Tuesday, October 17, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Hemidactylus kangerensis • A New Large Species of Gecko of the Genus Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from the Eastern Ghats, India

Hemidactylus kangerensis
Mirza, Bhosale & Patil, 2017

A new large species of gecko superficially resembling Hemidactylus maculatus Duméril & Bibron and its allied large Hemidactylus is described from Eastern Ghats. The new species, Hemidactylus kangerensis sp. nov. can be easily distinguished from members of the H. maculatus complex based on the number of femoral pores, i.e. 18–21 on each side, separated medially by 4 non-pored scales. A phylogenetic analysis based on partial sequence of mitochondrial gene cytochrome b shows that the gecko is a member of the “H. prashadi” clade and is sister to H. maculatus, from which it differs in an uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence of 10%. The discovery of a new large gecko from Eastern Ghats advocates the need for biodiversity assessment across the neglected Eastern Ghats.

Keywords: Hemidactylus maculatus; India; New species; Species complex; Taxonomy; mtDNA; cyt b

Fig. 7. Hemidactylus kangerensis sp. nov. coloration in life, paratype female BNHS 2487.
 Photo: Zeeshan Mirza.

Hemidactylus kangerensis sp. nov.

Hemidactylus maculatus Sanyal & Dasgupta 1990: 18; Ingle 2003:2
Hemidactylus subtriedrus Sanyal & Dasgupta 1990: 18–19; Javed et al., 2009: 368 (in part)
Hemidactylus cf. maculatus Mahony 2009: 60–61; Javed et al., 2011: 10 (in part)
Hemidactylus sp. Agarwal et al., 2011: 36; Mirza & Sanap 2014: 16 (in part

Etymology: The species is named after Kanger Valley National Park, where the type locality is located.

Suggested common name: Kanger valley rock gecko.

Zeeshan A. Mirza, Harshal Bhosale and Rishikesh Patil. 2017. A New Large Species of Gecko of the Genus Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae) from the Eastern Ghats, India. Comptes Rendus Biologies.  In Press.  DOI:  10.1016/j.crvi.2017.09.003


Mangaluru: New species of gecko found in Eastern ghats - Bangalore Mirror  bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/news/state/mangaluru-new-species-of-gecko-found-in-eastern-ghats/articleshow/61093359.cms  @bangaloremirror

[Tunicata • 2017] Shallow-water Ascidians from Matua Island (central Kuril Islands, NW Pacific), part 2

Synoicum polyzoinum
Sanamyan & Sanamyan, 2017


The paper reports several ascidians, previously not known from central group of Kurile Islands, including two new species, Synoicum polyzoinum n. sp. and Aplidium matua n. sp. In order to systematize our knowledge on numerous members of these genera, reported from NW Pacific, we provide an overview of all Synoicum and Aplidium species, known from Far Eastern Seas of Russia, including comments on the species erroneously identified in the past.

Keywords: Tunicata, Ascidiacea, Aplidium, Synoicum, Kuril Islands, Matua Island, NW Pacific

Karen Sanamyan and Nadya Sanamyan. 2017. Shallow-water Ascidians from Matua Island (central Kuril Islands, NW Pacific), part 2. Zootaxa. 4337(1);  121–131.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4337.1.6

[Herpetology • 2017] Hypogeophis pti • A New Species of Small and Highly Abbreviated Caecilian (Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae) from the Seychelles Island of Praslin, and A Recharacterization of Hypogeophis brevis

 Hypogeophis pti 
Maddock, Wilkinson, Nussbaum & Gower, 2017


A new species of indotyphlid caecilian amphibian, Hypogeophis pti sp. nov., is described based on a series of specimens from the Seychelles island of Praslin. The type series was collected in 2013 and 2014, and a referred specimen previously identified as H. brevis Boulenger, 1911 was collected from an unspecified Seychelles locality in 1957. The new species most closely resembles the Seychelles endemic Hypogeophis brevis in being short (maximum known total length in life ca. 120 mm) and long snouted, but differs by having a less anteriorly positioned tentacular aperture and fewer primary annuli and vertebrae. In having only 67–69 vertebrae, H. pti sp. nov. is the most abbreviated extant species of caecilian reported to date.

Keywords:  Amphibia, herpetology, Indian Ocean, taxonomy, Vallée de Mai

FIGURE 5. Hypogeophis brevis, specimens in life collected in 2014 on Mahé from two localities: (a) Casse Dents, specimen BMNH 2005.1984, 1985 or 1986, (b) Brûlée, BMNH 2005.1793.
FIGURE 11. Hypogeophis pti sp. nov., paratype specimens in life collected from Fond Peper, Praslin, 2014. (a) BMNH 2005.1830 or 1832; (b) BMNH 2005.1833.

Hypogeophis pti sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet is in reference to the very small size of the species, one of the smallest of known caecilians. ‘Pti’ is a typical spelling in Seychellois Creole of the French petit/petite (small, in English). For nomenclatural purposes the specific epithet is considered to be a noun in apposition. 

Suggested ‘common’ name. Petite Praslin caecilian.

Simon T. Maddock, Mark Wilkinson, Ronald A. Nussbaum and David J. Gower. 2017. A New Species of Small and Highly Abbreviated Caecilian (Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae) from the Seychelles Island of Praslin, and A Recharacterization of Hypogeophis brevis Boulenger, 1911Zootaxa. 4329(4); 301–326.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4329.4.1


[Botany • 2017] Dendrobium chiangdaoense • A New Species (Orchidaceae) from northern Thailand

Dendrobium chiangdaoense
Promm., Kidyoo, Buddhawong & Suddee 

เอื้องข้าวตอกเชียงดาว || DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.307.1.8   facebook.com/BotGeneCHULA


Dendrobium chiangdaoense, a new species belonging to Dendrobium section Stachyobium is described and illustrated. It is only known from the type locality in mixed deciduous forest at ca. 800 m elev. on limestone hills in Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand. It most closely resembles Ddixonianum, a more widespread northern Thailand species occurring in upper montane rain forest at 1,650–1,800 m elev.

Keywords: Orchidaceae, Dendrobium sect. StachyobiumDendrobium chiangdaoense, new species, Monocots

FIGURE 2. Dendrobium chiangdaoense (Buddhawong & Suddee 018); plants in natural habitat.
photo by W. Buddhawong. 

Dendrobium chiangdaoense (Buddhawong & Suddee 018); flowers and inflorescence.
photo by W. Buddhawong. 

Dendrobium chiangdaoense Promm., Kidyoo, Buddhawong & Suddee sp. nov. 

Dendrobium chiangdaoense is most similar to D. dixonianum but differs in having bract longer than pedicel plus ovary, inflorescences not exceeding leaves, lateral sepals obliquely falcate-triangular not recurved, labellum bright green, apex of keel acute and not divided to lobes.

Type:—THAILAND. Chiang Mai Province: Chiang Dao District, ..., ca. 800 m elev.,
October 2015, Buddhawong & Suddee 018 (holotype BKF!).

Distribution.—Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai Province). 

Habitat & Ecology.—Epiphytic herb on tree trunks in mixed deciduous forest on limestone hills at ca. 800 m elev. Flowering from October to November. 

Etymology.—The epithet “chiangdaoense” refers to the Chiang Dao District, the locality where the plants were found and collected.

Phattaravee Prommanut, Manit Kidyoo, Wins Buddhawong and Somran Suddee. 2017. Dendrobium chiangdaoense (Orchidaceae), A New Species from Thailand.  Phytotaxa. 307(1); 84-88. 

กล้วยไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลก: เอื้องข้าวตอกเชียงดาว
Dendrobium chiangdaoense Prommanut, Suddee, Buddhawong & Kidyoo
เอื้องข้าวตอกเชียงดาวเป็นกล้วยไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลก พบขึ้นตามต้นไม้ในป่าเต็งรังบนเขาหินปูนทางภาคเหนือของไทย ตีพิมพ์ในวารสาร Phytotaxa เล่มที่ 307(1) หน้าที่ 84–88 ปี 2017 โดยนายภัทธรวีร์ พรมนัส ดร. สมราน สุดดี นักวิทยาศาสตร์ชำนาญการพิเศษ สำนักงานหอพรรณไม้ (BKF) สำนักวิจัยการอนุรักษ์ป่าไม้และพันธุ์พืช กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติ สัตว์ป่าและพันธุ์พืช นายวิน พุทธวงศ์ นักวิจัยอิสระ และ รศ. ดร. มานิต คิดอยู่ ภาควิชาพฤกษศาสตร์ คณะวิทยาศาสตร์ จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย 
ในประเทศไทยพบกล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้ได้ที่จังหวัดเชียงใหม่เท่านั้น คำระบุชนิด “chiangdaoense” หมายถึง ดอยเชียงดาว สถานที่ที่พบเป็นครั้งแรก กล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้เป็นพืชถิ่นเดียว (endemic species) ของไทย


[Ichthyology • 2017] Gymnocranius obesus • A New Large-eye Seabream from the Coral Triangle

Gymnocranius obesus 
Chen, Miki & Borsa, 2017

Obese Large-eye Seabream  | DOI: 10.1016/j.crvi.2017.08.004  

Two previously recorded new species of the large-eye seabream genus Gymnocranius (Gymnocranius sp. D and Gymnocranius sp. E) remain undescribed. Here we describe Gymnocranius sp. E as Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. This new species is morphologically distinct from all other known species under Gymnocranius by the following combination of characters: relatively deep body, with ratio of standard length to body depth 2.2–2.4; protruding large eye, with eye diameter about equal to or slightly larger than inter-orbital width; caudal fin moderately forked; no blue spots or wavy blue lines on cheek and snout in adults; fourth transversal dark bar on flank running from the sixth spine of the dorsal fin to the origin of the anal fin; anal, caudal and dorsal fins drab with yellowish to yellow margins. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. is distinct from G. griseus, with which it has been previously confused by a relatively larger head, scales above lateral line without dark basal patch, and a smaller number of front scales on the dorsal side of the head. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. is genetically distinct from its closest known relative, Gymnocranius sp. D by 104 diagnostic nucleotide characters, which translates into a 9.6% sequence divergence at the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. reaches a length of at least 295 mm. Its distribution, from the Ryukyu Islands to Bali, including Taiwan and the Flores Sea, mostly coincides with the western half of the Coral Triangle.

Keywords: New species, Indo-West Pacific, Gymnocranius sp. D, Gymnocranius griseus

Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. 
 Previously referred to as Gymnocranius sp. E [Borsa, et al., 2013],
Gymnocranius sp. 1 [Anonymous, 2016],
Gymnocranius griseus [Chiang, et al., 2014],
and Gymnocranius grandoculis [Shao, 2016].

Diagnosis: Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. differs from its morphologically close congeners G. griseus and Gymnocranius sp. D by the number of front scales on the top of the head, and by the dark-bar patterns on flanks. While the fourth transversal dark bar in G. obesus sp. nov. runs from the basis of the sixth spine of the dorsal fin down to the origin of the anal fin, the one in Ggriseus, when visible, runs down from the base of the sixth dorsal spine to the abdomen (Table 3). That in Gymnocranius sp. D descends from the sixth dorsal spine to the extremity of abdomen, before the anus (Table 3).

Along the cytochrome b gene, the following apomorphic sites have nucleotides shared by all five specimens of G. obesus sp. nov. examined so far, that are not present in G. elongatus, G. euanus, G. grandoculis, G. griseus, G. oblongus, G. satoi, G. superciliosus and Gymnocranius sp. D: Nos. 61, 108, 117, 135, 153, 165, 300, 303, 318, 375, 501, 564, 627, 630, 684, 756, 765, 816, 967, 972, and 1032. These nucleotide sites can be used for the diagnosis of G. obesus sp. nov. relative to G. griseus and Gymnocranius sp. D.

Etymology: Epithet obesus is the Latin translation of obese, a reference to the deep and relatively thick body shape of the specimens of this species. We propose the Obese Large-eye Seabream as vernacular name for G. obesus sp. nov.

Fig. 1. Type series of Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. 
A. Specimen NTUM 12079 (sample Let1006), holotype, standard length (SL) 270 mm, collected 3 October 2013 from off Fugang, Taitung, Taiwan (photographed by WJC). B. Specimen MUFS 25522, paratype, SL 295 mm, from off Anbo, Yaku-shima Island, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan (30°19′N, 130°39′E), 11 August 2008 (photographed by the MUFS fish team). C. Specimen MUFS 41271, paratype, SL 209 mm, purchased at Tomari-Fish Market (26°14′N, 127°41′E), Okinawa Island, Japan, 27 October 2012 (photographed by RM). D. Specimen MUFS 41272, paratype, SL 244 mm, purchased at the same place and same date (photographed by RM). E. Specimen NTUM 10766 (Let998), paratype, SL195 mm, from Fugang fishing port, Taiwan, 03 October 2013 (photographed by WJC). F. Specimen NTUM 10766 (Let999), paratype, SL220 mm, from Fugang fishing port, Taiwan, 03 October 2013 (photographed by WJC). G. Specimen NTUM 10766 (Let1004), paratype, SL192 mm, from Fugang fishing port, Taiwan, 03 October 2013 (photographed by WJC). H. Specimen NTUM 10766 (Let1005), paratype, SL239 mm, from Fugang fishing port, Taiwan, 03 October 2013 (photographed by WJC). 

 Wei-Jen Chen, Ryohei Miki and Philippe Borsa. 2017. Gymnocranius obesus, A New Large-eye Seabream from the Coral Triangle. Comptes Rendus Biologies. In Press. DOI: 10.1016/j.crvi.2017.08.004 

2017. Gymnocranius obesus, un nouveau bossu blanc du Triangle de Corail. 
Résumé: Deux nouveaux bossus blancs du genre Gymnocranius, précédemment signalés comme Gymnocranius sp. D et Gymnocranius sp. E, restent non décrits. Nous décrivons ici Gymnocranius sp. E comme Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. Cette nouvelle espèce est morphologiquement distincte de toutes les autres espèces connues du genre Gymnocranius par la combinaison de caractères suivante : corps relativement haut, où le rapport de la longueur standard à la hauteur du corps est 2,2–2,4 ; œil saillant, large, dont le diamètre est approximativement égal ou légèrement supérieur à la distance interorbitaire ; nageoire caudale modérément fourchue ; pas de taches bleues ni de lignes bleues ondulées sur la joue et le museau chez les adultes ; quatrième barre transversale sombre sur le flanc allant de la base du sixième rayon de la nageoire dorsale à l’origine de la nageoire anale ; bord externe des nageoires anale, caudale et dorsale jaunâtre à jaune. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. se distingue de G. griseus, avec lequel il a été précédemment confondu, par une tête relativement plus grande, des écailles au-dessus de la ligne latérale sans patch basal sombre, et un plus petit nombre d’écailles frontales sur le dos de la tête. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. est génétiquement distinct de son plus proche parent connu, Gymnocranius sp. D, par 104 caractères nucléotidiques diagnostiques au gène mitochondrial du cytochrome b, ce qui se traduit par une divergence de séquence de 9,6 %. Gymnocranius obesus sp. nov. atteint au moins 295 mm de longueur. Sa distribution, des îles Ryukyu à Bali en passant par Taïwan et la mer de Flores, coïncide essentiellement avec la moitié ouest du Triangle de Corail.
Mots clés: Nouvelle espèce, Indo-Pacifique ouest, Gymnocranius sp. D, Gymnocranius griseus

Monday, October 16, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Scinax onca • A New Species of Scinax (Anura, Hylidae) from the Purus-Madeira interfluve, Brazilian Amazonia

 Scinax onca
Ferrão, Moravec, de Fraga, de Almeida, Kaefer & Lima, 2017 

A new tree frog species of the genus Scinax from the interfluve between the Purus and Madeira rivers, Brazilian Amazonia, is described and illustrated. The new species is diagnosed by medium body size, snout truncate in dorsal view, ulnar and tarsal tubercles absent, nuptial pads poorly developed, skin on dorsum shagreen, dorsum light brown with dark brown spots and markings, white groin with black spots, anterior and posterior surfaces of thighs black, and iris bright orange. The advertisement call consists of a single short note, with 16−18 pulses and dominant frequency at 1572−1594 Hz. Tadpoles are characterized by body ovoid in dorsal view and triangular in lateral view, tail higher than body, oral disc located anteroventrally and laterally emarginated, dorsum of body uniformly grey-brown with dark brown eye-snout stripe in preservative, fins translucent with small to large irregular diffuse dark brown spots.

Keywords: Amazonian rainforest, Amazonas, anuran diversity, Brazil, Rondônia, Scinax onca sp. n.

Figure 5.   Colour variation in life of Scinax onca sp. n. from the Purus-Madeira Interfluve, Brazilian Amazonia.
 A–B INPA-H 34584 (holotype), adult male from the kilometre 350 of the BR-319 highway, State of Amazonas
 C–D INPA-H 34591, adult female from municipality of Porto Velho, State of Rondônia
E–F INPA-H 26625, adult female from the Floresta Estadual Tapauá Reserve, municipality of Tapauá, State of Amazonas.

Photographs A–D and F were taken after transport of the specimens to the camp, while the image of E was taken immediately in the field.

Scinax onca sp. n.

Diagnosis: A medium-sized species of Scinax characterized by the following combination of characters: (1) SVL 31.3−34.5 mm (n = 13) in males and 35.5−40.4 mm (n = 4) in females; (2) snout truncate in dorsal view, bluntly rounded in lateral view; (3) tarsal tubercles absent; (4) tubercles on lower jaw and knee absent; (5) skin on dorsum shagreen; (6) dentigerous processes of vomers triangular; (7) in life, ground colour of dorsum light brown with dark brown spots and markings; dorsolateral stripes or X-shaped blotch on dorsum absent; flanks light brown with or without dark brown spots; axillar region and groin white with black irregular spots; anterior and posterior surfaces of thighs black (usually bordered by an irregular white streak); webbing between toes black; belly white to yellow, with round dark brown spots; iris bright orange; (8) advertisement call consisting of a single pulsed note; note duration 102−121 ms; 16−18 pulses/note; dominant frequency 1572−1594 Hz; (9) tadpoles with body triangular in lateral view; labial tooth row formula 2(2)/3(1); labial arm absent.

Etymology: The specific name onca refers to the Brazilian common name for the jaguar Pantera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) due the blotchy colour pattern of the new species. Furthermore, the specific name is a reference to frequent encounters of P. onca during the fieldwork in the PMI. The name is used as a noun in apposition.

Distribution and ecology: Scinax onca sp. n. is an exclusive forest dweller, known from two small areas located in the middle section of the PMI (State of Amazonas, Brazil), and two small areas lying in southern part of PMI, close to municipality of Porto Velho (Rondônia, Brazil). The maximum straight distance between the localities is around 500 km (Fig. 1). The middle PMI is covered by tropical lowland rainforest characterized by closed canopy with emergent trees whereas the southern part has a more open lowland rainforest formation with frequent palm trees.

The new species is an explosive breeder. All specimens were encountered after (or during) heavy rains when aggregated at middle-sized or large temporary forest ponds. The ponds were not connected to streams. The males were calling from shrubs growing in or next to the water. Calling males adopted both horizontal and vertical positions on leaves and shrub trunks ca. 50–200 cm above the ground. Other tree frogs found in sympatry with S. onca sp. n. included Dendropsophus leucophyllatus (Beireis, 1783), D. marmoratus (Laurenti, 1768), D. minutus (Peters, 1872), D. parviceps (Boulenger, 1882), D. rhodopeplus (Boulenger, 1882), D. sarayacuensis (Shreve, 1935), Phyllomedusa vaillantii Boulenger, 1882, and Scinax sp. 7 (sensu Ferrão et al. 2016).

Miquéias Ferrão, Jiří Moravec, Rafael de Fraga, Alexandre Pinheiro de Almeida, Igor Luis Kaefer and Albertina Pimentel Lima. 2017. A New Species of Scinax from the Purus-Madeira interfluve, Brazilian Amazonia (Anura, Hylidae). ZooKeys. 706; 137-162.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.706.14691


Sunday, October 15, 2017

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Junornis houi • Flight Aerodynamics in Enantiornithines: Information from A New Chinese Early Cretaceous Bird

Junornis houi 
Liu, Chiappe, Serrano, Habib, Zhang and Meng, 2017


We describe an exquisitely preserved new avian fossil (BMNHC-PH-919) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of eastern Inner Mongolia, China. Although morphologically similar to Cathayornithidae and other small-sized enantiornithines from China’s Jehol Biota, many morphological features indicate that it represents a new species, here named Junornis houi. The new fossil displays most of its plumage including a pair of elongated, rachis-dominated tail feathers similarly present in a variety of other enantiornithines. BMNHC-PH-919 represents the first record of a Jehol enantiornithine from Inner Mongolia, thus extending the known distribution of these birds into the eastern portion of this region. Furthermore, its well-preserved skeleton and wing outline provide insight into the aerodynamic performance of enantiornithines, suggesting that these birds had evolved bounding flight—a flight mode common to passeriforms and other small living birds—as early as 125 million years ago.


Systematic Paleontology

Aves Linnaeus, 1758  
Pygostylia Chiappe, 2001  
Ornithothoraces Chiappe, 1995  

Enantiornithes Walker, 1981 

Junornis houi gen. et sp. nov.

Fig 1. Slab (BMNHC-PH 919a) (A) and counterslab (BMNHC-PH 919b) (B) of Junornis houi.

Holotype: A nearly complete and articulated skeleton (BMNHC-PH 919; Beijing Museum of Natural History) contained in two slabs (a, b). While the skeleton is preserved as voids of the bony elements, it is surrounded by feather impressions defining the surface of its wings and body outline (Fig 1).

Horizon and locality: Yixian Formation, Early Cretaceous (~ 126±4 mya); Liutiaogou Village, Daming Town, Ningchen County, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China.

Etymology: The generic name Jun is derived from a Chinese character () meaning beautiful; ornis is Greek for bird. The species name, houi honors Dr. Hou Lianhai and his important contributions to Chinese paleornithology.

Diagnosis: A small Cathayornis-like bird distinguishable from other similar enantiornithines by the following combination of characters: rounded craniolateral corner of sternum (more angular in Cathayornis yandica and Houornis caudatus); distinct trough excavating ventral surface of mediocranial portion of sternum; triangular process at base of sternal lateral trabecula (absent in H. caudatus and E. walkeri); sternal lateral trabecula broad (much wider than in C. yandica, E. walkeri, and H. caudatus) and laterally deflected (straight in C. yandica and E. walkeri); sternal intermediate trabecula nearly level with mid-shaft of lateral trabecula (significantly shorter in C. yandica, H. caudatus and E. walkeri); sternal xiphoid process level with lateral trabeculae (trabeculae project further caudal in H. cautus and C. yandica); costal processes of last two penultimate synsacral vertebrae three times wider than same process of last synsacral vertebra; and very broad pelvis.

The discovery of Junornis houi, the first published record of a Jehol enantiornithine from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, extends the geographic distribution of these early birds into the eastern portion of this region. The well-preserved wings and overall plumage of BMNHC-PH 919 adds significant information to the poor evidence of wing shape in Enantiornithes. Multiple regressions of skeletal elements and remiges allow estimation of key aerodynamic parameters (aspect ratio and wing loading) for this new enantiornithine. The small size, low aspect ratio, and low wing loading of BMNHC-PH 919 indicate that Junornis houi and other similar enantiornithines could have used bounding as their typical flight mode, especially at high speeds. The general morphology of BMNHC-PH 919 thus supports previous interpretations indicating that most avian flight modes have very ancient origins; bounding flight might have evolved among enantiornithines more than 125 million years ago.

 Di Liu, Luis M. Chiappe, Francisco Serrano, Michael Habib, Yuguang Zhang and Qinjing Meng. 2017. Flight Aerodynamics in Enantiornithines: Information from A New Chinese Early Cretaceous Bird. PLoS ONE. 12(10): e0184637.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184637


[Herpetology • 2017] Phylogenetic Taxonomy of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) with Descriptions of Three New Species from Myanmar

Hemiphyllodactylus montawaensis 
Grismer, Wood, Thura, Zin, Quah, Murdoch, Grismer, Li, Kyaw & Ngwe, 2017

A phylogenetic taxonomy of the gekkonid genus Hemiphyllodactylus based on molecular, morphological, and ecological data recovered 28 species, including three new species from the upland regions of the Shan Plateau in eastern Myanmar. Hemiphyllodactylus linnwayensis sp. nov. is a forest-adapted species that may also be a human commensal and H. montawaensis sp. nov. and H. tonywhitteni sp. nov. are karst forest-adapted species. The discovery of three new species from montane regions in eastern Myanmar extends the distribution of a larger monophyletic group of Hemiphyllodactylus westward to the eastern edge of the Ayeyrawady Basin through a series of semi-contiguous, parallel mountain ranges originating in western China and northern Thailand. The discovery of the karst forest-adapted H. montawaensis sp. nov. and H. tonywhitteni sp. nov. further emphasizes the unrealized herpetological diversity endemic to karst ecosystems and the need for increased field work throughout such habitats in South-East Asia.

KEYWORDS: Phylogenetic taxonomy, new species, Myanmar, karst, Hemiphyllodactylus, Gekkonidae

Figure 9. (a) Adult female paratype (LSUHC 13012) of Hemiphyllodactylus montawaensis sp. nov. from the type locality of Montawa Cave 3.7 km south-west of Taunggyi, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar.  

Hemiphyllodactylus tonywhitteni sp. nov.
 Phapant dwarf gecko

Etymology: This specific epithet ‘tonywhitteni’ honours Dr Tony Whitten of Fauna & Flora International who has championed a broad range of conservation efforts in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific for well over a quarter of a century. His tireless efforts to conserve and help manage karst ecosystems have been a great inspiration to the senior author (LLG) herein.

Hemiphyllodactylus montawaensis sp. nov. 
Montawa dwarf gecko

Etymology: This specific epithet ‘montawaensis’ refers to the type locality of Montawa cave.

Hemiphyllodactylus linnwayensis sp. nov.
Linn-Way dwarf gecko

Etymology: This specific epithet ‘linnwayensis’ refers to the type locality of Linn-Way Village.

L. Lee Grismer, Perry L. Wood Jr, Myint Kyaw Thura, Thaw Zin, Evan S. H. Quah, Matthew L. Murdoch, Marta S. Grismer, Aung Li, Htet Kyaw and Ngwe Lwin. 2017. Phylogenetic Taxonomy of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) with Descriptions of Three New Species from Myanmar. Journal of Natural History. DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2017.1367045 

We just found nineteen new species of gecko in one tiny area
Fifteen new gecko species discovered in Myanmar

Friday, October 13, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Splitting and Lumping: An Integrative Taxonomic Assessment of Malagasy Chameleons in the Calumma guibei complex results in the New Species C. gehringi sp. nov.

Calumma gehringi
Prötzel, Vences, Scherz, Vieites & Glaw, 2017

  Vertebrate Zoology. 67(2)

Calumma guibei (Hillenius, 1959) is a high-altitude chameleon species from the Tsaratanana massif in north Madagascar. Since its description was based on a juvenile holotype, its taxonomic identity is uncertain and little is known about its morphology. A recent molecular study discovered several deep mitochondrial clades in the Tsaratanana region assigned to C. guibei and C. linotum (Müller, 1924). In this paper we study the taxonomy of these clades and clarify the identity of C. guibei. Using an integrative taxonomic approach including pholidosis, morphological measurements, osteology, and molecular genetics we redescribe C. guibei and describe the new species C. gehringi sp. nov. which comprises two deep mitochondrial lineages. In terms of external morphology the new species differs from C. guibei by an elevated rostral crest, the shape of the notch between the occipital lobes (slightly connected vs. completely separated), presence of a dorsal and caudal crest in males (vs. absence), and a longer rostral appendage in the females. Additionally, we analysed skull and hemipenis morphology using micro-X-ray computed tomography (micro-CT) scans and discovered further differences in skull osteology, including a large frontoparietal fenestra, and separated prefrontal fontanelle and naris in C. guibei. Furthermore, we provide a comparison of micro-CT scans with traditional radiographs of the skull. The hemipenes have ornaments of two pairs of long pointed cornucula gemina (new term), two pairs of dentulous rotulae, and a pair of three-lobed rotulae, and are similar in both species, but significantly different from other species in the C. nasutum group. Geographically, C. guibei has been recorded reliably from the higher elevations of the Tsaratanana Massif above 1580 m a.s.l., whereas C. gehringi sp. nov. is found at mid-altitude (730-1540 m a.s.l.) in Tsaratanana and the surrounding area.  

Key words: Calumma guibeiCalumma gehringi sp. nov., Chamaeleonidae, micro-computed tomography, hemipenis morphology, skull structure, Madagascar, diceCT.

Calumma gehringi sp. nov.male holotype ZSM 2851/2010, clade EII

Fig. 2. Calumma gehringi sp. nov. colouration in life:
 (C, D) male holotype ZSM 2851/2010, clade EII; (E) male ZSM 2843/2010; (F) male ZSM 43/2016, clade EI.

Calumma gehringi sp. nov.  

Diagnosis. Calumma gehringi sp. nov. is a member of the phenetic C. nasutum group (Prötzel et al., 2016), because of the presence of a soft, dermal, unpaired rostral appendage, absence of gular or ventral crest and heterogeneous scalation at the lower arm, consisting mostly of tubercles of large diameter (0.4–0.9 mm). Within the genus it is a small-sized, grey to greenish chameleon (SVL 44.7 – 55.5 mm, TL 92.6–123.6 mm) that is characterized by a large rostral appendage of green or blue colour in males and yellow in females when unstressed, occipital lobes that are clearly notched but usually still slightly connected, distinctly elevated rostral crest, absence of axillary pits, presence of a dorsal crest in males, and a unique skull morphology. .....

Available names. Apart from C. guibei there is no other valid species or synonym in the Calumma nasutum group with deeply notched occipital lobes.

Etymology. We dedicate the new species to Philip Sebastian Gehring. His comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study on the Calumma nasutum group was the basis for the description of the new species, and will be instrumental to the resolution of the rest of this complex. The species epithet ‘gehringi’ is a patronym in the Latin genitive form.

 David Prötzel, Miguel Vences, Mark David Scherz, David Vieites and Frank Glaw. 2017. Splitting and Lumping: An Integrative Taxonomic Assessment of Malagasy Chameleons in the Calumma guibei complex results in the New Species C. gehringi sp. nov.  Vertebrate Zoology. 67(2); 231-249. 

[Paleontology • 2017] Avicranium renestoi • A Bird-like Skull in A Triassic Diapsid Reptile Increases Heterogeneity of the Morphological and Phylogenetic Radiation of Diapsida

  Avicranium renestoi Pritchard & Nesbitt, 2017

Illustration: Matt Celeskey‏ @clepsydrops 


The Triassic Period saw the first appearance of numerous amniote lineages (e.g. Lepidosauria, Archosauria, Mammalia) that defined Mesozoic ecosystems following the end Permian Mass Extinction, as well as the first major morphological diversification of crown-group reptiles. Unfortunately, much of our understanding of this event comes from the record of large-bodied reptiles (total body length > 1 m). Here we present a new species of drepanosaurid (small-bodied, chameleon-like diapsids) from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of New Mexico. Using reconstructions of micro-computed tomography data, we reveal the three-dimensional skull osteology of this clade for the first time. The skull presents many archaic anatomical traits unknown in Triassic crown-group reptiles (e.g. absence of bony support for the external ear), whereas other traits (e.g. toothless rostrum, anteriorly directed orbits, inflated endocranium) resemble derived avian theropods. A phylogenetic analysis of Permo-Triassic diapsids supports the hypothesis that drepanosaurs are an archaic lineage that originated in the Permian, far removed from crown-group Reptilia. The phylogenetic position of drepanosaurids indicates the presence of archaic Permian clades among Triassic small reptile assemblages and that morphological convergence produced a remarkably bird-like skull nearly 100 Myr before one is known to have emerged in Theropoda.

KEYWORDS: reptilia, phylogeny, convergence, Permo-Triassic extinction, evolutionary radiation, Triassic

Avicranium renestoi Pritchard & Nesbitt, 2017 
Illustration: Matt Celeskey‏ @clepsydrops 

Figure 2. Line drawing of the restored skull of Avicranium renestoi based on the three-dimensional surface renderings of skull elements in AMNH FARB 30834.

Figure 3. Reconstructed skull of Avicranium renestoi based on rearticulated three-dimensional surface rendering of the skull bones of AMNH FARB 30834.
Callouts include (a) reconstructed endocast in dorsal view, (b) skull roof in dorsal view, (c) postorbital complex (consisting of postfrontal and postorbital) in anterior view, (d) braincase and stapes in posterior view, (e) palatal complex in ventral view, (f) left quadrate in posterior view and (g) braincase and stapes in left lateral view. All bones have been rearticulated based on the facets of the reconstructed elements.

Abbreviations: fb, forebrain; mb, midbrain; pa, parietal; pf, postfrontal; pl, palatine; po, postorbital; pt, pterygoid; qu, quadrate; st, stapes; su, supratemporal. 

Systematic palaeontology

  Avicranium renestoi, n. gen., n. sp.

  Etymology: Avicranium, from aves (Latin for bird) and cranium (Latin for cranium), in reference to the suite of bird-like morphologies present in the holotype skull; renestoi, for Silvio Renesto, who described much of the drepanosauromorph fossil record from Triassic Italy.

  Holotype: AMNH FARB 30834, partial skull and articulated cervical series. Additional drepanosaurid caudal vertebrae and limb fragments are preserved in the block, but are not clearly associated with the individual to which the skull and cervical vertebrae belong.

  Locality: Coelophysis Quarry (‘siltstone member’, Chinle Formation). Recovered during preparation of the holotype block of the shuvosaurid pseudosuchian Effigia okeeffeae by S.J.N. [12].

 Diagnosis: Specimens for anatomical comparisons are listed in appendix C. A drepanosaurid diapsid differing from Hypuronector limnaios, Megalancosaurus preonensis and Vallesaurus cenensis (the only drepanosauromorphs with skull material) in the complete absence of teeth, a dorsoventrally taller retroarticular process with a triangular shape in lateral view, and cervical neural spines with subequal anteroposterior lengths and transverse widths.

Adam C. Pritchard and Sterling J. Nesbitt. 2017. A Bird-like Skull in A Triassic Diapsid Reptile Increases Heterogeneity of the Morphological and Phylogenetic Radiation of Diapsida. ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE.   DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170499