZoological Research. 42(5); 574-591. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.107

[Herpetology • 2021] Pristimantis achupalla • A New Minute Species of Direct-developing Frog (Anura, Strabomantidae) inhabiting Bromeliads of the Montane Forest of the Amazonian Andes of Puno, Peru



 Pristimantis achupalla  
Ttito​ & Catenazzi, 2021


Abstract 
We describe a new species of bromeliad-dwelling Pristimantis from primary montane forest (2,225 m a.s.l.) in southern Peru. The type locality is near Thiuni, in the Department of Puno (province of Carabaya) in the upper watershed of a tributary of the Inambari River. Pristimantis achupalla sp. n. is characterized by a snout-vent length of 10.0–12.8 mm in adult males (n = 4), unknown in adult females, and is compared morphologically and genetically with species in the Pristimantis lacrimosus group, and with other similar species of Pristimantis. The new species is characterized by having skin on dorsum and flanks rugose, green brownish color, distinctive scapular folds, subacuminate or acuminate snout profile, upper eyelid bearing two or three subconical tubercles and some rounded tubercles, rostral papilla, flanks light brown to brown, with irregular dark brown marks.


Figure 3: Holotype of  Pristimantis achupalla sp. n., male CORBIDI 18736 (SVL 12.8 mm).
 In dorsolateral view (A); dorsal (B) and ventral (C) views of specimen alive.
Photographs by A. Catenazzi.

Figure 6: Dorsolateral views of holotype and three paratypes of  Pristimantis achupalla sp. n. showing detail of coloration patterns and morphological feactures.
Male CORBIDI 18736 (A), SVL = 12.8 mm. Male CORBIDI 18737 (B), SVL = 11.7 mm.
Male MUBI 17604 (C), SVL = 10.0 mm. Juvenile MUBI 17605 (D), SVL = 10.4 mm
Photographs by A. Catenazzi.

Pristimantis achupalla sp. n.

Definition: The new species is distinguished by the following combination of characters: (1) skin on dorsum rugose, that on venter areolate, discoidal fold absent, dorsolateral folds absent; (2) tympanic membrane differentiated, tympanic annulus visible, slightly robust supratympanic fold covering dorsal and posterior edges of tympanum; (3) snout acuminate in dorsal view, truncated and posteroventrally inclined in lateral view, canthus rostralis weakly concave in dorsal view, angular in lateral view, loreal region concave, rostral papilla present; (4) upper eyelid bearing two or three subconical tubercles and some rounded tubercles, cranial crests absent, and postrical turbercles present; (5) dentigerous process of vomers absent; (6) males with vocal sacs and vocal slits, nuptial excrescences absent; (7) Fingers I and II of equal length, fingers II and III bearing rounded discs about 1.2 times wider than digits, Finger IV bearing a rounded disc about twice as wide as its digit; (8) fingers with narrow lateral fringes; (9) antebrachial tubercle present; (10) ulnar and tarsal tubercles present (11) inner metatarsal tubercle oval twice as long as round outer metatarsal tubercle, low supernumerary plantar tubercles at the base of toes I, II, and III; (12) toes with narrow lateral fringes, webbing absent, Toe V longer than Toe III; (13) in life, males with dorsum brownish green; canthal stripe brown extending to the orbits; dorsolateral stripe brown; throat and belly pale green; groins, posterior surfaces of thighs, and shanks bright pale green; iris bronze with fine black reticulations; (14) SVL in adult males 10–12.8 mm; SVL in females unknown. 

Etymology: The name of the new species is a Quechua noun, used in apposition, “achupalla” = bromeliads, in reference to the use of bromeliads as its microhabitats.


Conclusions: 
We describe a new species of terrestrial breeding frog in the genus Pristimantis. We justify the generic location-based on morphological similarity and phylogenetic analyses. The new species P. achupalla is nested within the P. lacrimosus group and is closely related to an undescribed species P. sp. from Peru, P. amagunae, P. sp. from Ecuador, and P. bromeliaceus. These species of minute, bromeliad-living frogs form a clade well supported in the phylogeny. Additionally, several meristic traits distinguish P. achupalla from similar species in P. lacrimosus group. We discuss the difficulty of justifying the position of P. achupalla within groups such as P. lacrimosus, but we also confirm the evolutionary unicity of P. achupalla which supports our taxonomic decision to describe it as new species. Our contribution increases the knowledge of the rich diversity of terrestrial breeding frogs found at high elevations on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera de Carabaya. 
  


Alex Ttito​ and Alessandro Catenazzi. 2021. Pristimantis achupalla sp. n., A New Minute Species of Direct-developing Frog (Amphibia, Anura, Strabomantidae) inhabiting Bromeliads of the Montane Forest of the Amazonian Andes of Puno, Peru. PeerJ. 9:e11878. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.11878

    

[Arachnida • 2021] Taczanowskia onowoka • Phylogenetic Placement of the Spider Genus Taczanowskia (Araneae: Araneidae) and Description of A New Species from Ecuador


Taczanowskia onowoka
Jordán, Domínguez-Trujillo & Cisneros-Heredia, 2021

DOI: 10.1071/IS20084  

Abstract
The genus Taczanowskia Keyserling, 1879 is one of the rarest groups of spiders in the orb-weaving family Araneidae, with only five species described and 17 specimens cited in publications. Our study provides new insights into the evolutionary relationships and diversity of Taczanowskia. Using morphological data, we tested the evolutionary relationships of the genus within the family Araneidae and propose the first phylogenetic hypothesis depicting the relationships among species of Taczanowskia. Our results place Taczanowskia as sister to Mastophora Holmberg, 1876, and confirm the monophyly of Taczanowskia. We describe the first species of Taczanowskia from Ecuador, collected at a Waorani community on the River Curaray basin, Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador. The new species can be easily diagnosed from all other species of Taczanowskia by having two tubercles in the opisthosoma; a distinct patchy dark–light colouration pattern with dark spots concentrated towards the anterior margin and on the lateral tips; small bundles of white setae forming a reticulum across the dorsal part of the opisthosoma, and the first two femora thick but lacking teeth on the margin.






Juan Pablo Jordán, Mariela Domínguez-Trujillo and Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia. 2021. Phylogenetic Placement of the Spider Genus Taczanowskia (Araneae: Araneidae) and Description of A New Species from Ecuador. Invertebrate Systematics. 35(7); 742-753. DOI: 10.1071/IS20084 


[Ichthyology • 2022] Exon-capture Data and Locus Screening provide new insights into the Phylogeny of Flatfishes (Pleuronectoidei)



in Atta, Yuan, Li, ... et Tornabene, 2022.

Highlights: 
• Phylogenetic analysis of flatfishes uses next-gen dataset with largest taxon sampling to date.
• Rhombosoleidae is found to be in Pleuronectoidea rather than Soleoidea.
• Positions of Poecilopsettidae and Scophthalmidae are dictated by tree-construction method.
• Many relationships in the flatfish tree are unstable due to periods of rapid evolution.
• 8/16 families need thorough analysis; 23/127 genera may not be monophyletic (21 not yet sampled).

Abstract
There is an extensive collection of literature on the taxonomy and phylogenetics of flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes) that extends over two centuries, but consensus on many of their evolutionary relationships remains elusive. Phylogenetic uncertainty stems from highly divergent results derived from morphological and genetic characters, and between various molecular datasets. Deciphering relationships is complicated by rapid diversification early in the Pleuronectiformes tree and an abundance of studies that incompletely and inconsistently sample taxa and genetic markers. We present phylogenies based on a genome-wide dataset (4,434 nuclear markers via exon-capture) and wide taxon sampling (86 species spanning 12 of 16 families) of the largest flatfish suborder (Pleuronectoidei). Nine different subsets of the data and two tree construction approaches (eighteen phylogenies in total) are remarkably consistent with other recent molecular phylogenies, and show strong support for the monophyly of all families included except Pleuronectidae. Analyses resolved a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for the family Rhombosoleidae as being within the Pleuronectoidea rather than the Soleoidea, and failed to support the subfamily Hippoglossinae as a monophyletic group. Our results were corroborated with evidence from previous phylogenetic studies to outline regions of persistent phylogenetic uncertainty and identify groups in need of further phylogenetic inference.
 
Keywords: Phylogenomics, Systematics, Soles, Flounders, Incomplete-lineage-sorting, Target-enrichment


Conclusions: 
Our analysis of flatfish systematics using an exon-capture dataset with relatively dense taxon sampling was mostly consistent with the leading phylogenetic hypotheses for the Pleuronectiformes (BHC model) and the Pleuronectidae (Vinnikov et al., 2018). We report a novel position for the family Rhombosoleidae and show extremely poor support for the subfamily Hippoglossinae. Collective inference using sixteen phylogenetic analyses demonstrates the tenuous nature of several flatfish relationships at various evolutionary scales, and how certain relationships are favored by particular methods. By examining our data within the historical context of flatfish systematics we were able to identify several regions where phylogenetic uncertainty is likely to remain and outline groups that should be targeted for further study.


 Calder J. Atta, Hao Yuan, Chenhong Li, Dahiana Arcila, Ricardo Betancur-R, Lily C. Hughes, Guillermo Ortí, Luke Tornabene. 2022. Exon-capture Data and Locus Screening provide new insights into the Phylogeny of Flatfishes (Pleuronectoidei). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 166,107315. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2021.107315


[Mollusca • 2020] Hemiplecta ligorica & H. thailandica • Reassessment and Systematic Position of the Sinistral Snails of Genus Hemiplecta from Thailand (Eupulmonata: Ariophantidae), with Description of Two New Species

  

Hemiplecta ligorica H. thailandica
Sutcharit & Panha, 

in Sutcharit, Jeratthitikul, Tongkerd & Panha, 2021.

Abstract
Indochina land snails of the family Ariophantidae are in need of thorough systematic revision. Here we comprehensively revise the systematics of the large-shelled, sinistral (counterclockwise) coiling snails from Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Molecular phylogeny based on mitochondrial (coi and 16S) and nuclear (28S) gene sequences demonstrates that these sinistral snails are not members of Dyakiidae as previously thought, but instead are more closely related to the genus Hemiplecta in the family Ariophantidae. Comparative morphology also reveals similarity of reproductive organ features (globular gametolytic organ, well-developed dart apparatus, and lack of amatorial organ complex). Based on this evidence, we propose to transfer these sinistral snails to the genus Hemiplecta. Molecular phylogenetic analyses further strongly support the monophyly of this sinistral lineage with respect to other members of Hemiplecta. This monophyletic clade consists of five members including three species that were previously classified as “Dyakia”, H. lahatensis, H. retrorsa and H. salangana, and two new species described herein, Hemiplecta ligorica n. sp. and H. thailandica n. sp. This study also suggests that the anatomy of the gametolytic organ in the genus Hemiplecta corresponds well with the phylogenetic relationships and appears to be a taxonomically informative character, while the penial verge has little utility for generic recognition.

Keywords: Pulmonata; Dyakiidae; sinistral; endemic species; Indochina


Family Ariophantidae Godwin-Austen, 1888

Genus Hemiplecta Albers, 1850

1. Hemiplecta retrorsa (Gould, 1843)

2. Hemiplecta salangana (Martens, 1883)

3. Hemiplecta lahatensis (Morgan, 1885)


Shell characters.
A. Hemiplecta lahatensis, specimen cumz 5259/2.
B, C, Hemiplecta thailandica n. sp., (B) holotype cumz 5095/1 and (C) specimen cumz 5098 from Chanthaburi Province.
D, E. Hemiplecta ligorica n. sp., (D) holotype cumz 5093/1 and (E) paratype cumz 5087 from the type locality.


4. Hemiplecta thailandica Sutcharit and Panha, n. sp.

Etymology. The species name “thailandica” refers to the type locality of this new species in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand.

Diagnosis. Large and low conic shell with brown to brownish yellow shell color, rounded last whorl with narrow dark brown spiral band on periphery. Penial sculpture with small penial papillae arranged over nearly entire penis length.

 
5. Hemiplecta ligorica Sutcharit and Panha, n. sp.

Etymology. For the historical name of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, where the type locality is situated.

Diagnosis. Small, sinistral helicoild shell with whitish color, rounded last whorl with dark brown to brownish spiral band on periphery and upper shell surface. Penial sculpture with small papillae arranged over about half of penis length.



Conclusion: 
Based on phylogenetic results and morphological information in the present study, we have transferred the sinistral species previously and incorrectly assigned to Dyakia (family Dyakiidae) to the genus Hemiplecta (family Ariophantidae). Two previously unrecognised species are described based on consistent differentiation in molecular, shell, and genitalia characters. Our data also provide further support for three other sinistral Hemiplecta species, which are also re-described herein. The results also suggest the synonymization of the formerly recognized as (sub)genus Koratia under the Hemiplecta. Finally, the results indicate the evolutionary instability of shell traits that are often used for land snail classification, while genital characters are highlighted as reliable taxonomic markers for delimiting species and at least some higher taxa. The integration of multiple independent characters including molecular evidence is crucial for delimiting higher systematic levels.


  Chirasak Sutcharit, Ekgachai Jeratthitikul, Piyoros Tongkerd and Somsak Panha. 2021. Reassessment and Systematic Position of the Sinistral Snails of Genus Hemiplecta from Thailand (Eupulmonata: Ariophantidae), with Description of Two New Species. Contributions to Zoology. 90(2); 183–215. 

[Herpetology • 2021] Duttaphrynus brevirostris, D. peninsularis & D. stomaticus Lost, Forgotten, and Overlooked: Systematic Reassessment of Two lesser-known Toad Species (Anura, Bufonidae) from Peninsular India and Another Wide-ranging northern Species


A. Duttaphrynus brevirostris (BNHS 6126) from Kempholey Ghat region in Sakleshpur taluk. B. Duttaphrynus peninsularis (SDBDU 6370) from Wattakolli.
C–D. Duttaphrynus stomaticus: C. SDBDU 2015.2909 from Assam; D. SDBDU 2012.2170 from Rajasthan.
in Bisht, Garg, ... et , 2021. 

Abstract
We rediscovered two species of toads, Bufo stomaticus peninsularis and Bufo brevirostris, which were described from Peninsular India 84 and 101 years ago, respectively, but have not been reported since. Because the name-bearing types of both species are either damaged or lost, we provide detailed redescriptions, morphological comparisons, and insights into phylogenetic relationships with closely related members of the genus Duttaphrynus sensu lato, based on new material from the type locality of each species. We clarify and validate the identity of D. brevirostris, which was rediscovered from multiple localities in the Malenadu and adjoining coastal regions of Karnataka. We also demonstrate that Bufo stomaticus peninsularis, which was considered a synonym of Duttaphrynus scaber, is a distinct species. Bufo stomaticus peninsularis differs from Duttaphrynus scaber morphologically and genetically, and is more closely related to members of the Duttaphrynus stomaticus group. We also clarify the identity of the namesake species of the Duttaphrynus stomaticus group, which is reported widely in India and neighbouring countries, but lacks sufficient taxonomic information due to its brief original description and reportedly untraceable type material. We located and studied the complete syntype series of D. stomaticus, probably for the first time in over a century, and we report on the status of available specimens, provide detailed description of a potential type, compare it to related species, and clarify the species’ geographical range. Our molecular analyses suggest that D. stomaticus is minimally divergent from, and possibly conspecific with, D. olivaceus. Our analyses also clarify its relationship to the closely-related D. peninsularis comb. nov., with which it was previously confused. Finally, our study provides other insights into the phylogenetic relationships and genetic differentiation among various species of Duttaphrynus toads.

Key Words: Amphibia, Bufo stomaticus peninsularis, distribution, Duttaphrynus brevirostris, Duttaphrynus stomaticus group, Firouzophrynus, molecular phylogeny, redescription, rediscovery, taxonomy


Topotype of Duttaphrynus brevirostris (Rao, 1937), topotype of D. peninsularis (Rao, 1920), and referred specimens of D. stomaticus (Lütken, 1864) in life.
A. Duttaphrynus brevirostris (BNHS 6126) from Kempholey Ghat region in Sakleshpur taluk.
B. Duttaphrynus peninsularis (SDBDU 6370) from Wattakolli.
C–F. Duttaphrynus stomaticus: C. SDBDU 2015.2909 from Assam; D. SDBDU 2012.2170 from Rajasthan; E. SDBDU 2012.2172 from Delhi; and F. SDBDU 2012.2268 from Bihar.


Phylogenetic relationships and genetic differentiation in the genus Duttaphrynus.
 A. Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic tree based on 5,737 bp DNA comprising nine mitochondrial gene regions and two nuclear genes, showing phylogenetic relationships between the major species-level lineages. Values above and below the branches indicate Bayesian Posterior Probabilities (BPP) and RAxML Bootstrap Support (BS), respectively;
B. Maximum Likelihood barcoding tree based on 524 bp of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA sequences. BPP and BS support values are indicated above and below the branches, respectively. Coloured vertical bars outside the terminal node labels indicate putative species delimited in the bPTP analysis;
C. Median-Joining haplotype network based on 42 haplotypes recovered from 133 sequences of the 16S gene (420 bp). Size of the coloured circles is proportional to the number of haplotypes; black circles indicate median vectors; each branch represents a single mutation step; additional mutational steps are indicated by values in parentheses; photo credits: D. crocus (Guinevere O. U. Wogan), D. olivaceus (Parham Beyhaghi), and D. dhufarensis (Todd W. Pierson).

Duttaphrynus brevirostris (Rao, 1937)

Duttaphrynus peninsularis (Rao, 1920), comb. nov.

Duttaphrynus stomaticus (Lütken, 1864)


Geographical distribution of Duttaphrynus brevirostris (dark grey), D. peninsularis (blue), and D. stomaticus (orange).

Conclusions: 
The results of this study resolve long-standing uncertainty regarding the identities and taxonomic status of two toad species described from Peninsular India. Bufo brevirostris Rao, 1937 was considered a problematic taxon, because its original name-bearing types are lost. Bufo stomaticus peninsularis Rao, 1920 was long forgotten as an available name for Peninsular Indian populations closely related to Duttaphrynus stomaticus. We substantiate D. peninsularis to be a distinct species, which is both morphologically diagnosable and phylogenetically distinct. Taxonomic redefinition of both of these species was achieved not just by examining the original literature and available types, but also through an effort to rediscover new material from each species’ respective type locality. The redescription of Bufo brevirostris Rao, 1937 based on new topotypic material, along with detailed comparisons to related taxa, objectively clarifies its identification for future reference. Similarly, topotypic material for Bufo stomaticus peninsularis Rao, 1920 enabled a detailed re-evaluation of its taxonomic status in the absence of a well-preserved type. Altogether, our results emphasise that new collections from type localities of historically available names should be attempted when taxonomic resolution is not feasible on the basis of original descriptions or type specimens (Bailey 1933; Garg and Biju 2016).

The present work clarified the taxonomic identity of another species, Duttaphrynus stomaticus, which was overlooked due to its presumed wide distribution. This taxon was known only from its brief original description, and the available, original name-bearing types remained unexamined due to literature-based misconceptions concerning their untraceability (Dutta 1997; Ganesh et al. 2020). We located the well-preserved eight original type specimens, and clarified the status of name-bearing types and the identity of this species, which we redescribed to facilitate future taxonomic studies. This action also aided our objective of resolving the taxonomic status of D. peninsularis, which was originally defined as a variety of D. stomaticus. Our results have important implications concerning the taxonomy and geographical ranges of the two species. Hereafter, D. stomaticus should be considered as a species found in the northern regions of South Asia, whereas its sister taxon D. peninsularis should be recognised as a Peninsular Indian form (Fig. 4; Suppl. materal 1: Table S3). Detailed redescriptions provided in this study will enable proper identification and range delineation, and serve as the basis for future conservation action. Knowledge of phenotypic variation and phylogenetic affinities of both species will also facilitate a better understanding of patterns of genetic differentiation within the genus, particularly among the species of the Duttaphrynus stomaticus group.

   


 Karan Bisht, Sonali Garg, A. N. D. Akalabya Sarmah, Saibal Sengupta and S. D. Biju. 2021. Lost, Forgotten, and Overlooked: Systematic Reassessment of Two lesser-known Toad Species (Anura, Bufonidae) from Peninsular India and Another Wide-ranging northern Species. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 97(2): 451-470. DOI: 10.3897/zse.97.61770


Sunday, September 26, 2021

[Herpetology • 2021] Cnemaspis balerion, C. lithophilis, C. regalis, C. smaug, C. wallaceii, et al. • Diversifying on the Ark: Multiple New Endemic Lineages of Dwarf Geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Western Ghats provide insights into the Systematics and Biogeography of South Asian Cnemaspis


Coloration in life of all 12 holotypes
A: Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov.; B: C. lithophilis sp. nov.; C: C. rubraoculus sp. nov.;  D: C. nimbus sp. nov.; E: C. wallaceii sp. nov.; F: C. smaug sp. nov.
G: C. regalis sp. nov.; H: C. galaxia sp. nov.; I: C. nigriventris sp. nov.;  
J: C. flavigularis sp. nov.; K: C. palanica sp. nov.; L: C. jackieii sp. nov..

Pal, Mirza, Dsouza & Shanker, 2021
Photos by Saunak Pal.  facebook.com/SaunakPal 

Abstract
The highly speciose gekkonid genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 is polyphyletic, with three distantly related and geographically isolated clades from Africa, South Asia (SA), and Southeast Asia. At present, there are 85 known species within SA Cnemaspis, although the number continues to increase rapidly with focused surveys and rigorous taxonomic work. Recent studies have provided valuable insights into the diversity and evolutionary history of SA Cnemaspis; however, most of these studies lack sufficient sampling in the Western Ghats (WG), where the genus has its greatest diversity. We addressed this research gap by conducting extensive sampling across the WG and re-examining museum specimens, thus providing a systematic account of various extant Cnemaspis species along with their distribution and natural history. We described 12 new species and a southern WG endemic clade of SA Cnemaspis. Ten of the newly described species are endemic to the forests of the southern WG. We also identified 10 well-supported subclades that can be separated across morphological, geographic, and phylogenetic axes. Time-calibrated phylogeny and ancestral area reconstructions confirmed the Paleocene origin of SA Cnemaspis in the WG and provide insights into its evolutionary history and biogeography. The discovery of multiple endemic and deeply divergent lineages further highlights the evolutionary significance of the WG for lizards.

Keywords: Biogeography,  Cnemaspis,  Dwarf geckos,  Molecular phylogeny,  New species,  Osteology,  South Asia,  Systematics,  Western Ghats



Coloration in life of all 12 holotypes
A: Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov.; B: Cnemaspis lithophilis sp. nov.; C: Cnemaspis rubraoculus sp. nov.; D: Cnemaspis nimbus sp. nov.; E: Cnemaspis wallaceii sp. nov.; F: Cnemaspis smaug sp. nov.
G: Cnemaspis regalis sp. nov.; H: Cnemaspis galaxia sp. nov.; I: Cnemaspis nigriventris sp. nov.;  J: Cnemaspis flavigularis sp. nov.; K: Cnemaspis palanica sp. nov.; L: Cnemaspis jackieii sp. nov..
Photos by Saunak Pal.

A: Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov.; B: Cnemaspis lithophilis sp. nov.; C: Cnemaspis rubraoculus sp. nov.
D: Cnemaspis nimbus sp. nov.; E: Cnemaspis wallaceii sp. nov.; F: Cnemaspis smaug sp. nov.
Photos by Saunak Pal.

I. wynadensis clade: 
Comprising nine known lineages viz. C. kolhapurensis; C. sisparensis (Theobald, 1876); C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, 2014; C. heteropholis Bauer, 2002; C. anaikattiensis Mukherjee, Bhupathy & Nixon 2005; C. wynadensis; C. chengodumalaensis Cyriac, Palot, Deuti & Umesh, 2020; C. zacharyi Cyriac, Palot, Deuti & Umesh, 2020; and C. magnifica Khandekar, Thackeray, Pal & Agarwal, 2020. We identified two new well-supported, distantly related lineages with moderate support, described here as Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov. and Cnemaspis lithophilis sp. nov. (Figure 3).


Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov.

Etymology: The species is named after “Balerion”, a famous dragon from George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel series, ‘A song of Ice and fire’. The dragon was also known as ‘the black dread’ due to presence of black scales. Like Balerion, this new species shows the presence of distinct clusters of black scales forming spots on the dorsum. 
Suggested common name: Balerion forest gecko. 


Cnemaspis lithophilis sp. nov. 

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the combination of the Greek word ‘lithos’ meaning stone and ‘philia’ meaning fondness, due to the close association of this species with rocks. 
Suggested common name: Sharavati rock gecko. 

I. wynadensis clade: A: Cnemaspis balerion sp. nov.;
 II. beddomei clade: C: C. rubraoculus sp. nov.; D: C. nimbus sp. nov.; E: C. wallaceii sp. nov.; F: C. smaug sp. nov.; G: C. regalis sp. nov.; H: C. galaxia sp. nov.; I: C. nigriventris sp. nov.;  

II. beddomei clade: 
Comprising six known lineages viz. C. beddomei; C. aaronbaueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell & Dileepkumar, 2019; C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, 2018; C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, 2018; C. ornata (Beddome, 1870); and C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy, 1984. Seven of the newly identified lineages belong to this clade (Figure 2), described here as Cnemaspis rubraoculus sp. nov., Cnemaspis wallaceii sp. nov., Cnemaspis nimbus sp. nov., Cnemaspis smaug sp. nov., Cnemaspis nigriventris sp. nov., Cnemaspis galaxia sp. nov., and Cnemaspis regalis sp. nov. (Figure 3).


Cnemaspis rubraoculus sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is derived by combining the Latin word ‘rubrum’, meaning red, and ‘oculus’ meaning eye; referring to the prominent red iris. 
Suggested common name: Ruby eyed forest gecko.


Cnemaspis nimbus sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the Latin word ‘nimbus’ meaning cloud; referring to the prominent clouded pattern on the dorsum and flank. 
Suggested common name: Clouded forest gecko. 


Cnemaspis wallaceii sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is a patronym, honouring Alfred Russel Wallace for his tremendous contribution to the field of biogeography. His work has been an inspiration for the authors and towards this study. 
Suggested common name: Wallace’s forest gecko.


Cnemaspis smaug sp. nov.

Etymology: The species is named after “Smaug”, the dragon from J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel, ‘The Hobbit’. The name is derived from the old German verb ‘smeuganan’ meaning “to creep” or “to squeeze through a hole”. The type specimens of this species were found within crevices of rocks and boulders inside the forest. Additionally, like dragons, the dorsum is armoured with large conical tubercles. 
Suggested common name: Smaug forest gecko 


Cnemaspis regalis sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is based on the Latin word ‘regalis’ meaning kingly or royal, due to the head ornamented with golden yellow crown like pattern in the males of this species. 
Suggested common name: Golden crowned day gecko or Royal day gecko.


Cnemaspis galaxia sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the word ‘galaxy’ due to the dorsum colouration with the sun’s haze like yellow on the anterior and bluish white star like spots on a black background towards the posterior end, in the male of this species. 
Suggested common name: Galaxy day gecko. 


Cnemaspis nigriventris sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the combination of Latin word ‘niger’ meaning black and ‘venter’ meaning belly, due to the distinct black ventral colouration in the male of this species. 
Suggested common name: Black-bellied day gecko.  
 
 
III. littoralis clade: 
Comprising two known lineages from the WG, including C. littoralis and the recently described C. palakkadensis Sayyed, Cyriac & Dileepkumar, 2020. Two new lineages belong to this clade, described here as Cnemaspis flavigularis sp. nov., and Cnemaspis palanica sp. nov. (Figure 3). This clade includes members of the C. podihuna clade from Sri Lanka, as observed in other recent studies (Agarwal et al., 2020b; Khandekar et al., 2019a).


Cnemaspis flavigularis sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the combination of the Latin word ‘flavus’ meaning yellow and ‘gularis’ meaning throat, referring to the distinct yellow colouration of the throat in males of the new species. 
Suggested common name: Yellow throated day gecko. 


Cnemaspis palanica sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet refers to the ‘Palani Hills’ in the SWG of Tamil Nadu, from where this species is described. 
Suggested common name: Palani Hills day gecko.

 
G: Cnemaspis regalis sp. nov.; H: Cnemaspis galaxia sp. nov.; I: Cnemaspis nigriventris sp. nov.
 J: Cnemaspis flavigularis sp. nov.; K: Cnemaspis palanica sp. nov.; L: Cnemaspis jackieii sp. nov..
Photos by Saunak Pal. 

IV. indica clade: 
Comprising three known lineages viz. C. indica; C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007; and C. anandani Murthy, Nitesh, Sengupta & Deepak, 2019.

V. bangara clade:
Comprising three known lineages viz. C. bangara; C. graniticola Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, 2020; and C. yelagiriensis Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, 2020.

VI. girii clade: 
Comprising seven known lineages viz. C. girii; C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018; C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018; C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018; C. flaviventralis Sayyed, Pyron & Dahanukar, 2016; C. amba Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, 2019; and C. koynaensis Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, 2019.

VII. goaensis clade: 
Comprising two known lineages viz. C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018 and C. goaensis.

VIII. mysoriensis clade: 
Comprising seven known lineages viz. C. mysoriensis (Jerdon, 1853); C. otai Das & Bauer, 2000; C. yercaudensis Das & Bauer, 2000; C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, 2015; C. avasabinae Agarwal, Bauer & Khandekar 2020; C. rishivalleyensis Agarwal, Thackeray & Khandekar 2020; and C. stellapulvis Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, 2020.

IX. gracilis clade: 
Comprising four known lineages viz. C. gracilis; C. agarwali Khandekar, 2019; C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, 2019; and C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, 2019. A well-supported new lineage is described here as Cnemaspis jackieii sp. nov. (Figure 3).


Cnemaspis jackieii sp. nov.
E. female paratype [CESL 193], F. Habitat at type locality in Vairavankulam Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu, G. communal egg deposition in used potter wasp nests.

Cnemaspis jackieii sp. nov.

Etymology: The species epithet is a patronym as a tribute to the famous actor and martial artist Jackie Chan. The new species was found to be very fast and moved rapidly on rock boulders, sneaking into the smallest crevices to escape when approached, reminiscent of the stunts of Jackie Chan. His many screen characters as an explorer and adventurer have been an inspiration for the authors. 
Suggested common name: Jackie’s day gecko. 

X. monticola clade: 
Comprising two known lineages viz. C. monticola and C. australis from the WG. This clade also includes members of the C. kandiana clade from Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian representatives of SA Cnemaspis, as observed in other recent studies (Agarwal et al., 2020b; Khandekar et al., 2019a).

   

CONCLUSIONS: 
Despite being one of the world’s “hottest biodiversity hotspots”, the WG have undergone substantial habitat loss and degradation due to changes in land-use patterns (Jha et al., 2000; Myers et al., 2000; Reddy et al., 2013). It has been suggested that significant parts of the WG will be urbanized by 2030 due to population expansion and development (Seto et al., 2012). The recent discoveries of new evolutionarily distinct lineages from the WG highlight the biogeographic and evolutionary significance of this region as well as the importance of sampling strategies to detect endemic lineages while conducting broad-level phylogenetic studies (Britz et al., 2020; Chaitanya et al., 2019; Dinesh et al., 2020; Mallik et al., 2019; Pal et al., 2018; Robin et al., 2017; Vijayakumar et al., 2019). The recognition of 10 new morphologically distinct and geographically isolated species of Cnemaspis from the SWG also highlights our lack of knowledge regarding the immense diversity of this region and its potential to harbor more unknown species. Recent discoveries of species that are morphologically similar to extant species within their respective clades (e.g., C. palakkadensis and C. littoralis; C. nilagirica and C. anandani, C. nairi and Cnemaspis nigriventris sp. nov.) further emphasize the potential for unexplored cryptic diversity in the WG. Most of the recently described evolutionarily distinct lineages, as well as those identified in this study, are range-restricted and have very specific microhabitat requirements. It is important to identify these unique habitats within the landscape and focus efforts on the conservation of unique lineages with diverse evolutionary histories.

In the last decade, there has been a surge in the discovery of new species of Cnemaspis from peninsular India, especially from regions not known to harbor high Cnemaspis diversity, such as the southern edge of the Mysore Plateau and the NWG. The molecular data generated in this study not only include new species, but also species previously known only from type localities or specimens, and thus provide a baseline for future taxonomic research. The discovery of a highly diverse SWG endemic clade (Clade II) and a dry zone granite-associated clade (Agarwal et al., 2020b) suggest that more effort is required to elucidate the diversity within SA Cnemaspis. Additionally, our findings stress the importance of spatial sampling and geographical distribution of species, along with molecular, phylogenetic, and morphological methods, in uncovering deeply divergent lineages.



Saunak Pal, Zeeshan A. Mirza, Princia Dsouza and Kartik Shanker. 2021. Diversifying on the Ark: Multiple New Endemic Lineages of Dwarf Geckos from the Western Ghats provide insights into the Systematics and Biogeography of South Asian Cnemaspis (Reptilia: Squamata). Zoological Research. 42(6); 675-691. DOI:  10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.074