Sunday, July 23, 2017

[Mammalogy / Conservation • 2017] Natural Canopy Bridges Effectively Mitigate Tropical Forest Fragmentation for Arboreal Mammals

Figure 1: The six species that most frequently used the 13 natural canopy bridges over the pipeline clearing: (a) Aotus nigriceps, (b) Potos flavus, (c) Coendou ichillus, (d) Caluromys lanatus, (e) Bassaricyon alleni, and (f) Hadrosciurus spadiceus

Linear infrastructure development and resulting habitat fragmentation are expanding in Neotropical forests, and arboreal mammals may be disproportionately impacted by these linear habitat clearings. Maintaining canopy connectivity through preservation of connecting branches (i.e. natural canopy bridges) may help mitigate that impact. Using camera traps, we evaluated crossing rates of a pipeline right-of-way in a control area with no bridges and in a test area where 13 bridges were left by the pipeline construction company. Monitoring all canopy crossing points for a year (7,102 canopy camera nights), we confirmed bridge use by 25 mammal species from 12 families. With bridge use beginning immediately after exposure and increasing over time, use rates were over two orders of magnitude higher than on the ground. We also found a positive relationship between a bridge’s use rate and the number of species that used it, suggesting well-used bridges benefit multiple species. Data suggest bridge use may be related to a combination of bridge branch connectivity, multiple connections, connectivity to adjacent forest, and foliage cover. Given the high use rate and minimal cost, we recommend all linear infrastructure projects in forests with arboreal mammal populations include canopy bridges.

Figure 1: The six species that most frequently used the 13 natural canopy bridges over the pipeline clearing:
(a) Aotus nigriceps, (b) Potos flavus, (c) Coendou ichillus, (d) Caluromys lanatus, (e) Bassaricyon alleni, and (f) Hadrosciurus spadiceus

Coendou ichillus,     Tamandua tetradactyla

Pithecia irrorata,       Saguinus fuscicollis

Figure 5: Tremaine Gregory climbing a canopy bridge over a recently cleared natural gas pipeline in the Lower Urubamba Region of Peru.

Tremaine Gregory, Farah Carrasco-Rueda, Alfonso Alonso, Joseph Kolowski and Jessica L. Deichmann. 2017. Natural Canopy Bridges Effectively Mitigate Tropical Forest Fragmentation for Arboreal Mammals. Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 3892. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04112-x

Natural Canopy Bridges Maintain Vital Connections for Arboreal Mammals in Fragmented Forests

[Ichthyology • 2017] Mola tecta • Hiding in Broad Daylight: Molecular and Morphological Data Reveal A New Ocean Sunfish Species (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae) that has Eluded Recognition

Mola tecta
Nyegaard, Sawai, Gemmell, Gillum, Loneragan, Yamanoue & Stewart, 2017

Hoodwinker Ocean Sunfish  DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx040 


The taxonomy of the ocean sunfishes (Molidae) has a complicated history. Currently, three genera and four species are recognized, including two in the genus Mola (M. mola and M. ramsayi). In 2009, a genetic study revealed a potential third species, Mola species C, in Southeast Australian waters. Concentrating on this region, we obtained samples and morphological data from 27 Mola sp. C specimens, genetically confirmed the existence of this species (mtDNA D-loop and cytochrome c oxidase 1), and established its morphology across a size spectrum of 50–242 cm total length. Mola sp. C is diagnosed by clavus meristics [15–17 fin rays (13–15 principal, 2 minor), 5–7 ossicles, paraxial ossicles separate], clavus morphology (prominent smooth band back-fold, rounded clavus edge with an indent), and body scale morphology (raised conical midpoints, non-branching). This species does not develop a protruding snout, or swollen dorso- or ventrolateral ridges. Body proportions remain similar with growth. A review of the historic literature revealed that Mola sp. C is a new, hitherto undescribed species, Mola tecta, which we describe and diagnose, and that it is the first proposed addition to the genus Mola in 125 years. Its core distribution is likely in the temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere.

Keywords: Australia, CO1 mtDNA, D-loop, morphology, morphometrics, New Zealand, phylogenetics, southern hemisphere, taxonomy.

Family Molidae Bonaparte, 1832
Genus Mola Koelreuter, 1766

Mola Koelreuter, 1766. Type specimen Mola aculeata, i.e. pre-juvenile form.
Mola Cuvier, 1798. Type specimen Tetraodon mola Linnaeus, 1758, i.e. adult form.

 •  Mola mola (Linnaeus, 1758)
No known holotype (Parenti, 2003; Eschmeyer et al., 2017) 

Distribution: Currently thought to be widely distributed in all the world’s oceans except for the polar seas, however may be relatively uncommon in some areas (e.g. around Australia and New Zealand).

 •  Mola ramsayi (Giglioli, 1883)
Holotype: BMNH 1883.11.29.22 

Distribution: Previously thought to be restricted to the South Pacific (Fraser-Brunner, 1951), however if Mola sp. A is shown to belong to M. ramsayi, the distribution is much wider than previously thought, including the Pacific and Indian oceans in both hemispheres, as well as the Mediterranean and probably also the European seas.

Mola tecta stranded on Birdlings Flat south of Christchurch, New Zealand, May 2014.
Photograph by M. NYEGAARD 

The hoodwinker sunfish grows to at least 2.4 metres long, with a distinctive ‘backfold’ of smooth skin separating the back fin into two.
Illustration by Michelle Freeborn, Wellington Museum Te Papa Tongarewa. 

 •  Mola tecta sp. nov. 
New English name: Hoodwinker Ocean Sunfish.
New Japanese name: Kakure-manbo

Etymology: The species name tecta is derived from the Latin tectus (disguised, hidden), as this species evaded discovery for nearly three centuries, despite the keen interest among early sunfish taxonomists and the continued attention these curious fish receive. The Japanese name is derived from the species name tecta: ‘hidden’ (Kakure), ‘sunfish’ (manbo), while the English name, ‘Hoodwinker’, pertains to the figurative meaning ‘trickster, deceiving by disguise’, c. 1600.

Habitat and distribution: Mola tecta has been confirmed in the southeast of Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria) (Yoshita et al., 2009; this study), around New Zealand (this study), and off South Africa (Bass et al., 2005) (Fig. 10). Photographs (e.g. Supporting Information, Fig. S1A) indicates that it also occurs in Chilean waters. This suggests that M. tecta is distributed widely in the temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere, with occasional, but presumably rare, occurrences in the Northern Hemisphere. Migrations are unknown.

Marianne Nyegaard, Etsuro Sawai, Neil Gemmell, Joanne Gillum, Neil R. Loneragan, Yusuke Yamanoue and Andrew L. Stewart. 2017. Hiding in Broad Daylight: Molecular and Morphological Data Reveal A New Ocean Sunfish Species (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae) that has Eluded Recognition.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. XX, zlx040. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx040

The four-year treasure hunt for the hoodwinker sunfish via @ConversationEDU
 Massive Two-Ton Fish Species Discovered via @NatGeo

[Botany • 2017] Premna bhamoensis • A New Species (Lamiaceae, Premnoideae) from Kachin State, northeastern Myanmar

Premna bhamoensis  Y. T. Tan & B. Li

In the present study, we describe and illustrate a new speciesPremna bhamoensis Y. T. Tan & B. Li (Lamiaceae), from Myanmar. In the 1980s, this species was transplanted from Bhamo County in northeastern Myanmar to the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The species shows striking morphological similarity to P. menglaensis B. Li, and thus, has been misidentified as the latter for a long period of time. However, morphological comparison revealed that P. bhamoensis is distinct from P. menglaensis in many aspects. Moreover, literature survey and specimen examinations also indicated that P. bhamoensis is undoubtedly different from all seven known congenetic species recorded from Kachin State, Myanmar, and a key for their identification has been provided in this paper.

Keywords: China, morphology, Myanmar, Premna menglaensis, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden

Figure 2. Morphological comparison between Premna bhamoensis (AC) and P. menglaensis (ac).
A, a branchlets with inflorescences B, b inflorescences, flowers and calyces (in the blank circle) C, c fruitescences and fruits (arrow show fruiting calyx). 

Figure 1. Premna bhamoensis Y. T. Tan & B. Li, sp. nov.
habit a branchlet with ovate-oblong to elliptic leaves C branchlet and petioles covered by dense brownish pubescences D abaxial surface of leaf blade.

Premna bhamoensis Y.T. Tan & B. Li, sp. nov.

Diagnosis: The species is most similar in morphology to P. menglaensis B. Li, but differs from the latter in having branchlets and petioles densely tomentose (vs. glabrous or glabrescent), leaf blades papery with minute pubescence (vs. leathery and glabrous), flowers green to greenish yellow (vs. red flowers), calyces slightly 2-lipped with five equal lobes (vs. calyces distinctly 2-lipped with entire or minute emarginate lips), and stamens exserted from corolla (vs. included).

Distribution: Per the introduction record, P. bhamoensis is originally collected from northeastern Myanmar, but currently known only from the cultivated type in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (Figure 4). Based on our experience in examination of Asian Premna specimens, we suspect that the species is probably endemic to Kachin State of Myanmar and distributed in a very small area.

Etymology: The specific epithet of this new species, “bhamoensis”, is derived from the name of the locality, Bhamo County, from where the species was originally collected.

 Yunhong Tan, Derong Li, Yongjun Chen and Bo Li. 2017. Premna bhamoensis (Lamiaceae, Premnoideae), A New Species from Kachin State, northeastern Myanmar.   PhytoKeys. 83: 93-101.  DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.83.12869

[Arachnida • 2017] Plethoscorpiops profusus • A New Genus and Species of Scorpion (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae) from Myanmar [Burma]: Implications for the Taxonomy of the Family

Plethoscorpiops profusus  Lourenço, 2017

Plethoscorpiops profusus gen. n., sp. n., belonging to the family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905 is described on the basis of two specimens, one adult female and one male juvenile collected in the Saddan Cave, in Kayin State, Hpa-An, Burma (Myanmar). This new scorpion taxon most certainly represents an endemic element for the fauna of Burma and seems to be strictly distributed inside the cave system. The new genus is characterized by a previously unknown and totally unique plethotaxic trichobothrial pattern within the family Scorpiopidae.

Keywords: Scorpion, Scorpiopidae, Burma, New genus, New species, Trichobothrial pattern

Fig. 5. Plethoscorpiops profusus sp. n. Female holotype alive (photo A. Kury).

Fig. 2. The region where is located the Saddan Cave, showing the outside relief and typical vegetation (photo: F. Bréhier).
Fig. 4. Interior view of the Saddan Cave, showing the limestone walls with the crevices where the specimens were found (photo A. Kury).

Taxonomic treatment

Family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905

Genus Plethoscorpiops gen. nov.

Diagnosis for the new genus: The new genus presents most of the characteristics already defined for the family Scorpiopidae and several of these characters associate it with both Alloscorpiops and Dasyscorpiops. It can, however, be characterized by a very particular trichobothrial pattern of some ‘territories’ or series. Femur with three trichobothria: dorsal, internal and external. Patella with two dorsal, one internal, 23 ventral and a very high number of 41 external trichobothria (up to 42–43 in the male paratype). Most outstanding are the values found for chela-hand with 25 ventral, two dorsal (Dt, Db), two internal (ib, it), 3 Est, 6 Et, Esb and a very high number of 19 trichobothria in the Eb series. This latter number is particularly unusual, because in the other genera of the family, only three (or five) trichobothria are observed on Eb series. See the following taxonomic comments.

Type species: Plethoscorpiops profusus sp. n.

Etymology: The generic name is an association of plethos with scorpiops and refers to the very high numbers of trichobothria found in the chela of pedipalps. From Latin plethora, originate from ancient Greek πληθώρη (plēthōrē) = plenty.

Fig. 1. Map of Southeast Asia showing the known distribution of genera Alloscorpiops, Dasyscorpiops and Plethoscorpiops. Notice that the type locality of Dasyscorpiops grandjeani, Malacca is dubious (according to Fage's personal notes). 

 Description of the new species
Plethoscorpiops profusus sp. n.

Burma (Myanmar), Kayin State, Hpa-An, Saddan Cave, 250 m alt., about 90 m from the entry, hidden in wall crevices, 31/VII/2016 (A. Giupponi & A. Kury leg.). 
Female holotype, deposited in the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro; male juvenile paratype deposited in the ‘Muséum national d’histoire naturelle’, Paris.

Etymology: The specific name refers to the very high number of trichobothria presented by the new species.

Diagnosis: Species of moderate size relative to other species of the family Scorpiopidae, adult female 61.8 mm in total length. Coloration dark reddish-brown; three pairs of lateral eyes, the third pair reduced; pectines with 9–9 teeth in the female holotype and 12–13 teeth in the male paratype; fulcra reduced to vestigial. Annular ring clearly marked in the telson. Trichobothrial pattern as in generic diagnosis.


Wilson R. Lourenço. 2017. A New Genus and Species of Scorpion from Burma [Myanmar] (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae): Implications for the Taxonomy of the Family. {Un nouveau genre et espèce de scorpion de Birmanie [Myanmar] (Scorpiones : Scorpiopidae) : implicationsdans la taxonomie de la famille}. Comptes Rendus Biologies. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.crvi.2017.05.003 

Résumé: Plethoscorpiops profusus gen. n., sp. n., appartenant à la famille des Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905 est décrit sur deux spécimens, une femelle adulte et un mâle juvénile, collectés dans la grotte Saddan, située dans l’État de Kayin, Hpa-An, Myanmar. Ce nouveau taxon scorpionique représente très certainement un élément endémique pour la faune de Myanmar et semble strictement inféodé dans le système cavernicole. Le nouveau genre est caractérisé par un modèle trichobothriotaxique, pléthotaxique, encore inconnu et certainement unique parmi les scorpions de la famille des Scorpiopidae.
Mots clés: Scorpion, Scorpiopidae, Myanmar, Nouveau genre, Nouvelle espèce, Modèle trichobothriotaxique

Saturday, July 22, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Thismia brunneomitroides • A New Mycoheterotrophic Species (Thismiaceae) from southern Thailand

Thismia brunneomitroides  Suetsugu & Tsukaya

พิศวงกรุงชิง  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.314.1.9 


Here we describe a new species of the mycoheterotrophic genus Thismia (Thismiaceae), Thismia brunneomitroides, discovered during a botanical survey in Khao Luang National Park, Peninsular Thailand. Thismia brunneomitroides resembles Thismia brunneomitra from Brunei Darussalam in that both species possess inner tepal lobes that are connate to form a mitre with three projections at the apex and large lateral appendage of the connective. However, it differs in having ivory flowers with twelve pale orange to brownish orange vertical stripes on the perianth tube and slightly dentate lateral appendage of the connective which does not exceed apical part of the connective. Descriptions, illustrations and a key to the 13 species of Thismia in the Thai-Malay Peninsula are provided.

Keywords: mycoheterotrophy, taxonomy, Sarcosiphon, Monocots

FIGURE 1. Thismia brunneomitroides from the type locality. A. Flowering plant. 

Thismia brunneomitroides Suetsugu & Tsukaya, sp. nov.

 Type:—THAILAND, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, Khao Luang National Park, along trail to Kung Ching Waterfall, in lowland evergreen forest,  elev. 285 m, 15 December 2015, Tagane S., Toyama H., Nagamasu H., Rueangruea S., Hemrat, C., Keiwbang W. T4968 (holotype BKF!–a spirit collection, isotype TNS!–a spirit collection).

Diagnostic characters:—Thismia brunneomitroides is most similar to Thismia brunneomitra Hroneš, Kobrlová & Dančák (2015: 173) from Brunei Darussalam in having inner tepal lobes connate to form a mitre with three projections at the apex and large lateral appendage of the connective. However, it differs from T. brunneomitra in having ivory flowers with twelve pale orange to brownish orange vertical stripes on the perianth tube (vs. brown to blackish flowers with twelve darker vertical stripes on the perianth tube) and slightly dentate lateral appendage of the connective which does not exceed apical part of the connective (vs. entire lateral appendage of the connective which exceeds whole apical part of the connective). 

Etymology:—The new species is named after the great morphological similarity to T. brunneomitra.

Habitat and Ecology:—Less than 10 individuals were found in shaded understory of lowland evergreen forest. No other mycoheterotrophic species were found in the locations in which the new Thismia were collected.

. Kenji Suetsugu, Hirokazu Tsukaya, Shuichiro Tagane, Somran Suddee, Sukid Rueangruea and Tetsukazu Yahara. 2017. Thismia brunneomitroides (Thismiaceae), A New Mycoheterotrophic Species from southern Thailand.
 Phytotaxa. 314(1); 103–109.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.314.1.9

[Ichthyology • 2017] Sex-specific Evolution during the Diversification of Live-bearing Fishes

Samples of fish species from the Poeciliidae family show the diversity in color, fin size and body shape. Kansas State University researchers studied 112 species of these live-bearing fishes and found that males and females evolve differently.

Natural selection is often assumed to drive parallel functional diversification of the sexes. But males and females exhibit fundamental differences in their biology, and it remains largely unknown how sex differences affect macroevolutionary patterns. On microevolutionary scales, we understand how natural and sexual selection interact to give rise to sex-specific evolution during phenotypic diversification and speciation. Here we show that ignoring sex-specific patterns of functional trait evolution misrepresents the macroevolutionary adaptive landscape and evolutionary rates for 112 species of live-bearing fishes (Poeciliidae). Males and females of the same species evolve in different adaptive landscapes. Major axes of female morphology were correlated with environmental variables but not reproductive investment, while male morphological variation was primarily associated with sexual selection. Despite the importance of both natural and sexual selection in shaping sex-specific phenotypic diversification, species diversification was overwhelmingly associated with ecological divergence. Hence, the inter-predictability of mechanisms of phenotypic and species diversification may be limited in many systems. These results underscore the importance of explicitly addressing sex-specific diversification in empirical and theoretical frameworks of evolutionary radiations to elucidate the roles of different sources of selection and constraint.

Samples of fish species from the Poeciliidae family show the diversity in color, fin size and body shape. Kansas State University researchers studied 112 species of these live-bearing fishes and found that males and females evolve differently.


Some of our most basic tenets and enduring theories of evolution have come from systems in which phenotypes or species have diversified in response to putatively clear and strong sources of selection. However, even in those systems, evolutionary dynamics are more complex than previously assumed. Compartmentalizing our understanding of diversification into male or female (or, worse yet, sex averages), natural or sexual selection, phenotypic or species patterns, and micro- or macroevolution provides an incomplete assessment of evolutionary patterns and processes. Only integrative analysis of evolutionary dynamics across these areas will allow us to develop robust understanding of the origins of biodiversity.

Zachary W. Culumber and Michael Tobler. 2017. Sex-specific Evolution during the Diversification of Live-bearing Fishes.
 Nature Ecology & Evolution. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0233-4

A tale of two fishes: Biologists find male, female live-bearing fish evolve differently via @physorg_com

[Paleontology • 2017] The Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Diopecephalus kochi (Wagner, 1837) and ‘Germanodactylus rhamphastinus (Wagner, 1851)

Altmuehlopterus Vidovic & Martill, 2017
Altmuehlopterus rhamphastinus  (Wagner, 1851)

Fig. 2. ‘Germanodactylus rhamphastinus’ – photographs and interpretative drawings of the slabs (a) BSP AS I 745 b and (b) BSP AS I 745 a. Abbreviations: pc, premaxillary crest; st, sternum.

The Solnhofen pterosaurs Pterodactylus antiquus, Aerodactylus scolopaciceps, Diopecephalus kochi, Germanodactylus cristatus and Germanodactylus rhamphastinus all have complicated taxonomic histories. Species originally placed in the genus Pterodactylus, such as Aerodactylus scolopaciceps, Ardeadactylus longicollum, Cycnorhamphus suevicus and Germanodactylus cristatus possess apomorphies not observed in the type species of Pterodactylus, and consequently have been placed in new genera. The affinities of another Solnhofen pterosaur previously placed in Pterodactylus, Diopecephalus kochi, are less clear. It has been proposed that D. kochi is a juvenile specimen of Pterodactylus antiquus, or perhaps ‘Germanodactylus rhamphastinus’ specimens are mature examples of D. kochi. Furthermore, studies have suggested that ‘Germanodactylus rhamphastinus’ is not congeneric with the type species of Germanodactylus. Geometric morphometric analysis of prepubes and a cladistic analysis of the Pterosauria elucidate plesiomorphic and apomorphic conditions for basal Jurassic pterodactyloids. Germanodactylus is found to be a monotypic genus and Pterodactylus, Diopecephalus, and ‘G. rhamphastinus’ are found as distinct taxa belonging in individual genera, diagnosable using a combination of characters. Thus, Diopecephalus kochi is not demonstrated to be congeneric with Germanodactylus or Pterodactylus and is maintained as a valid taxon. ‘G. rhamphastinus’ is readily distinguishable from other Solnhofen pterosaur taxa, and a new genus is erected for its reception.


Altmuehlopterus gen. nov.

Derivation of name.Altmuehl’ refers to the Altmühl river that flows through Solnhofen (close to Mörnsheim), Eichstätt and joins the river Danube at Kelheim. ‘Pterus’ is a common suffix in pterosaur names referring to the wing. This name is presented as an alternative to the geographically significant name Daitingopterus (Maisch et al., 2004) which is a nomen nudum. 

Type species: Altmuehlopterus rhamphastinus (Wagner, 1851) 

Fig. 3. Germanodactylus cristatus – (a) a photograph of most of the skeleton on the slab and (b) a line drawing of the skull of the holotype BSP 1892 IV 1.

Fig. 10. Cranial characters and prepubes of Franconia laminated limestone pterosaurs plotted onto a pruned tree. The tree is plotted against the ‘fine scale’ dating criteria of the Franconia laminated limestones (Schweigert 2007).

Steven U. Vidovic and David M. Martill. 2017. The Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Diopecephalus kochi (Wagner, 1837) and ‘Germanodactylus rhamphastinus (Wagner, 1851). Geological Society, London. Special Publications. (2017); SP455.12. DOI: 10.1144/SP455.12

Friday, July 21, 2017

[Paleontology • 2017] Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis • First Ornithomimid (Theropoda, Ornithomimosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Tögrögiin Shiree, Mongolia

Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis
Tsogtbaatar, Kobayashi, Khishigjav, Currie, Watabe & Rinchen, 2017

Illustration by Masato Hattori

The Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation has been intensively surveyed for its fossil vertebrate fauna for nearly a century. Amongst other theropods, dromaeosaurids and parvicursorines are common in the formation, but ornithomimosaurs are extremely rare. A new ornithomimosaur material was discovered from the Djadokhta Formation, represented by eolian deposits, of the Tögrögiin Shiree locality, Mongolia. This is only the third ornithomimosaur specimen reported from this formation, and includes the astragalus, the calcaneum, the third distal tarsal, and a complete pes. The new material is clearly belonged to Ornithomimidae by its arctometatarsalian foot condition and has the following unique characters; unevenly developed pair of concavities of the third distal tarsal, curved contacts between the proximal ends of second and fourth metatarsals, the elongate fourth digit, and a laterally inclined medial condyle on phalanx IV-1. These diagnostic characters of the Djadokhtan ornithomimosaur indicate that this is a new taxon. Our phylogenetic analysis supports three clades within derived ornithomimosaurs, and the new taxon is placed a member of the derived ornithomimosaurs. The present specimen is the first ornithomimid record from eolian Tögrögiin Shiree locality, and is indicative of their capability to adapt to arid environments.

Systematic paleontology
Dinosauria Owen, 184224.
Theropoda Marsh, 188125.

Ornithomimosauria Barsbold, 197626.
Ornithomimidae Marsh, 189027.

Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: The generic name refers to the largest ratite bird Aepyornis~, which has similar pes structure; in Latin, ~mimus = ‘as’ or ‘like’; the species name tugrikinensis refers to the locality where the specimen was found.

Holotype: MPC-D 100/130, articulated left pes preserved with an astragalus that is missing the ascending process, a complete calcaneum, and distal tarsal III (DT-III) (Figs 2, 3 and 4). The original specimen is now housed in the Institute of Paleontology and Geology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (IPG-MAS).

Type locality and horizon: Central Sayr of Tögrögiin Shiree locality, Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation (Campanian) (Fig. 1). This locality is interpreted as semi-arid eolian sediments28 with up to 52 m of light gray, cross-bedded, structureless sands and sandstones17.

Diagnosis: An ornithomimid dinosaur with the following unique characters; unevenly developed pair concavities on the posterior margin of the DT-III; robust distal articular caput of second metatarsal (Mt II) in dorsal view; proximoventrally rounded ridge of phalanx II-1 (II-1); the elongate fourth digit; laterally inclined medial condyle of phalanx IV-1 (IV-1); elongated pedal unguals.

Illustration by Masato Hattori 

Figure 8: Comparative graph and restoration drawing of Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis.
 (a), Different proportions of the three metatarsals is represented by ternary diagram, (b), Illustration is drawn by Mr. Masato Hattori.
Abbreviations: (Mt II), the metatarsal II, (Mt III), the metatarsal III, and (Mt III), the metatarsal III, (Ω), Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis, (Δ), basal ornithomimosaurs, (Π), deinocheirids, (†), ornithomimids. 

Chinzorig Tsogtbaatar, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Tsogtbaatar Khishigjav, Philip J. Currie, Mahito Watabe and Barsbold Rinchen. 2017. First Ornithomimid (Theropoda, Ornithomimosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Tögrögiin Shiree, Mongolia.  Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 5835. DOI:  10.1038/s41598-017-05272-6

[Paleontology • 2017] Owadowia borsukbialynickae • A New Pancryptodiran Turtle from the Late Jurassic of Poland and Palaeobiology of Early Marine Turtles

 Owadowia borsukbialynickae
Szczygielski, Tyborowski & Błażejowski, 2017


Although Western Europe has yielded numerous Jurassic turtle taxa, several represented by cranial material or complete skeletons, the fossil record of the Jurassic turtles remains scarce to the north and east from Germany. Although some Late Jurassic testudinates were historically described from Poland, they were, thus far, represented by fragmentary remains that never were properly figured or described in detail. Therefore, very little is known about the mid-Mesozoic diversity of turtles in that region of the continent. A new pancryptodiran turtle genus and species, Owadowia borsukbialynickae, is described from the uppermost Jurassic (Tithonian, ca. 148 Ma) carbonate sediments of the Kcynia Formation in Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry, near Tomaszów Mazowiecki in central Poland. The lower jaw morphology and palaeoecological setting inhabited by the new genus and species, together with the trophic relationships of the Jurassic pancryptodiran turtles, are discussed in an attempt to determine the potential range of mode of life of O. borsukbialynickae. We propose that the new specimen belongs to a new durophagous pancryptodiran turtle taxon. O. borsukbialynickae might have spent considerable time in the marine environment and specialized on eating hard-shelled invertebrates like bivalves and decapod crustaceans, common to that setting.

Figure 5: Owadowia borsukbialynickae, life restoration during feeding on decapod crustacean.
Digital painting by T. Szczygielski 


Order Testudinata Klein, 1760
Pancryptodira Joyce, Parham, & Gauthier, 2004
Incertae sedis

Genus Owadowia gen. nov.

Type species. Owadowia borsukbialynickae sp. nov.

Etymology. Owadowia, from Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry—the locality where remains of this new turtle were found.
Owadowia borsukbialynickae sp. nov.

Etymology. borsukbialynickae, in honour to the Polish palaeontologist, Prof. Magdalena Borsuk-Białynicka—a long time researcher of the Mesozoic reptiles.

Type specimen. ZPAL V/O-B/1959 (Figures 2-4), stored in the collections of the Institute of Palaeobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, a fragment of the lower jaw, right coracoid, right ilium, and mostly complete right femur.

Type locality. Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry of Nordkalk GmbH, Sławno, close to Tomaszów Mazowiecki (Central Poland). 

Occurrence. Kcynia Formation, Tithonian, Upper Jurassic; the first lithofacial unit within Zaraiskites zarajskensis subzone.

Diagnosis. Relatively large Jurassic turtle (estimated carapace length around 50 cm) with narrow and V-shaped lower jaw, relatively short and wide but pronounced snout, massive, spoon-like symphysis, no symphyseal hook, well-developed triturating surface in the symphyseal area, moderately developed triturating surface with parallel lingual and labial ridges along the mandibular rami, the labial ridge much higher and sharper than the lingual ridge, the lingual ridge only present laterally and gradually disappearing towards the midline of the symphyseal area, splenial large. The triangular, symmetrical coracoid plate without anterior or posterior expansions, the coracoid neck without coracoid foramen. The slender and proximally and distally slightly curved femur with deep, U-shaped intertrochanteric fossa, small fibular condyle and prominent, well-developed tibial condyle. The ilium with expanded ventral end, constricted neck and well-developed, thin dorsal fan with posterior and no anterior expansion, no signs of sutural attachment to the carapace.

A new pancryptodiran turtle, Owadowia borsukbialynickae, is described from the Tithonian lagoon limestones of Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry, Poland. The most characteristic trait of this new taxon is its expanded triturating surface indicating a durophagous ecology. The morphology of O. borsukbialynickae mandible is unlike that any other Jurassic turtle known thus far, but rather resembles the Cretaceous protostegids and recent cheloniids, which suggests that this turtle might have inhabited a similar trophic niche. While it is possible that O. borsukbialynickae was a semiaquatic or freshwater turtle, the lower jaw morphology and its inferred feeding preferences make such assumption unlikely, and rather suggest that this animal spent a lot of time in a shallow water, possibly marine environment, like Owadów-Brzezinki lagoons. The taphonomic evidence (the quantitative dominance of marine vertebrates in the Owadów-Brzezinki bone-bed, lack of any brackish and freshwater taxa, and absence of transportation) suggests that O. borsukbialynickae was an inhabitant of these lagoons, rather than a terrestrial animal that inhabited the adjacent land. Such assumptions may be supported in the future by new finds and isotope data.

Tomasz Szczygielski, Daniel Tyborowski and Błażej Błażejowski. 2017. A New Pancryptodiran Turtle from the Late Jurassic of Poland and Palaeobiology of Early Marine Turtles. Geological Journal. DOI: 10.1002/gj.2952

Thursday, July 20, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Liolaemus gardeli • A New Species of Lizard of the L. wiegmannii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae) from the Uruguayan Savanna

Liolaemus gardeli 
Verrastro, Maneyro, da Silva & Farias, 2017

 DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4294.4.4 ภาพ


Lizards of the Liolaemus wiegmannii group comprise 11 species that are widely distributed east of the Andes, occurring in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Here we analyzed a population of the genus Liolaemus, found in the Pampa region of Uruguay, on isolated sand dunes along the Tacuarembó River. We conducted biometric, meristic, and genetic comparisons between this population and other populations of L. weigmannii from Argentina and Uruguay, and the other species of the L. weigmannii complex. Our morphological and genetic analyses showed that this population represents to a new species of the genus Liolaemus, belonging to the L. wiegmannii group. To date, its known distribution is extremely restricted.

Keywords: Reptilia, endemic species, phylogeny, sand habitat, Pampa biome

 Laura Verrastro, Raúl Maneyro, Caroline M. da Silva and Iraia Farias. 2017. A New Species of Lizard of the L. wiegmannii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae) from the Uruguayan Savanna. Zootaxa. 4294(4); 443–461. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4294.4.4

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Oligodon saiyok | งูงอดไทรโยค • A New Limestone-dwelling Kukri Snake (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand

Oligodon saiyok 
 Sumontha, Kunya, Dangsri & Pauwels, 2017

  งูงอดไทรโยค | Sai Yok Kukri Snake ||  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4294.3.2 


We describe Oligodon saiyok sp. nov. from Benjarat Nakhon Cave Temple, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. It is characterized by a maximal known SVL of 626.1 mm; 13 maxillary teeth, the posterior two enlarged; 8 supralabials; 17-17-15 dorsal scale rows; 181–187 ventrals and 38–43 subcaudals; a single anal; hemipenes extending in situ to the 18th subcaudal; dorsum with 21–22 dark blotches or white rings without vertebral or lateral stripes; and venter with a dense network of subrectangular dark blotches. It is the 7th squamate species believed to be endemic to Sai Yok District.

Keywords: Reptilia, Thailand, Oligodon saiyok sp. nov., new species, taxonomy, limestone cave, Buddhist temple

FIGURE 1. Live holotype of Oligodon saiyok sp. nov. Photograph by K. Kunya.

Etymology. The specific epithet is an invariable noun in honor of the administrative district where the type locality lies. We suggest the following common names: Ngu Ngod Sai Yok - งูงอดไทรโยค (Thai), Sai Yok Kukri Snake (English), Oligodon de Saï Yok (French), and Sai Yok Kukrinatter (German).

Oligodon saiyok sp. nov. increases the already exceptionally high number of squamates endemic to Sai Yok District, still unexplained to date: Cnemaspis huaseesom Grismer, Sumontha, Cota, Grismer, Wood, Pauwels & Kunya, 2010, Cyrtodactylus saiyok Panitvong, Sumontha, Tunprasert & Pauwels, 2014 and C. tigroides Bauer, Sumontha & Pauwels, 2003, Dixonius hangseesom Bauer, Sumontha, Grossmann, Pauwels & Vogel, 2004, Gekko nutaphandi Bauer, Sumontha & Pauwels, 2008, and Trimeresurus kanburiensis Smith, 1943 (see David et al. 2004). ....

Montri Sumontha, Kirati Kunya, Siriwat Dangsri and Olivier S. G. Pauwels. 2017.  Oligodon saiyok, A New Limestone-dwelling Kukri Snake (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. Zootaxa. 4294(3); 316–328. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4294.3.2

[Botany • 2017] Thismia sahyadrica • The First Record of the Mycoheterotrophic Genus, Thismia (Thismiaceae), to the Flora of India with A New Species Revealing the Phytogeographical Significance of Western Ghats

Thismia sahyadrica  Sujanapal, Robi & Dantas

Thismia, a genus of mycoheterotrophic plants, is reported for the first time from mainland India, from Neryamangalam forests in Idukki district of Kerala, along with a new species, T. sahyadricaThismia sahyadrica, described and illustrated here, is unique within Thismia in having a mitre with a single opening; five perianth lobes are fused into a mitre-like structure, while the sixth one is free, forming a lateral single opening of the flower. Due to its unique morphological characteristics, the taxonomic placement of the new species remains obscure, although some root and flower characters suggest an affinity with species from the sections GlaziocharisSarcosiphonGeomitra, and Scaphiophora. Ecological specificity and phytogeographical peculiarities of the new species are also discussed.

Keywords: Kerala; Thismia; Western Ghats; mycoheterotrophy

Fig. 2 Thismia sahyadrica Sujanapal, Robi & Dantas.
 a. Habitat; b– c. habit; d. young flowers; e. plants with flowers; f. flowers enlarged with pedicel and bract.
 — Photos by A.J. Robi. 


Thismia sahyadrica Sujanapal, Robi & Dantas, sp. nov. 

 Thismia sahyadrica differs from all other species of Thismia in having a mitre with a single opening; it is further characterized by a brownish hypanthium, greenish yellow perianth lobes, a yellow ovary, and two fused outer perianth lobes and spreading third one. 
— Type:
A.J. Robi & K.J. Dantas 28097 (holotype KFRI; isotypes CALI, K, L, MH), India, Kerala, Idukki dist., Neryamangalam, ± 500 m, 14 July 2014.

 Etymology. The specific epithet ‘sahyadrica’ refers to the Sahyadri HillsWestern Ghats, where the type locality of the species is located.

 P. Sujanapal, A.J. Robi, K.J. Dantas, M. Sumod and V.S.F.T. Merckx. 2017. Thismia (Thismiaceae): The First Record of the Mycoheterotrophic Genus to the Flora of India with A New Species Revealing the Phytogeographical Significance of Western Ghats.
 Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants. 62;  97–102.  DOI:  10.3767/blumea.2017.62.2.04

[Herpetology • 2017] The Taxonomic Status and Distribution Range of Six Theloderma Species (Anura: Rhacophoridae) with A New Record in China

Theloderma moloch (Annandale, 1912)
Yunnan, China, 1000 m elevation.

Photo by Mian Hou 


The problems of identification, number and distribution of Theloderma species living in China are discussed on the base of new original morphological and molecular data collected during the last years. According to the author’s results there are six known Theloderma species living in China: Theloderma albopunctatum (Liu et Hu, 1962), Theloderma baibungense Jiang, Fei et Huang, 2007, Theloderma bicolor (Bourret, 1937), Theloderma corticale (Boulenger, 1903), Theloderma moloch (Annandale, 1912), and Theloderma rhododiscus Liu et Hu, 1962.

Keywords: taxonomy; distribution; Theloderma; new records; China

Theloderma corticale (Boulenger, 1903)
English name. Tonkin Bug-eyed Frog, Kwangsi Warty Treefrog.
Etymology. The specific epithet is derived from Latin “cortex,” genit. cortices or corticulus, means bark.
Distribution. Known from south China, Laos, and Vietnam.

Theloderma bicolor (Bourret, 1937)
English name. Chapa Bug-eyed Frog. 
Etymology. the specific epithet is derived from Latin “bis,” means two, twice; and color is from Latin “color,” as hue, tint or complexion.
Distribution. Northwest to central Vietnam; southwest China.

 Theloderma moloch  (Annandale, 1912)

Theloderma asperum species group, such as Theloderma albopunctatum (southern China to central Indochina), Theloderma baibungense (SE Himalaya) and T. asperum (south Indochina to Malaysian Peninsula).

Theloderma rhododiscus  Liu et Hu, 1962


According to above discussion, currently there are six known Theloderma species in China, such as Theloderma albopunctatum (Liu et Hu, 1962), Theloderma baibungense Jiang, Fei et Huang, 2007, Theloderma bicolor (Bourret, 1937), Theloderma corticale (Boulenger, 1903), Theloderma moloch (Annandale, 1912), and Theloderma rhododiscus Liu et Hu, 1962 

Hou Mian, Yu Guo-Hua, Chen Hong-man, Liao Chang-Le, Zhang Li, Chen Jin, Li Pi-Peng and Nikolai L. Orlov. 2017. The Taxonomic Status and Distribution Range of Six Theloderma Species (Anura: Rhacophoridae) with A New Record in China.
 Russian Journal of Herpetology. 24(2); 91-127.
 Theloderma in China (Anura: Rhacophoridae); Taxonomic Status and Distribution Range