Friday, October 28, 2016

[Botany • 2016] Pycnandra longiflora • A Species (Sapotaceae) Believed to be Extinct, rediscovered in New Caledonia

FIGURE 1. Pycnandra longiflora, A. Habit of open maquis, B. Flowering branch, C. Fruits with long persistent styles.

 Pictures AC from Rosa Scopetra. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.278.2.9 


Pycnandra longiflora (Sapotaceae) belongs to the largest endemic genus in New Caledonia. It is only known from the type collection made in 1861–67 at the obscure locality “Gatope”. Relocation of this species has been of high priority for more than a decade, but without success. Pycnandra longiflora was therefore recently declared extinct. However, a population was recently discovered near a mining site at Onajiele, in the Ouazangou-Taom massif, and it is revealed that P. longiflora has the most spectacular flowers in the entire genus, being large and bicoloured in red and yellow. A thorough description is here outlined and we propose a preliminary IUCN status as Critically Endangered.

Keywords: Extinct species, rediscovering, extended description, prospection, Eudicots

Pycnandra longiflora (Benth.) Munzinger & Swenson,
Austral. Syst. Bot. 28: 101 (2015)

Pycnandra longiflora is not extinct and grows less than 600 metres from the main road (RT1) of “Grande-Terre”, close to an accessible track (Figure 2). This is a very important locality of native vegetation as a new species of Myrtaceae, Eugenia plurinervia Snow, Munzinger & Callm. (2016: 212), also occurs here. Several other rare species such as Planchonella minutiflora Munzinger & Swenson (2009: 182), Croton cordatulus Airy Shaw (1978: 387), Euodia tietaensis (Guillaumin) T.G. Hartley (2001: 56) are also present, which clearly indicates that the place has high conservation value. The rediscovery of this P. longiflora supports continuing botanical surveys in New Caledonia, to provide sound data for conservation assessments.

  Jérôme Munzinger and Ulf Swenson. 2016. Pycnandra longiflora (Sapotaceae) A Species Believed to be Extinct, rediscovered in New Caledonia.
Phytotaxa. 278(2); 176–180.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.278.2.9

Jérôme Munzinger and Ulf Swenson. 2015. Revision of Pycnandra subgenus Leptostylis and description of subgenus Wagapensia (Sapotaceae), A Genus endemic to New Caledonia. Australian Systematic Botany. 28; 91–110. DOI:  10.1071/SB15010

Thursday, October 27, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Prospea holoserisc • A Burrowing Frog from the late Paleocene of Mongolia Uncovers A Deep History of Spadefoot Toads (Pelobatoidea) in East Asia

Prospea holoserisca  
Chen, Bever, Yi & Norell, 2016

Fossils are indispensible in understanding the evolutionary origins of the modern fauna. Crown-group spadefoot toads (Anura: Pelobatoidea) are the best-known fossorial frog clade to inhabit arid environments, with species utilizing a characteristic bony spade on their foot for burrowing. Endemic to the Northern Hemisphere, they are distributed across the Holarctic except East Asia. Here we report a rare fossil of a crown-group spadefoot toad from the late Paleocene of Mongolia. The phylogenetic analysis using both morphological and molecular information recovered this Asian fossil inside the modern North American pelobatoid clade Scaphiopodidae. The presence of a spade and the phylogenetic position of the new fossil frog strongly support its burrowing behavior. The late Paleocene age and other information suggestive of a mild climate cast doubt on the conventional assertion that burrowing evolved as an adaptation to aridity in spadefoot toads. Temporally and geographically, the new fossil provides the earliest record of Scaphiopodidae worldwide, and the only member of the group in Asia. Quantitative biogeographic analysis suggests that Scaphiopodidae, despite originating in North America, dispersed into East Asia via Beringia in the Early Cenozoic. The absence of spadefoot toads in East Asia today is a result of extinction.

Systematic Paleontology

Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758.
Anura Rafinesque, 1815.

Pelobatoidea Bolkay, 1919.
Scaphiopodidae Cope, 1865.

Prospea holoserisca gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: Prospea means “before the North American spadefoot toad Spea”, and holoserisca means “silk”, referring to its discovery on the ancient Silk Road.

Figure 1: IGM 2/001, holotype of Prospea holoserisca.
 (a) The original specimen in rock matrix and jackets before preparation, preserved in part and counterpart; (b) the specimen in ventral and dorsal view after the preparation.

Holotype: IGM 2/001 (Institute of Geology, Mongolia, Ulanbaatar, Mongolia), a nearly complete specimen preserved as part and counterpart in grey sandy clay (Fig. 1a). The rock matrix was later removed and the specimen was embedded in resin (Fig. 1b; see the Supplementary Experimental Procedures: fossil preparation). The two halves of the holotype were combined digitally to reconstruct the whole skeleton (Fig. 2; Supplementary Movie S1).

Jianye Chen, Gaberiel S. Bever, Hong-Yu Yi and Mark A. Norell. 2016. A Burrowing Frog from the late Paleocene of Mongolia Uncovers A Deep History of Spadefoot Toads (Pelobatoidea) in East Asia.
Scientific Reports. 
6, 19209. DOI: 10.1038/srep19209

[Botany • 2016] Coelogyne ventrinigra | เอื้องนางพญาลิ้นดำ • A New Species (Orchidaceae) from Thailand

Coelogyne ventrinigra 
 de Vogel, Suksathan & Boonnuang 

เอื้องนางพญาลิ้นดำ |  ThaiForestBulletin

Figure 2. Coelogyne ventrinigra de Vogel, Suksathan & Boonnuang,
A. flowering plant in habitat; B. inflorescence; C. flower with brownish-black spots on labellum.

 Photos by H. Boonnuang.   ThaiForestBulletin 


Coelogyne ventrinigraa new species from Umphang District, Tak Province, in the western part of Thailand, is described and illustrated.

KEYWORDS: Elatae; Conservation status

Etymology.— The epithet ventrinigra means ‘black belly’, from the Latin venter (belly), and nigra (black), referring to the blackish spots abaxially on the lip.

Vernacular.— Ueang nang phaya lin dam (เอื้องนางพญาลิ้นดำ).


กล้วยไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลก ที่เพิ่งได้รับการตีพิมพ์เมื่อไม่กี่วันมานี้เอง หนึ่งในความภาคภูมิใจของประเทศไทย และหนึ่งในความภูมิใจของผมที่ได้เป็นหนึ่งในผู้ร่วมศึกษากล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้จนได้รับการตีพิมพ์เป็นชนิดใหม่ของโลก หลังจากใช้เวลาหลายปีในการจัดทำคำบรรยายและเรื่องราวต่าง ๆ มาวันนี้ผมเหมือนจะรู้สึกว่ากล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้เหมาะแก่การถวายต่อพระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว รัชกาลที่ ๙ เหลือเกิน ไม่ใช่เพียงเพราะตีพิมพ์ในช่วงเวลาเดียวกัน ทว่าหลายอย่างเป็นความเหมาะเจาะอย่างยิ่ง
เราเจอกล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้ในช่วงเวลาที่สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวง นราธิวาสราชนครินทร์ สิ้นพระชนม์ ทว่ากว่าจะมาตีพิมพ์ได้สำเร็จก็เมื่อเวลาที่คนไทยทั้งประเทศร่ำให้น้ำตาเป็นสายเลือด ในช่วงที่พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว รัชกาลที่ ๙ สวรรคต นับเป็นกล้วยไม้ที่มีสีในช่วงเวลาแห่งความชอกช้ำเหลือเกิน เพราะทั้งดอกมีเพียงสีขาวและดำเท่านั้นเอง
ผมภูมิใจกับการค้นพบกล้วยไม้ไทยเสมอ ๆ ทว่าความภูมิใจใด ๆ หากแลกกับปาฎิหารย์แห่งชีวิตของพระองค์ท่านไว้ได้ผมจะแลกทั้งหมดครับ แต่ตอนนี้คงไม่ทันแล้วได้แต่ถวายความงดงามแห่งธรรมชาติชนิดนี้ไว้ว่าเป็นสิ่งที่คนไทยทั้งหมดได้ถวายงานรับใช้ใต้เบื้องพระยุคคลบาท...
ขอบคุณทุกท่านที่ช่วยเหลือจนกล้วยไม้ชนิดนี้ได้รับการตีพิมพ์ครับ หลวงพี่กมล เจ๊แมว แสงเดือน ถนอมวงศ์ธนา น้าเสก เสกสรร โตวิวัฒน์ ที่ร่วมทางกันจนได้ตัวอย่างในธรรมชาติ แม้จะต้องใช้เวลา ใช้พลังอย่างมากก็ตาม ขอบคุณไว้ ณ.ที่นี้ด้วยครับ
ขอบคุณนักพฤกษศาสตร์ ดร.ปิยเกษตร สุขสถาน และ ดร.สันติ วัฒฐานะ ครับที่จัดทำคำบรรยายและศึกษาเพิ่มเติม


photos: Hassachai Boonuang  —

นี่เป็นภาพที่ผมถ่ายตอนที่พบเป็นครั้งแรกเมื่อ 8 ปีที่แล่ว Hassachai Boonuang  — Mastercanvas Kitiwattana

 Ed de Vogle, Piyakaset Suksathan, Thitiporn Pingyot, Hassachai Boonuang and Santi Watthana. 2016. Coelogyne ventrinigra (Orchidaceae), A New Species from Thailand.
 Thai For. Bull. 44(1); 49-52.


[Botany • 2016] The Genus Abrus Adans. (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in Thailand

FIGURE 1. A-B. Abrus precatorius; C. A. pulchellus ssp. pulchellus; D-E. A. pulchellus ssp. cantoniensis; F. A. pulchellus ssp. mollis,
A., C. and D. flowers; B. pods and seeds; E. and F. pods. 

 Two species and four taxa of the genus Abrus Adans. are found in Thailand viz. Abrus precatorius, A. pulchellus ssp. pulchellus, A. pulchellus ssp. cantoniensis and A. pulchellus ssp. mollis. Keys to species and subspecies are provided. Micromorphology of leaf surface and pollen were prepared by peeling and acetolysis methods, respectively. The leaf surface characteristics are used to construct a key. Pollen of Abrus is monad, isopolar, radial symmetry and tricolporate apertures.

KEY WORDS: Abreae, Leaf surface, Pollen, Revision

Wanniga Munsuk, Pranom Chantaranothai and Boonsong Kongsook. 2016. The Genus Abrus Adans. (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in Thailand.
 Tropical Natural History 16(2); 67-77.

[Paleontology • 2009] Basilochelys macrobios 'เต่าทรงพระเจริญ' • A Large Cryptodiran Turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation (latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous) of the Khorat Plateau, Northeastern Thailand

Basilochelys macrobios  
Tong, Claude, Naksri, Suteethorn, Buffetaut, Khansubha, Wongko, & Yuangdetkla, 2009 

'เต่าทรงพระเจริญ'   DOI: 10.1144/SP315.12

 A large cryptodiran turtle, Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. n. sp. is described from the latest Jurassic–earliest Cretaceous Phu Kradung Formation of NE Thailand, on the basis of skull, shell and other postcranial elements. Basilochelys presents a combination of primitive and derived characters. The derived characters include sculptured skull roof and shell surface; deeply embedded canalis caroticus internus; foramen posterius canalis carotici interni completely surrounded by pterygoid; neural formula of 6 > 4 < 6 < 6 < 6 < 6; anteroposteriorly expanded eleventh and twelfth marginal scutes extending onto the suprapygal and costal plates; narrow vertebral scutes; plastron sutured to the carapace, with large and wide anterior and posterior lobes, long and narrow bridge, very narrow axillary and inguinal notch; wide entoplastron; humeropectoral sulcus located on the posterior part of the entoplastron; anal notch absent. This taxon is placed in Trionychoidae and considered as the most basal member of that group.

Systematic palaeontology
Megaorder Cryptodira Cope
Parvorder Eucryptodira Gaffney

Epifamily Trionychoidae Fitzinger (fide Meylan & Gaffney 1989)

Genus Basilochelys new genus

Type species. Basilochelys macrobios sp. nov.

Etymology. Basileus: Greek, kingchelys: Greek, turtle. In honour of His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand; Macrobios: Greek, long life. In honour of His Majesty King Rama IX’s eightieth birthday.

Holotype. A nearly complete carapace articulated with a partial plastron, pelvic girdle and a cervical vertebra (MD8-2, collection of the Sirindhorn Museum, Phu Kum Khao, Sahatsakhan, Kalasin Province, Thailand).

Type locality. Kham Phok, Mukdahan Province, Khorat Plateau, NE Thailand.

Horizon. Phu Kradung Formation, terminal Jurassic–basal Cretaceous.

Conclusion: The large turtles from the terminal Jurassic–earliest Cretaceous Phu Kradung Formation of the Khorat Group, NE Thailand, described herein represent anew genus and new species of Eucryptodira, Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. n. sp. This taxon is placed in Trionychoidae and considered as the most basal member of that group. The combination of primitive and derived characters of Basilochelys suggests that the group Trionychoidae may have originated from xinjiangchelyids and their close relatives. Siamochelys from the Middle Jurassic of the southern peninsula of Thailand may represent the sister taxon of Trionychoidae, because of its ligamentous carapace–plastron attachment, sculptured shell surface and wide entoplastron. These new discoveries add significantly to the still poorly known turtle fauna from the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous of SE Asia and provide important information about the origin and early evolution of modern cryptodiran turtles.

Haiyan Tong, Julien Claude, Wilailuck Naksri, Varavudh Suteethorn, Eric Buffetaut, Sasidhorn Khansubha, Kamonrak Wongko and Phisit Yuangdetkla. 2009.  Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. and n. sp., A Large Cryptodiran Turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation (latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous) of the Khorat Plateau, NE Thailand. In: Buffetaut, E.; Cuny, G.; Le Loeuff, J. & Suteethorn, V. (eds.). Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Ecosystems in SE Asia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 315: 229-243.  DOI: 10.1144/SP315.12

เต่าทรงพระเจริญ Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. and n. sp., a large cryptodiran turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation ซึ่งผู้ศึกษาตั้งใจให้ชื่อเพื่อ เฉลิมพระเกียรติพระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ในวโรกาสมหามงคล เฉลิมพระชนพรรษา 80 พรรษา
ต้นตระกูลเต่าน้ำจืดชนิดใหม่โลก อายุ150ล้านปี แถมพบกระดูกไดโนเสาร์"ซอโรพอด"สมบูรณ์สุดในโลก

       อธิบดีกรมทรัพยากรธรณี ยังเปิดเผยถึงการค้นพบฟอสซิลของสัตว์โบราณหลายชนิดกระจายอยู่ตามผิวหน้าหินเนินเขาเล็กๆ ประกอบไปด้วย ฟอสซิลจระเข้ ปลาเลปิโดเทส กระดูกไดโนเสาร์ และฟอสซิลเต่าขนาดใหญ่คู่หนึ่งอยู่ใกล้ๆกัน แหล่งฟอสซิลเต่ายักษ์คู่อยู่ในพื้นที่บ้านคำพอก อ.หนองสูง จ.มุกดาหาร ขนาดของเต่าตัวที่ 1 ยาว 96 ซม. ตัวที่ 2 ยาว 90 ซม. กว้าง 80 ซม.โดยคณะผู้วิจัยไทย-ฝรั่งเศล นำโดย ดร.ไฮยั่น ตง ได้ทำการอนุรักษ์ตัวอย่างเต่า และศึกษาวิจัยรายละเอียดจนพบลักษณะของหัวกะโหลก กระดองหลัง กระดองท้อง กระดูกคอ กระดูกสันหลัง กระดูกซี่โครง กระดูกขาหน้า และขาหลังที่ชัดเจนระบุว่าเป็นเต่าชนิดใหม่ สกุลใหม่ จึงได้ส่งพิมพ์ในวารสาร Geological Society, London, Special Publications ในปี 2552 โดยตั้งชื่อว่า "Basilochelys macrobios” เพื่อเฉลิมพระเกียรติพระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ในวโรกาสมหามงคลเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา 80 พรรษา โดยชื่อเป็นภาษากรีก มีความหมายว่า "ขอให้พระมหากษัตริย์ไทยทรงมีพระชนมายุยิ่งยืนนาน”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Chauligenion camelopardalis • A New Genus and Species of Deepwater Snake Eel (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from the East China Sea

 Chauligenion camelopardalis 
 McCosker and Okamoto, 2016

Giraffe-spotted Snake Eel |

A new genus and species of ophichthid eel, Chauligenion camelopardalis McCosker and Okamoto, is described based on a specimen trawled at 150 m off western Okinawa. It differs from other ophichthids in its elongation, its pointed tail and snout, lower jaw extension, anterior nostril condition, elongate jaws, gill arch reduction, vertical gill openings, numerous small closely packed teeth, lack of pectoral fins, and its yellowish-tan coloration overlain with rows of brown spots. It is similar to genera of the tribe Ophichthini; however, we are unable to assign it with confidence.

Keywords: Fish taxonomy, Ophichthidae, Chauligenion camelopardalis, genus and sp. nov, East China Sea.

FIGURE 1. Holotype of Chauligenion camelopardalis sp. nov., NSMT-P 125489, female, 407 mm Tl, photographed soon after capture and before preservation. arrows indicate origin of dorsal and anal fins. elongate ophichthine with tail longer than head and trunk, body cylindrical, becoming laterally compressed in tail region; snout and tail tip pointed; lower jaw slightly extended; anterior nostril a hole above outer lip, without a tube; posterior nostrils along upper lip; jaws elongate, capable of closing completely; orbit large, in posterior half of upper jaw, its rear margin above rictus; gill openings low lateral, vertical; median fins elongate, not elevated; dorsal-fin origin above gill opening; pectoral fins absent; teeth small, conical, numerous and densely packed; preopercular pores 3; coloration yellowish-tan overlain with rows of brown spots.

DISTRIBUTION.Known only from the type specimen, collected by trawl in 150 m from the East China Sea. 

ETYMOLOGY. From the Greek chaulios (prominent) and genion (chin), neuter, in reference to its obtrusive lower jaw tip. The epithet is derived from the latin camelopardalis (giraffe), in reference to its coloration, to be treated as a noun in apposition. 

New English name: Giraffe-spotted Snake Eel; New Japanese name: Kirin-umihebi

John E. McCosker and Makoto Okamoto. 2016. Chauligenion camelopardalis, A New Genus and Species of Deepwater Snake Eel (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from the East China Sea.  PROCEEDINGS OF THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCESSeries 4, 63(9); 321–328. 

[Botany • 2016] Globba magnibracteata • A New Globba (Zingiberaceae) with Large White Floral Bracts from Peninsular Malaysia

Globba magnibracteata 

Globba magnibracteata Y.Y.Sam, sp. nov. is described and illustrated. Colour plates, a preliminary conservation assessment and a discussion of its closely related taxa are provided.

Keywords: Endemic, ginger, Globbeae, taxonomy, Terengganu, Zingiberaceae

Diagnosis: Globba magnibracteata is similar to G. albobracteata N.E.Br. where both are placed in the subgenus Globba section Sempervirens. They have the same vegetative morphologies and inflorescence structure but differ in having wide spreading or strongly deflexed white sterile bracts versus the green appressed sterile bracts of G. albobracteata. The elliptic fertile bracts of G. magnibracteata are smaller (1.1–1.2 cm long) compared to the obovate bracts of G. albobracteata which are about 3 cm long. The cincinnus stalk of G. magnibracteata is also shorter (less than 1 cm) than that of G. albobracteata (2–4 cm). Globba magnibracteata has bulbils with many roots and one bamboo-like shoot distinct from the one-root-one-shoot bulbils in G. albobracteata.

Etymology: The epithet is derived from Latin and refers to the large (magnusfloral bract (bractea).

Distribution and ecology: Globba magnibracteata is only known from Jengai Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia. The plants were found scattered on the shady and moist forest floor with a thick humus layer in the lowland dipterocarp forest, a tropical evergreen rainforest.

Figure 1. Globba magnibracteata Y.Y.Sam 
Habit Ligule Inflorescence Sterile floral bracts Flower Bulbils.
(Photographs A–F by Y.Y. Sam).  DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.73.9737

Figure 2. Globba magnibracteata Y.Y.Sam 
A Habit B Inflorescence C Sterile bract D Bracteole E Flower F Ovary and calyx G Dorsal corolla lobe in front and side view H Lateral corolla lobe in ventral and side view I Lateral staminodes in ventral and side view J Labellum K Anther appendages L Stigma.
Drawn by M.N. Aidil from Sam & Aidil FRI 68959 (KEP).   DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.73.9737

Flowers of Globba corneriGnawawii and Gmagnibracteata G. albobracteata Gcernua G. corneri Gnawawii.
(Photographs I and K by Y.Y. Sam, H by A. Takano, J by Y.M. Chan).  DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.73.9737  

 Yen Yen Sam and Halijah Ibrahim. 2016. A New Globba with Large White Floral Bracts from Peninsular Malaysia. PhytoKeys. 73: 117-124. DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.73.9737


[PaleoIchthyology • 2016] Bothriolepis rex • A New Large-bodied Species of Bothriolepis (Antiarchi) from the Upper Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Bothriolepis rex 
 Downs, Daeschler, Garcia & Shubin, 2016 

New material from the Upper Devonian (Frasnian) Nordstrand Point Formation of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, represents the largest known species of antiarch and the first described from the Nordstrand Point Formation. Bothriolepis rex, sp. nov., is additionally remarkable for the thickness and compactness of its dermal skeletal plates. The new species is diagnosed by a preorbital recess with a horizontal rostral margin; the presence of a wide unornamented border surrounding the infraorbital sensory line; central sensory lines that meet the margin of the nuchal close to the lateral corners; a supraotic thickening that does not extend caudal to a transverse crista of the nuchal; and a tall lateral lamina of the anterior dorsolateral. The thick and compact armor of Bothriolepis rex, sp. nov., recalls that of the co-occurring Perscheia pulla and gives occasion to a physical and ecological review of dermal skeletal mass and density in large-bodied, bottom-dwelling organisms in nonmarine ecosystems during the Late Devonian.

Fossil bones from the skull of Bothriolepis rex and a line drawing of the head viewed from above. The large, thick bones create an armor with a single opening for the eyes. The mouth is on the lower surface of the skull, indicating a bottom-feeding lifestyle.
Photo by Valentina Garcia, drawing by Jason Downs. 


ANTIARCHI Cope, 1885

BOTHRIOLEPIS Eichwald, 1840

Bothriolepis sp. Elliott et al., 2004.

Holotype— NUFV 1192, nuchal plate (Fig. 3).

Etymology— From the Latin ‘rex,’ king, in reference to the large body size.

Type Locality and Horizon— NV2K11 site (N77 06.1630 W87 09.0640), Nordstrand Point Formation near Okse Bay on southern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. Palynological data indicate a middle Frasnian age (Maclarenii zone of Embry and Klovan, 1976).

A rendition of what the Bothriolepis rex would have looked like in its natural habitat along with a comparison of its size to that of a T. rex and an average human being.
Art by Jason Poole/Academy of Natural Sciences. 

Jason P. Downs, Edward B. Daeschler, Valentina E. Garcia and Neil H. Shubin. 2016. A New Large-bodied Species of Bothriolepis (Antiarchi) from the Upper Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.  DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2016.1221833

A New ‘King’ — New, Gigantic, Ancient Armored Fish Discovered 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Pseudacanthicus pirarara • A New Species of the Leopard Pleco Genus Pseudacanthicus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Rio Xingu, Brazil

Pseudacanthicus pirarara 
  Chamon & Sousa, 2016  

 DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13184  


The genus Pseudacanthicus comprises six valid species distributed in the Amazon basin and Caribbean coastal drainages from Guyana to French Guiana: P. serratusP. fordiiP. histrixP. spinosusP. leopardus and P. pitangaA new species of Pseudacanthicus is described from the Rio Xingu Basin, distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: presence of anastomose dark blotches forming continuous zigzag bands alongside longitudinal keels; presence of dark blotches on ventral surface of body and head; all fins with orange to red colour on unbranched rays and sometimes subsequent branched rays. Brief comments on ornamental fisheries and conservation of the new species are also provided.

Keywords: Amazon Basin; conservation; fish trade; Neotropical; taxonomy

Figure 2.  Pseudacanthicus pirarara, live specimens showing variation in colour:
(a) Laboratório de Ictiologia de Altamira, Universidade Federal do Pará, Campus de Altamira—LIA 1466, 58·0 mm standard length (LS), Rio Xingu near São Félix do Xingu; (b) ANSP 197879, 137 mm LS, Rio Irini; (c) LIA 1251, 122·5 mm LS, Rio Xingu near São Félix do Xingu; (d) Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia—ANSP 193003, 193 mm LS, Rio Irini; (e) LIA 1297, 141·0 mm LS, Rio Xingu near São Félix do Xingu; (f) LIA (no number), 173·75 mm LS, Rio Xingu near Altamira. 

Diagnosis: Pseudacanthicus pirarara is distinguished from congeners (except P. leopardus and P. pitanga) by having fins with intensely orange to red colouration (v. fins with dark background colour with white spots in P. serratus and P. fordii or grey background colour with black blotches in P. histrix and P. spinosus). Pseudacanthicus pirarara is distinguished from P. leopardus by the presence of anastomose dark blotches forming continuous zigzag bands alongside longitudinal keels and having all fins with strong red colour on unbranched rays and sometimes in subsequent branched rays (v. dark blotches distinct, never connected and red colour restricted to dorsal and caudal-fin rays). From P. pitanga, P. pirarara is distinguished by the presence of conspicuous dark blotches on head and abdomen (v. dark blotches usually absent or otherwise faint on head and always absent on abdomen). Pseudacanthicus pirarara is further diagnosed from congeners by the following combination of osteological characteristics: nasal bone L-shaped (v. rectangular); ventral crest of basipterygii straight (v. rounded or triangular); internal crest of posterior process of basipterygii well-developed (v. crest absent or weak).

Etymology: The specific name (a noun in apposition) is an allusion to Pirarara, the Brazilian common name of the red tail catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus (Bloch & Schneider 1801), which was incorporated by local fishermen in the common name of the species (i.e. assacu-pirarara) due to its reddish fins. Assacu is a common name for the Amazon tree Hura crepitans (Euphorbiaceae), which has bark covered with conical spines.

Distribution: Pseudacanthicus pirarara is endemic to the Rio Xingu Basin and has been collected in the main channel from Vitória do Xingu to São Félix do Xingu and major tributaries to the Xingu like Rio Bacajá and Rio Iriri (Fig. 3).

Figure 4. Typical habitat where Pseudacanthicus pirarara occurs:
(a) stretch of the Rio Xingu at Gorgulho da Rita region, a shallow, fast-flowing portion of the river with gravel and conglomerate rocks on the bottom; (b) and (c) Pseudacanthicus pirarara in natural habitat at Gorgulho da Rita. 

Ecological notes: The species can be found in the main channel of the river, in moderate to strong currents and shallow to deep environments down to 15 m. It is usually collected at depths of 2–3 m, often hiding beneath bedrock or conglomerate plates of rocks and gravel (Figs 4 and 5). Pseudacanthicus pirarara is not a gregarious species and it is not usually found with conspecific individuals or other species. They are carnivorous and feed on small invertebrates. According to local fishermen, they are more easily found during the high-water season (December to April), probably due to reproductive behaviour.

Fisheries and economical importance: Pseudacanthicus pirarara is highly appreciated by advanced hobbyists in the international aquarium trade because it is a large and colourful species that requires special tank set-ups to best suit their needs. It is also an important resource for local fishermen in the Rio Xingu, being one of the more valuable species depending on season. Local fishermen refer to it as assacu-vermelhoassacu-pirarara or L025 (Schraml & Schäfer, 2004; Stawikowski et al., 2004; Werner et al., 2005). It is usually captured with the aid of an air compressor and hoses that supply breathable air to the fishermen during 20–30 min dives. The safety procedures for such dives, however, are far from satisfactory.

Chamon, C.C. and Sousa, L.M. 2016. 2016. A New Species of the Leopard Pleco Genus Pseudacanthicus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Rio Xingu, Brazil.  Journal of Fish Biology.  DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13184 


[Herpetology • 2016] Exploration into the Hidden World of Mozambique’s Sky Island Forests: New Discoveries of Reptiles and Amphibians

Herpetofauna of northern Mozambique inselbergs
Figure 3. A selection of amphibians from northern Mozambique inselbergs.
AArthroleptis francei (Mt. Namuli, PEM A11303), B Arthroleptis xenodactyloides (Mt. Mabu), C Arthroleptis stenodactylus (Mt. Mabu), D Amietia delalandii (Mt. Namuli, PEM A11319), E Nothophryne cf. broadleyi (Mt. M’pàluwé, PEM A11370), F Nothophryne cf. broadleyi (Mt. Namuli), G Strongylopus cf. fuelleborni (Mt. Mabu, PEM A11184), H Scolecomorphus cf. kirkii (Mt. Mabu, PEM A11248).

Figure 4. A selection of reptiles from northern Mozambique inselbergs.
A Nadzikambia baylissi (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21165), B Rhampholeon tilburyi (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21157), CRhampholeon sp. (Mt. M’pàluwé, PEM R21209), D Lygodactylus cf. rex (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21147), E Holaspis laevis (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21146), F Dipsadoboa cf. shrevei shrevei (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21123), G Duberria shirana (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21184), HPsammophylax variabilis (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21186).

We carried out a survey of reptiles and amphibians within Afromontane forest and woodland slopes of three inselbergs in northern Mozambique (Mount Mabu, Mount Namuli, and Mount Ribáuè). A total of 56 species (22 amphibians and 34 reptiles) were recorded during the current survey. Our findings substantially increase the number of herpetofaunal species recorded from these mountains (Mount Ribáuè 59%, Mount Mabu 37%, and Mount Namuli 11% of the total species), including one new country record and several putative new species. An updated checklist of the herpetofauna of these mountains is presented.

Key Words: Amphibia, Reptilia, conservation, diversity, new species

Figure 2. Study area, northern Mozambique sky islands.
A – Mount Mabu, B – Mount Namuli, C – Mount M’pàluwé to the left. 

Figure 3. A selection of amphibians from northern Mozambique inselbergs. 
A – Arthroleptis francei (Mt. Namuli, PEM A11303), – Arthroleptis xenodactyloides (Mt. Mabu), – Arthroleptis stenodactylus (Mt. Mabu), – Amietia delalandii (Mt. Namuli, PEM A11319), – Nothophryne cf. broadleyi (Mt. M’pàluwé, PEM A11370), – Nothophryne cf. broadleyi (Mt. Namuli), – Strongylopus cf. fuelleborni (Mt. Mabu, PEM A11184), – Scolecomorphus cf. kirkii (Mt. Mabu, PEM A11248). 

Figure 4. A selection of reptiles from northern Mozambique inselbergs.
– Nadzikambia baylissi (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21165), – Rhampholeon tilburyi (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21157), C – Rhampholeon sp. (Mt. M’pàluwé, PEM R21209), – Lygodactylus cf. rex (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21147), – Holaspis laevis (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21146), – Dipsadoboa cf. shrevei shrevei (Mt. Mabu, PEM R21123), – Duberria shirana (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21184), H – Psammophylax variabilis (Mt. Namuli, PEM R21186). 
 DOI: 10.3897/zse.92.9948  

We have found eight putative new species through field identification, added additional species known from northern inselbergs (13 species to Mt. Mabu, five species to Mt. Namuli, and 19 species to Mt. M’pàluwé), and one new country record. Additional analyses are necessary, including barcoding and phylogenetic analyses, to determine whether these mountains are exceptionally high in species richness. We now know there are at least 30-40 species of reptiles and amphibians on each of these sky islands, many of which are montane endemics. Although the state of knowledge is growing for Mt. Mabu and Mt. Namuli and can be considered to be relatively well sampled, it is clear that Mt. Ribáuè isolates requires more work given the brevity of our survey. In addition, several other sky islands in the area have received little or no attention in terms of the herpetofaunal survey (e.g. Mt. Inago and Mt. Chiperone).

The present collection is essentially a preliminary assessment of amphibian and reptile diversity in the region and does not account for seasonal variation in activity of herpetofauna. Future surveys that are more comprehensive in space and over time should considerably increase our understanding of the regional diversity, endemism, and richness of these inselbergs. Although the state of biodiversity knowledge has grown for Mts. Mabu and Namuli, there is an urgent need for a clear understanding of the nature of threats, and mitigation measures that will directly improve protection of habitat. At Mt. Ribàué additional surveys are imperative, given the comparatively limited exploration on that mountain coupled with the apparent high rate of forest clearing. Overall, the sky islands of Mozambique clearly require additional surveys to quantify species richness and endemism for a broad range of taxonomic groups. Ultimately, a better understanding of the threats to biodiversity will allow for prioritisation of conservation interventions.

 Werner Conradie, Gabriela Bittencourt-Silva, Hanlie M. Engelbrecht, Simon P. Loader, Michele Menegon, Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Michael Scott and Krystal A. Tolley. 2016. Exploration into the Hidden World of Mozambique’s Sky Island Forests: New Discoveries of Reptiles and Amphibians.   Zoosystematics and Evolution. 92(2); 163-180. DOI: 10.3897/zse.92.9948

Monday, October 24, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Amolops albispinus • A New Species of Amolops (Anura: Ranidae) from southern China

Amolops albispinus 
 White-spined Cascade Frog  ||  Sung, Wang & Wang, 2016 

FIGURE 3. Dorsolateral view of adult male holotype SYS a003454 of Amolops albispinus sp. nov. in life; B: ventral view of the holotype in life; C: hand of the holotype in life; D: foot of the holotype in life.


A new speciesAmolops albispinus sp. nov. is described based on a series of specimens collected from Mt. Wutong, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. The new species can be distinguished from other known congeners by molecular divergence in the mitochondrial COI and 16S rRNA gene and morphological characters including presence of white conical spines on the lips, loreal and temporal regions, excluding the tympanum; small body, SVL 36.7–42.4 mm in adult males and 43.1–51.9 mm in adult females; very rough dorsal skin of body with numerous raised large warts; olive-brown dorsum with dark brown blotches; strongly developed vomerine teeth; absence of vocal sacs; absence of tarsal glands; absence of dorsolateral folds; presence of circummarginals groove on the disk of first finger; and absence of outer metatarsal tubercles. At present, the genus Amolops contains 51 species, of which 23 occur in China.

Keywords: Amphibia, Amolops albispinus sp. nov., Anura, China, mitochondrial DNA, morphology, Ranidae

FIGURE 3. Dorsolateral view of adult male holotype SYS a003454 of Amolops albispinus sp. nov. in life; G: close-up of the head of the holotype in life.

Etymology. The specific name, albispinus, refers to the “white spines” on the upper and lower lips, and loreal and temporal regions, which are the diagnostic features of this new species. As an English common name we suggest “White-spined Cascade Frog”.

Distribution and ecology. Currently, Amolops albispinus sp. nov. is known from the type locality of Mt. Wutong, and from Mt. Paiya, which is 30 km from Mt. Wutong, in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China. This species is common in Mt. Wutong throughout the year, whereas, it was observed to be rare in Mt. Paiya (only one specimen (SYS a002436) found). It inhabits low to mid-elevation (60–500 m) rocky, fast-flowing streams surrounding by moist subtropical secondary evergreen broadleaved forests.  

Sung, Yik-Hei, Ping Hu, Jian Wang, Hai-Jun Liu and Ying-Yong Wang. 2016. A New Species of Amolops (Anura: Ranidae) from southern China.
 Zootaxa. 4170(3); 525–538.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4170.3.6