Saturday, September 30, 2017

[Mammalogy • 2017] Murina hkakaboraziensis • A New Species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Sub-Himalayan Forests of northern Myanmar


Murina hkakaboraziensis
Soisook, Thaw, Kyaw, Oo, Pimsai, Suarez-Rubio & Renner, 2017

ค้างคาวจมูกหลอดคากาโบราซี || Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat || DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9

Abstract

A new species of Murina of the suilla-type is described from the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, Upper Myanmar, an area that is currently being nominated as a World Heritage Site. The new species is a small vespertilionid, with a forearm length of 29.6 mm, and is very similar to M. kontumensis, which was recently described from Vietnam. However, it is distinguishable by a combination of external and craniodental morphology and genetics. The DNA Barcode reveals that the new species clusters sisterly to M. kontumensis but with a genetic distance of 11.5%. A single known specimen of the new species was collected from a lowland forest area in the plains of the Hkakabo Razi landscape, south-eastern Himalaya. Additional information on ecology, echolocation, and conservation are included. The high cryptic diversity of the genus Murina in Southeast Asia, as well as the Hkakabo Razi Landscape being a bat diversity hotspot, is highlighted.

Keywords:  Mammalia, cryptic species, Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar, new species, Southeast Asia


FIGURE 1. The appearance of the face, ear and pelage (a), dorsal pelage (b), and ventral pelage (c) of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., ♂PS160218.6, holotype, from Kachin, Myanmar.


Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. 

Etymology. The species is named after the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, where the only known specimen was collected. The proposed English name is ‘Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat

Ecology and distribution. The new species, M. hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., was collected in a mist net set at the edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland, which undergoes an annual burn (Fig. 5). The new species was the only bat captured in the mist net. However, on the same night, four other insectivorous bats, Rhinolophus affinis, R. pusillus, Aselliscus stoliczkanus and Hipposideros pomona were captured in nearby mist nets and harp traps. Four other vespertilionids, M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, Kerivoula hardwickii, and K. furva were also captured in the same area on other nights. Currently, the new species is only known from the holotype collected from the type locality in the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, northern Myanmar.

Discussion:
The discovery of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., as well as a recently described Kerivoula furva (Kuo et al. 2017), indicates that the Hkakabo Razi Landscape is extremely understudied in terms of bats. Based only on a single scientific expedition in 2016, 37 species of bats were recorded from HRL (P. Soisook, unpublished data) representing approximately 40% of bats in Myanmar. Nevertheless, the 2016 expedition focused only on a limited geographical area and elevation of the HRL. Future surveys to cover the variety of habitats, particularly at the higher elevations, would be of interest. 

The vespertilionid community in the HRL appears to be a geographical connection and a unique mix of species those found widespread in the Indochinese Region (e.g. M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, K. kachinensis, K. hardwickii, and K. furva), and those from the Indian Region (e.g. M. cf. jaintiana, M. cf. pluvialis). It indicates the importance of primary forests, and ongoing biogeographical processes of the HRL, underlining the significance of Myanmar’s endeavour to nominate the area as a Natural World Heritage Site. 

FIGURE 5. The edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland where the specimen of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. was captured. Photograph by Sai Sein Lin Oo.


Pipat Soisook, Win Naing Thaw, Myint Kyaw, Sai Sein Lin Oo, Awatsaya Pimsai, Marcela Suarez-Rubio and Swen C. Renner. 2017. A New Species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from sub-Himalayan Forests of northern Myanmar.   Zootaxa. 4320(1); 159–172. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9
Hao-Chih Kuo, Pipat Soisook, Ying-Yi Ho, Gabor Csorba, Chun-Neng Wang and Stephen J. Rossiter. 2017. A Taxonomic Revision of the Kerivoula hardwickii complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with the Description of A New Species.   Acta Chiropterologica. 19(1); 19-39.  DOI: 10.3161/15081109ACC2017.19.1.002

     

[Herpetology • 2017] Afroedura gorongosa • A New Flat Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Afroedura) from Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique


Afroedura gorongosa
Branch, Guyton, Schmitz, Barej, Naskrecki, Farooq, Verburgt & Rödel, 2017

Gorongosa Flat Gecko || DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4324.1.8 

     

Abstract

A new species of flat gecko, Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov., is described from Gorongosa National Park, Sofala Province, central Mozambique. The new species is morphologically similar to A. transvaalica and A. loveridgei, from both of which it is genetically distinct (15–17% divergence; 400 bp of 16S rRNA). Morphologically it can be distinguished from both species by having fewer midbody scale rows (97–101) and a higher number of precloacal pores in males (8–13). The type series was collected on the western flanks of Mount Gorongosa (900 and 1100 m a.s.l.) in comparatively cool and moist microclimates, where it is threatened by illegal deforestation. Additional material was collected as low as 212 m a.s.l. on an inselberg near Mount Gorongosa. The new discovery adds to the growing number of endemic montane reptiles discovered in Mozambique in recent years, and highlights the need for a national conservation assessment of the country’s herpetofauna and continued protection of the Mount Gorongosa region.

Keywords:  Reptilia, Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov.; Afroedura loveridgei; Afroedura transvaalica; biodiversity; endemism; lizards


FIGURE 4. Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov. a) male holotype (ZMB 83293, Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique; photo: M. - O. Rödel); b) female paratype (ZMB 83292, Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique; photo: P. Naskrecki) showing dorsal pattern and regenerated tail; c) Afroedura gorongosa (ZMB 83289, Bunga Inselberg, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique; photo: C. Dorse). 
Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific name refers to Mount Gorongosa and Gorongosa National Park in Central Mozambique, to which the species is endemic. We suggest Gorongosa Flat Gecko is a suitable common name. Afroedura, based on Oedura, is feminine and the specific epithet is treated as a noun in apposition.


FIGURE 5. Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov. female paratype (PEM R 22229, previously ZMB 83291, Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique; photos: P. Naskrecki); a) general habitus and dorsal coloration; b) close up of nasal region showing diagnostic features of: presence of internasal granules, and posterior projection of rostral to border the nostril; c) close up of lower side of left forelimb; and d) close up of right hind foot showing two paired scansors. 

FIGURE 6. Habitats of Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov. on Mount Gorongosa (a – c); a) edge of rainforest on Mount Gorongosa, the holotype was collected in a rock-crack of an isolated boulder in an open area close to the rainforest at 1038 m a. s. l. (b) and in rocky areas of the Murombodzi river (c; compare Fig. 7); d) rocky habitat on the top of Bunga Inselberg, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique (photos: M. - O. Rödel). 


William R. Branch , Jennifer A. Guyton, Andreas Schmitz, Michael F. Barej, Piotr Naskrecki, Harith Farooq, Luke Verburgt and Mark-Oliver Rödel. 2017. Description of A New Flat Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Afroedura) from Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique. Zootaxa. 4324(1); 142–160. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4324.1.8
ResearchGate.net/publication/320043814_Description_of_a_new_flat_gecko_Squamata_Gekkonidae_Afroedura_from_Mount_Gorongosa_Mozambique

   

Resumo: Aqui descreve-se uma nova espécie de osga, Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov., do Parque Nacional da Gorongosa, na Provín-cia de Sofala, centro de Moçambique. Do ponto de vista morfológico, a nova espécie assemelha-se às osgas A. transvaa-lica e A. loveridgei, sendo geneticamente distinta de ambas (divergência de 15–17%; 400 bp de 16S rRNA). Distingue-se morfologicamente de ambas as espécies por ter um número inferior de fileiras de escamas na secção mediana (97–101) e um número superior de poros pré-cloacal nos machos (8–13). A série-tipo foi recolhida nos flancos ocidentais da Serra da Gorongosa (900 e 1100 m a.s.l.), em microclimas relativamente mais frios e húmidos, onde se encontra ameaçada pela desflorestação ilegal. Estas osgas foram também recolhidas à altitude de 212 m a.s.l., num inselberg e próximo da Serra da Gorongosa. A nova descoberta junta-se ao crescente número de répteis endémicos de montanha descobertos em Moçambique nos últimos anos, e realça a necessidade de uma avaliação da conservação da herpetofauna do país a nível nacional, bem como a proteção da região do Monte Gorongosa.
Palavras-chave: Afroedura gorongosa sp. nov.; Afroedura loveridgei; Afroedura transvaalica; biodiversidade; endemis-mo; lagartos  

    

[Herpetology • 2017] A Multilocus Phylogeny of the Genus Sarcohyla (Anura: Hylidae), and An Investigation of Species Boundaries Using Statistical Species Delimitation


  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.010  

Highlights
• We present a phylogenetic analysis of 17 species of the genus Sarcohyla using data from two mitochondrial (ND1 and 12s) and three nuclear genes (Rag-1, Rhod, and POMc).
• The widely distributed species S. bistincta is a complex of at least three species.
• Two undescribed species exists in the group.
• The species S. ephemera is a junior synonym of S. calthula.

Abstract
The genus Sarcohyla is composed by 24 species endemic to México. Despite the large number of phylogenetic studies focusing on the family Hylidae, the relationships among the species of Sarcohyla are still poorly known, and the scarce numbers of specimens and tissue samples available for some of the species has hampered an appropriate phylogenetic analysis. We present the most comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study of Sarcohyla to date. We included 17 species of the genus Sarcohyla using data from two mitochondrial (ND1 and 12S) and three nuclear genes (Rag-1, Rhod, and POMc). We performed phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian inference, and the absence of conflicts with strong support between the separate gene trees indicates that incomplete lineage sorting and/or introgressive hybridization are negligible. A coalescent-based species-tree analysis of the four independent loci (three nuclear genes + mtDNA) mostly supports the same species-level relationships as the analysis of the concatenated data. By including new samples from additional species and localities, we find that: (1) the widely distributed species S. bistincta is a complex of at least three species, (2) another undescribed species exists in the group, (3) the species S. ephemera is not valid and it corresponds to a junior synonym of S. calthula. In addition, we conducted marginal likelihood estimation and used Bayes factors to test alternative species delimitation models for S. bistincta, the most widespread nominal species in the group. Our findings support three independent lineages of S. bistincta group, which are paraphyletic with respect to S. pentheter and S. calthula.

Keywords: Systematics, Molecular phylogeny, Hylidae, Sarcohyla, Mexico



 Conclusions
Our analysis revealed several taxonomic problems in Sarcohyla. Of the 17 species included in the analysis, three species may represent junior synonyms of other taxa (S. arborescandensSephemera, and S. miahuatlanensis), and another two appear to represent multiple species (S. bistincta and S. thorectes). These problems may be explained, at least in part, by the absence of morphological autapomorphies in many species of Sarcohyla (which can therefore only be distinguished by unique combinations of traits), and to the scarcity of informative characters and high levels of homoplasy in the group (Duellman, 2001). Although external morphology usually is the first evidence for species recognition, molecular evidence and implementation of modern species delimitation methods based on coalescence theory are needed to identify/corroborate species (i.e., Grummer et al., 2014). Accurate species delimitation and phylogeny reconstruction in Sarcohyla is important to infer the historical biogeography of the highlands of Mexico and specially to develop accurate conservation plans for this group of frogs. For instance, underestimation of species diversity can impact the selection of the areas that will be conserved. Further fieldwork is needed to obtain the samples for a complete, fully resolved, well-supported phylogeny for the genus.


 Itzue W. Caviedes Solis and Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca. 2017. A Multilocus Phylogeny of the Genus Sarcohyla (Anura: Hylidae), and An Investigation of Species Boundaries Using Statistical Species Delimitation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.010 

[Botany • 2017] Asplenium minutifolium (Aspleniaceae) • A New Species from Thailand


Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane


ABSTRACT 

A new species of Asplenium (Aspleniaceae), Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, from Phu Kradueng National Park, Loei Province, Northeast Thailand and Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Nayok Province, Central Thailand, is described and illustrated. This species can be distinguished from all similar species in East and South-East Asia by its simple and small lamina (1–5 × 0.3–0.7 cm), small and entire pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm), reflexed pinna arrangement (>90° from the midrib) in the lower 2/3 of the lamina and a sori arrangement that is almost always arranged in a single row on the basiscopic vein. 

KEYWORDS: Asplenium, Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyte, Fern, new species, Phu Kradueng National Park, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.

Figure 2. Asplenium minutifolium  Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov.
 A
. habit; B. portion of lamina (undersurface) showing sori; C. rhizome with scales; D. habitat.

Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov. 

Similar to Asplenium kiangsuense Ching & Y.X.Jing of southern China in size and shape of lamina, but differs in having a narrower lamina (ca 0.7 cm wide in A. minutifolium vs. ca 1 cm wide in A. kiangsuense), wingless rachis (vs. 2 slightly raised lateral wings), smaller pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm vs. 4–5 × 4–5 mm), generally fewer sori per pinna (1– 3(–4) vs. 3–5), and in the sori arrangement (usually arranged in a row vs. arranged oppositely). Also similar to Asplenium siamense Tagawa & K.Iwats. of North-East Thailand, but can be distinguished by its simple pinnae at the tip of lamina (vs. lamina forked several times at the tip), thicker pinnae (thickly papery vs. thinly papery), reflexed pinna arrangement in lower part (vs. divaricate around lamina), and pinnae with entire or slightly undulate margins (vs. shallowly lobed (lobes to ca 1mm long)). 
–– Type: Thailand. Loei Province, Phu Kradueng National Park, Lom Sak Cliff, alt. 1292 m, 12 June 2015, Kanemitsu et al. T4736 (holotype BKF!, isotype TNS!).  


Distribution.–– Currently Asplenium minutifolium is known only from Phu Kradueng National Park and Khao Yai National Park. 

Ecology.–– In Phu Kradueng National Park, Asplenium minutifolium occurs in a semi-shaded and damp rock crevice that is ca 50 cm wide and 10 cm deep, on the plateau at an altitude of ca 1300 m. Associated fern and lycophyte species include Aglaomorpha rigidula (Sw.) Hovenkamp & S.Linds., Goniophlebium subauriculatum (Blume) C.Presl, Oleandra undulata (Willd.) Ching, Pyrrosia lingua (Thunb.) Farw. var. heteractis (Mett. ex Kuhn) Hovenkamp, and Selaginella siamensis Hieron. Other than the elevation, nothing is known about the ecology of this species at Khao Yai National Park. 

Etymology.–– The species epithet “minutifolium” refers to the very small lamina and pinnae of this species.


 Hironobu Kanemitsu, Shuichiro Tagane, Somran Suddee, Sukid Ruangruaea, Tetsukazu Yahara. 2017. Asplenium minutifolium (Aspleniaceae), A New Species from Thailand. THAI FOREST BULL., BOT.  45(1); 29–34.  DOI: 10.20531/tfb.2017.45.1.06


[Entomology • 2017] Themira lohmanusHidden in the Urban Parks of New York City: A New Species of Themira (Sepsidae, Diptera) Described Based on Morphology, DNA Sequences, Mating Behavior, and Reproductive Isolation


 Themira lohmanus   Ang, 2017


Abstract
New species from well-studied taxa such as Sepsidae (Diptera) are rarely described from localities that have been extensively explored and one may think that New York City belongs to this category. Yet, a new species of Themira (Diptera: Sepsidae) was recently discovered which is currently only known to reside in two of New York City’s largest urban parks. Finding a new species of Themira in these parks was all the more surprising because the genus was revised in 1998 and is not particularly species-rich (13 species). Its status is confirmed as a new species based on morphology, DNA sequences, and reproductive isolation tests with a closely related species, and is described as Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n. The species breeds on waterfowl dung and it is hypothesized that this makes the species rare in natural environments. However, it thrives in urban parks where the public feeds ducks and geese. The mating behavior of Themira lohmanus was recorded and is similar to the behavior of its closest relative T. biloba.

Keywords: cryptic species, Sepsidae, species description


Figure 2. Adult male (A–M), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus, anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G); ventral view of abdomen (H) showing modified 4th sternites; anterior (I), dorsal (J), left (K) and right (L) views of hypopygium, as well as various views of the penis (M).

Figure 3. Adult female (A–H), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus (sans abdomen), anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G), and ventral view of abdomen (H).

Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n.

Diagnosis:  Themira lohmanus is a relatively large, robust-looking sepsid species that resembles T. biloba. However, adult T. lohmanus males can be readily differentiated from the latter by their uniquely shaped, asymmetrical surstyli, which is symmetrical in T. biloba (Fig. 1A, see Morphological analysis section). While females of these two species do not have distinct structural differences, they can potentially be distinguished based on the color of the sclerous cuticle: in T. biloba, it tends to be glossy black while T. lohmanus tends to have a cupreous tinge. However, these characters may not be easily differentiated in faded specimens.

Etymology:  The new species is named after David J. Lohman, for his generous contributions of specimens to sepsid taxonomy.

Distribution: Nearctic. Thus far only found in New York City (Central Park and Prospect Park); likely to be found in more localities in the future, especially where waterfowl congregate.


 Yuchen Ang, Rudolf Meier, Kathy Feng-Yi Su and Gowri Rajaratnam. 2017. Hidden in the Urban Parks of New York City: Themira lohmanus, A New Species of Sepsidae Described Based on Morphology, DNA Sequences, Mating Behavior, and Reproductive Isolation (Sepsidae, Diptera).  ZooKeys. 698; 95-111.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.698.13411



Thursday, September 28, 2017

[Crustacea • 2017] Two New Records of the Coral Symbiont Crab Genus Quadrella Dana, 1851 (Brachyura: Trapeziidae), from Taiwan, with Notes on the Taxonomy of Q. boopsis Alcock, 1898


 Qudrella boopsis  Alcock, 1898


Abstract

Two symbiotic trapeziid crabs of the genus Qudrella Dana, 1851, were collected from southwestern Taiwan. Both are new records for the island. Quadrella coronata Dana, 1852, is usually associated with the soft coral Chironephthya spp., while Q. boopsis Alcock, 1898, was found with the scleractinian coral Tubastraea micrantha. The taxonomy of Q. boopsis is treated and the variation in the dorsal surface of the carapace, armature of the anterolateral margin and colour pattern discussed.

Keywords:  Crustacea, Quadrella, taxonomy, new records, East Asia, Trapeziidae




 Chia-Wei Lin and Peter K. L. Ng. 2017. Two New Records of the Coral Symbiont Crab Genus Quadrella Dana, 1851, from Taiwan, with Notes on the Taxonomy of Q. boopsis Alcock, 1898 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Trapeziidae).  Zootaxa. 4324(3);571–580.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4324.3.10

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Inticetus vertizi • A New Odontocete (Toothed Cetacean) from the Early Miocene of Peru Expands the Morphological Disparity of Extinct Heterodont Dolphins


Inticetus vertizi
Lambert, de Muizon, Malinverno, Celma, Urbina & Bianucci, 2017

Abstract
A key step in the evolutionary history of Odontoceti (echolocating toothed cetaceans) is the transition from the ancestral heterodont condition – characterized by the presence of double-rooted cheek teeth bearing accessory denticles – to the homodont dentition displayed by most extant odontocete species. During the last few decades, new finds and the reassessment of specimens in collections revealed an increased morphological disparity amongst the Oligo–Miocene heterodont odontocetes. Based on a partly articulated skeleton from late Early Miocene (Burdigalian, 18.8–18.0 Ma) beds of the Chilcatay Formation (Pisco Basin, Peru), we describe a new genus and species of heterodont odontocete, Inticetus vertizi, in the new family Inticetidae. This large dolphin is characterized by, amongst other things, a long and robust rostrum bearing at least 18 teeth per quadrant; the absence of procumbent anterior teeth; many large, broad-based accessory denticles in double-rooted posterior cheek teeth; a reduced ornament of dental crowns; the styliform process of the jugal being markedly robust; a large fovea epitubaria on the periotic, with a correspondingly voluminous accessory ossicle of the tympanic bulla; and a shortened tuberculum of the malleus. Phylogenetic analyses (with and without molecular constraint; with and without down-weighting of homoplastic characters) yielded contrasting results, with Inticetus falling either as a stem Odontoceti or as an early branching member of a large Platanistoidea clade. With its large size, robust rostrum and unusual dental morphology, and the absence of conspicuous tooth wear, Inticetus increases the morphological and ecological disparity of Late Oligocene–Early Miocene heterodont odontocetes. Finally, this new taxon calls for caution when attempting to identify isolated cetacean cheek teeth, even at the suborder level.
Keywords: Cetacea, Odontoceti, heterodont, Miocene, Burdigalian, Peru


Figure 4. Cranium and mandibles of Inticetus vertizi, MUSM 1980 (holotype). A, left lateral view; B, corresponding explanatory line drawing. Scale bar = 200 mm.

Figure 17. Cranium and mandibles of Inticetus vertizi, MUSM 1980 (holotype). A, detail of the posterior part of the right lower quadrant including cheek teeth C8–12, in medial view. 

Systematic palaeontology

Order Cetacea Brisson, 1762
Pelagiceti Uhen, 2008a
Neoceti Fordyce & Muizon, 2001
Suborder Odontoceti Flower, 1867

Family Inticetidae fam. nov.
Type genus. Inticetus gen. nov.

 Genus Inticetus gen. nov.
Type species. Inticetus vertizi sp. nov.
Derivation of name. From Inti, the sun deity of the Inca Empire, and cetus, whale in Latin, for the typical, subcircular and ray-like arrangement of accessory denticles in posterior cheek teeth of MUSM 1980, reminiscent of artistic reconstructions of the rising sun.

 Inticetus vertizi sp. nov.

Derivation of name. Honouring the discoverer of the holotype MUSM 1980, the Peruvian artist Álvaro Suárez Vértiz.


Olivier Lambert, Christian de Muizon, Elisa Malinverno, Claudio Di Celma, Mario Urbina and Giovanni Bianucci. 2017. A New Odontocete (Toothed Cetacean) from the Early Miocene of Peru Expands the Morphological Disparity of Extinct Heterodont Dolphins. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2017.1359689

[Mammalogy • 2017] Uromys vika • A New Species of Giant Rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon Islands


Uromys vika Lavery & Judge, 2017

Abstract
We describe the first new rodent species from Solomon Islands in more than 80 years. This new giant rat is known from a single specimen captured in a commercially felled Dillenia salomonensis tree on Vangunu Island. Morphologically, it closely resembles a fascinating secondary radiation of 3 species of Uromys (Cyromys) that are endemic to Guadalcanal Island. The cranium can be readily distinguished from those of other species of Uromys by its shorter maxillary tooth row, and shorter incisive foramina. The existence of this species has been suspected for over 2 decades. It is rare and cryptic, and conservation status is Critically Endangered due to its small distributional range, apparent low population densities, and rapid progress of commercial logging on Vangunu Island. Further surveys to locate additional animals and support for community led conservation initiatives on Vangunu are urgently needed to safeguard the species.

Keywords: arboreal, endangered, endemic, Guadalcanal, logging, Marovo, Melanesia, Pacific, rodent



An artist's illustration of the newly-discovered giant rat, Uromys vika.
Velizar Simeonovski/The Field Museum 


Canarium nuts bearing the characteristic tooth-marks of Uromys vika.


Tyrone H. Lavery and Hikuna Judge. 2017. A New Species of Giant Rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon Islands. Journal of Mammalogy. gyx116.  DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx116

Giant Rat That Fell From Sky Is New Species on.natgeo.com/2xEOCBG via @NatGeo
Solomon Islands expedition seeks to conserve the extraordinary monkey-faced bat and giant rat  theconversation.com/solomon-islands-expedition-seeks-to-conserve-the-extraordinary-monkey-faced-bat-and-giant-rat-57646 @ConversationEDU

Report ia, hemi wanfala scientific description blo wanfala new species lo giant (bigfala) rat blo Vangunu Aelan, Solomon Aelans. Oketa man callim disfala rat, “vika.” Disfala species hemi garem wanfala specimen nomoa. Wanfala man outim lo kapuchu tree taem oketa daunim ya tree lo logging area. Lukluk blo rat ya hem kolosap lo trifala rat blo Guale, bata hemi garem sumfala important difference lelebet lo body and skull blo hem. Vika hemi garem leki wea hemi wide tumus wetem 7 fala pad undanit, hem no 6 fala osem oketa rat blo Guale. Color blo body blo hem, hemi braun wetem waet lo undanit. Skull blo hem, hemi short wantaem wide. Baek teeti blo hem, oketa short tumus and sumfala hol behaenim oketa front teeti, hemi short tumus too. Disfala vika hemi barava hard tumus fo faendim. Oketa man blo Vangunu save lo hem long taem finis, anda oketa scientist save lo hem ovum 20 ias finis, bata diswan hemi first vika for oketa scientist lukim. Mifala garem tingting hemi kolsap extinct (finis), kaen hem luk olsem vika no save stap lo eni ples wea logging hemi kasim finis. Iumi mus lukaotim gud bus blo Vangunu anda halipim oketa man blo Zaira for kipim gud bus blo oketa.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

[Paleontology • 2017] Versperopterylus lamadongensis • A New Anurognathid Pterosaur with Evidence of Perching Behaviour from Jianchang of Liaoning Province, China


Versperopterylus lamadongensis
Lü, Meng, Wang, Liu, Shen & Zhang, 2017

Illustration: Z. Chuang.  DOI: 10.1144/SP455.16  

Abstract

A new anurognathid pterosaurVersperopterylus lamadongensis gen. et sp. nov., is erected based on a complete skeleton with a skull preserved. It is characterized by two short distinct ridges present on the ventral surface of the cervical vertebrae; coracoids slightly longer than scapula; humerus, wing phalanx 3 and tibia nearly the same in length; grooves clearly present on the posterior surface of the wing phalanges 1–3; and the first toe reversed. It is the first anurognathid pterosaur from China with a definitively short tail, and the first pterosaur with a reversed first toe. The reversed first toe of Versperopterylus indicates that it had arboreal habitats. The discovery of Versperopterylus lamadongensis from the Jiufotang Formation strongly expands the geological age range for anurognathid pterosaurs.




Systematic palaeontology 
Pterosauria Kaup, 1834 
Anurognathidae Kuhn 1937

 Versperopterylus lamadongensis gen. et sp. nov.

 Etymology. Versper-, Latin word for ‘dusk’ implying that the new pterosaur may seek food at dusk; -pteryl, Latin word for ‘wing’. The specific name is referred to the fossil locality, lamadong of Jianchang County, Liaoning Province. 

Type specimen. An almost complete skeleton with skull and jaws (BMNHC-PH-001311). The specimen is now stored in the Beijing Museum of Natural History.

 Locality and horizon. Lamadong goumen, Jianchang County, Liaoning Province; Jiufotang Formation.

Fig. 5. The living scene of Versperopterylus lamadongensis
 (Illustration: Zhao Chuang). 



  DOI: 10.1144/SP455.16 

Conclusion 
Versperopterylus is the first anurognathid pterosaur from China preserved with a clearly reduced tail, and it is also the youngest anurognathid pterosaur in geological age. The reversed first toe of Versperopterylus may indicate that it, perhaps, has a gripping adaptation. 


Junchang Lü, Qingjin Meng, Baopeng Wang, Di Liu, Caizhi Shen and Yuguang Zhang. 2017. Short Note On A New Anurognathid Pterosaur with Evidence of Perching Behaviour from Jianchang of Liaoning Province, China. in  D. W. E. Hone, M. P. Witton and D. M. Martill (edsNew Perspectives on Pterosaur Palaeobiology. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 455. DOI: 10.1144/SP455.16 

  

[Ichthyology • 2017] Astyanax taurorum • A New Species (Characiformes: Characidae) from dos Touros River, Pelotas River Drainage, An Upland southern Brazilian River


Astyanax taurorum 
 de Lucena, Zaluski & de Lucena, 2017 


Abstract
A new species of Astyanax belonging to the Astyanax scabripinnis complex is described from dos Touros River, tributary of the Pelotas River, Uruguay River basin. Astyanax taurorum sp. nov. is distinguished from other species of the Astyanax scabripinnis species complex by having two humeral spots, the first vertically elongated; teeth of inner row of premaxilla with three to five cusps; 2–3 (modes 2 or 3) maxillary teeth; 20–23 (mode 22) branched anal-fin rays; 13–15 (mode 14) gill rakers on lower branch of the first branchial arch; 20–23 (mode 21) total gill rakers in first branchial arch; 33–36 (mode 35) perforated lateral line scales. Astyanax taurorum sp. nov. is similar to Astyanax paris; nevertheless, it can be readily distinguished from it by having a smaller head depth (73.6-83.1% vs. 86.4–95.6%) and smaller interorbital width (24.1–28.0% vs. 30.8–32.8%). In addition, it differs from A. paris by the presence a posttemporal hook-shaped posterodorsal margin.

Key words: Taxonomy, Rio Grande do Sul, Uruguay River, distribution


Figure 1.  Astyanax taurorum sp. nov., MCP 49468, 80,7 mm SL, holotype, tributary of dos Touros River, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 

Figures 5–6.  (5) Distribution of Astyanax taurorum sp. nov., white circle = type-locality. The symbol represents more than one locality; (6) stream tributary of dos Touros River, type locality of Astyanax taurorum sp. nov. 

Astyanax taurorum sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name taurorum, is derived from the Latin masculine noun taurus (second declension, meaning bull) inflected in the plural and genitive case. Therefore taurorum means “of the bulls” in reference to “rio dos Touros“ (= Portuguese, which means “river of the bulls”) the type locality.

Distribution and habitat: Astyanax taurorum sp. nov. is known from the dos Touros River drainage, tributary of Pelotas River, which in turn is a tributary of Uruguay River (Fig. 5). The Pelotas River drainage is located in the region named “Campos de Altitude do Planalto das Araucárias (= Araucaria Plateau in Bertaco et al. 2016)” or “Campos de Cima da Serra”, which has a high level of endemism of fishes (Malabarba et al. 2009, Bertaco et al. 2016: 430) and other groups of animals (for example: sponges, Ribeiro et. al. 2009; crustaceans, Bond-Buckup et al. 2009). The dos Touros River tributary, type locality of Astyanax taurorum sp. nov., has a low to medium flow, transparent waters with stones and rocks on the bottom and moderate emergent marginal vegetation (Fig. 6). Four characid species were caught along with Astyanax taurorum sp. nov.: Bryconamericus patriciae Silva, 2004, B. iheringi Boulenger, 1887, Cheirodon interruptus Jenyns, 1842, and Oligosarcus brevioris Menezes, 1987.



 Carlos Alberto S. de Lucena, Amanda Bungi Zaluski and Zilda Margarete Seixas de Lucena. 2017. Astyanax taurorum A New Species from dos Touros River, Pelotas River Drainage, An Upland southern Brazilian River (Characiformes: Characidae). 
 Zoologia. 34; 1-8.  DOI: 10.3897/zoologia.34.e20174

[Herpetology • 2017] On the Poorly-known White-spotted Skink Lygosoma albopunctatum (Gray, 1846) (Reptilia: Scincidae) with Further Topotypical Records and Notes on the Type Locality


Lygosoma albopunctatum  (Gray, 1846)


Abstract

 The White-spotted Skink Lygosoma albopunctatum, a rarely recorded lizard, has been re-sighted from its type locality: Madras in the Coromandel Coastal Plains. Morphological details and field notes on the findings are elaborated. Since many past surveys in and around Madras, and in southern India generally, did not record this species, lack of consensus about its existence in southern India had developed, leading to published misconceptions about its distribution. These are highlighted and corrected herein. The species is also illustrated in life based on topotypical examples.

Keywords: Distribution, lizard, morphology, scalation, southern India, type locality.


Image 2. Lygosoma albopunctatum: topotype CSPT/L-26a entire (a) dorsal view, (b) ventral view, (c) head dorsal view, (d) head lateral view. 

Image 2. Lygosoma albopunctatum:   live uncollected topotypical individuals depicting in-life colouration of (e) subadult, (f) adult in ventral view, (g) adult in dorsal view.

Lygosoma albopunctatum (Gray, 1846)
Riopa albopunctata Gray, 1846
Riopa albopunctata - Jerdon, 1853; Smith 1935 [part]
Eumeces albopunctatus - Günther, 1864
Lygosoma albopunctatum - Boulenger, 1887 [part] 1890; Das 2010
Lygosoma albopunctata (sic) - Das, 1996; Daniels 2002; Vyas 2010

DISCUSSION:   
A study on the molecular phylogeny of Indian Lygosoma species (Datta-Roy et al. 2014) remarked that this species, though often assigned to the genus Riopa, is nested within Lygosoma. The study also delineates that the sampled congeners of the Indian radiation “are largely confined to the Indian subregion except L. albopunctata (sic) which is also distributed in mainland Southeast Asia” (Datta-Roy et al. 2014). Their phylogenetic tree reveals weak genetic structure within multiple populations of L. albopunctatum sampled from multiple unspecified localities. Though Datta-Roy et al. (2014) recovered an Indian endemic Lygosoma pruthi (Sharma 1977) as a sister to a Southeast Asian radiation they did opine that the Indian radiation consisted of, apart from the endemics, two widespread species L. punctatum and L. albopunctatum.

Stoliczka (1872) stated that individuals from south India have a rather uniform brown back whereas those from Bengal have black spotted lines along six median scale rows down the back, almost resembling L. punctatum. Ahmed et al. (2009), Islam & Saika (2013) and Sarker (2014) all illustrated L. albopunctatum from the Eastern Himalayan and Brahmaputhra regions. The photographs clearly show a more orangish tail in juveniles, contrasting with their brown trunk colour. Given the enormous distance and geo-ecological differences between peninsular and northeastern parts of the Indian subcontinent, such variations and tail colour difference in young ones might indicate cryptic diversity of Indochinese populations. In fact some literature (e.g., Das 2010) that currently ascribes as L. albopunctatum actually excluded its original definition by virtue of type series and / or type locality, as elaborated herein. Nevertheless, even admitting such lack of consensus on its global distribution and population systematics, it is here clarified beyond doubt that this species is very much present in southern India, especially along the Coromandel Coastal Plains (also see Ganesh & Chandramouli 2007; Nath et al. 2012), where lies its type locality.


  S.R. Ganesh. 2017. On the Poorly-known White-spotted Skink Lygosoma albopunctatum (Gray, 1846) (Reptilia: Scincidae) with Further Topotypical Records and Notes on the Type Locality. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 9(9); 10662–10668.  DOI: 10.11609/jott.3376.9.9.10662-10668