Friday, May 27, 2016

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Fragilicetus velponi • A New Mysticete Genus and Species and Its Implications for the Origin of Balaenopteridae (Cetacea, Mysticeti)

Fragilicetus velponi 
Bisconti & Bosselaers, 2016

Figure 14. Artistic interpretation of possible interaction between a large shark and Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. as suggested by the shark bite marks on the skull of the holotype specimen. 
The human in the upper right corner serves as a size reference. Illustration by Mark Bosselaers.
 DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12370

A new extinct genus, Fragilicetus gen. nov., is described here based on a partial skull of a baleen-bearing whale from the Early Pliocene of the North Sea. Its type species is Fragilicetus velponi sp. nov. This new whale shows a mix of morphological characters that is intermediate between those of Eschrichtiidae and those of Balaenopteridae. A phylogenetic analysis supported this view and provided insights into some of the morphological transformations that occurred in the process leading to the origin of Balaenopteridae. Balaenopterid whales show specialized feeding behaviour that allows them to catch enormous amounts of prey. This behaviour is possible because of the presence of specialized anatomical features in the supraorbital process of the frontal, temporal fossa, glenoid fossa of the squamosal, and dentary. Fragilicetus velponi gen. et sp. nov. shares the shape of the supraorbital process of the frontal and significant details of the temporal fossa with Balaenopteridae but maintains an eschrichtiid- and cetotheriid-like squamosal bulge and posteriorly protruded exoccipital. The character combination exhibited by this cetacean provides important information about the assembly of the specialized morphological features responsible for the highly efficient prey capture mechanics of Balaenopteridae.  

Keywords: Belgium; feeding behavior; Fragilicetus; phylogeny; Pliocene

Figure 14. Artistic interpretation of possible interaction between a large shark and Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. as suggested by the shark bite marks on the skull of the holotype specimen shown in Figure 3.
The human in the upper right corner serves as a size reference. Illustration by Mark Bosselaers. 

Systematic Palaeontology

Class Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
Order Cetacea Brisson, 1762
Suborder Mysticeti Cope, 1891
Chaeomysticeti Mitchell, 1989
Balaenomorpha Geisler & Sanders, 2003

Superfamily Thalassotherii Bisconti, Lambert & Bosselaers, 2013
Epifamily Balaenopteroidea Flower, 1864

Family Balaenopteridae Gray, 1864

Fragilicetus gen. nov.

Diagnosis: The diagnosis of Fragilicetus includes the presence of eschrichtiid-like and balaenopterid-like features in the same individual. Fragilicetus is distinguished from the other nonbalaenopterid mysticete families based on the presence, in the same individual, of a squamosal bulging into the temporal fossa; posterior projection of the posterolateral corner of the exoccipital; anterior placement of the posterior apex of the lambdoidal crest; squamosal cleft present and v-shaped (turning ventrally at its lateral end); abruptly depressed and flat supraorbital process of the frontal; anterior portion of temporal crest transversely elongated and forming a dorsal roof to the anterior portion of the temporal fossa; very short intertemporal region; infraorbital region of the frontal exposed dorsally between the ascending processes of the maxillae; anterior end of the parietal located more anteriorly than the posterior ends of the ascending process of the maxilla; descending suprameatal surface from the central portion of the periotic to the superior rim of the internal acoustic meatus; endocranial opening of the facial canal separated from the internal acoustic meatus by a thick crista transversa but not prolonged into a groove; triangular anterior process of the periotic; anterior process of the periotic and central portion of periotic on the same plane; groove for VII cranial nerve in posterior process reduced; anteroposteriorly short and flattened posterior process of the periotic.

Etymology: Fragilis, Latin, fragile, in reference to the extreme fragility of the holotype skull. Cetus, Latin, whale.

Type species: Fragilicetus velponi sp. nov. This is currently the only included species.

Figure 5. Holotype skull of Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. in lateral view. A, photographic representation; B, interpretative representation.
Abbreviations: eam, external acoustic meatus; exo, exoccipital; fr, frontal; max, maxilla; opt, optic channel; par, parietal; pgl, postglenoid process of squamosal; ppp, posterior process of the periotic; pt, pterygoid; soc, supraoccipital; sop, supraorbital process of the frontal; sq, squamosal; sqc, squamosal cleft; vom, vomer; zyg, zygomatic process of the squamosal. Scale bar = 300 mm.

Fragilicetus velponi sp. nov.

Holotype: Item no. NMR 999100007727, housed at the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, The Netherlands (hereinafter, NMR).

Type locality: The specimen was found along the south-west border of the Deurganckdock, approximately 12 km north-west of Antwerp city centre and 4 km north of the village of Kallo (Fig. 1). The Deurganckdock is an artificial excavation located on the left side of the Scheldt River. The geographical coordinates of the discovery site are 51°17′05″N, 4°15′30″E.

Etymology: Velpon is the brand of the glue used in the preparation of the holotype skull.

Figure 6. Skull of Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. in anterior view. A, photo; B, line drawing.
Abbreviations: bocc, basioccipital; bs, basisphenoid; desc sop, descending part of supraorbital process of the frontal; fm, foramen magnum; fr, frontal; max, maxilla; par, parietal; pt, pterygoid; soc, supraoccipital; sop, supraorbital process of the frontal; sq, squamosal; sqc, squamosal cleft; vom, vomer. Scale bar = 300 mm.

Figure 3. Localizations and orientations of shark bite marks on the holotype skull of Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. as seen from the anterior view. The shark bite marks are in solid black. The skull is in anterior view; only the right side of the skull is shown because it is that part that bears the shark bite marks.
 Abbreviations: ali, alisphenoid; fr, frontal; pal, palatine; par, parietal; pgl, postglenoid process of squamosal; pt, pterygoid; soc, supraoccipital; sq, squamosal; sqc, squamosal cleft; sq-par, squamosal–parietal suture; sq-pt, squamosal-pterygoid suture; tc, temporal crest; vom, vomer; zyg, zygomatic process of the squamosal. Scale bar = 100 mm.

Figure 14. Artistic interpretation of possible interaction between a large shark and Fragilicetus velponi gen. et. sp. nov. as suggested by the shark bite marks on the skull of the holotype specimen shown in Figure 3.
The human in the upper right corner serves as a size reference. Illustration by Mark Bosselaers.

The new genus Fragilicetus is established based on the new fossil species F. velponi. Fragilicetus is the sister group of later Balaenopteridae; Eschrichtiidae is the sister group of the Balaenopteridae clade. Fragilicetus velponi shares several characters with Eschrichtiidae, e.g. the prominent bulge of the squamosal into the temporal fossa and the posterior protrusion of the posterolateral corner of the exoccipital; it shares with later Balaenopteridae the shape of the abruptly depressed supraorbital process of the frontal, details of the articulation of the rostrum with the frontal, and the shape of the supraoccipital. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that F. velponi is closer to Balaenopteridae than to Eschrichtiidae. The phylogenetic analysis also revealed high levels of homoplasy in the Balaenopteroidea clade but these did not prevent the construction of a highly resolved strict consensus tree. However, the high levels of homoplasy prevent unambiguous diagnoses of the internal nodes of Balaenopteridae. The morphological characters observed in F. velponi showed that the appearance of a wide and flat, abruptly depressed supraorbital process of the frontal and an anteriorly constricted supraoccipital preceded the loss of the squamosal bulge and the loss of strong attachment sites for neck muscles in the evolutionary process leading to the balaenopterid lineage. These characters have functional implications respectively related to the anterior placement of the attachment for the temporalis muscle and to the preservation of a mobile head in the earliest phases of balaenopterid evolution.

Finally, the fossil described in the present paper is a demonstration of direct interaction between sharks and mysticetes in the Pliocene; an illustration of this interaction is shown in Figure 14.

Michelangelo Bisconti and Mark Bosselaers. 2016. Fragilicetus velponi: A New Mysticete Genus and Species and Its Implications for the Origin of Balaenopteridae (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 177(2); 450–474.  DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12370

[Botany • 2016] A Revision of Aeschynanthus (Gesneriaceae) in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia

 The genus Aeschynanthus Jack is revised for Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Four species for Singapore and fourteen species for Peninsular Malaysia are recognised, keys to the species are given, all names are typified, and detailed descriptions of all species are provided. Conservation assessments are provided for all species. Eleven names are lectotypified here and one epitype is designated.

Keywords. Conservation assessments, Didymocarpoideae, identification key, lectotypifications

Aeschynanthus albidus (Blume) Steud.
Aeschynanthus angustifolius (Blume) Steud.
Aeschynanthus dischidioides (Ridl.) D.J.Middleton
 Aeschynanthus fecundus P.Woods
 Aeschynanthus fulgens Wall. ex R.Br.
Aeschynanthus longicaulis Wall. ex R.Br
Aeschynanthus longiflorus (Blume) A.DC.
Aeschynanthus obconicus C.B.Clarke in A.DC. & C.DC.

 Aeschynanthus pulcher (Blume) G.Don
 Aeschynanthus radicans Jack
Aeschynanthus rhododendron Ridl.
 Aeschynanthus speciosus Hook.
Aeschynanthus volubilis Jack
Aeschynanthus wallichii R.Br.

D.J. Middleton. 2016. A Revision of Aeschynanthus (Gesneriaceae) in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore. 68(1): 1–63. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

[Botany • 2016] Begonia khaophanomensis | ส้มกุ้งเขาพนม • A New Species and A New Record in Begonia sect. Platycentrum (Begoniaceae) from Thailand

ส้มกุ้งเขาพนม |  Begonia khaophanomensis 
Phutthai & M.Hughes


 Begonia khaophanomensis Phutthai & M.Hughes is described from a collection made on granitic rock in Krabi Province in Peninsular Thailand. It is endemic to the type locality of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, and is assessed as Least Concern using the IUCN criteria. Begonia macrotoma Irmsch. is noted as a new record for Thailand from collections in Chiangmai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Nayok provinces; the species is also found in China, Myanmar, NE India, Nepal and Vietnam. Both species belong to Begonia sect. Platycentrum. A key to the species of Begonia sect. Platycentrum in Thailand is provided.

Keywords. Begonia khaophanomensis, Begonia macrotoma, China, Myanmar, NE India, Nepal, Peninsular Thailand, Vietnam

Begonia khaophanomensis Phutthai & M.Hughes, sp. nov. § Platycentrum

Begonia khaophanomensis is similar to B. palmata in habit and leaf shape, but differs in having leaves occurring in opposite pairs at the apex of the plant (not alternate), with white short stiff hairs on the petioles and leaves (not brown sericeous), and a white ovary with white short stiff hairs (not pinkish green and subglabrous). 
– TYPE: Thailand, Krabi, Khao Phanom District, Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, on rock along trail in lower montane forest, 19 June 2006, Williams, K., Pooma, R., Poopath, M., Chamchamroon, V. & Seasin, S. 1943 (holotype E; isotypes BKF). (Fig. 1, 2)

Distribution. Endemic to Peninsular Thailand (known from only the type locality). 

Habitat and ecology. On granitic rock crevices by streams in hill evergreen forest and seasonally dry evergreen forest at c. 1200 m. Flowering and fruiting June to October.

Notes. The opposite leaves and stiff hairs indicate an alliance to Begonia areolata Miq. from Sumatra and Java which differs in having leaves which are minutely bullate and with red hairs, and in having petals which are elongate-elliptic in the male flowers (not broadly elliptic). The specific epithet refers to the district in which the type material was collected, Khao Phanom.

T. Phutthai and M. Hughes. 2016. A New Species and A New Record in Begonia sect. Platycentrum (Begoniaceae) from Thailand. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore. 68(1): 99–107.

ส้มกุ้งเขาพนม Begonia khaophanomensis Phutthai & M.Hughes จากการศึกษาตัวอย่างในหอพรรณไม้ทั้งในและต่างประเทศ พบแห่งเดียวในโลกที่ เขาพนมเบญจา จังหวัดกระบี่

นักวิจัย"ม.มหิดล" พบพืช 6 ชนิดใหม่ของโลก

[Herpetology • 2016] Chilabothrus argentum • Discovery of A Remarkable New Boa from the Conception Island Bank, Bahamas

Chilabothrus argentum 
 Reynolds, Puente-Rolón, Geneva, Aviles-Rodriguez & Herrmann. 2016

The Bahamas Archipelago is currently known to support three of the 11 recognized species of West Indian boas (genus Chilabothrus) on the Little Bahama Bank, Great Bahama Bank, and four of the southern Bahamas banks. Here we report the discovery of a new species occurring on the Conception Island Bank, located 25 km ENE of Long Island and the Great Bahamas Bank. We describe Chilabothrus argentum sp. nov. (Conception Bank Silver Boa) on the basis of morphometric and genetic data obtained from six individuals. This new boa has a greatly reduced coloration relative to other Bahamian boas, is highly arboreal, and is 3.3% (pairwise) divergent from other West Indian boas in a mitochondrially encoded protein. We estimated a mitochondrial coalescent time of 2.7 million years for this species, and phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is sister to the C. strigilatus/C. striatus/C. exsul clade. The existence of this new boa provides greater resolution of the historical biogeography of the West Indian boas in the Bahamas Archipelago, further supporting multiple colonization of this region from Hispaniola as well as speciation and divergence events dating to the late Pliocene/early Pleistocene. We additionally discuss conservation implications and concerns for this new boa, which we have assessed as being critically endangered on the basis of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List criteria and hence find it to be one of the most endangered boid snakes globally.

Keywords: Boidae, Caribbean, Chilabothrus, mtDNA, phylogenetics, systematics

The Conception Bank silver boa (Chilabothrus argentum) is named for its color and the fact it was first found on a silver palm tree.

R. Graham Reynolds, Alberto R. Puente-Rolón, Anthony J. Geneva, Kevin J. Aviles-Rodriguez and Nicholas C. Herrmann. 2016. Discovery of A Remarkable New Boa from the Conception Island Bank, Bahamas. Breviora. 549; 1-19. DOI: 10.3099/brvo-549-00-1-19.1 

UNC Asheville Biology professor discovers new species of snake

New Species of Silver Snake Is Extremely Endangered via @NatGeo

Reynolds, R. G., M. L. Niemiller, S. B. Hedges, A. Dornburg, A. R. Puente-Rolón, and L. J. Revell. 2013. Molecular phylogeny and historical biogeography of West Indian boid snakes (Chilabothrus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 68: 461–470.

[PaleoIchthyology • 2016] Meemannia eos • The Oldest Actinopterygian Highlights the Cryptic Early History of the Hyperdiverse Ray-Finned Fishes

Meemannia eos 
Life restoration by Brian Choo

• Once considered a lobe-fin, Meemannia is the oldest ray-finned fish
• MicroCT reveals ray-fin characters including lateral cranial and spiracular canals
• Meemannia revises hypotheses of bone histology in the ancestor of bony fishes
• “Cosmine”-like tissues are also present in the ray-fin Cheirolepis

Osteichthyans comprise two divisions, each containing over 32,000 living species: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods) and Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes). Recent discoveries from China highlight the morphological disparity of early sarcopterygians and extend their origin into the late Silurian. By contrast, the oldest unambiguous actinopterygians are roughly 30 million years younger, leaving a long temporal gap populated by fragments and rare body fossils of controversial phylogenetic placement. Here we reinvestigate the enigmatic osteichthyan Meemannia from the Early Devonian (∼415 million years ago) of China, previously identified as an exceptionally primitive lobe-finned fish. Meemannia combines “cosmine”-like tissues taken as evidence of sarcopterygian affinity with actinopterygian-like skull roof and braincase geometry, including endoskeletal enclosure of the spiracle and a lateral cranial canal. We report comparable histological structures in undoubted ray-finned fishes and conclude that they are general osteichthyan features. Phylogenetic analysis places Meemannia as an early-diverging ray-finned fish, resolving it as the sister lineage of Cheirolepis plus all younger actinopterygians. This brings the first appearance of ray-fins more in line with that of lobe-fins and fills a conspicuous faunal gap in the otherwise diverse late Silurian-earliest Devonian vertebrate faunas of the South China Block.

Fig.1 Cranial anatomy of Meemannia eos based on High-Resolution Computed Tomography.
A Dorsal view; B Ventral view; C Endocast in dorsal view; D Endocast of Mimipiscis in dorsal view
(Image by LU Jing).

Fig.3 Summary phylogeny, simplified from the strict consensus tree, and the evolution of key Actinopterygian features
(Image by LU Jing).

Jing Lu, Sam Giles, Matt Friedman, Jan L. den Blaauwen and Min Zhucor. 2016. The Oldest Actinopterygian Highlights the Cryptic Early History of the Hyperdiverse Ray-Finned Fishes. Current Biology. DOI:  10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.045 

Oldest Actinopterygian from China Provides New Evidence for the Origin of Ray-Finned Fishes

Min Zhu, Xiaobo Yu, Wei Wang, Wenjin Zhao and Liantao Jia. 2006. A primitive fish provides key characters bearing on deep osteichthyan phylogeny. Nature. 441, 77-80. DOI: 10.1038/nature04563

1st Min Zhu, W. Wang and Xiaobo Yu. 2010. Meemannia eos, a basal sarcopterygian fish from the Lower Devonian of China –expanded description and significance. in D.K. Elliott, J.G. Maisey, X.-B. Yu, D.-S. Miao (Eds.), Morphology, Phylogeny and Paleobiogeography of Fossil Fishes, Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil; 199–214. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

[Entomology • 2016] Cyana angkorensis • A Review of the Genus Cyana Walker, 1854 (Lepidoptera, Erebidae, Arctiinae) from Cambodia, with Description of New Species

Cyana angkorensis  
Bayarsaikhan & Bae, 2016    DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4114.4.5


Genus Cyana Walker, 1854, with 17 species in Cambodia, is reviewed. Among them, Cyana angkorensis Bayarsaikhan & Bae, sp. n. is described as new to science and 7 species are newly recorded from Cambodia. A key to the Cambodian species of the genus Cyana with illustrations of adults and genitalia is presented.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Erebidae, Arctiinae, Lithosiini, Cyana, new species, Cambodia

Ulziijargal Bayarsaikhan and Yang-Seop Bae. 2016. A Review of the Genus Cyana Walker, 1854 (Lepidoptera, Erebidae, Arctiinae) from Cambodia, with Description of New Species. Zootaxa.  4114(4)  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4114.4.5

[Botany • 2016] Thismia tectipora • A New, Unusual Mitre-Form Species (Thismiaceae) from Tropical Australia

  Thismia tectipora Cowie  


  Thismia tectipora (Thismiaceae) a new, unusual mitre-form species from tropical Australia. Nuytsia 27: 85–94 (2016). A new tropical species, Thismia tectipora Cowie from Melville Island in the far north of the Northern Territory, Australia, is described and illustrated. The species is unique in the genus in having a thickened, fleshy, verrucose, cap-like mitre, the rim of which is reflexed to hide the pores in the upper perianth tube. It appears allied to taxa previously placed in Thismia Griff. sect. Sarcosiphon (Blume) Jonker, Geomitra Becc. and Scaphiophora Schltr. Available evidence suggests T. tectipora has a restricted distribution on Melville Island. Threats to the species, and its conservation status, are discussed.

Type: Melville Island [near Paru], Northern Territory ... [precise locality withheld for conservation reasons].

Diagnostic features. Distinguished from all other Thismia species by the thickened, verrucose, caplike mitre, the margin of which is reflexed to hide the three pores at the apex of the perianth tube. The apparent absence of the three outer perianth lobes and single long, slender appendage are also both unusual in Thismia.

Etymology. From the Latin tectus (hidden) and porus (a pore), in reference to the pores in the perianth tube, which are hidden by the mitre cap (Figure 1).

Ian D. Cowie and David T. Liddle. 2016. Thismia tectipora (Thismiaceae) A New, Unusual Mitre-Form Species from Tropical Australia. NuytsiaThe journal of the Western Australian Herbarium. 27: 85–94.

[Invertebrate • 2016] Tritetrabdella longiducta • A New Species of Tritetrabdella (Hirudinida: Hirudiniformes: Haemadipsidae) from northern Indochina

 Tritetrabdella longiducta 
Nakano, Jeratthitikul, Nguyen & Panha, 2016

 A new species of the terrestrial haemadipsid genus TritetrabdellaTritetrabdella longiducta, from northern Indochina is described. The new species is distinguished from all congeners by the combination of triannulate somite VII, uniannulate somite XXV, three lobes of respiratory auricles in somites XXV–XXVII, 57 friction rays on caudal sucker, male gonopore (in somite XI b5/b6) and female gonopore (in somite XII b5) positions and slightly folded vaginal sac. Phylogenetic analyses using nuclear 18S rRNA and 28S rRNA, in addition to mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I markers, confirmed that the new species forms a unique lineage among the known congeners. A key to all the species of Tritetrabdella is provided.

Key words. Hirudinida, Haemadipsidae, Tritetrabdella, phylogenetic analyses, Thailand, Vietnam

Distribution. Known only from the type locality and Ta Co, Son La Province in northern Vietnam (Fig. 1). The elevations of the localities were more than 700 m above sea level. The individual from Doi Phuka was found on soil around a decayed banana tree containing very high moisture.

Natural history. The hosts are not known because the specimens examined were collected free-living, but are presumed to include amphibians (Lai & Chen, 2010). The Vietnamese individual was collected when it was climbing the third author; therefore, mammals may also be hosts of T. longiducta.

Etymology. The specific name is a compound adjective derived from the Latin words, longus (long), and ductus (duct), referring to the fact that the common oviduct of this species nearly equals the length of its vaginal duct, a diagnostic character of the species.

Takafumi Nakano, Ekgachai Jeratthitikul, Tao Thien Nguyen and Somsak Panha. 2016. A New Species of Tritetrabdella (Hirudinida: Hirudiniformes: Haemadipsidae) from northern Indochina. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 64: 105–116

[Invertebrate • 2013] Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis • Genetics and Morphology of the Genus Tritetrabdella (Hirudinea, Haemadipsidae) from the Mountainous Rain Forests of Sabah, Borneo, Reveal A New Species with Two New Subspecies

Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis  Kappes, 2013

Blood-feeding terrestrial leeches of the family Haemadipsidae are a notorious part of the invertebrate diversity in Asian and Australian rain forests. All hitherto published records of terrestrial leeches of Borneo belong to the genus Haemadipsa. Here, a second, poorly known haemadipsid genus is reported from Mount Kinabalu and Crocker Range National Park. The individuals were barcoded and compared to sequences available in GenBank. The results show that the genus Tritetrabdella has representatives in the Indochinese and the Sundaic bioregions. All six specimens from Borneo are from a single new Tritetrabdella lineage, Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis spec. nov. Within the Bornean lineage, two groups differing 4-5% in the COI barcoding sequence were identified. Because 1) it is probable that haemadipsid COI is subjected to base pair substitution rates of 2.5% per Ma, 2) COI protein sequences were the same within the Bornean material, 3) color can change as a response to the environment, 4) the lineages inhabit different altitudes in separate areas and 5) only six individuals were found, a conservative approach was taken and the groups were tentatively given subspecies status: T. k. kinabaluensis ssp. nov. and T. k. inobongensis ssp. nov. The ecology and the conservation status of the Bornean Tritetrabdella warrant urgent assessment because the genus Tritetrabdella is considered as mainly feeding on amphibians and probably small mammals, and thus can be predicted to be sensitive to climatic fluctuations, forest disturbances and fragmentation, and amphibian decline.

Key words: Annelida, Clitellata, ecological specialization, genetic distance, parasite, phylogeny, speciation, tropical mountains

Fig. 3. Color variation in Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis spec. nov. from the three locations:
a) and b) T. k. inobongensis ssp. nov. from Inobong substation; c) T. k. kinabaluensis ssp. nov. (SP13398) from Gunung Alab; d) T. k. kinabaluensis ssp. nov. (SP13306) from Kinabalu Park Headquarters; e) ventro-lateral closeup of the head region (SP13398, ethanol-preserved); f) comparison of ethanol-preserved individuals (from left to right: SP13398, SP13306, and SP13383; lateral incisions are from tissue removal for DNA extraction). The yellowish color in the preserved SP13306 occurred during ethanol preservation.


Phylum: Annelida
Class: Clitellata
Subclass: Hirudinea

Order: Arhynchobdellida
Suborder: Hirudiniformes

Family: Haemadipsidae Blanchard, 1893

Genus: Tritetrabdella Moore, 1937

Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis spec. nov. (Figs 1-7)
The type of the new species is proposed to be the same as that of its nominal subspecies Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis kinabaluensis ssp. nov., namely, Sabah Parks collection number SP13398.

Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis kinabaluensis ssp. nov. 

Etymology. Named after the sacred mountain, Mount Kinabalu, in Crocker Range, Sabah, Borneo.

 Diagnosis. Dorsum of unstressed individuals creamy-white with three darker, brownish stripes with black border, one median stripe located dorsally, the other two stripes supramarginally on each side (Fig. 3d). Brownish stripes somewhat variable in coloration (Fig. 3): middle field dark brown to median brown, bordered by rather broad blackish lines, loops form ‘bubbles’ or circles which reach the lateral stripes (Fig. 3), lateral

Etymology. Named after the sacred mountain, Mount Kinabalu, in Crocker Range, Sabah, Borneo.

Distribution. So far, only known from two locations, namely Gunung Alab in Crocker Range National Park and Mount Kinabalu Park Headquarters, in Sabah, Borneo, at altitudes between 1500 and 1900 m.a.s.l.

Ecology. So far, only known from cold and moist mossy temperate rain forests on acidic soils, one at an often cloud-covered mountain top. Its host(s) are unknown, but the two specimens somehow were attracted to man.

Tritetrabdella kinabaluensis inobongensis ssp. nov.

Etymology. Named as coming from the Inobong substation in Crocker Range, Sabah, Borneo, where the specimens were collected.

Distribution. So far, only known from the type locality in Crocker Range.

Ecology. So far, only known to occur in low altitude dipterocarp forests. Its host(s) are unknown, but the specimens seemed to be attracted by man.

Heike Kappes. 2013. Genetics and Morphology of the Genus Tritetrabdella (Hirudinea, Haemadipsidae) from the Mountainous Rain Forests of Sabah, Borneo, Reveal A New Species with Two New Subspecies. Contributions to Zoology. 82(4) 185-197.

[Botany • 2016] Boesenbergia siphonantha (Zingiberaceae), A New Record for Thailand and Vietnam with Notes on the Molecular Phylogeny

Fig. 3. Boesenbergia siphonantha (King ex Baker) M.Sabu, Prasanthk. & Škorničk. from Kanchanaburi, Thailand.   A. Plants in situ. B. Flower on a radical inflorescence. C. First day flower.
 From J. Mood & P. Chalermglin M2056. (Photos: J. Mood)

 Boesenbergia siphonantha (King ex Baker) M.Sabu, Prasanthk. & Škorničk. (Zingiberaceae) is newly recorded from Thailand and Vietnam. Its nomenclatural history, taxonomy, and molecular phylogeny are discussed. Figures, a comparative table and a watercolour illustration are provided.

Keywords. Andaman Islands, GastrochilusKaempferia

Boesenbergia siphonantha (King ex Baker) M.Sabu, Prasanthk. & Škorničk., Rheedea 14: 55 (2004). – Kaempferia siphonantha King ex Baker in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 222 (1890). 
— TYPE: India, Andaman Islands, 1884, King’s Collector 372 (lectotype CAL [CAL0000000916]; isolectotypes CAL [CAL0000000912, CAL0000000913], K [K000640517]), first step designation by Sabu et al. (2004), second step here. (Figs. 2–6)

Distribution & Ecology. Andaman Islands: Moist, deciduous and inland evergreen forests on humus rich soil, 5–45 m elevation. Thailand: On and around limestone outcrops in deciduous, secondary forest with bamboo, medium to heavy shade at c. 70–800 m elevation. Vietnam: Deciduous Lagerstroemia L. forest on lateritic rocks.

J.D. Mood, H.Đ. Trần, J.F. Veldkamp and L.M. Prince. 2016. Boesenbergia siphonantha (Zingiberaceae), A New Record for Thailand and Vietnam with Notes on the Molecular Phylogeny. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore. 68(1): 125–137. 

[Botany • 2016] The Resurrection of Boesenbergia albosanguinea (Zingiberaceae) with A New Record for Peninsular Thailand

Fig. 5. Species comparison. A. Boesenbergia prainiana (Baker) Schltr. (left), B. albosanguinea (Ridl.) Loes. (right).
B. B. prainiana inflorescence and flower. C. Boesenbergia prainiana, (left), B. albosanguinea (right). D. Pressed and dried flower of B. albosanguinea (M3291). E. Pressed and dried flower of B. prainiana (M3172). F. Pressed and dried flower of B. albosanguinea (holotype).
 (Photos: J. Mood)

 Boesenbergia albosanguinea (Ridl.) Loes. (Zingiberaceae) is resurrected from the synonymy of B. prainiana (King ex Baker) Schltr. It is redescribed in detail with comparative tables, figures, and illustrations. This species is a new record for Thailand.

Keywords. Boesenbergia prainiana, Langkawi Islands, limestone, Malaysia, Penang

Boesenbergia albosanguinea (Ridl.) Loes. in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam., ed.
2, 15a: 566 (1930). – Gastrochilus albosanguinea Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat.
Soc. 32: 109 (1899) (“albo-sanguinea”).

Type: Specimens from a plant cultivated at Penang Botanical Gardens, Sep 1894, “Wooldridge” [but more likely Curtis] s.n. (holotype K! [K000255404]). (Fig. 1-3, 5–7; Tab. 1, 2).

Boesenbergia prainiana auct. non (Baker) Schltr.: Holttum, Gard. Bull Singapore. 13: 111 (1950). 

Distribution. Malaysia: Langkawi, Pulau Langgun; Thailand: Satun Province.

Ecology. Found on limestone outcrops in shaded habitats in close proximity to the sea.

Phenology. Observations in Satun Province and Langkawi indicate that flowering normally occurs from July to mid-October. Flowers open in the morning and close the following day.

Etymology. Named for the white and blood-red colour of the labellum.

Notes. This species as it appears in Satun Province is upright to slightly decumbent with thick, multiple stems in a clump, quite similar to the vegetative habit of Boesenbergia trangensis and B. plicata. The leaves are also plicate, but tend to be slightly smaller in size with a rounded leaf base. When fertile, it is easily identified by the very symmetrical, lanceolate inflorescence that is narrow at the base, wider in the centre and slowly tapered to the apex. The bracts are symmetrical and tightly overlap on both sides of the rachis. The leaf sheath margins and lower bracts are reddish which gives the appearance of a broad, red streak on the stem and partially up the centre of the inflorescence. The inflorescence protrudes for about half its length out of the leaf sheaths and maintains a mostly vertical stance. The flowers are pure white with a light red, narrowed, maculate pattern in the throat, and a lip lightly streaked with dark red especially on the apex margin. Ridley’s comment on the narrow opening for pollination is due to the large, overlapping lateral staminodes which cover roughly two-thirds of the labellum length, forming a tube. In the Langkawi populations, the plants tend to be generally less robust, shorter in height with narrower, shorter leaves. The leaf sheaths are red but the colour does not extend onto the rachis. The inflorescences are more cylindrical, less flattened with slightly longer, narrower bracts which sometimes deflex slightly away from the rachis on some plants. Flower shape and colour are nearly identical to the Thai populations, albeit slightly smaller.

It is concluded that Boesenbergia albosanguinea is distinct from B. prainiana. The Langkawi collections by Curtis labelled as Boesenbergia albosanguinea are confirmed, as are those from Satun Province, the latter constituting a new record for Thailand.

The disparity of Wooldridge’s type locality in the mountains of Perak as compared with the documented coastal collections in Langkawi and Satun Province cannot be explained by any known historical references such as accession books or associated Wooldridge memorabilia (pers. com. Singapore Botanic Gardens Library). The facts remain that Boesenbergia albosanguinea has never again been recorded from the Thaiping Hills and, ecologically, it is unlikely that species otherwise only known from coastal limestone sites would also be found in a distinctly different, mountainous environment. Therefore, the only logical explanation for this inconsistency is that the plant at Penang used for the holotype, protologue and illustration was not the same plant Wooldridge collected. More likely it was one of Curtis’s plants collected from Langkawi between 1890 and 1893.

J.D. Mood, A.G. Hussain and J.F. Veldkamp. 2016. The Resurrection of Boesenbergia albosanguinea (Zingiberaceae) with A New Record for Peninsular Thailand.
Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore. 68(1): 109–124.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Sclerocormus parviceps • A Large Aberrant Stem Ichthyosauriform Indicating Early Rise and Demise of Ichthyosauromorphs in the Wake of the End-Permian Extinction

Sclerocormus parviceps 
Jiang, Motani, Huang, Tintori, Hu, Rieppel, Fraser, Ji, Kelley, Fu & Zhang, 2016

Contrary to the fast radiation of most metazoans after the end-Permian mass extinction, it is believed that early marine reptiles evolved slowly during the same time interval. However, emerging discoveries of Early Triassic marine reptiles are questioning this traditional view. Here we present an aberrant basal ichthyosauriform with a hitherto unknown body design that suggests a fast radiation of early marine reptiles. The new species is larger than coeval marine reptiles and has an extremely small head and a long tail without a fluke. Its heavily-built body bears flattened and overlapping gastral elements reminiscent of hupehsuchians. A phylogenetic analysis places the new species at the base of ichthyosauriforms, as the sister taxon of Cartorhynchus with which it shares a short snout with rostrally extended nasals. It now appears that ichthyosauriforms evolved rapidly within the first one million years of their evolution, in the Spathian (Early Triassic), and their true diversity has yet to be fully uncovered. Early ichthyosauromorphs quickly became extinct near the Early-Middle Triassic boundary, during the last large environmental perturbation after the end-Permian extinction involving redox fluctuations, sea level changes and volcanism. Marine reptile faunas shifted from ichthyosauromorph-dominated to sauropterygian-dominated composition after the perturbation.

Systematc Paleontology
Reptilia Laurenti, 1768.
Diapsida Osborn, 1903.

Ichthyosauromorpha Motani et al., 2015.
Ichthyosauriformes Motani et al., 2015.

Nasorostra nov.

Etymology: Nasus (Latin nose) and rostrum (Latin beak), referring to the snout with the nasal bone reaching the tip.

Diagnosis: Rostrally elongate nasal reaching snout tip; preorbital and postorbital skull lengths sub-equal; frontal without distinctive posterolateral process; deep posterior mandible with slanting end and low jaw joint; ribcage deepest near shoulder; scapular blade wider distally than proximally.

Sclerocormus parviceps gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: Genus name from Greek skleros and kormos, ‘stiff trunk’; species name from Latin parvus and caput, ‘small skull’.

Holotype: Anhui Geological Museum AGB6265.

Figure 1: The holotype of Sclerocormus parviceps gen. et sp. nov.
 (a) Whole specimen. (b) Skull. (c) Close-up of gastral basket. (d) Close-up of U-shaped haemal arches. (e) Right forelimb. (f) Shoulder elements. (g) Pelvic girdle and hind limb. (h) Skull elements.
Abbreviations: a, angular; ar, articular; as, astragalus; ca, calcaneum; car, caudal rib; ca.v, caudal vertebra; ce, centralia; cl, clavicle; d, dentary; dc, distal carpal; f, frontal; fe, femur; fi, fibula; he, hemal arch; il, ilium; in, intermedium; is, ischium; j, jugal, l, lacrimal; m, maxilla; mc, metacarpal; mt, metatarsal; n, nasal; p, parietal; pm, premaxilla; po, postorbital; pof, postfrontal; prf, prefrontal; pu, pubis; q, quadrate; sa, surangular; sc, scapula; scl, scleral ossicles; sq, squamosal; sr, sacral rib; st, supratemporal; ti, tibia; u, ulna; ul, ulnare. Scale unit in (a) is 1 cm, other scale bars are 2 cm.
DOI:  10.1038/srep26232

 Diagnosis: Skull very short, occupying 6.25% of total length; tail long, about 58% of total length; body trunk short and deep; preorbital snout constricted and extremely short, about 30% of skull length; orbit large, more than one third of skull length; pineal foramen large, located at fronto-parietal suture; nasal large; ribs flattened, with blunt distal ends; gastralia robust, forming tight ventral basket; dorsal neural spines tall and vertical, with craniad and caudad flanges sandwiching the thickened shaft; caudal neural spines short with rounded top; femur straight, without shaft constriction.

Locality and horizon: From the first level of Majiashan Quarry, Chaohu, Anhui Province, China. Bed 719, about 27 m above the bottom of the Upper Member of the Nanlinghu Formation, within the ammonite Subcolumbites zone, Spathian, Olenekian, Lower Triassic (Fig. 2).

Da-Yong Jiang, Ryosuke Motani, Jian-Dong Huang, Andrea Tintori, Yuan-Chao Hu, Olivier Rieppel, Nicholas C. Fraser, Cheng Ji, Neil P. Kelley, Wan-Lu Fu and Rong Zhang. 2016. A Large Aberrant Stem Ichthyosauriform Indicating Early Rise and Demise of Ichthyosauromorphs in the Wake of the End-Permian Extinction. Scientific Reports. 6; 26232. DOI:  10.1038/srep26232
Ryosuke Motani, Da-Yong Jiang, Guan-Bao Chen, Andrea Tintori, Olivier Rieppel, Cheng Ji and Jian-Dong Huang. 2015. A Basal Ichthyosauriform with A Short Snout from the Lower Triassic of China. Nature. 517, 485–488. DOI: 10.1038/nature13866

Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass ... via @FieldMuseum @EurekAlertAAAS
Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction via @physorg_com