Monday, February 26, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Allobates juami • A New Species of Nurse-frog (Aromobatidae, Allobates) from the Juami River Basin, northwestern Brazilian Amazonia

Allobates juami 
 Simões, Gagliardi-Urrutia, Rojas-Runjaic & Castroviejo-Fisher, 2018


We describe a new species of nurse-frog (Aromobatidae, Allobates) from northwestern Brazilian Amazon. Allobates juami sp. nov. is distinguished from similar congeneric species by the combination of the following characters: body-size range (snout-to-vent length 17.5–18.5 mm), lack of dark pigments on ventral surfaces of male specimens, dorsal color pattern (predominantly solid dark brown, but conspicuously light brown over snout and urostyle regions), presence of conspicuous pale dorsolateral and ventrolateral stripes, and presence of a diffuse pale paracloacal mark. The advertisement call of the new species lasts 2.5–5.1 s, contains 60–73 short notes (trills), and is emitted at an average rate of 13 notes per second within trills. Duration of silent intervals between notes ranges between 0.020–0.050 s, and the peak frequency of notes ranges from 4.59 to 5.47 kHz. The new species is currently known only from the type locality at Estação Ecológica Juami-Japurá (~ 87 m a.s.l.).

Keywords: Amphibia, advertisement calls, Amazonia, conservation units, Dendrobatoidea, Japurá River

 Pedro Ivo Simões, Giussepe Gagliardi-Urrutia, Fernando J.M. Rojas-Runjaic and Santiago Castroviejo-Fisher. 2018. A New Species of Nurse-frog (Aromobatidae, Allobates) from the Juami River Basin, northwestern Brazilian Amazonia. Zootaxa.  4387(1); 109–133.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4387.1.5

Sunday, February 25, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Tupinambis matipu • A New Species of Tupinambis Daudin, 1802 (Squamata: Teiidae) from Central South America

Tupinambis matipu 
Silva & Ávila-Pires, 2018

  DOI: 10.1670/16-036
photo by R. Hoyer

We describe a new species of Tupinambis from central South America in a transitional region between Amazonia, Cerrado, and Pantanal. The new species differs from its congeners by the number of femoral pores, posterior gulars, and mesoptychial scales and by color pattern. It is partially sympatric with Tupinambis cuzcoensis, Tupinambis longilineus, Tupinambis quadrilineatus, and maybe also with Tupinambis teguixin, but in general terms they tend to substitute one another in space.

 Tupinambis matipu on the River Cristalino bank.

photo by R. Hoyer

Tupinambis matipu sp. nov.

Etymology.— The specific epithet, matipu, is a noun in apposition and refers to the indigenous people Matipu, whose village lies at about 125 km west of the type locality, on the southern portion of Parque Indı´gena do Xingu, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. By 2011, they numbered only 149 persons according to the Instituto de Pesquisa Etno-Ambiental do Xingu/Ipeax (Ricardo and Ricardo, 2011).

Marcélia B. Silva Marco A. Ribeiro-Júnior and Teresa C. S. Ávila-Pires. 2018. A New Species of Tupinambis Daudin, 1802 (Squamata: Teiidae) from Central South America. Journal of Herpetology. 52(1); 94-110. DOI: 10.1670/16-036 

Resumo: Descrevemos uma nova espécie de Tupinambis da região central da América do Sul, em uma área de transição entre Amazônia, Cerrado e Pantanal. A nova espécie difere das congêneres pelo número de poros femorais, escamas gulares posteriores, escamas entre as dobras antegular e gular, e padrão de coloração. É simpátrica com Tupinambis cuzcoensis, T. longilineus, T. quadrilineatus e tavez também com Tupinambis teguixin, mas em termos gerais essas espécies tendem a se substituir geograficamente.

[Herpetology • 2018] Nothophryne baylissi, N. inagoensis, N. ribauensis & N. unilurio • New Species of Mongrel Frogs (Pyxicephalidae: Nothophryne) for northern Mozambique Inselbergs

Nothophryne ribauensis  &  N. baylissi 
Conradie, Bittencourt-Silva, Farooq, Loader, Menegon & Tolley, 2018

Nothophryne Poynton, 1963 is a monotypic genus of frog, with the nominal species N. broadleyi found only on Mount Mulanje, in southern Malawi. Recent surveys in northern Mozambique, however, have uncovered at least four new species associated with four inselbergs (Mount Inago, Mount Namuli, Mount Ribáuè and Taratibu Hills). Previous phylogenetic analyses using mitochondrial genes suggest that each mountain isolate has an endemic species of Nothophryne. Herein we provide a rediagnosis of the genus and comparative diagnoses of four new species based on new material.

KEYWORDS: Africa, amphibian, inselbergs, Pyxicephalidae, species, taxonomy

Nothophryne broadleyi Poynton, 1963 
Mongrel Frog; Broadley’s Mountain Frog

Nothophryne baylissi sp. nov.
Namuli Mongrel Frog; Namuli Mountain Frog 

Etymology—We name this species in honour of Dr Julian Bayliss who was the first to document this unique species of frog from the slopes of Mount Namuli, during the Kew Gardens-Darwin Initiative expedition to these inselbergs (Timberlake et al. 2009).

Distribution— Currently only known from Mount Namuli in central Mozambique.

 Nothophryne inagoensis sp. nov.
Inago Mogrel Frog; Inago Mountain Frog

Etymology—The new species is named after Mount Inago, where this species is endemic.
Distribution—Currently only known from Mount Inago in central Mozambique. 

Adult Nothophryne ribauensis sp. nov. from Mount Ribáuè.

Nothophryne ribauensis sp. nov. 
 Ribáuè Mongrel Frog; Ribáuè Mountain Frog

Etymology—The new species is named after Mount Ribáuè, from which it is currently only known from both Mount Ribáuè and Mount M’pàluwé section of the massif.
Distribution—Currently only known from Mount Ribáuè in central Mozambique.

 Nothophryne unilurio sp. nov. 
Quirimbas Mongrel Frog; Quirimbas Mountain Frog

Etymology—Named after Lúrio University, Pemba, Mozambique where Harith Farooq is Director of the Natural Sciences Faculty. The composition comprise out of uni for University and lurio for Lúrio
Distribution— Currently only known from low lying inselbergs in north eastern Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique. The type locality is situated ..., in the Quirimbas National Park.

Werner Conradie, Gabriela B. Bittencourt-Silva, Harith M. Farooq, Simon P. Loader, Michele Menegon and Krystal A. Tolley. 2018. New Species of Mongrel Frogs (Pyxicephalidae: Nothophryne) for northern Mozambique Inselbergs. African Journal of Herpetology.  DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2017.1376714 


CONRADIE, W., G.B. BITTENCOURT-SILVA, H.M. ENGELBRECHT, S.P. LOADER, M. MENEGON, C. NANVONAMUQUITXO, M. SCOTT, & K.A. TOLLEY. 2016. Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests: new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 92(2): 163–180. DOI:  10.3897/zse.92.9948

[Ichthyology • 2018] Larval Swimming Capacities Affect Genetic Differentiation and Range Size in Demersal Marine Fishes

The swimming capacities of pelagic larvae affects gene flow and range size in demersal marine fishes.

in Nanninga & Manica, 2018.  DOI:  10.3354/meps12515 
Photo: Frank Baensch 


 Dispersal is a fundamental process governing the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of any given species. Due to inherent challenges associated with measuring dispersal directly, identifying proxies for dispersal capacity has long been an active field of research across ecosystems. In marine systems, pelagic larval duration (PLD) has been one of the most widely used indicators of interspecific dispersal potential. The validity of this proxy, however, relies mostly on the assumption of entirely passive dispersal, a notion that has been challenged by findings of strong larval behavioural capabilities. Here, we assessed the effect of larval swimming capacities measured as mean critical swimming speed (U-crit) on emergent species-level properties related to dispersal potential, population genetic structure and global range size, in demersal marine fishes. In a meta-analytic framework, we tested the relative importance of U-crit versus other intrinsic (PLD, egg type, adult body size) and extrinsic (genetic marker type, study scale) predictors of isolation-by-distance slope, global FST and range size. U-crit showed stronger relationships with all emergent response variables than PLD and was consistently the most important predictor in multi-model inference. Our findings indicate that larval swimming capacities could serve as a powerful indicator of a species’ long-distance dispersal potential.

KEY WORDS: Larval dispersal · Critical swimming speed · Connectivity · Genetic structure · Isolation-by-distance · Range size

Gerrit B. Nanninga and Andrea Manica. 2018. Larval Swimming Capacities Affect Genetic Differentiation and Range Size in Demersal Marine Fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 589;1-12.  DOI:  10.3354/meps12515 

[Botany • 2018] Acantholimon ibrahimii • A New Species of A. section Staticopsis (Plumbaginaceae) from the Mediterranean Part of Turkey

Acantholimon ibrahimii  Akaydın

in Akaydın, 2018.


A new species, Acantholimon ibrahimii Akaydın, is described, illustrated and discussed in comparison with its close relative A. davisii. The new species is distinguished from the latter species mainly by the generative organs (namely the inflorescence types and petals colour), habitat type and ecological behaviour. Data are also reported on the conservation status of A. ibrahimii, which is suggested to be labelled as EN according to the IUCN categories. Furthermore, a revised key to the Turkish Acantholimon species of A. sect. Staticopsis with spike laxly distichous and scape much longer than leaves is presented.

Keywords: Acantholimon, A. sect. Staticopsis, conservation, endemism, Staticoideae, taxonomy, Eudicots

Galip Akaydın. 2018. Acantholimon ibrahimii (Plumbaginaceae), A New Species of A. section Staticopsis from the Mediterranean Part of Turkey. Phytotaxa. 340(1); 48–54. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.340.1.2

[Herpetology • 2018] Siamophryne troglodytes | อึ่งถ้ำตะนาวศรี • A Striking New Genus and Species of Cave-dwelling Frog (Anura: Microhylidae: Asterophryinae) from Thailand

Siamophryne troglodytes
Suwannapoom, Sumontha, Tunprasert, Ruangsuwan, Pawangkhanant, Korost & Poyarkov, 2018

Tenasserim Cave Frog  • อึ่งถ้ำตะนาวศรี   |   DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4422 


We report on a discovery of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov., a new troglophilous genus and species of microhylid frog from a limestone cave in the tropical forests of western Thailand. To assess its phylogenetic relationships we studied the 12S rRNA–16S rRNA mtDNA fragment with final alignment comprising up to 2,591 bp for 56 microhylid species. Morphological characterization of the new genus is based on examination of external morphology and analysis of osteological characteristics using microCT-scanning. Phylogenetic analyses place the new genus into the mainly Australasian subfamily Asterophryinae as a sister taxon to the genus Gastrophrynoides, the only member of the subfamily known from Sundaland. The new genus markedly differs from all other Asterophryinae members by a number of diagnostic morphological characters and demonstrates significant mtDNA sequence divergence. We provide a preliminary description of a tadpole of the new genus. Thus, it represents the only asterophryine taxon with documented free-living larval stage and troglophilous life style. Our work demonstrates that S. troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. represents an old lineage of the initial radiation of Asterophryinae which took place in the mainland Southeast Asia. Our results strongly support the “out of Indo-Eurasia” biogeographic scenario for this group of frogs. To date, the new frog is only known from a single limestone cave system in Sai Yok District of Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand; its habitat is affected by illegal bat guano mining and other human activities. As such, S. troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. is likely to be at high risk of habitat loss. Considering high ecological specialization and a small known range of the new taxon, we propose a IUCN Red List status of endangered for it.

Keywords: Kanchanaburi Province, Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov., Tadpole, Troglophilous life style, Tenasserim, Sundaland, mtDNA, Biogeography, microCT-scanning

Based upon the results of phylogenetic analyses of 12S rRNA–16S rRNA mtDNA fragment sequences, the Microhylidae frog from Kanchanaburi Province represents a previously unknown highly divergent mtDNA lineage, clearly distinct from all other members of Microhylidae for which comparable genetic data were available. This lineage falls into the Australasian subfamily Asterophryinae and with high values of node support is reconstructed as a sister group to the genus Gastrophrynoides that inhabits Borneo and the Peninsular Malaysia. Subsequent analyses of osteology and external morphology (see below) clearly indicate that the recently discovered population of Microhylidae Gen. sp. from Kanchanaburi Province represents a new previously undescribed genus and species which we describe herein as:

Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758
Anura Fischer von Waldheim, 1813

Microhylidae Günther, 1858
Asterophryinae Günther, 1858

Figure 5: Male paratype of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. (ZMMU A-5818) in life in dorsolateral aspect. Photo by N. A. Poyarkov.

Siamophryne Gen. nov.

Diagnosis: A medium-sized (19 mm < SVL < 30 mm) member of the Australasian subfamily Asterophryinae (family Microhylidae), with the following combination of morphological attributes: (1) both maxillae and dentaries eleutherognathine, no maxillary teeth; (2) vertebral column procoelous with eight presacral vertebrae (PSV) lacking neural crests; (3) no sagittal crest on cranium; (4) frontoparietals conjoined, connected by long suture; (5) nasals wide, calcified, but not contacting each other medially; (6) vomeropalatines small, not expanded, vomerine spikes absent; (7) cultriform process of parasphenoid comparatively narrow; (8) clavicles present as slender tiny bones, lying on the procoracoid cartilage not reaching scapula or the midline; (9) omosternum absent; (10) sternum large, anterior portion consists of calcified cartilage, xiphisternum cartilaginous; (11) weak dorsal crest present on urostyle, absent on ilium; (12) terminal phalanges large T-shaped; (13) all fingers and toe discs with terminal grooves; (14) subarticular tubercles weak, discernible only at digit basis; (15) toe webbing absent; (16) tympanum distinct; (17) two transverse smooth palatal folds; (18) pupil round; (19) snout rounded, equal to EL; (20) development with a larval stage, tadpole with peculiar dorso-ventrally compressed morphology.

Type species. Siamophryne troglodytes sp. nov.
Other included species. None are known at present.

Distribution: To date, S. troglodytes sp. nov. is only known from a small cave system in a karst region of Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, northern Tenasserim Region, western Thailand (see below the description of the species) (see Fig. 1).

Etymology: The generic nomen Siamophryne is derived from “Siam”—the old name of present-day Thailand; referring to the range of the new genus, which to date is only known from western Thailand; and the Greek noun “phryne” (φρÚνη; feminine gender), meaning “toad” in English; this root is often used in the generic names in Asterophryinae microhylid frogs. Gender of the new genus is feminine.

Figure 10: Breeding habitat of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. at the type locality—Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, northern Tenasserim Region, western Thailand.  (A) Entrance to the limestone cave where the frogs were recorded; (B) female in situ sitting on the limestone wall of the cave; (C) male in situ sitting in a water-filled crevice; (D) female in situ on the wall of the cave (photos by M. Sumontha);  


Figure 10: Breeding habitat of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. at the type locality—Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, northern Tenasserim Region, western Thailand.
 (A) Entrance to the limestone cave where the frogs were recorded; (B) female in situ sitting on the limestone wall of the cave; (C) male in situ sitting in a water-filled crevice; (D) female in situ on the wall of the cave (photos by M. Sumontha); (E, F) tadpole in situ in a water-filled crevice (photos by T. Ruangsuwan).

Figure 8: Tadpole of  Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. in life (AUP-00509; Gosner stage 36).
 (A) In dorsal and (B) in ventral aspects. Scale bar equals to 5 mm. Photos by N. A. Poyarkov. Tadpole of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. in preservative (AUP-00509; Gosner stage 36). 

Figure 9: Tadpole of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. in preservative (AUP-00509; Gosner stage 36). (A) In lateral, (B) in dorsal, and (C) in ventral views. Scale bar equals to 5 mm. Photos by T. Ruangsuwan.

Figure 10: Breeding habitat of Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. at the type locality—Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, northern Tenasserim Region, western Thailand.
 (C) male in situ sitting in a water-filled crevice; (D) female in situ on the wall of the cave (photos by M. Sumontha); (E, F) tadpole in situ in a water-filled crevice (photos by T. Ruangsuwan).

Siamophryne troglodytes sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name “troglodytes” is a Latin adjective in the nominative singular meaning “cave-dweller”, derived from the Greek “τρωγλoδύτης”, with “trogle” meaning “holemouse-hole” and “dyein” meaning “go indive in”; referring to the troglophilous biology of the new species, which was recorded only in a limestone karst cave system.

Suggested common names: We recommend the following common names for the new species: “Tenasserim Cave Frog” (English); “อึ่งถ้ำตะนาวศรี - Eung Tham Tenasserim” (Thai).

Natural history notes:  
Siamophryne troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. has a troglophilous life style and to date is only known from a small limestone cave system in western Thailand. All specimens were collected within a narrow area inside a limestone cave located on elevation 440 m a.s.l. in a polydominant tropical forest in Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand (Fig. 10A). The cave was examined twice on the 1st of August and the 27th of October, 2016. In both cases, adult specimens of S. troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. were only recorded inside the cave, at a distance of more than 25 m from the entrance, sitting on walls of the cave (Figs. 10B and 10D) or hiding inside small caverns in limestone (Fig. 10C) or under flat stones. Despite the thorough search, no animals were recorded near the cave entrance or in the forest close to the cave. Animals were active from 23:00 to 24:00, when the air temperature inside the cave was 28 °C in August and 26 °C in October, in both cases with 100% humidity. No calling activity was recorded during both surveys. Diet and enemies of the new frog are unknown.

Three tadpoles (one of which was collected) were observed during the survey on the 1st of August, 2016, in a small water-filled cavity in the limestone on the floor of the cave, ca. 10 m from the cave entrance (Figs. 10E and 10F). The cavity was filled with water, the average depth was 4–5 cm; mosquito larvae (Chironomidae) were also observed in the same water body. Four other tadpoles (not collected) were discovered in another similar water-filled cavity inside the cave (30 m from the cave entrance).

The cave system where S. troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. was discovered is inhabited by several species of bats which produce significant amount of guano that accumulates on the cave floor. According to a local guide, the locals mine this guano and that affects the ecosystem of the cave.

Distribution: As for the genus. At present, S. troglodytes Gen. et sp. nov. is known from a single limestone karst cave in Sai Yok District of Kanchanaburi Province in western Thailand. To date, numerous surveys in the nearby karst massifs have not yielded discoveries of additional populations of the new species. However, further fieldwork in Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand and the adjacent parts of Tanintharyi Division of Myanmar are required.

Siamophryne troglodytes, a new genus and species of microhylid frogs from western Thailand, belongs to the subfamily Asterophryinae, which is most diverse in Australasia. Siamophryne and its sister genus Gastrophrynoides are the only two asterophryine lineages found in the areas derived from the Eurasian landmass. Our work demonstrates that S. troglodytes represents an old lineage of the initial radiation of Asterophryinae which took place in the mainland Southeast Asia. Our results strongly support the “out of Indo-Eurasia” biogeographic scenario for this group of frogs. To date, the new frog is the only known asterophryine with a free-living tadpole and troglophilous life style. Further studies might reveal new members of Asterophryinae in the mainland Southeast Asia.

 Chatmongkon Suwannapoom, Montri Sumontha, Jitthep Tunprasert, Thiti Ruangsuwan, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Dmitriy V. Korost and Nikolay A. Poyarkov. 2018. A Striking New Genus and Species of Cave-dwelling Frog (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae: Asterophryinae) from Thailand.  PeerJ. 6:e4422.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4422


Saturday, February 24, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] The Identity of Aplocheilus andamanicus (Köhler, 1906) (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes), An Endemic Killifish from the Andaman Islands, with Notes on Odontopsis armata

Aplocheilus andamanicus  (Köhler, 1906) 

in Katwate, Kumkar, Britz, Raghavan & Dahanukar, 2018. 


In his work on the fishes of the Andaman Islands, Francis Day (1870) collected large-sized specimens of Aplocheilus from the south Andamans. Despite differences in the size and dorsal-fin ray counts, Day refrained from recognising the Andaman Aplocheilus as a distinct species and considered it as Aplocheilus panchax, a species distributed in the Ganges delta and across the eastern coast of mainland India. However, Day mentioned the differences in fin-ray counts between these two populations. Subsequently Köhler (1906) described the Andaman population as Haplochilus andamanicus (now in Aplocheilus), referring to the diagnostic characters initially discovered by Day. This species failed to receive recognition from taxonomists, because of the uncertainty regarding the validity of the species and its questionable synonymy with A. panchax. In this study, based on morphological and molecular evidence, we demonstrate that A. andamanicus is indeed a distinct and valid species, which can easily be diagnosed from the widespread A. panchax. While resolving the identity of A. andamanicus, we also demonstrate that the congeners from southeast Asia form a genetically distinct group for which the name Odontopsis armata is available.

Keywords: Pisces, Aplocheilus panchax, freshwater fish, taxonomy, South Asia


Unmesh Katwate, Pradeep Kumkar, Ralf Britz, Rajeev Raghavan and Neelesh Dahanukar. 2018. The Identity of Aplocheilus andamanicus (Köhler, 1906) (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes), An Endemic Killifish from the Andaman Islands, with Notes on Odontopsis armata van HasseltZootaxa. 4382(1); 159–174.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4382.1.6


[Botany • 2018] Hyobanche hanekomii • A New Species (Orobanchaceae) from the Western Cape of South Africa

Hyobanche hanekomii  A. Wolfe
  H. atropurpurea Bolus
  H. sanguinea L. 

in Wolfe, 2018. 


The new species Hyobanche hanekomii is described and illustrated. It is somewhat intermediate in appearance between H. sanguinea and H. atropurpurea, but can be distinguished from both in several morphological characters that are presented. The new species occurs in the Cape Fold Belt Mountains of the northwest part of the Western Cape.

 Key words: Cape Floristic Region, holoparasite, parasitic plant

FIGURE 3. Comparison of Hyobanche hanekomii (A), H. atropurpurea (B), and H. sanguinea (C).
Upper panel represents side and front views of corollas to scale (bar = 10 mm).
Lower panel shows inflorescences (not to scale). Illustrations and photographs by A. Wolfe; photos are from living plants in prime blooming condition. Vouchers: (A) upper panel: Hanekom 2887 (1997, NBG); lower panel: Wolfe 1009 (2001, OS); (B) Wolfe 1227 (2006, OS); (C) Wolfe 1387 (2013, OS). 

Hyobanche hanekomii A. Wolfe spec. nov.
. Corolla deep magenta to magenta-red, inflated above the tube and semi-galeate, and 1.5–2.0 times the length of the calyx. 

TYPE:—South Africa. Western Cape: ..., 400 m, 26 September 1997, W.J. Hanekom 2887 (Holotype: NBG 759260!) 

Distribution. Rocky soils in Cape Fold Belt Mountains of northwestern region of the Western Cape, from Citrusdal area to Giftberg (Fig. 2). 

Etymology. The specific epithet is in honour of Mr. Willem Johannes Hanekom (b. 1931). Mr. Hanekom is a keen observer of the flora of the Western Cape, and introduced the author to this new species in 2001. He had made a collection in 1997 (W. J. Hanekom 2887), which included the following note: “Hyobanche sanguinea L. but with influence of H. atropurpurea H. Bol.” 

Andrea D. Wolfe. 2018. Hyobanche hanekomii (Orobanchaceae), A New Species from the Western Cape of South Africa. Phytotaxa. 340(1); 93–97.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.340.1.5

Friday, February 23, 2018

[Botany • 2018] Rediscovery of Thismia neptunis (Thismiaceae) After 151 Years in the Gunung Matang massif, Borneo

Thismia neptunis Beccari

in Sochor, Egertová, Hroneš & Dančák, 2018. 

Thismia neptunis, as many of its congeners, is a poorly understood species that has only been known from the type collection and its limited original description. In January 2017 it was rediscovered in the type area in the Gunung Matang massif, western Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. The paper provides the amended description and drawings of the species, very first available photographs and short notes on taxonomy and historical context of Beccari’s work on Thismia

Key words: Brunonithismia, Burmanniaceae, fairy lanterns, Kubah, Monte Mattán, Sarawak

FIGURE 3. Thismia neptunis: flowering plants (A, B), bud (C), detail of flower (D), section of floral tube and outer view of connective tube (E), detail of inner perianth lobe (F), stigma (G), lateral appendage (H).

Taxonomic treatment 
Thismia neptunis Beccari (1878: 251)

 Type:—MALAYSIA. Ragiato di Sarawak, Mattang. April 1866. O. Beccari p.b. 1508 (holotype FI-B 013453!)

Habitat and ecology:—The only known locality is in primary lowland mixed dipterocarp forest on a river alluvium. Thismia species are generally accompanied by other mycoheterotrophic plants; in this case it was Sciaphila cf. alba Tsukaya & Suetsugu (2015: 284). Albeit pollination ecology was not studied, ca. seven flies of family Sciaridae (Diptera) and one individual of family Braconidae (Hymenoptera) were observed being stuck on inner perianth lobes of the two flowers (Fig. 3A, D, E, F). Although the braconid was probably only a coincidental victim, the flies may represent potential pollinators, as several dipteran taxa have been reported as visitors and probable pollinators of fairy lanterns (Li & Bi 2013, Mar & Saunders 2015). Nevertheless, why had they been attracted to and finally trapped on the perianth lobes surface can only be speculated. Tepals are apparently hydrophilic (possibly as a mean of maintaining turgor in the long thin appendages) as indicated by a number of rain drops persisting on them long after the rain. But they do not appear to be sticky and no other particles tended to be trapped on them either in the field or during our manipulation. Therefore, the insects seem to have been attracted by smell (or other signals) of the flowers and accidentally drowned on the wet surface of perianth lobes.

Distribution:—The species is known from a restricted area in western Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. Beccari (1878) described the locality simply as “Monte Mattán” or “Mattang”, which is an area now generally known as Matang massif which Kubah National Park is part of it. The present locality is placed at the park’s western border and may be identical or close to that of Beccari.

Taxonomic affinities:—Having free perianth lobes of unequal length and shape, T. neptunis belongs to section Thismia (Euthismia Schlechter, 1921: 34), subsection Brunonithismia Jonker (1938: 242). This group comprises nine species (Kumar et al. 2017, Suetsugu et al. 2018) of very diverse morphology as for symmetry of perianth, modification of perianth lobes and structure of connectives. Half of the species are, nevertheless, only poorly documented. Thismia neptunis is unique among other fairy lanterns in the very complex three-segmental structure of inner perianth lobes that are terminated by long filiform appendage pointing vertically upwards. This striking morphology led Schlechter to creation of monotypic section Sarawakia Schlechter (1921: 35) within his system of Thismia (Schlechter 1921). However, his approach has not been generally accepted (Jonker 1938, Kumar et al. 2017). 

Beccari was also well aware of morphological uniqueness of T. neptunis. In the protologue (Beccari 1878), he stated that T. neptunis seems to have connectives similar to T. brunonis Griffith (1844: 221). However, T. brunonis have apical part of the connective covered by numerous short teeth (Griffith 1845) while T. neptunis have only three rather long appendages. Nevertheless, Beccari himself was not absolutely sure about the character of connectives as he studied only two pressed and dried plants. In having whitish perianth tube with 12 orange streaks T. neptunis superficially resembles T. javanica Smith (1910: 32) and T. arachnites Ridley (1905: 197). Both of them, nevertheless, differ in having short rounded outer perianth lobes and simpler spreading inner perianth lobes, and the latter species also in having “numerous short teeth” at the apical end of connectives. Connectives of T. javanica, although similar at a first glance, differ from those of T. neptunis in colour (white vs. orange, respectively) and three short teeth at the apex, each bearing 1–2 long hairs of similar length (vs. three unequal filiform appendages in T. neptunis). Thismia neptunis is so far the only known member of subsection Brunonithismia occurring in Borneo.

Michal Sochor, Zuzana Egertová, Michal Hroneš and Martin Dančák. 2018. Rediscovery of Thismia neptunis (Thismiaceae) After 151 Years. Phytotaxa. 340(1); 71–78.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.340.1.5

[Herpetology • 2018] An Integrative Taxonomic Review of the South Asian Microhylid Genus Uperodon

Uperodon rohani
Garg, Senevirathne, Wijayathilaka, Phuge, Deuti, Manamendra-Arachchi, Meegaskumbura & Biju, 2018


Based on a recent molecular phylogenetic study, the South Asian microhylid genus Uperodon (subfamily Microhylinae) currently comprises of 12 valid species that are largely restricted to India and Sri Lanka. Considering the revised generic-level status of its various members, here we review the taxonomy of all known species in this genus and clarify their nomenclatural status and geographical distribution, by integrating evidence from genetics, adult and tadpole morphology, breeding ecology, and bioacoustics. Our molecular analyses of a mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene fragment combined with external and internal morphological studies also revealed a distinct new species in the genus. This species, formally described as Uperodon rohani sp. nov., is endemic to Sri Lanka and widely distributed at lower elevations in the island. For nomenclatural stability of various previously known members, the following actions are also undertaken: (1) redescription of the poorly-defined species Ramanella anamalaiensis Rao (= Uperodon anamalaiensis) and Hylaedactylus montanus Jerdon (= Uperodon montanus); (2) neotype designation for Ramanella anamalaiensis Rao (= Uperodon anamalaiensis), Ramanella minor Rao, Ramanella mormorata Rao (= Uperodon mormorata), and Ramanella triangularis rufeventris Rao; (3) lectotype designation for Callula variegata Stoliczka (= Uperodon variegatus); and (4) synonymization of Ramanella minor Rao with Uperodon anamalaiensis.

Keywords: Amphibia, Amphibians, bioacoustics, endemism, mitochondrial DNA, natural history, neotype, lectotype, new species, tadpoles, Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot

Uperodon palmatus (Parker, 1934)

Sonali Garg, Gayani Senevirathne, Nayana Wijayathilaka, Samadhan Phuge, Kaushik Deuti, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi, Madhava Meegaskumbura and SD Biju. 2018. An Integrative Taxonomic Review of the South Asian Microhylid Genus UperodonZootaxa.  4384(1); 1–88.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4384.1.1

Thursday, February 22, 2018

[Mammalogy • 2018] Molossus fentoni • A New Species of Mastiff Bat (Chiroptera, Molossidae, Molossus) from Guyana and Ecuador

Molossus fentoni
Loureiro, Lim & Engstrom, 2018

We describe a new species of mastiff bat in the genus Molossus (Molossidae), which was previously confused with the common and widely distributed M. molossus, from Guyana and Ecuador based on morphological and molecular differences. It is diagnosed by the following set of morphological characteristics: bicolored dorsal pelage, rounded anterior arch of the atlas, triangular occipital bone, and smaller body and skull size. In a molecular phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, maximum likelihood and parsimony trees recovered eight clades in the genus and a polyphyletic relationship for the M. molossus species complex. The new species was recovered in a well-supported clade that can be genetically distinguished from other species in the genus by its high level of sequence divergence based on the mitochondrial CO1 gene (8.0–10.1%) and on the nuclear gene beta fibrinogen (1.0–3.1%). It is broadly sympatric with M. molossus sensu stricto in northern South America, but morphologically distinct and genetically divergent.

 Keywords: Molossidae, New species, Phylogenetics, South America, Taxonomy

Fig. 5. Holotype of Molossus fentoni sp. nov. (ROM 122583). Adult male with a medium brown dorsal pelage.

Fig. 4. Dorsal, ventral, posterior, and lateral views of the skull of the holotype of Molossus fentoni sp. nov.

Molossus fentoni sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: A set of traits distinguishes Molossus fentoni from other Molossus. In M. fentoni the infra-orbital foramen is laterally directed; the basioccipital pits are rounded and of moderate depth; the occipital is triangular in posterior view; the upper incisors are thin and long with parallel tips and project forward in an oblique plane relative to the anterior face of the canines (Fig. 4); and the anterior arch of the atlas is rounded (Fig. 6).

Distribution: Molossus fentoni is currently known from the administrative regions of Potaro-Siparuni and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo in Guyana and in Orellana province in Ecuador. Although, it has not been documented in the intervening 2000 km of lowland Amazonian forest, we anticipate that it will be found to have a broader distribution then initially represented in our collections. One individual of M. fentoni was collected in syntopy with M. coibensis, M. m. molossus, and M. rufus at ... east of Pompeya Sur, Orellana, Ecuador on 18 May, 2006.

Etymology: This species is named in honour of M. Brock Fenton, Professor Emeritus, Western University, London, Ontario, and one of the world’s foremost researchers in bat ecology and behaviour. He was born in Guyana to Canadian parents and conducted fieldwork in the country in 1970.

Taxonomic remarks: Husson (1962) designated the lectotype of M. molossus as the larger of the two bats described by Buffon and Daubenton (1763). Later, Husson (1962) restricted the type locality of M. molossus to Martinique, which previously had only been designated as the Americas in the first citation of this specimen (Buffon and Daubenton, 1759). Specimens of M. molossus from Martinique were morphologically analyzed in our study and have all the characteristics described above for M. molossus, and not for M. fentoni. In addition, the DNA sample of M. molossus from Martinique clustered with several other samples of M. molossus from the mainland in the phylogenetic trees (Fig. 2), such as Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil, corroborating its affiliation with M. molossus and the distinction from M. fentoni.

Fig. 8. Schematic comparison of cranial features in Molossus.
A and B – Posterior view; C and D – frontal view; E and F – Ventral view. Numbers represent characters described in the text. 1 – Lambdoidal crest and occipital complex; 2 – Sagittal crest; 3 – Mastoid process; 4 – Infra-orbital foramen; 5 – Upper incisors; 6 – Rostrum shape; 7 – Basioccipital pits.

 Livia O. Loureiro, Burton K. Lim and Mark D. Engstrom. 2018. A New Species of Mastiff Bat (Chiroptera, Molossidae, Molossus) from Guyana and Ecuador. Mammalian Biology. 90; 10-21.  DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2018.01.008