Friday, February 28, 2014

[Palaeontology • 1994] ภูเวียงโกซอรัส สิรินธรเน | Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae • A New Genus of Sauropod Dinosaur from the Sao Khua formation (Late Jurassic or early Cretaceous) of northeastern Thailand


Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae
Martin, Buffetaut & Suteethorn 1994

Phuwiangosaurus (meaning "Phu Wiang lizard") is the name given to a genus of dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous. It was a titanosaur which lived in Thailand. The type species, P. sirindhornae, was described by Martin, Buffetaut, and Suteethorn in 1994; it was named to honour Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, who was interested in the geology and palaeontology of Thailand. It was around 27.1 m (90 feet) long.

nearly complete Phuwiangosaurus at Phu Kum Khao, Kanlasin http://fb.me/1afTlNXdR
Type of Phuwiangosaurus http://fb.me/I2K1xrdn
  


On 28 of August 1997, Post Authority of Thailand issued a set of four stamps shows reconstructions of dinosaurs fossils of which found in Northeastern part of the country.



MARTIN, V., BUFFETAUT, E. and SUTEETHORN, V. 1994. Un nouveau genre de dinosaure sauropode de la Formation Sao Khua (Jurassique supérieur ou Crétacé inférieur) du Nord-Est de la Thaïlande. [A New Genus of Sauropod Dinosaur from the Sao Khua formation (Late Jurassic or early Cretaceous) of northeastern ThailandComptes Rendus de l’ Academie des Science de Paris. 319(2): 1085-1092.

MARTIN, V., BUFFETAUT, E. and SUTEETHORN, V. 1993. Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs of Thailand: a preliminary report. In THANASUTIPITAK, T. (ed.). Proceedings of the International Symposium on Biostratigraphy of mainland Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai University. 2: 415-425.
MARTIN, V., SUTEETHORN, V. and BUFFETAUT, E. 1999. Description of the type and referred material of Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae Martin, Buffetaut and Suteethorn, 1994, a sauropod from the Lower Cretaceous of Thailand. Oryctos 2: 39-91.

[Palaeontology • 1999] Tangvayosaurus hoffeti • A New Genus of Sauropod Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Grès Supérior Formation (Aptian-Albian) of Savannakhet, Laos


Tangvayosaurus hoffeti

Tangvayosaurus (meaning 'Tang Vay lizard') is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Aptian-Albian age Lower Cretaceous Grès Supérior Formation of Savannakhet, Laos. It was a basal titanosaur, about 50 feet long, and is known from the remains of two or three individuals.


Allain, R.; Taquet, P.; Battail, B; Dejax, J.; Richir, P.; Véran, M.; Limon-Duparcmeur, F.; Vacant, R.; Mateus, O.; Sayarath, P.; Khenthavong, B.; and Phouyavong, S. 1999. Un nouveau genre de dinosaure sauropode de la formation des Grès supérieurs (Aptien-Albien) du Laos [A New Genus of Sauropod Dinosaur from the upper Grès Supérior Formation (Aptian-Albian) of Laos]. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences à Paris, Sciences de la Terre et des Planètes (in French) 329 (8): 609–616. 

[PaleoMammalogy • 2008] The Discovery of a Pleistocene Fauna in Karstic Fills at Tam Hang in Laos: Preliminary Results


Fig. 3. Some teeth extracted from the excavation of Tam Hang south in 2003:
Bos cf. sauveli (a) left P3 (TH455), (b) left d4 (TH544); Panthera tigris ssp., (c) right p4 (TH133); Arctonyx collaris cf. rostratus, (d) right M1 (TH119), (e) right M1 (TH120); Sus scrofa, (f) left M3 (TH417); Sus cf. barbatus, (g) right M3 (TH414).

Abstract
Tam Hang, located in northeastern Laos, in the Hua Pan province, is a reference site not only for its numerous archaeological and human remains, but also for its two faunal assemblages, whose composition suggests different dating in the Pleistocene. Discovered in 1934 by Jacques Fromaget, a new excavation of the site has been undertaken in 2003. During this campaign, at Tam Hang south, 575 isolated teeth of mammals were extracted from a deep layer of calcareous breccia. This assemblage corresponds to that one described by Arambourg and Fromaget [C. Arambourg, J. Fromaget, Le gisement quaternaire de Tam Nang (Chaîne Annamitique septentrionale). Sa stratigraphie et ses faunes, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 203 (1938) 793–795.], as characterized by the presence of Ursus premalayanus, and the rarity of Pongo pygmaeus. Systematics and analysis of teeth show that this new assemblage is composed of archaic subspecies, characteristic of the Middle Pleistocene. The faunal composition suggests ecological conditions also found in other Pleistocene sites of the South-East-Asia mainland area. Finally, the analysis of the process of preservation and deposition enables a brief description of the taphonomy specific of karstic systems.

Keywords: Tam Hang; Laos; Karstic system; Pleistocene; South-East Asia mainland


Table 1 List of teeth from Tam Hang south
defined at the specific level by Christelle Tougard (CT), Pierre-Olivier Antoine (POA)
and Anne-Marie Bacon (AMB)



Anne-Marie Bacon, Fabrice Demeter, Christelle Tougard, John De Vos, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, Pierre-Olivier Antoine, Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip. 2008. The Discovery of a Pleistocene Fauna in Karstic Fills at Tam Hang in Laos: Preliminary Results. Comptes Rendus Palevol. 7(5); 277–288. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2008.03.009


ABSTRACT
Tam Hang, localisé dans le Nord-Est du Laos, dans la province de Hua Pan, est un site de référence, non seulement pour ses nombreux vestiges archéologiques et humains, mais aussi pour ses deux assemblages fauniques, dont le contenu suggère des âges différents dans le Pléistocène. Découvert en 1934 par Jacques Fromaget, son exploitation a été reprise en 2003. Lors de cette nouvelle campagne, nous avons extrait de l'épaisse couche de brèche calcaire qui affleurait massivement à Tam Hang sud, 575 dents isolées de mammifères. Cet assemblage correspond à celui qu'Arambourg et Fromaget [C. Arambourg, J. Fromaget, Le gisement quaternaire de Tam Nang (Chaîne Annamitique septentrionale). Sa stratigraphie et ses faunes, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 203 (1938) 793–795.] caractérisent par la présence d'Ursus premalayanus et par la rareté de Pongo pygmaeus. La détermination systématique et l'analyse des dents montrent que cet assemblage comprend plusieurs sous-espèces archaïques, typiques du Pléistocène moyen. La composition de la faune suggère des conditions écologiques que l'on retrouve également dans les autres sites pléistocènes d'Asie du Sud-Est continentale. Enfin, l'analyse des processus de conservation et de dépôt permet de rappeler brièvement quels sont les facteurs taphonomiques spécifiques des milieux karstiques.

Mots clés: Tam Hang; Laos; Milieu karstique; Pléistocène; Asie du Sud-Est continentale

Anne-Marie Bacon, Fabrice Demeter, Christelle Tougard, John De Vos, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, Pierre-Olivier Antoine, Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip. 2008. Redécouverte d'une faune pléistocène dans les remplissages karstiques de Tam Hang au Laos : premiers résultats. Comptes Rendus Palevol. 7(5); 277–288. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2008.03.009

Thursday, February 27, 2014

[Botany • 2014] Buxus sirindhorniana | ช้องเจ้าฟ้า • a bicarpellate species (Buxaceae) from northern Thailand


ช้องเจ้าฟ้า Buxus sirindhorniana
W. K. Soh, M. von Sternburg, Hodk. & J. Parn.   DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1111/njb.00314 facebook.com/ForestHerbarium

Abstract
A new bicarpellate Buxus species, Buxus sirindhorniana W. K. Soh, M. von Sternburg, Hodk. & J. Parn., is described from northern Thailand. This is the first reported bicarpellate species of Buxus. The pollen morphology and the degree of pollen viability of the species are reported. DNA was extracted from herbarium samples and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA sequenced. The palynological evidence and the phylogenetic reconstruction support the contention that this new species belongs to the genus Buxus. The morphological diversity of reproductive organs in the Buxaceae, in relation to this new species, is briefly discussed.


Buxus sirindhorniana W. K. Soh, M. von Sternburg, Hodk. & J. Parn.


ไม้ต้นขนาดเล็กถึงขนาดกลาง พบขึ้นกระจายห่าง ๆ บนดอยหัวหมด อุ้มผาง
พรรณไม้ชนิดใหม่ของโลกเพิ่งตีพิมพ์เมื่อต้นปี 2557 คำระบุชนิดตั้งขึ้นเพื่อเทิดพระเกียรติสมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดาฯ สยามบรมราชกุมารี


Soh, W. K., von Sternburg, M., Hodkinson, T. R. and Parnell, J. A. N. 2014. Buxus sirindhorniana sp. nov. (Buxaceae), a bicarpellate species from Thailand. Nord. J. Bot. 31: xxx–xxx. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1111/njb.00314

Holotype of Buxus sirindhorniana sp. nov., Hennipman 3194 (BKF).

[PaleoTestudology • 2014] Eodortoka morellana • the first pan-pleurodiran turtle (Dortokidae) defined in the Early Cretaceous of Europe


Eodortoka morellana
Illustration by Carlos De Miguel Chaves

Highlights
• A new turtle taxa, Eodortoka morellana gen. et sp. nov. is proposed here.
• The new taxon comes from the Aptian of the Spanish Arcillas de Morella Formation.
• It is the only nominated dortokid prior to the uppermost Cretaceous.
• It shows several primitive characters not shared with the so far described dortokids.

Abstract

Dortokidae is a relatively poorly-known clade of Pan-Pleurodira, exclusively recognized in Europe. It is the only clade of Laurasiatic pan-pleurodirans known in the post-Jurassic record. Its presence has been recognized in several locations and ages. However, only two nominated valid taxa have been described so far: the western European Upper Cretaceous Dortoka vasconica, and the Romanian late Paleocene Ronella botanica. A new dortokid is studied here, Eodortoka morellana gen. et sp. nov. This new taxon is the oldest nominated dortokid, coming from the lower Aptian (Lower Cretaceous) of the Spanish town of Morella. It shows several primitive characters not shared with the so far described dortokids, such as the presence of mesoplastra and the absence of overlap of the second pair of pleural scutes onto the first pair of costal plates. The comparison of Eodortoka morellana gen. et sp. nov. with other specimens allows us to recognize the presence of two members of Dortokidae in the Iberian Lower Cretaceous record. This study shed light on the early evolution of Dortokidae, as well as on the systematic and paleobiogeography of this clade.

Keywords: Pan-Pleurodira; Dortokidae; Early Cretaceous; Europe; Morella

New mesozoic turtle Eodortoka morellana found in Morella, Castelló, Maestrazgo Basin, Iberian Range, Spain. 
Illustration by Carlos De Miguel Chaves

Systematic paleontology

Testudinata Klein [in Behn], 1760
Testudines Treviranus, 1802
Pan-Pleurodira Joyce, Parham and Gauthier, 2004

Dortokidae Lapparent de Broin and Murelaga, 1996
Eodortoka morellana, gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology. The generic name is composed by the terms Eo-, Greek for dawn, representing the oldest named genus of Dortokidae; and -dortoka, basque for turtle, the name of the type genus of this clade. The specific name refers to Morella, the town where the Mas de la Parreta quarry is located.


Referencia: Pérez-García, A.; Gasulla, J.M.; Ortega, F. 2014. Eodortoka morellana gen. et sp. nov., the first pan-pleurodiran turtle (Dortokidae) defined in the Early Cretaceous of Europe. Cretaceous Research. 48;130–138. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2013.12.004

[Herpetology • 2011] Revision of the Pygmy Spiny-tailed Skinks (Egernia depressa species-group) from Western Australia, with descriptions of three new species


Western Pilbara Spiny-tailed Skink Egernia cygnitos, previously E. depressa
@Mt. Mcleod by Henry Cook http://flic.kr/p/9T2AYq

Egernia depressa is an extremely spiny species of scincid lizard that occurs in several populations with highly variable morphology in western Australia. Using a combination of fixed morphological character differences and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, we found evidence for four species level groups within the complex. We restrict E. depressa to the log-inhabiting population from south-western Australia and resdescribe the species, and describe three new species from the aridzone: two from the Pilbara and one from the central ranges. In addition to the genetic differences, thespecies differ in head size, limb length, tail shape, colouration and scalation. Many of the morphological characters appear to be adaptations to log or rock-dwelling, with the log-dwelling E. depressa having brown colouration, large head, limbs and tail and long thin spines on the body and tail. The two Pilbara species are not each other’s closest relatives, yet they resemble each other the closest, probably owingto a suite of characters adapted for living in rock crevices such as yellow to reddish colouration, smaller head and limbs, narrower tail and short strong spines on the body and tail. The central ranges species appears to have a combination of characters from log and rock-dwelling forms and is the most isolated of the four species

KEYWORDS: new species, Egernia, skink, Australia, mitochondrial DNA.


East Pilbara Spiny-tailed Skink Egernia epsisolus, previous E. depressa

Paul Doughty, Luke Kealley and Stephen C. Donnellan. 2011. Revision of the Pygmy Spiny-tailed Skinks (Egernia depressa species-group) from Western Australia, with descriptions of three new species. RECORDS OF THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM. (2011); 115–137 


[Herpetology • 2014] Varanus hamersleyensis • Molecular and Morphological Assessment of Varanus pilbarensis (Squamata: Varanidae), with a description of a new species from the southern Pilbara, Western Australia


Varanus (Odatria) hamersleyensis
Maryan, Oliver, Fitch & O'Connell 2014

Abstract
Varanus pilbarensis Storr, 1980 is a specialised saxicolous varanid endemic to the Pilbara region of Western Australia. We present genetic and morphological evidence confirming the existence of a divergent southern lineage, here described as V. hamersleyensis sp. nov.. The new species differs noticeably in having a darker colouration and a reduced pattern of small whitish ocelli on the dorsal surface of the limbs only with a largely unbanded tail. By contrast, V. pilbarensis which is redescribed and restricted to the northern lineage, is paler and more boldly patterned with large greyish ocelli on the dorsal and lateral surfaces of the body and a strongly banded tail. The two species have discrete distributions centred on the Chichester and Hamersley Ranges to the north and south of the Fortescue River Basin. This pattern of intraregional genetic structuring is similar to that found in a number of other saxicolous lizard lineages from the Pilbara. 

Key words: goanna, Chichester Range, Hamersley Range, Fortescue River Basin, mtDNA divergence


Maryan B, Oliver PM, Fitch AJ and O'Connell M. 2014. Molecular and Morphological Assessment of Varanus pilbarensis (Squamata: Varanidae), with a description of a new species from the southern Pilbara, Western Australia. Zootaxa. 3768(2): 139-158.

[Herpetology • 2010] Varanus bitatawa • A Spectacular New Philippine Monitor Lizard reveals a Hidden Biogeographic Boundary and a Novel Flagship Species for Conservation


Northern Sierra Madre forest monitor Varanus bitatawa
Welton, Siler, Bennett, Diesmos, Duya, Dugay, Rico, Van Weerd & Brown 2010

As humans continue to explore the last uncharted regions of the planet, discoveries of previously unknown species of large vertebrates have become infrequent. Here, we report on the discovery of a spectacular new species of giant, secretive, frugivorous, forest monitor lizard (Genus: Varanus) from the forests of the northern Philippines. Using data from morphology and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences, we demonstrate the taxonomic distinctiveness of this new 2 m long species and provide insight into its historical biogeography and systematic affinities. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses indicate that the new species is closely related to Varanus olivaceus (from southern Luzon and nearby islands), but it differs from this and other varanids with respect to characteristics of scalation, colour pattern, body size, anatomy of the reproductive organs and genetic divergence. The new species appears to be restricted to forests of the central and northern Sierra Madre mountain range; it is separated from the range of V. olivaceus by a more than 150 km stretch that includes at least three low-elevation river valley barriers to dispersal. This discovery identifies a seldom-perceived biogeographic boundary and emphasizes the need for continued biodiversity research in the megadiverse conservation hotspot of the Philippines. It is anticipated that the new species will serve as an important flagship species for conservation efforts aimed at preserving the remaining forests of northern Luzon.

Keywords: biodiversity, conservation hotspots, flagship species, frugivory, Sierra Madre, Varanus



Varanus bitatawa sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from bitatawa, the Agta tribespeoples' common name for the new species.


One of the first photographs in life of the newly discovered (Welton et al. 2010)
Varanus bitatawa (KU 322188) from Barangay Dibuluan, San Mariano.


Luke J. Welton, Cameron D. Siler, Daniel Bennett, Arvin Diesmos, M. Roy Duya, Roldan Dugay, Edmund Leo B. Rico, Merlijn Van Weerd and Rafe M. Brown. 2010. A Spectacular New Philippine Monitor Lizard reveals a Hidden Biogeographic Boundary and a Novel Flagship Species for Conservation. Biology Letters. 6 (5): 654–658. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0119

Brown R, Siler C, Oliveros C, Welton L, Rock A, Swab J, Van Weerd M, van Beijnen J, Rodriguez D, Jose E, Diesmos A 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Luzon Island, Philippines, VIII: The herpetofauna of Cagayan and Isabela Provinces, northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range. ZooKeys. 266: 1. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.266.3982.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2013] Photographic Documentation of Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni in Maharashtra, India, north of its known range


Fig. 2. Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni photographed in Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka, India, in November 2011
Photo: Harshal Bhosale

Abstract 
Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni is a small carnivore endemic to the Western Ghats, India. It occurs throughout the south-ern Western Ghats, from Achankovil Reserved Forest (Kerala) to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary (Goa), but until now was not recorded in the northern Western Ghats, north of the state of Goa. Two records from the state of Maharashtra extend its known range north by about 200 km: a photograph near Amboli, and a sighting even further north in Chandoli National Park. The forest of Amboli is structurally connected to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, but connectivity with Chandoli National Park is now severely limited for this forest-dwelling small carnivore (see p. 39 for a record from 75 km further north).
Keywords: Amboli, Chandoli National Park, extension of known range, northernmost records


H. S. BHOSALE, G. A. PUNJABI and R. BARDAPURKAR. 2013. Photographic Documentation of Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni in Maharashtra, India, north of its known range. Small Carnivore Conservation. 49: 37–39. 



Sunday, February 23, 2014

[Ornithology • 2003] Hybrid Origin of the Imperial Pheasant Lophura imperialis (Delacour and Jabouille, 1924) demonstrated by Morphology, Hybrid Experiments, and DNA Analyses



Figure 3. Lophura imperialis (B) 
between its parental species, L. nycthemera (A) and L. edwardsi (C).
Painting by John Schmitt.

The imperial pheasant Lophura imperialis was described in 1924 from a captive pair that was obtained in Vietnam, and that became the sole founders of a captive line in France. Always considered a highly endangered and mysterious species, and despite concerted searches, L. imperialis was not found again in the wild until one was trapped in 1990, and the captive population gradually died out. Its status as a distinct species was unquestioned until the late 1990s when the possibility of a hybrid origin was raised. To elucidate the taxonomic status of L. imperialis, we studied all the existing museum specimens, carried out captive hybridization experiments, and analysed mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites. All these lines of evidence demonstrate congruently and conclusively that L. imperialis is an occasional hybrid between silver pheasant L. nycthemera and Edwards's pheasant L. edwardsi, with the 1990 bird probably being a hybrid between L. nycthemera and Vietnamese pheasant L. hatinhensis. Thus L. imperialis has no taxonomic standing and should be removed from lists of species of conservation concern. However, hybridization with L. nycthemera may pose a further threat to the survival in the wild of the endangered L. edwardsi and L. hatinhensis.

Keywords: conservation; Edwards's pheasant; fragmented habitat; hybridization; microsatellites; morphological analyses; mtDNA sequencing; silver pheasant


Imperial Pheasant Lophura imperialis
1997 Vietnam Stamp: Pheasants


Figure 3. Lophura imperialis (B) 
between its parental species, L. nycthemera (A) and L. edwardsi (C).
Painting by John Schmitt.


A. Hennache, P. Rasmussen, V. Lucchini, S. Rimondi, E. Randi. 2003. Hybrid Origin of the Imperial Pheasant Lophura imperialis (Delacour and Jabouille, 1924) demonstrated by Morphology, Hybrid Experiments, and DNA Analyses. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 80(4); 573-600.
doi: dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2003.00251.x


Saturday, February 22, 2014

[Ornithology • 2006] Liocichla bugunorum | Bugun Liocichla • A New Species of Liocichla (Aves:Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India


Pic. 1. The holotype of Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum sp nov.
It was photographed on 25.v.2006 at Lama Camp just outside the boundaries of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The overall colour of the bird is olive which tends to look greener in the shade (see Pic. 6) and neutral grey in bright light (a camera flash for instance). This is probably a male bird.

Abstract
This paper describes a new bird species of the genus Liocichla discovered near Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in western Arunachal Pradesh, India. While the taxon most closely resembles L. omeiensis, an endemic of China, the many points of difference in plumage, size and vocalisations indicate a new species. The known population is very small and only three (breeding?) pairs responded to song play back in May 2006. The plumage and the vocalisations are distinctive and therefore the paucity of records suggests a small and highly localized population.


Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum sp. nov.


Taxonomic status
Evaluating the relative status of taxa is not easy (Helbig et al. 2002), especially when all other congeners are allopatric. Visually and aurally, L. bugunorum is most similar to L. omeiensis but there are many points of difference between them: in vocalisations, ten features of plumage, and size (Table 1). While future surveys may extend their ranges towards each other the balance of probability of finding intermediate populations, showing a cline in all the above differences is low. Furthermore, L. bugunorum differs from L. omeiensis and from L. steerii in its plumage as much as the latter differ between themselves. L. omeiensis was elevated from subspecies (of L. steerii) to species (Cheng 1987). These factors make a strong case for assigning specific rank to the Eaglenest taxon.

 On the lack of a full specimen
Given the very small known population, I felt it would be inappropriate to collect a specimen, especially as that would have affected one of only three known (breeding?) pairs. So only some feathers which had worked loose (after the photographs were taken) were collected as type material. Should the census planned for next season indicate a larger population, steps will be taken to obtain a full specimen after seeking permission from the appropriate authorities.


Etymology: All observations of this taxon, except the first, were carried out during field work under the Eaglenest Biodiversity Project (Athreya 2005, 2006). Local community participation and development have been the cornerstones of our conservation efforts there and Mr Indi Glow of the Bugun tribe has played a very critical role throughout the project. Furthermore, all sightings of the taxon except one have been in Bugun community forest. It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the contribution of Mr. Indi Glow and others by naming the new taxon after their Bugun tribe. The word Bugun (both ‘u’ rhyme with “put”) is a masculine term used by the community to refer to themselves. It is believed to mean “people of the valley = valley dwellers” but the etymology is uncertain and its origins may lie in another language. The specific name
bugunorum [= (Liocichla) of the Buguns] is the invariable genitive plural of the latinised noun Bugunus.


Athreya, Ramana. 2006. A New Species of Liocichla (Aves:Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds. 2(4): 82-94.

A. Townsend Peterson and Monica Pape. 2006. Potential geographic distribution of the Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum, a poorly-known species from north-eastern India. Indian Birds. 2 (6): 146–149.

[Ornithology • 2013] Emei Shan Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis: Population, Behavior and Conservation | endemic to mountain ranges in south-central Sichuan & extreme north-east Yunnan, China


  
Abstract 
Endemic to China, the Emei Shan Liocichla (Liocichla omeiensis) is considered globally vulnerable by the IUCN because of its small, declining population and fragmented range. The species has been recorded in only a few mountainous forests in south-central Sichuan and in the extreme northeast of Yunnan Province. We summarized the basic eco-biology information on its habitat, breeding, winter habits and behavior, voice, population status, research and conservation.

Keywords: Emei Shan Liocichla, habitat, breeding, population, conservation




Yiqiang FU, Simon D. DOWELL and Zhengwang ZHANG. 2013. Emei Shan Liocichla: Population, Behavior and Conservation. Chinese Birds. 4(3): 260–264. DOI dx.doi.org/10.5122/cbirds.2013.0023

[Mammalogy • 2009] Discoveries of New Mammal Species and their implications for Conservation and Ecosystem Services


Fig. 1. Examples of new species of mammals discovered since 1993.
From top left to bottom right, Rungwecebus kipunji. Cuscomys ashanika. Bradypus pygmaeus. Mirza zaza. Cebus queirozi. Rhyncocyon udzunwensis.
Macrotarsomys petteri. Laonastes aenigmamus. Scotophilus marovaza. Microgale jenkinsae 

Abstract
In light of recent discoveries of many new species of poorly-studied organisms, we examine the biodiversity of mammals, a well known “charismatic” group. Many assume that nearly all mammal species are known to scientists. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect. Since 1993, 408 new mammalian species have been described, ≈10% of the previously known fauna. Some 60% of these are “cryptic” species, but 40% are large and distinctive. A substantial number persist only in areas undergoing rapid habitat destruction. Our findings suggest global animal and plant species diversity is badly underestimated even in well studied taxa. This implies even greater threats to ecosystem services and human well-being than previously assumed, and an increased need to explore, understand, and conserve Earth's living resources.

keywords: biodiversity, extinction, new mammals



Gerardo Ceballos and Paul R. Ehrlich. 2009. Discoveries of New Mammal Species and their implications for Conservation and Ecosystem Services. PNAS. 106(10); 3841–3846. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0812419106

Friday, February 21, 2014

[Orchidology • 2013] Vanilla atropogon • a new species from Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam


Vanilla atropogonin situ inflorescence.
Photo: Romana Rybková

Abstract
 Vanilla atropogon a new species from Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam is described.
Keywords: Vanilla atropogon, Orchidacea, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam


Etymology. From atro-, dark, and pogon, beard, referring to the dark, hairy lip. 

Distribution. Vietnam (Khanh Hoa Province). Endemic. 

Notes. Vanilla atropogon is perhaps most closely related to V. borneensis Rolfe (syn. V. pilifera Holttum), which has flowers that are similar in size, shape and ornamentation. In V. borneensis the patch of hairs on the mid-lobe is much denser, with hairs of almost uniform thickness (versus hairs strongly narrowing towards the apex in V. atropogon) and this patch is almost or entirely contiguous with the central patch of scales; in V. atropogon the patch of hairs and the callus-like patch of scales are well-separated; in V. borneensis the basal part of the lip is much broader and is provided with two knob-like calli, which are lacking in V. atropogon. The colour of the lip is quite different in V. borneensis: white with pink or purple veins and pink hairs. Finally, the inflorescence of V. borneensis carries 5–12 (V. atropogon: 10–23) flowers. 
 The unusual colour of the lip of V. atropogon in combination with the bad smell of the flowers suggests that it may be pollinated by flies. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the pollinators of other Asian species, but most are likely to be bee pollinated, as has been observed in similar-looking tropical American species (Cameron, 2011).


André Schuiteman. Leonid Averyanov & Romana Rybková. 2013. Vanilla atropogon, a new species from Vietnam. Orchideen. 1-1; 10-16. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Rediscovery of Andinophryne olallai Hoogmoed, 1985 (Anura, Bufonidae), an enigmatic and endangered Andean toad


Ontogenetic transformation of color and pattern in Tandayapa Andean toad Andinophryne olallai from Río Manduriacu, Imbabura Province, Ecuador

Abstract
We report the rediscovery of Andinophryne olallai, an endangered species only known from a single specimen, collected in 1970. At the type locality, Tandayapa, Pichincha Province, numerous follow-up surveys after 1970 failed to record the species suggesting that the population is extinct. The rediscovery of A. olallai took place in 2012 at Río Manduriacu, Imbabura Province, Ecuador. Two surveys suggest that a healthy population of A. olallai survives at the site, with observations of froglets, juveniles, and adults across numerous stream systems. However, the extent of known occupancy of the population is small (<1 sq.km.). . Further data are presented to update knowledge of the distribution, ontogeny, morphology, and conservation status of the species. The population at Río Manduriacu is surrounded by logging, mining, and hydroelectric developments that could compromise its future survival. There is an urgent need to establish a monitoring program and to protect its remaining population and habitat in the region.

 Key words. Andinophryne olallai, rediscovery, Tandayapa Andean toad, Andinosapo de Olalla, Bufonidae, Endangered species, Ecuador


A baby Tandayapa Andean toad Andinophryne olallai , otherwise known as a toadlet.
Biologists thought the species extinct until its recent rediscovery in a rain forest in Ecuador.
Photograph by Santiago Ron, FAUNAWEBECUADOR
newswatch.nationalgeographic.com


Ryan L. Lynch, Sebastian Kohn, Fernando Ayala-Varela, Paul S. Hamilton, and Santiago R. Ron. 2014. Rediscovery of Andinophryne olallai Hoogmoed, 1985 (Anura, Bufonidae), an enigmatic and endangered Andean toad. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. 8(1) [Special Section]: 1–7 (e75).
doi: dx.doi.org/10.1514/journal.arc.0000075

Monday, February 17, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Vocal Behavior of the Elusive Purple Frog of India (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), a Fossorial Species Endemic to the Western Ghats



Figure 1. Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis calling.
Dorsolateral (a) and frontal (b) views of a calling male that was removed from under the soil at the entrance of the tunnel from which it had been calling. The male was induced to call above ground after brief exposure to a female. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084809.g001

Abstract
Quantitative descriptions of animal vocalizations can inform an understanding of their evolutionary functions, the mechanisms for their production and perception, and their potential utility in taxonomy, population monitoring, and conservation. The goal of this study was to provide the first acoustical and statistical analysis of the advertisement calls of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis. Commonly known as the Indian purple frog, N. sahyadrensis is an endangered species endemic to the Western Ghats of India. As the only known species in its family (Nasikabatrachidae), it has ancient evolutionary ties to frogs restricted to the Seychelles archipelago (Sooglossidae). The role of vocalizations in the behavior of this unique species poses interesting questions, as the animal is fossorial and potentially earless and it breeds explosively above the soil for only about two weeks a year. In this study, we quantified 19 acoustic properties of 208 calls recorded from 10 males. Vocalizations were organized into distinct call groups typically composed of two to six short (59 ms), pulsatile calls, each consisting of about five to seven pulses produced at a rate of about 106 pulses/s. The frequency content of the call consisted of a single dominant peak between 1200–1300 Hz and there was no frequency modulation. The patterns of variation within and among individuals were typical of those seen in other frogs. Few of the properties we measured were related to temperature, body size, or condition, though there was little variation in temperature. Field observations and recordings of captive individuals indicated that males engaged in both antiphonal calling and call overlap with nearby calling neighbors. We discuss our findings in relation to previous work on vocal behavior in other fossorial frogs and in sooglossid frogs.


Thomas A, Suyesh R, Biju SD, Bee MA. 2014. Vocal Behavior of the Elusive Purple Frog of India (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), a Fossorial Species Endemic to the Western Ghats. PLoS ONE. 9(2): e84809. DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0084809





[Paleontology • 2014] Atopodentatus unicus • A New Marine Reptile from the Triassic of China, with a highly specialized Feeding Adaptation


Atopodentatus unicus
illustration: Julius Csotonyi | csotonyi.com


Abstract
The Luoping fauna (Anisian, Middle Triassic) is probably the oldest of Triassic faunas in Guizhou–Yunnan area, China. The reptilian assemblage is comprised of ichthyosaurs, a number of sauropterygians (pachypleurosaur-like forms), saurosphargids, protorosaurs, and archosauriforms. Here, we report on a peculiar reptile, newly found in this fauna. Its dentition is fence or comb-like and bears more than 175 pleurodont teeth in each ramus of the upper and lower jaws, tooth crown is needle-like distally and blade-shaped proximally; its rostrum strongly bends downward and the anterior end of its mandible expands both dorsally and ventrally to form a shovel-headed structure; and its ungual phalanges are hoof-shaped. The specializations of the jaws and dentition indicate that the reptile may have been adapted to a way of bottom-filter feeding in water. It is obvious that such delicate teeth are not strong enough to catch prey, but were probably used as a barrier to filter microorganisms or benthic invertebrates such as sea worms. These were collected by the specialized jaws, which may have functioned as a shovel or pushdozer (the mandible) and a grasper or scratcher (the rostrum). Our preliminary analysis suggests that the new reptile might be more closely related to the Sauropterygia than to other marine reptiles.

Keywords: Diapsida, Bottom-filter feeding, Middle Triassic, Yunnan, China




 Cheng, L.; Chen, X. H.; Shang, Q. H.; Wu, X. C. 2014. A New Marine Reptile from the Triassic of China, with a highly specialized Feeding Adaptation. Naturwissenschaften. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-014-1148-4


[Paleontology • 2014] Terrestrial Origin of Viviparity in Mesozoic Marine Reptiles Indicated by Early Triassic Embryonic Fossils | Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles from Anhui, China


Chaohusaurus specimen with three embryos.
Color coding indicates: black, maternal vertebral column, including neural and haemal spines; blue, maternal pelvis and hind flipper; green, maternal ribs and gastralia. Embryos 1 and 2 are in orange and yellow, respectively, whereas neonate 1 is in red.
Abbreviations: i-v, metatarsals; 4, fourth distal tarsal; a, astragalus; c, calcaneum; cr, caudal rib; cv, caudal vertebra; d, dentary; fe, femur; fi, fibula; h, haemal spine; il, ilium; is, ischium; pb, pubis; pm, premaxilla; sr, sacral rib; sv, sacral vertebra; and ti, tibia. Scale bar is 1 cm. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088640

Abstract

Viviparity in Mesozoic marine reptiles has traditionally been considered an aquatic adaptation. We report a new fossil specimen that strongly contradicts this traditional interpretation. The new specimen contains the oldest fossil embryos of Mesozoic marine reptile that are about 10 million years older than previous such records. The fossil belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), which is the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles (ca. 248 million years ago, Early Triassic). This exceptional specimen captures an articulated embryo in birth position, with its skull just emerged from the maternal pelvis. Its headfirst birth posture, which is unlikely to be a breech condition, strongly indicates a terrestrial origin of viviparity, in contrast to the traditional view. The tail-first birth posture in derived ichthyopterygians, convergent with the conditions in whales and sea cows, therefore is a secondary feature. The unequivocally marine origin of viviparity is so far not known among amniotes, a subset of vertebrate animals comprising mammals and reptiles, including birds. Therefore, obligate marine amniotes appear to have evolved almost exclusively from viviparous land ancestors. Viviparous land reptiles most likely appeared much earlier than currently thought, at least as early as the recovery phase from the end-Permian mass extinction.


Motani R, Jiang D-y, Tintori A, Rieppel O, Chen G-b. 2014. Terrestrial Origin of Viviparity in Mesozoic Marine Reptiles Indicated by Early Triassic Embryonic Fossils. PLoS ONE. 9(2): e88640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088640


Ichthyosaur Birth Preserved in Fossil

The birth of an ichthyosaur is preserved in a 248-million-year old fossil. The ichthyosaur was an ancient marine reptile that lived during the Mesozoic era. The fossil was recovered in China and appears to show a live birth. There are three embryos in the fossil. One of the embryos (colored in yellow) is exiting the pelvis, with half its body still inside its mother. 

Dr. Motani says in a statement, "The study reports the oldest vertebrate fossil to capture the 'moment' of live-birth, with a baby emerging from the pelvis of its mother. The 248-million-year old fossil of an ichthyosaur suggests that live-bearing evolved on land and not in the sea." 

[Paleontology • 2014] Reinterpretation of the Early Cretaceous maniraptoran Zhongornis haoae (Dinosauria: Theropoda) as a scansoriopterygid-like non-avian, and morphological resemblances between scansoriopterygids and basal oviraptorosaurs



Fig. 1 Photograph of the holotype of Zhongornis haoae DNHM D2456
Scale bar equals 2 cm

Abstract 
The recently described maniraptoran theropod Zhongornis haoae, known from a single juvenile specimen, was originally identified as a bird. However, morphological re-evaluation reveals striking resemblances to both Oviraptorosauria and Scansoriopterygidae. The reduced, but still long, boney tail is reinterpreted as having approximately twenty vertebrae and is reminiscent of the tails of Caudipteryx and Epidexipteryx in its proportions and morphology. Other morphological similarities with basal oviraptorosaurs include a short and deep skull, and a reduced minor digit. Zhongornis also differs strikingly from other Mesozoic birds, and resembles scansoriopterygids, in the size of the alular metacarpal, the proportions of the manual digits, and the lack of processes on the ischium. These similarities, together with resemblances between basal oviraptorosaurs and previously described scansoriopterygids, may point to a close relationship between these two clades. Cladistic analysis confirms a close relationship between Zhongornis and Scansoriopterygidae, which share forelimbs and pedal unguals that are elongate compared to those of oviraptorosaurs, but does not support oviraptorosaur affinities for this clade. Additional specimens will be required in order to determine both the taxonomic placement of this species and the affinities of Scansoriopterygidae, highlighting the drawbacks of basing new species on juvenile material. 

Key words: Cretaceous, Theropoda, Scansoriopterygidae, Oviraptorosauria, Aves, Zhongornis, tail

Holotype of Zhongornis haoae (D2455 . 6).
Photographs of the slab (left; D2456) and counterslab (right; D2455) under normal light. Interpretive drawing of slab (some portions added from information contained in counterslab) with close-ups of the manus, foot and caudal vertebrae. Abbreviations: co, coracoid; cv, caudal vertebrae (c1–c13); cve, cervical vertebrae; dc, distal carpal; dpc, deltopectoral crest; dv, dorsal vertebrae; gas, gastralia; f, frontal; fei, feather impressions; fem, femur; fib, fibula; fur, furcula; hum, humerus; isc, ischium; j, jugal; mcI–III, metacarpals I–III; mtI–IV, metatarsals I–IV; pmx, premaxilla; q, quadrate; rad, radius; rib, thoracic ribs; sc, scapula; syn, synsacrum; tib, tibia; uln, ulna; I–IV, digits (manual or pedal) I–IV.

illustration: whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com

  Zhongornis haoae illustration: Kahless28 on @deviantART 


Jingmai K. O’CONNOR and Corwin SULLIVAN. 2014. Reinterpretation of the Early Cretaceous maniraptoran (Dinosauria: Theropoda) Zhongornis haoae as a scansoriopterygid-like non-avian, and morphological resemblances between scansoriopterygids and basal oviraptorosaurs. VERTEBRATA PALASIATICA. 52; 3-30. 

Gao, Cunling, Chiappe, L.M., Meng, Q., O'connor, J.K., Wang, X., Cheng, X., Liu, J. 2008.A New Basal Lineage Of Early Cretaceous Birds From China And Its Implications On The Evolution Of The Avian Tail. Palaeontology. 51(4); 775-791. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00793.x