Tuesday, January 17, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Five New Species of Neolissochilus Rainboth, 1985 (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from the Western Ghats, peninsular India; Neolissochilus capudelphinus, N. minimus, N. micropthalmus, N. acutirostris & N. tamiraparaniensis

Figure 3. Live specimens of (A) Neolissochilus capudelphinus sp. nov. MSUMNH191, 216.21 mm SL, upstream of the diverted water from Periyar River, M. Arunachalam and team, 16 March 2003, 
(B) Neolissochilus minimus sp. nov. MSUMNH192, 127.34 mm SL, from the diverted water of Periyar River in the forest reserves of Cumbam Valley, M. Arunachalam and team, 03 March 2003,
(C) Neolissochilus micropthalmus sp. nov. MSUMNH193, 163.72 mm SL, Ambayathode in the forest reserves in the Kannur District, Kerala, M. Arunachalam and team, 09 February 2003,
(D) Neolissochilus acutirostris, sp. nov. MSUMNH194, 160.17 mm SL, Abby falls a stream in the Cauvery River drainage in Kodagu District, Karnataka, M. Arunachalam and team, 22 March 2004 and
(E) Neolissochilus tamiraparaniensis, sp. nov. MSUMNH195, 246.56 mm SL, Gadana River of Tamiraparani River basin (east flowing in southern Tamil Nadu), M. Arunachalam and team, 24 February 2004.

Arunachalam, Sivakumar & Murugan, 2017

The genus Neolissochilus was described by Rainboth, 1985 and currently includes 24 nominal taxa with distributions in southern and south-eastern Asia. Five new species of Neolissochilus are described herein from streams and rivers of the Western Ghats, peninsular India, one of the World’s hotspots of biodiversity. The new species include Neolissochilus capudelphinus, N. minimus, N. micropthalmus, N. acutirostris and N. tamiraparaniensis. Neolissochilus wynaadensis (Day, 1873), also from the Western Ghats is considered a valid species. The five new species are described based on meristic, morphometric characters, and molecular data. Relationships among the newly described species and the relationships of Neolissochilus with Systomus (=Barbodes /Puntius), Hypselobarbus Bleeker and Tor Gray, all presumed closely related lineages are discussed.

Keywords: Cyprinidae, Neolissochilus capudelphinusNeolissochilus minimusNeolissochilus micropthalmusNeolissochilus acutirostris, Neolissochilus tamiraparaniensis.

Muthukumarasamy Arunachalam, Paramasivan Sivakumar and Manavalan Murugan. 2017. Descriptions of Five New Species of Neolissochilus Rainboth, 1985 (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from Streams/Rivers of the Western Ghats, peninsular India. FishTaxa. 2(1); 1-27.

[Herpetology • 2016] Anolis purpuronectes • A New Species of Semiaquatic Anolis (Squamata: Dactyloidae) from Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico

Anolis purpuronectes 
Gray, Meza-Lázaro, Poe & Nieto-Montes de Oca, 2016  


We describe a new species of semiaquatic Anolis (Anolis purpuronectes) from the Chimalapas region of eastern Oaxaca and adjacent Veracruz, Mexico, and investigate its phylogenetic relationships with the closely related species A. barkeri to which the populations under investigation have previously been assigned to. Anolis barkeri and the new species appear to be allopatric, and differ primarily in male dewlap colour (red and orange in A. barkeri, pale purple in A. purpuronectes). A partitioned Bayesian analysis of the mitochondrial genes encoding ND1 (part), ND2, and the intervening tRNAs revealed that A. barkeri and A. purpuronectes are genetically distinct (uncorrected genetic distance between them=11.5%), nested within the A. schiedii group as sister species, and most closely related to a clade composed of A. cymbops, A. milleri, and A. parvicirculatus.

Key words: Anole, Anolis barkeri, Anolis schiedii group, Chimalapas, Mexico, new species, semiaquatic lizard 


Etymology.— The specific epithet purpuronectes, a noun in apposition, is a combination of the Latin adjective purpureus (purple) and the Greek noun nektes (a swimmer).

Anolis purpuronectes Gray, Meza-Lázaro, Poe & Nieto-Montes de Oca, 2016  

Levi Gray, Rubi Meza-Lázaro, Steven Poe and Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca. 2016. 
Anolis purpuronectes - A New Species of Semiaquatic Anolis (Squamata: Dactyloidae) from Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico. Herpetological Journal. 26; 253–262. 


[Mammalogy • 2017] Hoolock tianxing • A New Species of Hoolock Gibbon (Primates: Hylobatidae), based on Integrative Taxonomy, from eastern Myanmar and southwestern China

Hoolock tianxing 
Fan, He, Chen, Ortiz, Zhang, Zhao, Li, Zhang, Kimock, Wang, Groves, Turvey, Roos, Helgen & Jiang, 2017  

Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon or Gaoligong Hoolock Gibbon    DOI:  10.1002/ajp.22631 


We describe a species of Hoolock gibbon (Primates: Hylobatidae) that is new to science from eastern Myanmar and southwestern China. The genus of hoolock gibbons comprises two previously described living species, the western (Hoolock hoolock) and eastern hoolock (H. leuconedys) gibbons, geographically isolated by the Chindwin River. We assessed the morphological and genetic characteristics of wild animals and museum specimens, and conducted multi-disciplinary analyses using mitochondrial genomic sequences, external morphology, and craniodental characters to evaluate the taxonomic status of the hoolock population in China. The results suggest that hoolocks distributed to the east of the Irrawaddy-Nmai Hka Rivers, which were previously assigned to H. leuconedys, are morphologically and genetically distinct from those to the west of the river, and should be recognized as a new species, the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon or skywalker hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing sp. nov.). We consider that the new species should be categorized as Endangered under IUCN criteria. The discovery of the new species focuses attention on the need for improved conservation of small apes, many of which are in danger of extinction in southern China and Southeast Asia.

Figure 8: A juvenile male of Hoolock tianxing from Mt. Gaoligong jumping across trees.
Photo taken by Lei Dong 

Order Primates Linnaeus (1758)
Family Hylobatidae Gray (1870)

Genus Hoolock Mootnick and Groves (2005)

Hoolock tianxing sp. nov.
Hylobates hoolock leuconedys: Groves (1967): 276 (part).

Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon or Gaoligong Hoolock Gibbon 

  Holotype: AMNH M-43068 (adult male, skin only; Figure 3), collected by Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews on April 5, 1917 during the American Museum of Natural History's Asiatic Zoological Expedition (Allen, 1938).

 Type locality: Ho-mu-shu (=Hongmushu) Pass, Baoshan, Yunnan, China (25.00 N, 98.83 E).

 Paratypes: AMNH M-43065 (adult female, skin only; Supplemental Figure S1) and MCZ 26474 (=AMNH M-43067, skin and skull, relocated to MCZ in September 1930), collected at the same locality as the holotype (Allen, 1938). IOZ 25965 (adult male, skin and skull; Supplemental Figure S3), collected on 4 June, 1965 at Tengchong, Yunnan, China. MCZ 30383 (adult male, skin and skull; Supplemental Figure S3) collected on 15 January, 1932, ca. 40 miles east of Bhamo, northern Myanmar, during the Brooke Dolan expedition.

 Etymology: Tianxing, meaning heaven's movement or skywalker (xing, movement, can act as either a noun or a verb), a name referring to the unique locomotory mode of gibbons (brachiation; Figure 8) and derived from the text of the I Ching, an ancient Chinese work of divination (“As heaven's movement is ever vigorous, so must the scholarly gentleman (ajp22631-gra-0005, “junzi”) ceaselessly strive for self-improvement”). Gibbons were widely regarded as a symbol of scholar-officials or junzi in ancient China, as the perceived “noble” characteristics of gibbons were considered to accord with the aesthetic taste of both Daoism and traditional Chinese scholars (van Gulik, 1967; Ye & Heule, 2013).

Diagnosis:  Hoolock tianxing is a hoolock gibbon distinguished from other described hoolock species by a combination of external and dental characters. In males, the ventral pelage is brownish, resembling that of H. leuconedys but differing from H. hoolock. The eyebrows are relatively thinner than in H. hoolock and H. leuconedys, and well-separated, differing from the condition in H. hoolock, where there is only a narrow gap between the eyebrows. White hairs are absent in the suborbital area, differing from H. leuconedys, which has white hairs in the suborbital area. The beards of males are black or brown, differing in color from H. leuconedys, which has a whitish or buffy beard, and not as prominent as in H. hoolock. The black, brown or grayish genital tuft in males differs in color from H. leuconedys, which has a white or silvery tuft. The face rings in females are incomplete, differing from the condition in both H. hoolock and H. leuconedys. The crown outline of the lower p4 is oval, making it distinct from H. leuconedys and H. hoolock individuals from Myanmar and more similar to H. hoolock from Assam.

DistributionBetween the Irrawaddy-Nmai Hka River and the Salween River in China and Myanmar. The Dulongjiang valley, the upper tributary of the Nmai Hka River, may serve as a dispersal barrier for hoolocks. Wild individuals are confirmed to occur on Mt. Gaoligong, and historical museum specimens are also known from further south at Gokteik, Shan State, northern Myanmar. Geissmann et al. (2013) estimated that a healthy population with ca. 50,000 individuals of eastern hoolock live in Shan State subtropical forests, and ca. 16,000 individuals live in montane rainforest in Kayah-Kayin.

Peng-Fei Fan, Kai He, Xing Chen, Alejandra Ortiz, Bin Zhang, Chao Zhao, Yun-Qiao Li, Hai-Bo Zhang, Clare Kimock, Wen-Zhi Wang, Colin Groves, Samuel T. Turvey, Christian Roos, Kristofer M. Helgen and Xue-Long Jiang. 2017. Description of A New Species of Hoolock Gibbon (Primates: Hylobatidae) Based on Integrative Taxonomy. 
American Journal of Primatology.   
DOI:  10.1002/ajp.22631

New species of gibbon discovered in China

[Entomology • 2017] Araucariocladus hiems • A New Tropical Montane Firefly Genus and Species (Coleoptera: Lampyridae), Active During Winter and Endemic to the southeastern Atlantic Rainforest

Araucariocladus hiems 
Da Silveira & Mermudes, 2017   

 DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4221.2.4 


Here we describe Araucariocladus hiems gen. et sp. nov. (Lampyridae: Amydetinae), a firefly species endemic to high montane forests, and occurring during June, a relatively cool and dry month in the Southeastern Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. We tentatively place it in Psilocladina McDermott, and discuss the limitations of its classification. We also provide illustrations of key structural features of the new taxa and discuss its affinities.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Endemism, Psilocladina, Serra dos Órgãos, tropical winter


Luiz Felipe Lima Da Silveira and Jose Ricardo Miras Mermudes. 2017. A New Tropical Montane Firefly Genus and Species, Active During Winter and Endemic to the southeastern Atlantic Rainforest (Coleoptera: Lampyridae).
 Zootaxa.  4221(2); 205–214.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4221.2.4


Monday, January 16, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Molecular based Phylogenetic Species Recognition in the Genus Pampus (Perciformes: Stromateidae) reveals Hidden Diversity in the Indian Ocean


• The phylogenetic relationships between Pampus species were determined based on 150 mitochondrial COI gene sequences.
• Morphological and molecular evidence suggests the silver pomfret, reported as Pampus argenteus, distributed in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea is distinct from East Asian P. argenteus.
• The silver pomfret in the Indian region represents species with genetic affinity to P. cinereus.
• Hidden species diversity among Pampus species is revealed from Bay of Bengal and Arabian waters.

Pomfrets (Genus Pampus) are commercially important fishes in the Indo Pacific region. The systematics of this genus is complicated due to morphological similarities between species. The silver pomfret from Indian waters has long been considered to be Pampus argenteus. The objective of the study was to utilize the mitochondrial COI gene to establish the molecular identity of the silver pomfret distributed in Indian waters and to resolve the phylogenetic relationships among Pampus species in the world based on sequence data in the NCBI database. Seven valid Pampus species are identified in this study. The mean genetic divergence value calculated between clades representing these species was 7.9%. The mean genetic distance between the so-called Pampus argenteus from Indian waters and sequences attributed to P. argenteus from the South China Sea, where the neotype of this species was collected, was found to be greater than 12%, strongly supporting the likelihood of the Indian species being distinct. The Indian Pampus species show very close affinity to P. cinereus, with inter species differences less than 2%. The taxonomic identity of the silver pomfret in India is also discussed here, in light of molecular and morphological evidence.

Keywords: Pampus argenteus; COI; Molecular phylogeny; Distinct species

P.R. Divya, C. Mohitha, G. Kumar Rahul, C.P. Rajool Shanis, V.S. Basheer and A. Gopalakrishnan. 2017. Molecular based Phylogenetic Species Recognition in the Genus Pampus (Perciformes: Stromateidae) reveals Hidden Diversity in the Indian Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.030 

[Herpetology • 2017] Ameerega shihuemoy • A New Species of Poison-dart Frog (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from Manu Province, Amazon Region of southeastern Peru

Ameerega shihuemoy 
SeRrano-Rojas, Whitworth, Villacampa, Von May, Gutiérrez, Padial & Chaparro, 2017


We describe and name a new species of poison-dart frog from the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Manu Province, Madre de Dios Department, Peru; specifically within the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and the buffer zone of Manu National Park. Ameerega shihuemoy sp. nov. is supported by a unique combination of characters: black dorsum with cream to light orange dorsolateral lines, blue belly reticulated with black, and the lack of axillary, thigh and calf flash marks. Within Ameerega, it shares the general appearance of A. altamazonica, A. boliviana, A. hahneli, A. ignipedis, A. petersi, A. picta, A. pongoensis, A. pulchripecta, A. simulans, A. smaragdina, and A. yungicola; each possessing a granular black to brown dorsum, a light labial bar, a conspicuous dorsolateral line running from the snout to the groin, and a metallic blue belly and underside of arms and hind limbs. From most of these species it can be distinguished by lacking flash marks on the axillae, thighs, and calves (absent in only A. boliviana and A. smaragdina, most A. petersi, and some A. pongoensis), by having bright cream to orange dorsolateral stripes (white, intense yellow, or green in all other species, with the exception of A. picta), and by its blue belly reticulated with black (bluish white and black in A. boliviana, green and blue with black marbling in A. petersi, and green and blue lacking black marbling in A. smaragdina). Its mating call also shows clear differences to morphologically similar species, with a lower note repetition rate, longer space between calls, and higher fundamental and dominant frequencies. Phylogenetic analyses based on the 16S mitochondrial rRNA fragment also support the distinctiveness of the new species and suggest that Ameerega shihuemoy is most closely related to Ameerega macero, A. altamazonica, A. rubriventris, and two undescribed species (Ameerega sp. from Porto Walter, Acre, Brazil, and Ameerega sp. from Ivochote, Cusco, Peru). Genetically, the new species is most similar to the sympatric A. macero, from which it clearly differs in characteristics of its advertisement call and coloration. The new species is found near rocky streams during the dry season and near temporary water bodies during the rainy season. Tadpoles are found in lentic water along streams, or in shallow, slow-moving streams. Given its small geographic range, we recommend that A. shihuemoy should be considered 'Near threatened' (NT) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

Keywords: Amphibia, Advertisement call, Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Ameerega, habitat, Manu Biosphere Reserve, premontane forest, rainforest, taxonomy

Ameerega shihuemoy sp. nov.
Cryptophyllobates sp: Chaparro & Ochoa 2005 p.7 (MHNC 4779 collected on 07 December 2004 by J. C. Chaparro & J. A.Ochoa at Erika Lodge, Departamento Madre de Dios).
Ameerega gr. pictus: Chaparro et al. 2016 p. 2 (from Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Departamento Madre de Dios).
Ameerega sp1: Whitworth & Villacampa 2014 p. 3 (from Manu Learning Centre, Departamento Madre de Dios).

Etymology. The specific name shihuemoy (English pronunciation: shee-way-moy) corresponds to the Harakmbut word for "poison dart frog". The Amarakaeri are aboriginals from Amazonian Peru and their language belongs to the Harakmbut linguistic group. They coexist with the new species.

FIGURE 3. Color patterns of Ameerega shihuemoy from tadpole to adult MUSM 31692.
Photos by Marcus Brent-Smith.  


SeRrano-Rojas, Shirley J., Andrew Whitworth, Jaime Villacampa, Rudolf Von May, Roberto C. Gutiérrez, José M. Padial & Juan C. Chaparro. 2017. A New Species of Poison-dart Frog (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from Manu Province, Amazon Region of southeastern Peru, with Notes on Its Natural History, Bioacoustics, Phylogenetics, and Recommended Conservation Status. Zootaxa. 4221(1); 71–94.   DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4221.1.6

Una especie nueva para la ciencia fue descubierta por el equipo de investigación dentro del Manu Learning Center y ha sido recientemente descrita por Jennifer Serrano Rojas. En la foto: la ranita venenosa de Amarakaeri (Ameerega shihuemoy). Foto: Crees Foundation / Marcus Brent-smith.

[Entomology • 2017] Lluciapomaresius nisae • A New Species of Ephippigerini (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Bradyporinae) from the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula

Lluciapomaresius nisae  
Olmo-Vidal, 2017  


A new species of the genus Lluciapomaresius Barat, 2012 is described from Serra de Llaberia in Catalonia (in the northeast of Iberian Peninsula). Lluciapomaresius nisae n. sp. was collected in a Mediterranean pine forest dominated by European black pine (Pinus nigra) and secondarily by Calcicolous rosemary scrub. L. nisae is compared to L. panteli (Navàs, 1899) from which it can be separated mainly by the shape of the male cerci, the titillators and the male calling song. Also in the females by the protuberances at the base of the ventral valves of the ovipositor.

Keywords: Orthoptera, Prelitoral Catalan Mountains, Mediterranean pine forest, isolation, Serra de Llaberia, Catalonia

male Lluciapomaresius nisae   

Josep Maria Olmo Vidal. 2017. Lluciapomaresius nisae, A New Species of Ephippigerini (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Bradyporinae) from the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula.
 Zootaxa. 4221(1); 123–130.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4221.1.3

[Herpetology • 2016] Celestus laf • A New Species of Celestus (Squamata: Anguidae) from western Panama

Celestus laf  
Lotzkat, Hertz & Köhler, 2016   

 We describe the second specimen of the anguid genus Celestus collected in Panama as representative of a new species. The holotype of this new taxon was collected in the Reserva Forestal La Fortuna, about halfway between the type localities of the Panamanian endemic C. adercus and the Costa Rican endemic C. orobius. The new form is most similar to these two species, but differs from them and all other Mesoamerican congeners in scalation and coloration. 

Key Words: Cryptozoic diversity, endemism, Lower Central America, Reserva Forestal La Fortuna, Talamancan highlands 


Etymology: The specific name is composed of the initials of the “Lost and Found” ecohostel and given in appreciation of the type locality. Ever since their first visit, which occurred at the beginning of their respective Ph.D. projects in May of 2008, Andreas Hertz and Sebastian Lotzkat have benefited greatly from the exceptional hospitality they always experienced at the ecohostel, and were happy to use its facilities as a convenient base for their herpetological explorations of the La Fortuna Forest Reserve and other areas nearby. Through this mutual partnership, the beautifully situated and by now widely known cloud forest lodge has contributed significantly to our herpetodiversity research in western Panama, and we are glad to honor this exceptional venture by dedicating the second new species we found on its grounds to it, well-timed in its 10th anniversary year.

Sebastian Lotzkat, Andreas Hertz and Gunther Köhler. 2016. A New Species of Celestus (Squamata: Anguidae) from western Panama. 
Mesoamerican Herpetology. 3; 962–975.

Resumen: Describimos el segundo espécimen hallado en Panamá del género ánguido Celestus como representante de una nueva especie. El holotipo de este nuevo taxón fue colectado en la Reserva Forestal La Fortuna, aproximadamente al medio entre las localidades tipo correspondientes al endémico panameño C. adercus y el endémico costarricense C. orobius. La nueva especie es más similar a estas dos especies, pero se diferencia de ellas, así como de las demás especies del género conocidas de Mesoamérica, en escamación y coloración. 
Palabras Claves: Baja Centroamérica, diversidad criptozoológica, endemismo, Reserva Forestal La Fortuna, tierras altas de Talamanca 

[Ichthyology • 2014] Nothobranchius chochamandai • A New Species of Annual Killifish (Cyprinodontiformes: Nothobranchiidae) from the Luapula drainage, Democratic Republic of Congo

Nothobranchius chochamandai Nagy, 2014

Nothobranchius chochamandai, new species, is described from ephemeral swamps of the Kinikabwimba River, tributary of Lufutishi River in the lower Luapula drainage in Katanga province of Democratic Republic of Congo. It is identified as belonging to the N. brieni species-group of which it shows the diagnostic characters in males: proximal portion of caudal and anal fins spotted; dorsal fin lacking dark distal margin; head without dark spots and scales without a black posterior margin. Nothobranchius chochamandai is distinguished from all other species of this species-group by the unique combination of the following characters in males: caudal and anal fins with light blue distal margins and without a submarginal band; dorsal fin without a light blue distal margin; postorbital length 56-60 % HL; snout length 16-19 % HL; head width 65-69 % of its depth, and caudal peduncle length 135-142 % of its depth.

Nothobranchius chochamandai, male (photograph by B. Nagy) 

Béla Nagy. 2014. Nothobranchius chochamandai, A New Species of Annual Killifish from the Luapula drainage, Democratic Republic of Congo (Cyprinodontiformes: Nothobranchiidae). 
 Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters. 25(2); 167-183. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

[Invertebrate • 2017] Cratera cryptolineata, C. nigrimarginata & C. aureomaculata • Three New Species of Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013 (Platyhelminthes, Continenticola) from Araucaria Forests with A Key to Species of the Genus

Cratera cryptolineataC. nigrimarginata & C. aureomaculata  
Rossi & Leal-Zanchet, 2017  

DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.643.11093 

Areas of Araucaria moist forest have been considered to constitute hotspots of land flatworm diversity, harbouring a high number of undescribed species. Herein we describe three new species of land flatworms of Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013 occurring in such type of forest in south Brazil. The three species are differentiated from their congeners mainly by their colour pattern, anatomy of the pharynx and prostatic vesicle, and details of the penis papilla and male atrium. An identification key to species of the genus in the Neotropical region is provided.

Keywords: Atlantic Forest, Geoplaninae, land flatworms, Neotropical region, taxonomy, Tricladida

Family Geoplanidae Stimpson, 1857
Subfamily Geoplaninae Stimpson, 1857
Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013

• Cratera cryptolineata sp. n.

Diagnosis: Species of Cratera with dark-brown dorsal colour, thin median stripe and greyish margins; eyes dorsal with clear halos; pharynx cylindrical; prostatic vesicle almost horizontal; penis papilla conical and symmetrical occupying distal portion of female atrium.

Etymology: The specific name is a composite of the Greek adjective kryptós (hidden) and the Latin noun linea (stripe), referring to the thin median stripe, visible only under the stereomicroscope.

• Cratera nigrimarginata sp. n.

Diagnosis: Species of Cratera with light-brownish dorsal colour bordered by dark margins; eyes dorsal with clear halos and bilobed appearance; pharynx cylindrical; prostatic vesicle with unbranched and dilated proximal portion; tip of penis papilla with infolds projecting into ejaculatory duct; cyanophil glands pierce male atrium evenly distributed.

Etymology: The specific name is a composite of the Latin adjective niger (black) and the Latin noun margo (margin), referring to the colour pattern with dark margins.

• Cratera aureomaculata sp. n.

Diagnosis: Species of Cratera with dorsal ground colour yellowish covered by brownish pigmentation in cephalic region and blackish pigmentation constituting irregular flecks over rest of dorsum; eyes dorsal with clear halos; pharynx cylindrical; prostatic vesicle unpaired with proximal portion displaced ventrally, laterally expanded and T-shaped; penis papilla conical and symmetrical with ventral insertion posteriorly displaced.

Etymology: The specific name is a composite of the Latin adjective aureus (golden) and the Latin noun macula (spot), referring to the colour pattern with yellowish ground colour covered by black irregular flecks.

 Ilana Rossi and Ana Leal-Zanchet. 2017. Three New Species of Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013 from Araucaria Forests with A Key to Species of the Genus (Platyhelminthes, Continenticola). ZooKeys. 643: 1-32. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.643.11093

Hidden diversity: 3 new species of land flatworms from the Brazilian Ara...  bit.ly/2jusW5B via @Pensoft @EurekAlert

Friday, January 13, 2017

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] The Extreme Insular Adaptation of Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014: A Giant Anseriformes of the Neogene of the Mediterranean Basin

Figure 4. Reconstruction of Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014 based on the newly described fossil remains. This reconstruction is based on a generic Western Palaearctic Goose with short and robust tarsometatarsus, short toes and very short wings according to the known elements of Garganornis ballmanni.

Illustration made by Stefano Maugeri. 
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160722 


New skeletal elements of the recently described endemic giant anseriform Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014 are presented, coming from the type-area of the Gargano and from Scontrone, southern and central Italy, respectively. The new remains represent the first bird remains found at Scontrone so far, and another shared element between these two localities, both part of the Apulia-Abruzzi Palaeobioprovince. The presence of a very reduced carpometacarpus confirms its flightlessness, only previously supposed on the basis of the very large size, while the morphologies of tarsometatarsus and posterior phalanges clearly indicate the adaptation of G. ballmanni to a terrestrial, non-aquatic, lifestyle. Its very large body size is similar to that observed in different, heavily modified, insular waterfowl and has been normally interpreted as the response to the absence of terrestrial predators and a protection from the aerial ones. The presence of a carpal knob in the proximal carpometacarpus also indicates a fighting behaviour for this large terrestrial bird species.

KEYWORDS: fossil bird, Anseriformes, flightlessness, insular gigantism, Miocene, Italy

Systematic Palaeontology

Class AVES Linnaeus, 1758
Order ANSERIFORMES Wagler, 1831

Family Insertae sedis

Meijer, 2014. DOI:  10.1016/j.crpv.2013.08.001 

Type species. Garganornis ballmanni n. sp.

Derivation of name. Masculine, after the Italian region Gargano where the quarries are located, and ‘ornis’, Greek for bird.; ‘ballmanni’ refers to Peter Ballmann who was the first to describe the fossil avifauna of Gargano.

Holotype. Distal left tibiotarsus (RGM 443307), Fig. 2.

Diagnosis. A very large representative of the order Anseriformes characterized by the following unique combination of characters; central placement of the canalis extensorius, medially displaced condylus medialis, fossa intercondylaris very wide and shallow, distal opening of canalis extensorius circular, a less pronounced difference in width of the condylus lateralis and condylus medialis, condylus medialis projecting further cranially than condylus lateralis, a reduced epicondylus lateralis and a modestly developed epicondylus medialis, a reduced sulcus m. fibularis, a deep sulcus extensorius and the lateral half of pons supratendineus sunken.

Type locality. Posticchia 5 fissure filling, Gargano pedemountain belt (41.8° N, 15.4° E), Province of Foggia, Italy.


The data presented here confirm the taxonomic validity of G. ballmanni as a strongly modified species of crown-group Anatidae endemic to the Late Miocene Apulia-Abruzzi Palaeobioprovince of central-southern Italy, on the basis of fossil remains found in the Gargano area and at Scontrone.

The newly described material, although not perfectly preserved, gives new osteological details of the morphology of G. ballmanni, which confirms its flightlessness and its extreme adaptation to a terrestrial, non-aquatic, lifestyle. Furthermore, we observed evidence for wing fighting behaviour.

Garganornis ballmanni also demonstrates the strong endemic character of the Late Miocene Apulia-Abruzzi Palaeobioprovince, already suggested by the highly modified mammals and birds. The Mediterranean Sea thus confirms its role as centre of speciation and its islands can also be confirmed to be an intermediate type of island, with faunal composition halfway between oceanic and continental ones, characterized by a very impoverished mammal fauna with high degree of endemism and no terrestrial carnivores, and by a diversified bird fauna with highly modified taxa.

Marco Pavia, Hanneke J. M. Meijer, Maria Adelaide Rossi and Ursula B. Göhlich. 2017. The Extreme Insular Adaptation of Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014: A Giant Anseriformes of the Neogene of the Mediterranean Basin.  Royal Society Open Science.  DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160722 

Hanneke J. M. Meijer. 2014 A Peculiar Anseriform (Aves: Anseriformes) from the Miocene of Gargano (Italy) [Un ansériforme particulier (Aves : Ansériformes) en provenance du Miocène du Gargano, Italie]. C. R. Palevol. 13(1); 19–26. DOI:  10.1016/j.crpv.2013.08.001 

A new large representative of the Anseriformes, Garganornis ballmanni n. gen. et n. sp., from the Miocene of Gargano, Italy, is described from the distal end of a left tibiotarsus. G. ballmanni displays morphological features that are characteristic of the Anseriformes, but differs from all extant and fossil Anseriformes, as well as from taxa closely related to Anseriformes. G. ballmanni is characterized by a very wide and shallow fossa intercondylaris, a less pronounced difference in width of the lateral and medial condyle, reduced epicondyli, and a circular opening of the distal canal. G. ballmanni is larger than any living member of Anseriformes, and with an estimated body mass between 15.3 and 22.3 kg, it was most likely flightless. Although the observed similarities between G. ballmanni and basal taxa might indicate that G. ballmanni represents an insular relict of a stem lineage, it is considered more likely that G. ballmanni was a species of waterfowl highly adapted to a terrestrial lifestyle in an insular environment where mammalian carnivores are rare.
Keywords: Anseriformes; Gargano; Italy; Miocene; Insular evolution

Conclusion: Garganornis ballmanni n. gen. et n. sp. displays morphological features that are characteristic for Anseriformes, but differs from all extant and fossil Anseriformes, as well as from taxa closely related to Anseriformes. Given the marked differences between G. ballmanni and related taxa, as well as the fact that important diagnostic features of the condyles are not preserved, I consider an “incertae sedis” position most appropriate. It should be noted however, that insular evolution can result in morphologies that deviate from the ancestral state, and make it difficult to trace a taxon's ancestry. The observed similarities between G. ballmanni and basal taxa might indicate that G. ballmanni represents an insular relict of one of these basal lineages. Although insular environments can serve as refugia and preserve stem lineages, an alternative hypothesis considers G. ballmanni a species of waterfowl highly adapted to an insular environment, with a morphology that is interpreted as adaptations to a terrestrial lifestyle in an environment where mammalian carnivores are rare. Given similar adaptations in waterfowl from other islands and the highly insular nature of the Gargano fauna, I consider the latter scenario most likely. G. ballmanni thus represents an example of convergent evolution of waterfowl in island ecosystems.

Résumé: Un nouveau grand représentant des ansériformes, Garganornis ballmanni n. gen. et n. sp., est décrit sur la base de l’extrémité distale d’un tibiotarse gauche dans le Gargano (Miocène, Italie). G. ballmanni présente des traits morphologiques qui sont caractéristiques des ansériformes, mais diffèrent de tous les ansériformes actuels et fossiles, ainsi que des taxons étroitement liés aux ansériformes. G. ballmanni est caractérisé par une fosse antérieure intercondylienne large et peu profonde, une différence peu prononcée dans la largeur des condyles latéral et médial, des épicondyli réduits, et une ouverture circulaire du canal distal. G. ballmanni est plus grand que tous les ansériformes actuels, et, avec une masse estimée entre 15,3 et 22,3 kg, il était probablement incapable de voler. Bien que les similitudes observées entre G. ballmanni et les taxons de base puissent indiquer que G. ballmanni représente une relique insulaire d’une lignée primitive, il est considéré comme plus probable que G. ballmanni ait été une espèce d’oiseau aquatique très adaptée à un mode de vie terrestre, dans un environnement insulaire où les mammifères carnivores étaient rares.
Mots clés: Ansériformes; Gargano; Italie; Miocène; Évolution insulaire

Thursday, January 12, 2017

[Herpetology • 2013] Oligodon cattienensis • A New Species of Kukri Snake (Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826; Squamata: Colubridae) from the Cat Tien National Park, southern Vietnam

Oligodon cattienensis 
Vassilieva, Geissler, Galoyan, Poyarkov, Devender & Böhme, 2013 

We describe a new species of the genus Oligodon from the lowland forests of Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai Province, in southern Vietnam. Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov. is distinguished from the remaining Southeast Asian kukri snakes by the combination of the following characters: medium-sized, deeply forked hemipenes without spines, 17-17-15 dorsal scale rows, nasal entire, 2 small postoculars, almost equal in size, 167–178 ventrals, 31–35 subcaudals, 24–35 + 5 large dark-edged vertebral blotches in combination with a yellow-orange or red vertebral stripe between blotches, head pattern including ocular band, temporal bands and elongated chevron, ventrals pink or whitish (reddish in juveniles) in life, some bearing a quadrangular dark blotch on each lateral side, or ventrals being entirely dark. Based on the hemipenial morphology the new species is assigned to the Oligodon cyclurus species group. A comparison table for all Indochinese Oligodon
is provided.

Key words: Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov., Dong Nai Province, southern Indochina, taxonomy, natural history

FIGURE 2. Holotype of Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov. (ZMMU R-13865) in life, dorsal (A) and ventral view (B). Photos by Anna B. Vassilieva.
FIGURE 4. Variation in life coloration of Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov. : (A) ZFMK 88921 (juvenile paratype); (B) ZMMU R-13866 adult male paratype; (C) ZMMU R-13815 adult male paratype; (D) uncollected adult specimen from Cat Tien National Park. Photos by Anna B. Vassilieva, Vitaly L. Trounov, Eduard A. Galoyan, Peter Geissler and Robert Wayne Van Devender

Etymology The new species is named after its type locality, the Cat Tien National Park. Established in 1978, and covering about 72.000 hectares, CTNP is one of the most important areas for the conservation of biodiversity of the lowland forests in southern Indochina.

FIGURE 2. Holotype of Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov. (ZMMU R-13865) in life, dorsal (A) and ventral view (B). Photos by Anna B. Vassilieva.
FIGURE 4. Variation in life coloration of Oligodon cattienensis sp. nov. : (A) ZFMK 88921 (juvenile paratype); (B) ZMMU R-13866 adult male paratype; (C) ZMMU R-13815 adult male paratype; (D) uncollected adult specimen from Cat Tien National Park. Photos by Anna B. Vassilieva, Vitaly L. Trounov, Eduard A. Galoyan, Peter Geissler and Robert Wayne Van Devender

Vassilieva, Anna B., Peter Geissler, Eduard A. Galoyan, Nikolay A. J. Poyarkov, Robert W. V. Devender and Wolfgang Böhme. 2013. A New Species of Kukri Snake (Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826; Squamata: Colubridae) from the Cat Tien National Park, southern Vietnam.
Zootaxa. 3702(3): 233-246.   DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3702.3.2